Sunrise over Mt. Bromo Indonesia

Photos from the Road: The Temple of Borobudur at Dawn
November 8, 2012
Photos from the Road: Sri Sultan’s Palace Yogyakarta
November 20, 2012

Sunrise over Mt. Bromo Indonesia

When I was younger, I always wondered what it would be like to look inside of a volcano. Well, in Indonesia, at Mt. Bromo, I found out.

But first, I would see the sunrise illuminating Mt. Bromo.

Our journey started the night before. Our bus had to park far down the mountain side before the road became too narrow and steep. There we transferred into a series of beat-up Toyota 4x4s and raced up the winding road as if we were in Ferraris. I felt sick as we bounced and slid around the back of our jeep for 20 minutes before arriving at our hotel.

We would then rest up. The next morning our alarm went off at 3:30 am before we piled back into the jeeps and rode through the darkness a few miles further up the mountain.

people gathered to see sunrise over Mt Bromo

At the end of the road we were surprised to see plenty of other intrepid souls doing the same thing. We were all here for sunrise over Mt. Bromo and the astonishing panorama of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. The area, located in East Java was declared a national park in 1982 and is one of the highlights of any trip to Indonesia.

The viewpoint for sunrise, high above the caldera, required a 20-minute hike up where we waited a few minutes, all looking towards the east. But the real show would be in the opposite direction.

Here the sand sea and Mt. Bromo and the rest of this ancient caldera would be illuminated by the orange rays of the sun. It is a landscape comparable only to the surface of the moon. Inside this gigantic former volcano, five new volcano cones have emerged.  To the right of Bromo, in the foreground, stands Mount Batok, the only one which is no longer active.

View of Mt Batik and Mt Bromo in Indonesia.


In the background looms the massive Mount Semeru, rising to 3,676 meters, the highest mountain in Java. You can often see a puff of steam escaping out the top.

jeeps parked at Mt.Bromo

After sunrises we took the jeeps across the sand sea and hiked up Mt. Bromo. Here, some chose to ride horses up the volcano. The hike wasn’t difficult—but it was uncomfortable. Throughout the 45-minute hike, winds whipped up fine sand and minerals into our face and the corners of our eyes.

The last section is too steep for horses and must be climbed by foot. At the top is the big moment when you get to peer inside an active volcano.

the edge of Mt. Bromo, an active vocano in Indonesia

So what does it look like inside a volcano?

Well, it smells bad from all the gases, and like I said, was difficult to protect your eyes. It was steep looking down inside, and all we saw were some clouds of gas seeping out. But we were looking inside of a volcano


looking down inside Mt Bromo Volcano

Our journey to Mt. Bromo was part of the international blogger trip to Indonesia sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy.

Me on top of the caldera in front of Mt Bromo and Mt Batok.

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Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno has been traveling the world and writing about it for the better part of 20 years. His articles and essays have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, and Transitions Abroad magazine. He blogs at Bohemian Traveler and edits the independent travel magazine He most recently set up a tour company offering authentic, small group tours at Unquote Travel. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


  1. It is indeed otherworldly! I Learned that sometimes visitors are not allowed to trek to the crater due to the volcano’s activity (a friend failed to do so) and I realized how lucky we were to have done it.

  2. Helmi says:

    There is 4 place you can visit at bromo mountain : View point sunrise (Penanjakan mountain), bromo crater, sea sand and savannah. Helmi –

  3. son antix says:

    It can be certainly otherworldly! When i Learned that often readers aren’t allowed to travel for the crater due to the volcano’s pastime (a good friend failed to accomplish so) as well as When i recognized how happy most of us had been to own done it.

  4. Francis Liew says:

    I recently climbed Semeru or Mahameru, “The Great Mountain”. Compared to Rinjani, Semeru was tougher because of the steep scree before reaching the top. Semeru has nothing much to offer at the summit compared to Rinjani where the scenery was truely gorgeous from the summit.
    Borobudur in Yogyakarta was truely remarkable. It was an honor visiting such a venerated place.

  5. Walter Pinem says:

    Bromo is great and all, love to be there. You should visit some mountains around Java, especially Mount Merbabu 😀

  6. Bromo is indeed one of the great mountains to see. Everyone should go and see its beauty, and how the sun rises behind it. The feeling is just majestic!

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