Travelling from Surabaya to Mount Bromo

Travelling around Indonesia is not always easy. The archipelago is gigantic, with most of its natural wonders spread evenly, so expensive flights, unsafe boat trips, and a lot of bus journeys are in order to maximise your experience. One such experience you may take (in fact, probably WILL take) in Indonesia is the journey to the ethereal Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, which is around 3 hours from the city Surabaya.

Surabaya is a pretty unremarkable Javan city
Surabaya is a pretty unremarkable Javan city

The closest airport to Mount Bromo is in Surabaya, although there is also a domestic airport in Malang, but you will be hard-pressed to find regular service there on commercial aircraft. As such, arriving in Surabaya’s Juanda International Airport is your most likely choice. I didn’t like Surabaya much; I found it pretty unremarkable and I was not too disappointed to be staying for just one night, as there doesn’t seem to be many tourist attractions there anyway. This part of Java is good for just one thing: as a base to travel to the Mighty Mount Bromo!


Unlike many other bus rides in Indonesia, the journey from Surabaya to Probolinggo is not an arduous one. It will take around 3 hours, depending on traffic and weather, and once clear of Surabaya’s smog, the Javan scenery is actually pretty nice. It shouldn’t cost any more than 50,000 Rupiah per person (each way). Because this bus journey is much shorter than others (for example, Yogyakarta to Surabaya, or Surabaya to Bali), the quality of bus may be lower than what you might expect. Don’t expect toilets or WIFI onboard! Some buses may do, but I found most do not. Not every bus will be a large bus, either. Sometimes you may find smaller minibuses to be more common on this route, and they can be hired for the journey for around 45,000 Rupiah, with almost all of them departing from Purabaya (yes, Purabaya, not Surabaya) Bus Station. It is not uncommon for the driver of these minibuses to wait until it is full before heading off. To save yourself a lot of hassle, I would recommend using Bromo Ijen Transport, who offer some very good itineraries with all transportation included (and maybe accommodation, too), so you can just rest and relax and not have to worry about a thing!


Probolinggo Bus Terminal is where you arrive from Surabaya
Probolinggo Bus Terminal is where you arrive from Surabaya

Probolinggo is the nearest main city to Mount Bromo, but a lot of accommodation is situated in the town beside the volcano, Cemoro Lawang. You need to think about where your accommodation is and by how much this will affect the price of your journey (each time, back and forth). When you reach Probolinggo, you will need to jump in a small green minibus to complete your journey to Bromo (Cemoro Lawang), as the major bus companies do not go that far, only to Probolinggo. This ride to Cemoro Lawang will take upwards of 90 minutes, and will cost in the region of 20,000-30,000 Rupiah one way.

A chance of local transport to your Bromo accommodation
A chance of local transport to your Bromo accommodation


Tour packages are an important part of any visit to the Bromo area. You can do everything independently like I did, although I was in a nice hotel nearby called Java Banana Bromo. They allowed me as part of my room rate to use hotel transport to the entrance of the park to begin the hike up the fearsome volcano. Other accommodation may not offer this (in fact, they probably won’t), so you will need to plan ahead and see if you can join an organised tour. Official guides from tour groups are actually quite useful if you want the safest and easiest way to enjoy the Bromo area, although obviously it can still be done enjoyably enough even if you are travelling solo (please note that, regardless of the number of members of your party, you cannot actually climb Mount Bromo unless you have a guide). Again, I really recommend using Bromo Ijen Tours, as I have used them without problem in the past, an they have many great reviews online.

The scenery is amazing around Mount Bromo (but be careful of toxic fumes)
The scenery is amazing around Mount Bromo (but be careful of toxic fumes)

There’s no doubt that the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park is full of otherworldly wonder, and over recent years it has became something of a backpacking phenomenon. It seems everybody wants to come here nowadays and take a look at the lunar landscape. However, this means that there is more tours and more accommodation to cater for the tastes and budgets of everyone, so we are all winners! As one final word of warning, I found the fumes at Mount Bromo very toxic, so wearing a facemask may be a good idea, especially if you have breathing problems.


22 thoughts on “Travelling from Surabaya to Mount Bromo

  1. Thanks for the Bromo Ijen Tour recommendation. I tried to ring the number of +62 821 4296 1911 to clarify a few things, but no one is picking up the phone. Perhaps anyone who recently successfully made contact with this travel agent would be appreciated to share an alternative contact number? Thanks


      1. Hi backpackerlee,

        Can you tell me the name of the Bromo Ijen tour agent that you joined for your trip? Thanks in advance


  2. How many days total was your trip? I am planning on flying in to Surabaya ether on a Thursday afternoon or Friday morning and leaving Sunday afternoon. Is that enough time to do the hike and travel?


    1. How long was my trip to Bromo? I have been a few times, but never stayed more than 2 nights. You can probably see everything in just 1 night, but make sure you wake up early for the sunrise climb.

      You could stay in Surabaya for a couple of nights, then get the bus to Bromo, and explore the park that way – but you will only get a few hours (and not sunrise).


  3. Hi, is it difficult to find a bus from Surabaya? We land at 6pm at the Surabaya Airport. Are buses still available at that time to go to Probolinggo? Are all buses companies good? Thank you for this blog post! 🙂


      1. I was trying to arrange transport direct from Surabaya but ended up going by train to Probolinggo (cheap), arranged a driver via a guesthouse with some others for 150,000 IDR each, saw the sunrise over the beautiful landscape, avoided the “Jeep Mafia” and walked down a horse trail, across the sandy landscape to the Bromo crater for free, so that was a bonus and a bit of an adventure in itself!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. i will be traveling with kids this December, would you mind sharing your itinerary with me together with hotel and driver info


          1. Hi Jenny, I was travelling pretty rough and not staying in a place ideally suited to kids – very small guesthouse with just 3 rooms (Sancaka Hostel). The driver was a friend of the owner. It seems every hotel or guesthouse there has a driver available though


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