Located in East Java, Indonesia, Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park comprises the six-plus mile wide Tengger Caldera, which dates back to around 820,000 years ago and features five overlapping strato-volcanoes including Mt Semeru, Java’s highest peak (12,060 feet), and the most popular Mt Bromo crater.

The area is inhabited by the Tenggerese, who are the only remaining Hindus on the island of Java. For many visitors, the looks of the bronzed, angular, mustachioed men wrapped in poncho-style blankets and riding their ponies in front of rough mountain scenery actually resemble Peru more than Indonesia.

By far the best-liked activity in the national park is a hike to the still smoldering Mt Bromo, which is placed in the otherworldly moonscape of a caldera named the Sand Sea. From the village of Cemero Lawang, it is a rather undemanding one-hour walk to the Hindu village at the foot of the crater from where you climb a steep flight of 250 steps to reach the top of the volcano. From the edge, you can take in the spectacular sunrise and cautiously peek into the smoky crater.

Ascending Mt Semeru is definitely a more intricate and hazardous venture due to sulfurous fumes and the danger of an eruption, and is only achievable during the dry season between April and September. For a different angle of the sun rising over Mt Bromo and Mt Semeru, you can climb Mt Penenjikan, where you have the option of staying at the first viewpoint, which is only a 45 to 60-minute hike. Besides, villagers offer horseback rides or jeeps to get you to the summit.

Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park is home to some endangered flora and around 200 species of endemic orchids. Furthermore, there are at least 137 species of birds such as the besra and the green peafowl, four species of protected reptiles and 22 species of mammals, including the Asiatic wild dog (dhole) and the rarely spotted leopard.

You will find a range of lodging alternatives around Mt Bromo; facilities at the Cemoro Lawang side are rather basic, whereas Sukapura and Probolinggo present some good hotels like Java Banana Bromo, Cemoro Indah and Bromo Cottages.

Getting There & Away

The nearest major airport is located in Surabaya, from where you can catch a bus that takes 3 to 4 hours to Probolinggo and an additional 1 hour, 30 minutes by minibus to the village of Cemoro Lawang. From here, it is an almost two-mile hike to the crater wall of Mt Bromo. Although the whole trip can be done in one day, most visitors choose to stay overnight to watch the sunrise.

Onward Travel