Visit Mount Bromo and Mount Ijen Without An Expensive Tour

Posted on August 12, 2015

My first visit to Indonesia started in the small town of Surabaya about halfway through the island of Java. I didn’t want to start in Jakarta and decided on missing Jogjakara and winning a few days further down the line. There isn’t that much to do Surabaya apart from going to the excellent restaurant Domicile and to take in the culture, religion and the people (I stayed at Hotel 88 and was very happy there). All and all Surabaya can be a bit of a culture shock, especially for women traveling alone. Soon after my arrival I started planning my month’s stay in the country starting with the famous Java volcanoes, Mount Bromo and Mount Ijen.

Mount_bromo_Ijen_No_tour_indonesia_java (6 of 19)

Mount_bromo_Ijen_No_tour_indonesia_java (9 of 19)


Mount_bromo_Ijen_No_tour_indonesia_java (5 of 19)

Not a lot is known about visiting these volcanoes as a solo (female) traveler or about visiting it without a tour. Next to that, there are not a lot of local women traveling by themselves (which is usually the case in countries with the Muslim religion), resulting in a lot of weird looks as I couldn’t answer where my boyfriend or travel partner was and some very expensive price offers. As information about visiting it myself were difficult to find and it was seemingly impossible, I approached some tour companies with the following lovely response:


Including services :
– private tour
– private car with air conditioner
– bromo and ijen entrance ticket
– 1 night in ancala inn bromo
– 1 night in ijen view hotel
– private jeep for mt. Bromo
– daily breakfast
– driver
– local guide trekking for mt. Ijen
– mineral water”

Recalculated an organized tour of three days would end up costing me 430 EUR. As Indonesia, and Java in particular, is quite an inexpensive place, I couldn’t believe my eyes. There are two reasons why this trip would cost me so much, first of all, I was traveling alone and they would arrange a separate car to drive me to both destinations. Second, you have no control over what the money goes towards and in general that means you are overpaying a great deal. As traveling South East Asia is generally quite easy, I decided to visit skip the tourist agency and do it by myself. It took quite a lot of research and even more questionable looks from the hotel staff. In the end I managed to do it all by myself and ended up saving more than 300 euros. I only spent 93,2 euro for the normally costing 430 euro three day trip. Here is a breakdown of my costs:

Train + car to Mount Bromo: 10 euro
Train + car to Mount Ijen: 12,5 euro
Mount Bromo (Café Lava): 5,40 euro
Mount Ijen (Kampung Osing Inn): 4,60 euro
Entrance fees
Mount Bromo: 16 euro
Mount Ijen: 10,70 euro
30 euro

Here is how I did it. As I was coming from the west, I first visited mount Bromo and then continued on to Mount Ijen. The cheapest and easiest way to travel on Java is by train, the trains are comfortable and clean so it is actually an enjoyable ride. If you know in advance when you are planning to do this trip, I can advise you to book your tickets in advance because trains can get quite full. I always did it on the day itself and was lucky, but I also had some friends that had to wait for hours because certain trains were full.

To get to Mount Bromo, you’ll want to leave early morning in Surabaya (I took the 8.50am train) and go to a town at the base of the center called Probolinggo. From there on there is a good chance that you will meet other travelers with whom you can split the costs. There are several trains coming in per day so if you don’t meet anyone on the train, you can always wait until other travelers show up. At Probolinggo I met four other travelers and therefore all private transport costs for this mountain trip were divided by five, which cut the overall cost by a great deal. From Porbolinggo take a small bus to Cemoro Lawang but you have to go from the train station to the main bus station (or a tourist office). There are private taxis that you can take or the local bus. We opted for the private taxi so we could go up the mountain straight away in an air-conditioned car instead of waiting a long time for a non air-conditioned crappy looking local bus (which will get you to your destination as well). The only reason, however, that we could do this of course, was because we were a group of 5.

Mount_bromo_Ijen_No_tour_indonesia_java (1 of 19)

Mount_bromo_Ijen_No_tour_indonesia_java (2 of 19)

Cemoro Lawang is the name of the town at the base of Mount Bromo and where you will sleep overnight. We stayed at Café Lava as it is the most inexpensive option, especially when you can share one of their low-level rooms with another traveler. Once you arrive you will notice that everyone is being carted around by jeeps. These are the organized tours, they will be staying either in the same hotel as you, but with an overpriced breakfast included and around 5 am, they will all head out to the same sunset spot which is the summit of Pananjakan mountain.

Mount_bromo_Ijen_No_tour_indonesia_java (8 of 19)

We’re not going to do that. To go to the vulcano itself you do not need a car. If you do this when you arrive, you will practically have the vulcano all to yourself. All the tours will visit the vulcano straight after the sunset and will be gone by the time you arrive in the afternoon. Another means of transport that is offered on site are horse rides. However such as it is usually with tourist animal attractions, the horses aren’t taken care of properly. They are dragged up and down the mountain at a speed that could break their legs, the owners carve into the ears of the horses to mark them and plainly treat them horribly when they are waiting for customers to come. Don’t support this type of business.

As I already said, everybody visiting the mountain will want to see the sun come up and I do have to admit it is quite special. However in stead of going to the same spot as everybody else, ask to be taken to King Kong Hill. There might still be one or two tours but that is nothing compared to the hundreds of people you will find at the summit. To go to King Kong hill we arranged a jeep via our hotel, Café Lava. With some negotiation and the fact that it was five of us, this only cost us a fraction of what the tour would. I have also read that you can walk up the mountain but as you are getting up really early, expect a challenging walk. As you get up for sunset around four or five am, you’ll be back at Café Lava around 7am to take the same taxi or public bus back down. Because you already visited the mountain the previous day, you’ll win a lot of time in getting to Mount Ijen.

Mount_bromo_Ijen_No_tour_indonesia_java (10 of 19)

Mount_bromo_Ijen_No_tour_indonesia_java (3 of 19)

To go from Probolinggo (the base of Mount Bromo) to Mount Ijen, there are two possible ways. The most popular and the one taken by all tour companies is going through Bondowoso and then taking a taxi or public bus to Sempol. From there on you can arrange transport up to the base of Mount Ijen. Sempol and the way to Sempol however is the beaten track and therefore you will be paying extra just because you are a tourist in a touristy place. I chose the other option and approached then mountain from the other angle, via the town of Karangasam. If you are, like me, traveling to Bali after Mount Ijen, this is the perfect spot for you to be as it is only half an hour drive from the public ferry (which is cheap as chips).

In Karangasam you can find a lovely but basic little home stay called Kampung Osing Inn. Before you arrive here, send the owner Ganda an e-mail and he will help you get to the hotel. They will arrange a free pick-up at the train station and can organize a jeep or ojek (motorcycle taxi) to the entrance of Mount Ijen. Most of the time, there is already a truck going up to the entrance and you can share the costs with the people already hiring the car (it will cost you 125.000INDR or 8EUR per person if the car has five or six people in it). This will make it a lot cheaper and comfortable. Another option is taking an ojek, which will cost you 200.000 IDR (which is 13 EUR). But be aware, the ride is about two hours and if you’re coming from the sunset trip at Mount Bromo, getting up at midnight and taking the ojek will be quite exhausting.

Mount_bromo_Ijen_No_tour_indonesia_java (14 of 19)

Mount_bromo_Ijen_No_tour_indonesia_java (15 of 19)

Mount_bromo_Ijen_No_tour_indonesia_java (12 of 19)

Mount_bromo_Ijen_No_tour_indonesia_java (11 of 19)

Mount_bromo_Ijen_No_tour_indonesia_java (18 of 19)

Mount_bromo_Ijen_No_tour_indonesia_java (17 of 19)

Mount_bromo_Ijen_No_tour_indonesia_java (1 of 1)

After a short sleep, the chosen means of transportation will get you to the bottom of the mountain. There you will find several local guides offering their help. They are sulphur miners picking up the sulphur in the volcano and carrying it up. As they earn less than a minimum wage for this, they try to pick up a few tourists along the way and help them up. I have to admit, I was very happy to have this help, especially because you’re not getting that much sleep during these days. If you have a nice guide, they will also give you one of their gas masks to cope with the intense sulphur fumes. The walk is quite challenging but straightforward so if you don’t want to hire a guide, there is absolutely not reason to do so. The reason you’re leaving before the sun comes up is so that you can catch the blue flames (of which I didn’t manage to get a decent photo) in action. Stick around long enough to see the sun go up and enjoy the crater lake. Walk back up and notice how much beautiful nature is around you which you absolutely could not see on the way up. If you had a guide, make sure you pay him. The wages of the sulphur miners is beneath all standards and the conditions in which they work is quite appalling (read more about it here). Take it all in, the beautiful nature, the working conditions of the miners and the strong intense smell and sting of the sulphur.

Mount_bromo_Ijen_No_tour_indonesia_java (13 of 19)

A short recap if you’re going on this trip:
Mount Bromo
– Go to Probolinggo by train
– take bus/taxi to Cemoro Lawang
– Stay at Café Lava
– Share a truck or walk up to King Kong Hill at sunrise
Mount Ijen
– Go from Probolinggo to Karangasam
– Sleep at Kampung Osing Inn
– Share a truck or take an ojek
General tips
– Eat at the local warungs (the name for a local cheap restaurant)
– Take a sweater and rain jacket for both volcanoes
– Take a mouth mask and possibly wet it to help with the sulphur fumes at Mt. Ijen

Mount_bromo_Ijen_No_tour_indonesia_java (19 of 19)

Find hotels via in the area via below search box

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links. Clicking on these will allow you to support this blog without paying anything more. Thanks for your support!!

  • Luca


    Thanks a lot, your tips are very helpful. We are group of 4 and we are starting today the exact same trip from Surabaya to Bali through Bromo & Ijien by our own. We will try to follow as much as possible your advices. Thanks again, your blog is very clear and full of information. Keep going in this way !! Cheers

    • Marijs

      Hey Luca, thanks so much, I’m happy to help! Let me know how you guys go or when you need to know something more. Good luck!

  • i like your picture..amazing friend (y)

  • Ross

    Serious detailed and helpful info! Just arrived to Surabaya and planning my days ahead. Thanks again, Ross

    • Marijs

      Hey Ross, I’m happy you’re finding it useful! Let me know how you’re trip goes or if you have any more questions about the area 🙂

  • fion

    Hi, I am Fion from Malaysia.
    May i know is it safe for female solo traveler travel alone to Mount bromo and Ijen? TQ

    • Marijs

      Hey Fion, I did it by myself and didn’t experience any problems. There are plenty of young solo travellers that are visiting both mountains so you’ll meet some people. I can definitely recommend it!

      • fion

        Great, i am going in january! i am still planning of it!

        • Marijs

          Great, you’re going to love it! Let me know how you go!

        • Hayyan


          Firstly, thank you Marijs for this amazing info, and your way of clear and straight forward presentation.

          Fion, I’m travelling with my wife to Indonesia from KL in January, I’ll start in Bali, and end there, however I have two days that I’m planning to visit Mt Bromo and Ijen (I might have to drop one as time will not allow, which one Marjis do you suggest to drop if I had to?)

          email me so we can exchange more details and arrange if time match.


          • Marijs

            Hey Hayyan,

            Thanks for commenting. Two days would be cutting it close, I did in three and only slept for about 8 hours in total in the two nights. If you would have to drop one I would suggest dropping Bromo and only doing mount Ijen. Bromo is special and interesting but Ijen is spectacular and an experience you will never forget. Walking up the mountain at night, seeing the sulphur mine, the workers and then lastly walking back up only to see these amazingly green and beautiful green volcanoes. Magnificent!

  • Mei

    Hey Marij, thank you so much for all the information provided. They are extremely helpful. Same here I am doing it alone this coming new year. How did you travel from Probollingo to Karangasam? Was it also sharing with other solo travellers?

    • Marijs

      Hey Mei, here I was with someone who I met on Mt Bromo but I could have just as easily don it myself. Good luck!

  • Wow, I can’t believe it’s not more of a known thing that you can take the train from Probolinggo to Karangasam rather than a bunch of buses from Probolinggo to Bondowoso to Sempol. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your tip. Will be taking this advice when I’m there next week!

    • Marijs

      Hey Lindsay,

      Thanks for leaving me a comment. I know it’s unbelievable how difficult it is to find out more about this trip. It’s because they are so used to people booking the trips that they don’t even consider that you might want to do it by yourself. Especially if you’re a women 🙂 Let me know how you go! I would love to hear your story

  • Wow finally someone who explains clearly how to get from Surabaja to Bromo and Ijen without any expensive tourguide. Thanks a lot! I do have an extra question from since I am not finding it anywhere else and maybe you know. We are planning our trip to Indonesia for this summer, from jakarta to bandung to jogyakarta to surabaya to bromo to ijen. After that we want to relax on the gili islands. But I would like to know what the best way is to get there from Ijen? Back to Surabaya by train (how long does it takes) and then fly to lombok and take the boat or take the ferry to bali go to ubud/amed or something and catch the fast ferry the next day to the gili islands. Time is a bit more important for us then the price since now we are able to save a lot of money thanks to your tips!

    • Marijs

      Hey Loes, I’m glad it’s helpful for you! I would personally take the ferry over from Ijen. If you stay in the area that I recommend you anyway. It’s like 20 minutes in cab to the ferry and the ferry only takes half an hour. From there you can easily get to Denpasar or ANY of the surrounding beach town and book a speedboat to the Gilli’s. Going all the way back to Surabaya and then flying to lombok to take another taxi and another boat will be waaaay more effort. Hopefully this is helpful. The trip from Ijen to Denpasar will take you at the most a day, find a nice hotel and leave the next day! Good luck and let me know how you go!

      • Loestheeuwes

        Dear marijs thank you for your reply. Do you know how we can get to ubud or amed when we arrive with the ferry. By bus or taxi? And do you know the price of the fastboat to gili air? Thanks for your help.

  • Pingback: Hiking Kawah Ijen To See Blue Flames | FRUGAL FROLICKER()

  • Hi Marijs, can you please tell me how you booked the hotel in Cemoro Lawang? Because I can not find anything to book in advance. We will arrive around 4pm, do the sunrise, stay for the day and sleep again in cemoro lawang and the next morning we will go by train to ijen (kangarsem). But it looks like the hostels in cemorolawang are really not that good so I’am thinking to try to see the vulcano itself the day of arrival at 4pm… but maybe that is tight.

    • Marijs

      Hey Loes, I didn’t book in advance as I couldn’t find Café Lava online either. Try finding a phone number, that might be the best solution. I however just rocked up and was able to get a room. Not staying overnight is making it a bit tight, it will take a few hours to get up and down the mountain. But yes, you are right, the hotels up there are not of high standard. It is a tourist destination that is filled with too expensive rooms at too high a price. Maybe try and stay at Café Lava for only one night. As for your question on the travel through Bali, you can get to Ubud by public bus which is just across the street from where you will arrive with the ferry. Just make sure that you arrive before the last bus to Ubud takes off (speaking from experience :))!

  • Lu

    Hi Marijs,

    Thanks so much for this post–my friend and I are currently trying to visit both Bromo and Ijen, so this is super helpful. Do you remember how long each part of traveling took? I.e. how long was the train from Surabaya to Probolingo, etc.?

    Thank you!

    • Marijs

      Hey Lu, I’m happy this post is helping you out so much! The train ride from Surabaya to Probolinggo to only a couple of hours. I left early morning and arrived before lunch at the probolinggo. Taking the little cab up to Mt. Bromo will leave you plenty of time to do some exploring in the afternoon. I left back to Probolinggo the next morning, right after our sunrise trip (I’m assuming this was between 7 and 8). It is a good idea to book the traintickets in advance because we had to wait until the afternoon train because the earlier trains were full. Ah travel 🙂 That traintrip took a bit longer. It’s going to be about 5 hours. The little homestay in Karangasem has some info on it on their website: They are really helpful as well so don’t hesitate to send them an e-mail if you’re planning on staying at their place! Good luck and I would love to hear how you go.

  • Hi all,

    Mount Bromo is now fully opened after the eruption.

    And if you need information about bromo, you can visit our website.

    We wait for you all to come in Indonesia. Have a good vacation. 🙂

  • Florian

    Hi Marijs, just to understand. You did Bromo directly when you arrived and just the sunset view at kingkong the day after?

    • Marijs

      Hey Florian, Yes basically, two sunrises in a row, but you don’t have to do it that fast of course!

  • dona

    Last year i take the tour from , if i know your post i will take by myself. But its okay, your experience is very valuable for another traveller 🙂

    • Marijs

      Hey Dona, yes you can do it yourself for sure! Next time better 🙂

    • Marijs

      Thank you so much Dona!

  • jermaine

    hi your pictures are gorgeous 🙂 what camera are you using?

    • Marijs

      Hey Jermaine, I’m using a Canon 650D and these photos were actually taken with a 40mm lens

    • Marijs

      Thanks! I’m currently using a Canon 650D and had a 50mm lens for these images.

  • Hazel Shirley

    Hey thanks for your detailed guide, my friends and I will be attempting this in the next couple of days. I was just wondering though, as we will be going onto Bali afterwards we will have all of our luggage with us, do you think that’ll be a problem at all or it is manageable?

    • Marijs

      Hey Hazel, good luck and let me know how it went! Yes I did it all with my luggage as well so you should be fine! Lots of greetings from Japan

  • Kelvin Ho

    Hi thanks for the great entry. Am I right to say you did a sunset view of Bromo on the day of arrival instead of sunrise the following morning? How do you buy tickets from Surabaya to Probolingo and how did you get to the train station from the airport? Thanks!

    • Marijs

      I did both, but we didn’t have the best weather for the sunset. Climbing it then is much less busy though, almost nobody is there in the afternoon. From the airport I took a taxi to the train and tickets you can either buy online or in the train station itself. I was lucky and could get on the train but it is not a bad idea to book in advance!

  • Bastien

    Hi, quick question that would greatly help for my own upcoming trip. With the campung osing inn, did they just transport you to the base and you could walk alone or were you forced to go with a guide for the whole trip? The price you stated includes the return trip as well, right? And lastly, could you tell me when they generally arrive at the base/ how long the car trip takes? I am debating whether I should go from Karangasam like you, because it is closer to Bali where I will be next, or from Sempol, because it seems closer to the volcano?
    I am doing mt bromo before that.
    It would be awesome if you could help me out with that,

    • Harry

      Hey mate,
      when are you planning your trip for?
      I am thinking of going in the next few weeks so just wondering if our paths will cross at any point.

      • Marijs

        Hey Harry, I already went over a year ago. But have fun on your trip to Indonesia, it’s an awesome country!

    • Marijs

      Hey Bastien, the homestay in Karangasem will definitely not push you into anything, they just offer it. They are really nice people! I wouldn’t really recommend you walking from there as it is a two hour car trip even from Sempol it is going to be a while. If you’re going to Bali, Karangasem is a really good option. It takes a while to climb up the mountain, you leave at 12am and come back to the homestay around 9-10am. Don’t quote me on that last one, I’m not a 100% sure anymore. Good luck and let me know how you go!

    • Marijs

      Hey Bastien, I would go via Karangasem again if I would do it over. The homestay’s driver drove use straight to the bottom of the volcano yet. Nobody can force you to take a guide if you do not want to, they will try to offer for sure though. Not the homestay itself but the guides will once you start the climb. Good luck!!!

  • bar

    any1 up for the trekk in the next few days? contact me –

    • Ashish Bhatnagar

      Hi. I am Ashish. Me and my friend are all set for trip to Mount Ijin on 24th September night. my number +628997496196…

    • Anna Zwanenburg

      Hi Bar! We are on our way today for mnt Bromo and tomorrow heading to Ijen! You?

      • bar

        Just did ijen today and up for bromo the day after tomorrow. Will u delay?

        • Anna Zwanenburg

          No Im sorry, were pretty tightly scedueled! Enjoy though! Youll probably find lots of people to share the experience on the train!

  • Gemma

    Hi ☺

    My partner and I are doing this route over the next few days and your blog has been super helpful, thank you for posting this ☺

    Quick question – how did you get from Ijen to the ferry terminal to take you over to Bali? Did you go back to Banyuwangi and the bus/taxi it or did your transport to the volcano drop you there?

    Thank you, Gemma

    • Marijs

      Hey Gemma, yes we went back to the homestay and then paid the owner to take us to the ferry. It’s not very far but too far to walk to anyway!

  • Erika Savitt

    I am planning to do this trip soon, If we plan to arrive at 7:50 am thursday into surabaya, could we make it to bromo by early afternoon to do a crater hike and then go to cafe lava to stay until the sunrise hike. At 9:30 am we would follow your plan to ijen and do a hike there and then sunrise the next day and then off to bali. I just want to make sure i am giving myself enough time and that i have the itinerary correct. Any help is appreciated

    • Naviga Bromo Indonesia

      yes erika, you could. from surabaya to bromo approx 3-4hour.

      so here is my suggestion:
      better yo do a crater hike around at 03:00pm, if you start at 10am-02pm, the sea of sand getting dry, it means too many dust over there.

      For the sunrise hike, since you already hike bromo crater day before, I prefer to take the sunrise from “Penanjakan 2” (seruni view point). you dont have to pass sea of sand again.
      from cafe lava if you take a walk to Penanjakan 2, time needed around 45min.
      After sunrise, lets say 6.30 back again to cafe lava and go to Ijen. still have time right 🙂

      And for ijen, if you want to see the both the sunrise and blue fire
      Better you already arrive in “Paltuding” (hike starting point) at 12.30am (gate open at
      you may walk around 2,5 hour until reach inside Mt. Ijen crater, see blue fire, take pict and then back to the top of Mt. Ijen, walk for around 1 hour to the sunrise spot, and its done.

      Welcome to Indonesia Erika 🙂

  • Cynthia R

    I waited 2 nights and 2 days up on the Crater rim to see BROMO! BE AWARE IT ISN’T ALWAYS VISIBLE. IT WAS SO WORTH THE WAIT! ONCE IN A LIFETIME!

    • Naviga Bromo Indonesia

      yes, indeed Cynthia, sometimes bromo isn’t always visible during the sunrise
      Please have a good information, related to weather.

  • Cynthia R

    I would spend a few extra bucks and stay RIGHT ON THE RIM!

    There is one motel on the rim that’s reasonably priced (at least it was when I was there a few years ago)

    • Marijs

      On the rim of Mount Bromo? That must have been a different volcano but I would love to know which one!

  • Rachel

    We are planning on travelling from Yogyakarta to Mt Bromo, before heading onwards to Bali.
    How did you buy your train tickets? Can you purchase them online or can you buy them on the day at the station?
    Also, is there a park fee? If so, do you have to pay for 2 days, if you climb to the summit on the day of arrival and then do the sunrise trek the following morning?

    • Marijs

      Hey Rachel, I bought my tickets in the train station. I have heard you are able to buy them online but the train station is the easiest way. Just go as soon as you know when you’re traveling!

      As for the park fee, there is a park fee included if I remember correctly but we negotiated that within the price for our trip. We planned to see Bromo the evening before and then looked at it from a distance the next morning. The weather was horrible though and we had to climb up twice 🙂 Have fun and let me know how you go!

      • Ngoc Hoang Bao Cap

        Hi Rachel, your cmt was 5 months ago already so I dont know if mine can be helpful or not, maybe for others :D. Im going to in Indonesian the same route and was suggested to buy tickets online as it can be cheaper ( the ticket price itself are different depending on departure time, I guess) and yeah it can get a bit full. All of my Indonesian friends use Traveloka app to book hotel and tickets since they say it s most popular and easiest way. So in case u want to book train tickets in advance, try it out.
        Hey Marijs, thank you for your guide. I am planning for my trip and actually have a local friend in Bromo but confusing how to go from Bromo to Ijen then Bali. This save my trip!! Can u suggest some destinations that I must see in Bali? Can wait for your reply. Hello from Vietnam

  • Pingback: A Different Kind Of Blue | ducksoftheworld()

  • Denise Yip Su Ling


    Happened to chance upon your website, was wondering if you have the driver’s contact? Hope to hear from you soon.


    • Marijs

      Hey Denise, Sorry I don’t. Good luck!

  • Gerrit

    Hey Marijs,

    Thanks for the tips, I used them recently when visiting Bromo and Ijen. And welcome to Belgium 🙂

    An extra tip for male travellers visiting Ijen: shave!
    No matter how good you think you look with a beard or if you think a little facial hair is a mandatory part of your backpacker look, shave it all off. You’ll get a half-face chemical mask at the starting point, and (since air follows the path of least resistance) those masks will only work if they can form a closed seal on your skin.
    If you don’t, you might start to regret it when you are descending into the crater and the sulphur fumes become really strong (smells lke rotten eggs). You’re definitely going to regret it a few minutes later when you feel the fumes burning your lungs. And when you get right up to the pipes for that cool picture and you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a cloud of volcanic gas, it will hurt like hell. Believe me, I found out the hard way 🙂

    • Marijs

      Hey Gerrit, I love this comment! It’s someone I wouldn’t really think of that’s true. Other than the suffocating, did you enjoy Ijen? Greetings from New Zealand!

  • Selena Kyo

    How many days in total was it for this whole trip from Surabaya to Bali?

    • Marijs

      Hey Selena, it took my two to three days to do the while trip. I would recommend going slower if you can because I was quite exhausted! Have fun!

  • Vanesha Manuturi

    Hi Marjis,
    Thank you very much for this! I’m a beginner solo traveler and it’s quite rare to read accounts of a fellow female solo traveler. I’m hoping to go to Ijen this May and trying to avoid trips because of the steep price and the general lack of independence.

    Still, going to Ijen by how you described it still has me worried a bit. I’m Indonesian so it’s not so much the communication that I foresee to be the issue but the risks of being scammed. Were there a lot of bargaining during the trip to the mountain and with the guides? How was their general demeanor?

    Thanks again!

    • Marijs

      Hey Vanesha, so good that you are starting to travel solo! I can only recommend it!

      I have to say that there was a bit of bargaining happening while traveling the area. However, you now know what I paid and you can ask around and see what other people paid as well. As long as you know the value of what you are buying, you have all the power. If you know a taxi ride normally costs 10 dollars and they say it is 20 dollars, you just say you know how much it costs and walk away. Most likely they will stop you and take you for the normal price.

      I’d love to hear how you go! Good luck!

  • Amy Ellis

    I LOVE THIS – very helpful for a fellow female solo traveller like me! Only remark I will make is to check the activity level of Bromo at the time you plan to visit (I’m a geologist so this stuff is hard wired into my head). The volcano is currently rated a level 3 (standby/minor eruptions) which may mean you can’t enter certain areas nearby for your own safety. Stick to the marked paths and ignore anyone offering to take you to a ‘restricted area’ for a price. It is definitely worth making yourself aware of this and checking before going through with what may be a long semi-wasted journey – you can see the current activity level on I notice a lot of the organised tours are simply not mentioning this at all which I find a little worrying. Be safe and enjoy our amazing active planet!

    • Hey Amy, thanks that is such good advice! When I went the volcano wasn’t too active but it’s definitely new visitors must pay attention to. Thanks for adding the link so people can find it easily!

    • Shion

      Due to recent eruption, there was a order from the govt to not bring travelers into the mining area. However if u still wanna go in, the guides will bring u…however, its “at ur own risk”.

  • Joey Tay

    Hey Marijs,

    I’m a female from Singapore and will be travelling solo to Mount bromo and Ijen Crater in May! However, i will be arriving Surubaya Airport only at night. Do you recommend to take public transport if its still available to Probolingo and then to Cemoro Lawang and start my journey to mt penajakan and bromo or should i hire a driver to bring me there?


    • Shion

      From Singapore too, gonna travel there this thurs by following this guide but starting at night too…will tell u more about it when Im back if u r interested 🙂
      If there are fellow travelers this period doing the same and would like to share the expenses up do feel free to contact me too 🙂

      • HansWong

        Hello i’m from Singapore too. Will be travelling to Surabaya mid June. Would love to hear about your experiennce getting around Mt Bromo and Ijen if you don’t mind sharing 🙂

        • Shion

          Im back! Of coz I dun mind^^
          Firstly, thanks to Marijs for this guide which provided most of the info I needed to know before going over 🙂
          Mr Ganda is a fantastic man ^^ I second it!
          I took the night route that Joey requested to know more about…If you do not have a transport, you are pretty much leaving it to fate upon reaching Probolinggo as the public transport stops around 6pm…I managed to make it up the mountain via some godsend luck and I do not recommend anyone to try unless u r feeling real adventurous.
          My tour is not fully backpacking style, I made certain arrangements beforehand, Therefore my expenditure is up to 2M rupiah, still much cheaper than tour agencies but slightly more expensive than Marijs as I did not managed to share journey with anyone ahaha…
          One more advice, avoid long weekend holidays, my journey was the weekend before May 1st labour day and Bromo was cramped full of people and vehicles.
          Anyone who wish to know more, feel free to contact me or leave me your line id, I will share more info with u 🙂

  • Margaret Kesavan

    Much obliged to your blog. Safe Travels

  • Ozi

    I’m from Jakarta. Would be nice to help you bout information regarding Ijen, Bromo and some awesome places in Indonesia.
    Email me at

  • Mike Cannone

    Hi Marijs
    Very helpful blog! Great work!
    Just a quick question, how long did those train journeys take? I can only seem to find info on their departures not their durations.
    Thanks a lot!


    • Shion

      try, it tells you wat time u shld expect to reach.
      Generally, from Surabaya Gubeng(SGU) to Probolinggo (PB) takes about 1.5hrs – 2hrs+ and SGU to Karangasem(KNE) takes about 6hrs+, that’s the timing required for Business or Executive Class without factoring train delays.
      The Economy class will pass through more stations so unless u absolute has to go for it due to timing like me, avoid it if possible.

  • Cezar

    Hey, just to let you know your affiliate link to booking is set to Dutch 😉 you may want to change it to English so you attract more bookings through your link. We’re going to Ijen tomorrow, yay!
    All the best!

  • Xavier Saura Pla

    Hello Marijs. Your blog is very helpful because I am a solo traveller as well and would like to do Bromo and Ijen exactly like you did. The public information online it is not easy to find so I would really appreciate if you told me the timing and schedule you followed during your trip. Thank you in advance! Greetings, Xavier.

    • Hey Xavier, I just went up to the local train station as they have the tables there. Unfortunately it was indeed very difficult to find out the times online. As you’ll be there anyway, might as well walk past the train station the day before you want to travel. Good luck and have fun!

      • Xavier Saura Pla

        Thank you Marijs! All the best for you and keep on travelling 🙂

  • Chel Low

    Hello Marijis, thanks for the information. Stupid question: is it safe for solo female traveler? Anything to look out for? I am supposed to travel with my partner end of the mth but now it’s only me going for the trip! Thanks in advance! Chelsea

    • Hey Chel, I didn’t feel unsafe at all. Of course, as in any travel situation, I would always use my common sense when trusting people but apart from maybe paying too much for a ride up the mountain I would say not to worry too much.

  • Pingback: The next moves | peopleof52a()

  • Chua Jo Ann

    Hi Marjis,

    Your blog has been very helpful! Just a further question: How long is the ferry ride and cost to Bali? and at which area in Bali di you stop (e.g Kuta beach area or other areas?)


    • Hey! The ride on the ferry is super short, only about half an hour. Very easy. You don’t arrive on the side of Kuta but on the side that is adjacent to Java. A good tip would be to not arrive too late in the evening as you need to be able to catch a bus to your location. A taxi ride to your hotel can be expensive!

  • Swati Chakrabarti

    Hi Marjis,
    Thanks a lot for a detailed description… will certainly come handy for travellers like me. Absolutely love the pictures…. totally inspired to take this trip though i have a fear of heights. :). Did read the other blog likn that you had provided for Mt Bromo but yours is more comprehensive, I feel. Keep writing and keep travelling.

    • Marijs

      Thank you so much Swati! You’ll do just fine, have a great trip.

    • Thanks Swati!! I hope you overcome your fears one day and do it, it’s worth it!

  • Great post! It’s so hard to find something about organizing your own way to those volcanoes, so it’s really helpful.
    I have a few questions, if you could help me with them:
    -how long did the actual trek to Ijen took you?
    – What is the King Kong hill that you saw the sunrise over Bromo from – you said it’s not the main spot for watching the sunrise, but is it very much different from the other one? Is the first picture taken from there?
    – do you think it’s possible to do Ijen coming from Bali in the afternoon the previous day, get to the Ijen base and do it for the sunrise, then go to Probolingoo straight after, go to Bromo, climb the volcano in the evening and then wake up for the sunrise at the hill? Isn’t it too much trying to squeeze it? Or we need one more day if we want to do both volcanoes? We will be going to Malang from Probolinggo to catch the flight to Jakarta, or from Surabaya if it’s easier (as I couldn’t find many trains to Malang)

    • Hey Aga, the trek took several hours. I think we started hiking at 2.30am. It is a while ago so I’m not 100% sure anymore. But definitely take your time, it is not the easiest of hikes.

      The reason King Kong Hill is so different is the amount of people there. There are many viewpoints to the volcano. However, if you don’t ask around, they will just take you to the one where every single other person is (which is a lot).

      We did it all in two days, so it is possible, it’s just exhausting! Good luck!