Unearthly Mount Bromo and Tengger Caldera

Asia, Indonesia

Colorful Jeeps at Lautan Pasir (Sea of Sand)

You might have seen volcanoes in many countries. You might also have reached the craters of some of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. But nothing compares to Tengger Caldera which was created by a massive eruption of an ancient giant volcano. What the eruption left is a large caldera with a vast Lautan Pasir (Sea of Sand) and some smaller volcanoes in it. However, some of the lesser volcanoes had already become extinct. Only one remains: the unpredictable Mount Bromo.

Trails of Horses, Motorcycles, Jeeps and Shoes on Lautan Pasir

Mount Batok, An Extinct Volcano Right In Front of Mount Bromo

It took us about half an hour to go on a jeep from Mount Penanjakan to Lautan Pasir. It was quite magical to witness the lush pine forests suddenly turn into an endless sea of sand. Passing through it to get to Mount Bromo was somewhat eerily beautiful. After a few minutes, the jeep finally stopped just outside fences (which look more like series of small concrete stacks burried in the sand) which serve as the perimeter of Poten temple. Yes, even in this unlikely inhabited environment, a Hindu temple stands austerely right on the slope of Mount Bromo.

Poten Temple

Other Side of Poten Temple

So I got off the jeep, prepared my camera and then I looked behind me, and I was awed. I was standing there, on a sea of sand, and behind me there lies a great natural wall of the caldera’s inner side guarding the entire massif while clouds rolling over it. Such a surreal view.

The Wall of Tengger Caldera

Still overwhelmed by the breathtaking view, then I started walking towards Mount Bromo. Local people offered horseback ride to the top of the volcano, which I politely refused. However, walking to the temple felt longer than I previously thought and right after it the path started getting seriously tougher to hike, or maybe it’s because I don’t work out as much as I am supposed to.

A Seemingly Easy Path to Climb

Now the hardest part of the hike. As some of you might know that in March 2011 Mount Bromo erupted for weeks and it left a considerable amount of volcanic materials, including sand and ash. Because of that, the path which leads to the peak is now covered in a much thicker material. Walking on it is truly a big challenge because everytime I stepped on it, my shoes went a few centimeters in the sand-ash mixture. That makes what should have been a normal hike a rather challenging one.

The Terrain on The Slope of Mount Bromo

A Horseback Ride

Half-Way Up

When I walked, horses kept passing me by and the passengers on the horseback all look very happy. That was the time when temptation came to me. Ride the horse, ride the horse not. However I constantly reassured myself that I can do it on foot. After a few halts here and there to catch some breaths, I finally made it to a wide opening on which all horses stopped and all passengers must continue the hike on foot because from this point on there is no other way to go to the peak except climbing the steep stairs which some are still covered in thick ash. So I climbed the stairs, catched more breaths along the way, and finally I found myself standing on the edge of Mount Bromo’s crater. Believe me, the view is worth all the efforts! I got a very rewarding 360-degree view of the entire crater and the whole massif.

Almost There

From the steep crater, occasionally comes out white smoke as a reminder that this is an active volcano. However I was extra careful up there because there’s nothing on my right and left side other than open air and steep and slippery sand which leads directly to the crater.  Nevertheless, I saw people’s faces showing a great sense of relief after the hike. Sitting on the peak while enjoying the unearthly scenery that is laid before me is truly the highlight of my current trip.

People Staring Into The Crater

The Crater with White Smoke Puffing Out of It

The View is Very Rewarding

A Large Crack in Which Water Flowed During The Eruption

An Unearthly Scenery

Flowers Which Are Sold by Local People

After this experience, it came to my mind to go to more beautiful volcanoes out there to be awed again and again. I don’t know, we’ll see.

Related Posts: Cemoro Lawang: A Village in The Clouds, Catching Sunrise at Mount Penanjakan

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Based in Jakarta, always curious about the world, always fascinated by ancient temples, easily pleased by food.

25 thoughts on “Unearthly Mount Bromo and Tengger Caldera”

  1. Pingback: Cemoro Lawang: A Village in The Clouds « What an Amazing World!

  2. Pingback: Catching Sunrise at Mount Penanjakan « What an Amazing World!

  3. Love the fun shot with the Jeeps. And what an amazing experience. I’m also amazed that you find time to blog and post like this! I can’t even imagine attempting to blog while on this kind of a trip. Keep it coming


    • Hahaha I actually wrote the post after I returned to Jakarta. My rituals for a trip usually go like this: think of a destination, check flight fare, book the flight, book a hostel/hotel, waiting, still waiting, get excited when the time is coming, go!, return home, write some posts, select photos, upload them to this blog, and voilà!


      • I love it! Hahaha. Your trip rituals sound hardcore! The only part about the plan that sucks is the amount of waiting we sometimes have to do before we can finally board the plane!


      • Yes, waiting sometimes can be frustrating! (especially when task is piling up at office!)


    • Hey Sony! I also felt the same! You saw Frodo? Hmmm, at least I didn’t see any goblin. 🙂
      According to Wikipedia, the altitude is 2,329 m. Definitely not the highest mountain, but there’s something quite magical about this place which keeps people coming to witness it themselves.
      Btw, I like your post about the reasons why you love mountain climbing, and I can relate to most of them. Speaking about stamina, that played an important part in my decision for not taking the horseback ride. I really wanted to test myself because I know that I can do it, and I did it!


    • Not really actually. It’s cold for sure, but when I did the hiking to Mount Bromo, there was a point when I started sweating.


  4. Holy cow Mount Bromo looks fantastic! I absolutely love visiting volcanoes. One of my greatest memories from my childhood is when my parents took me to Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii and I did a hike that sounds and looks similar to this.
    …I have to ask, do you know of anyone accidentally tripping and tumbling into that thing? Seems like it wouldn’t be very hard to do.

    Thanks for continuing to follow my blog, Bama. I truly appreciate it.


    • Fortunately there’s no reported case on anyone tumbling into the crater (otherwise a safer fence should be mounted there).
      This is one of the places to go if you’re in Indonesia. Not the highest volcano ever, but the view is breathtaking and worth your time.
      Keep traveling, Nate! One day hopefully I’ll follow some of your paths (especially to Iceland and Peru).


    • Hi Amer! Thanks. Yes, definitely you have to visit Indonesia again, and again (and again). Even Bali itself has so many things to offer.


  5. Your pictures are really awesome Bama, really.

    I wish one day I could go to Indonesia and see these places by myself…who knows 🙂
    If I go, I will let you know!

    Merry Christmas mate


    • Wow, thanks for the compliment, Javi! The same thing to you, I will let you know if one day I go to Spain (I really want to go to Barcelona!).
      Merry Christmas to you too!


  6. Kim Hiang says:

    Hi! i enjoy reading yr posts, thks! wish to hear fr you so i know wht to expect when i go there in 2weeks’ time. How long does it take to travel fr Surabaya to Mt Bromo by car? What are the places/ villages you have stopped to check along d way? Thanks again.


    • Thanks Kim! If you drive your own car probably it will take 2 hours from Surabaya to Probolinggo (the nearest city to Bromo). From Probolinggo to Cemoro Lawang (the nearest town to Bromo) should take about half and hour. I suggest you to spend your night in Cemoro Lawang because it offers a unique experience of a Hindu village with different traditions from the one in Bali. Hire a jeep to take you to the hiking point to see the sunrise. Have a great time!


  7. Pingback: Picture The World – Indonesia « What an Amazing World!

  8. Pingback: Blue Skies Over Bromo « What an Amazing World!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it Madhu! I don’t think I will ever get bored of Bromo, no matter how often I go. 🙂


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