Indonesia: Surabaya

[Recent Trip] Walk Across Sand of Sea and Up to Mount Bromo

Sunday, May 15, 2016

2016 April 28th

After we spent a lot of time shooting photos and admiring these mountain views, we hopped back in the jeep and set off to Mount Bromo, which involved a walk across the sea sand, bypassing the Hindu temple, and climbing up a set of stairs to the crater opening. Mount Bromo was definitely another tourist spot.  You could tell from the number of food and drink stalls around.  It was really dusty too, mainly from the black sand and dirt that was kicked up by the horses and jeeps surrounding us.

 Caldera of Mount Bromo, Here I come, I conquer!

In order to reach the sea sand before climbing up to the caldera of Mount Bromo, we had to do a bit off roading in which beginning with a very steep descent road.  In the dark it was quite an experience where the road down to the flat sand was very steep with many dips and rocks. We stopped for photos in the sand of sea at around 7am morning. It was much warmer now that the sun had risen, but the sand was flying everywhere.  

Sand of Sea contains many dips and rocks that give obstacles to vehicle tough to move on. 

What’s a wonderful and breathtaking this rocky mountain in this middle of the sea sand!

Another mountain has grown with different type of fascinating tropical forest trees and shrubs. 

You should not miss to take a selfie pose here in this flat sea sand. 

 The beautiful, glowing sun rises slowly over me, bringing a gleaming light to this beautiful sand of sea where I jumped up high in the foot of Mount Bromo.

To get to Mount Bromo, you have to walk through the sea sand. Basically, it is just a patch of sand and you have to walk about 1 hour to the base of Mount Bromo itself walk up the slope staircase. Apparently, you could either take a horse ride or walk. When our jeep was nearly reaching the base camp area, you could see few of horse owners following your vehicle behind. They want to approach customers to take their horse riding towards the staircase base.

Horse owners were riding their own horse following your vehicle to get customers for their daily earning.

In this base camp of sea sand, there were few stalls where you could easily have a drink here to get rid of your thirsty under hot sun.

Standard rates for horse ride would be about IDR 50,000 per one way. Once the horse owners bring you to the base of the stairs, they will ask you if you want to go back down on the horse, if yes, they will wait for you, if not, they will head back to the jeeps parking area and try to get new customers. After many hours of travelling by car, we guessed we would rather do a bit of working out. 

After rejecting all the horse ride offers, we took a slow walk towards the foot of the mountain. The sun was coming up and it was a beautiful morning. At the beginning of starting point, the walk across the dusty plains was mostly flat and we passed by the mystery of Hindu Temple.

For the Bromo Tenggar tribe, they believe Mount Bromo is to be a sacred mountain and every year they held a praying ceremony at this Hindu Temple located at the foot of Mount Bromo from midnight to early morning during the full moon days according to the Javanese calendar.

Along the walking journey to the base of staircase, I had to wear the face mask to prevent flying dusty dirt went into my nose and mouth.

I was not sure if it was the air, the sand or simply the lack of exercise recently that I was actually panting when I made my way up.  The initial stretch was tiring.  It was pretty steep and walking up the loose sand was definitely not as easy as I thought it would be. Additionally, the temperature was getting pretty hot by now even though it was only about 7.30 am.  

The amazing view of Sea Sand from this slope where leading up to the Mount Bromo crater. 

I took photography and was standing behind this small sand hill when it was forming a million years ago in this Mount Bromo throughout chemical weathering process.

When I reached the entrance of the built staircase up to the crater rim, there was quite touristy as there were ton of tourists and the locals actually gathered here for a rest. At this bottom of staircase, there were plenty of tents and the locals selling coffee, tea, pop mee and even the really awesome instant noodle (IndoMie Goreng) costs at IDR 10,000. Besides, there were locals selling bouquets of flowers as offerings to the “Volcano Gods” in which costs for IDR 40,000 each. 

In ancient age, horse has been a very good friend of human in which used for transportation to carry foods, clothes, medicines and other goods so far. Peoples those who are living in this horse camp base were using horse to travel from place to place. They were waiting for their customers too in this entrance area.

This Mount Bromo crater entrance path showing the flights of stair cases about 250 steps to challenge.


The way to the crater top includes a 250 steps of staircase that was pretty worn out and crowded. To build up my confidence level walked up to the crater, I was considering it was pretty easy and imagine that it was just a flight of stairs about 8 to 10 storeys high. There would be a human traffic so the climb although tedious and slippery from the sand floor along the staircase. It was tiring and I could only push myself to move along where I blocked the way of any other people behind.  I was glad to finally make it up to the crater to get top of the world feeling. 

Selfie on the midway climbed up to Mount Bromo Crater.

The path of the crater is narrow and rocky, you really have to watch your step or you'll either roll down the hill. This was a live volcano and I could feel the heat emitting from within the crater mouth. The constant thick smoke was another tell-tale sign.  There had been times when it was so active that the place had to be closed down.  It was all smoking hot, dry and dusty on this mountain. The smoke and fumes were supposedly toxic and that explained why most people were wearing masks as they made their way up.  It didn’t really bother me much though.

Mount Bromo is still an active volcano and you can see smoke rising from the depths of the crater. The culture of the East Javanese people forbids them to speak anything ill of the volcano and natural disasters. So when you are there, please do not say something like “Mount Bromo might erupt”.

This scenery was really looks as good as those seen from travel magazines, but I did take note of the sulphur fumes direction.


After I took multiple shooting of magnificent photos, we walked back down the stairs. I walked down from the crater on the sand and I continue to walk further along as the steps down can be crowded. At this crowded base, there were many horse owners waiting here to get business from customers and the price of a horse can be negotiable. The horse here will bring you right back to your jeep parking place. 

My couch surfing friend had negotiated a bargain price of horse ride at IDR 90,000 and being lazy of me, I opted for the horse ride to bring me across instead, down the steep slope with holes and valleys in which I may not have made it if I travelled on foot. I climbed onto our horse for the 10 minutes ride to the jeep parking lot. 

Horse base camp at the entrance of Mount Bromo crater!

It was my first experience to ride the horse on the way back to our jeep parking lot.  

Sand of sea located at the bottom land of Mount Bromo is a protected nature reserve which possible to walk to the volcano crater in 40 minutes.

Ride across the sand of sea!

Our jeep parking lots!

On our return later in the day we were to see people attempt it on other little bikes.  I have no idea how, or if, they made it as we even had to tow a little truck that had got stuck in the sand. We saw a number of bikes were getting stuck with passengers walking. At the end of the day, I had a fantastic day to explore this Mount Bromo crater and I thoroughly recommend the experience to anyone of you who is keen to travel to this place in future.

Please continue to read my next travel blog and check out my shared experience on the Explorationto Whispering Sands and Savanna Field.

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