Revealing the Best of Cemoro Lawang, Indonesia

cemoro-lawang-village

Half past three on a winter morning in the village of Cemoro Lawang is as calm as one can imagine in the mountainous region. Cemoro Lawang, unarguably, exudes a peculiar sense of equanimity not for the obvious reasons – “Maybe because it’s where the fearsome Mount Bromo calls home?” makes one wonder. Like most tourists I planned my Indonesia travel around Mount Bromo but little did I consider the wealth of things to do in Cemoro Lawang itself. The village had much more surprises than I imagined.

Through this article, I wish to give you a few pointers based on how we tweaked our time in Cemoro Lawang without spending much.

Staying at Lake View Hotel

Perched slightly higher in the mountains, Lake view hotel has some breathtaking views of Mount Bromo, Mount Semeru and Mount Batok. Grab a free cup of tea from the reception and sit outdoors on the wooden bench facing Mount Bromo.

Mount Bromo_java homes

Watch the smoke spewing from the active volcano, as the sun begins to settle in below the horizon. Keep your cameras ready as the sky treats you with a myriad of shades ranging in pinks and purples.

It’s one of the best sunsets I have seen.

Cemoro Lawang_Mount Bromo

Mount Bromo Sunset View from Lava View Hotel

Though I constantly encourage homestays, staying in a decent hotel near Mount Bromo is highly recommended. Accompanied by our Swiss friends Heinz and Afra, we spent a few hours checking out a few homestays in Cemoro Lawang. Most rooms are not clean and isn’t ideal for those who fancy a decent place to stay. Many tourists also choose to stay at the Café Lava Hostel for its cheap prices as the hotel rates can be well above your budget.

Talking to the Locals

Cemoro lawang_indonesia

It’s the Tengger tribe that inhabits Java. The Tenggerese are the only Hindu communities in the island. So it’s safe to say that unlike other cities like Probolinggo, the folks in Cemoro Lawang are more than happy to stop by for a chat.

Cemoro lawang_main road

You don’t have to stay in a homestay to mingle with the locals. Talk to your hotel staff, your bus drivers, the guy who sells Bakso or even the one who chases you around to buy jackets, scarves and gloves – ask them questions as the village is only going to make you more curious.

 Touring Mount Bromo

mount bromo_ sunrise_

If trekking is not your thing, consider hiring a tour like a 4×4 jeep with a driver to catch the morning sunrise at Mount Bromo. The tour begins at 3 am, but you can choose to go around 8 am if you prefer fewer crowds. The tour will take you first to Mount Penanjakan from where you see the sunrise after which you’ll be driven to the base of Bromo from where you’ll be taken on a pony to the rim of the caldera.

Riding to Mount Penanjakan in a Scooter

An independent ride through the village seemed like the apt thing to do in Cemoro Lawang. The village ride is safe, however be extra careful about the ride to Mount Penanjakan, as the roads can get bumpy and slippery because of the presence of volcanic sand. Since there were steep turns ahead, we chose to ride up to a viewpoint just below the mountain top.

Cemoro lawang_images

After an unforgettable riding experience in Ladakh, the mountains are always calling us for a little adventure. We haven’t heard of any tourists riding to Mount Penanjakan in a scooter but it was just an impetuous plan to explore the mountainous beauty in a more personal way. We rented a scooter (for an affordable fee) from a person staying just a few kilometers from Lava View Hotel.

Mount Bromo from mt penanjakan

Exploring Areas In and Around Cemoro Lawang

On the way to Cemoro Lawang, stop by Sukapura for a view of the Madakaripura waterfalls. Though you can do the river crossing by yourself, it’s recommended to hire a guide to help you with trails.

Cemoro Lawang village_mount bromo

Professional climbers who hike Mount Semeru begin their trek from the village of Ranupani. They also visit the two misty lakes – Lake Ranupani and Ranu Regel as side trips. Unfortunately, we couldn’t fit this into our itinerary since it was a last-minute tip mentioned by the locals in Cemoro Lawang.

Sampling Local Food at Café Lava

With so many warungs, finding a decent place to eat is not difficult. Café Lava make a great late evening dine in as you will not only have the option to make friends in the desolated village but also sample some local as well as international cuisines. The small charming café is a part of the Café Lava Hostel where most backpackers stay in for nights together.

Cemoro Lawang village_java homes

Getting to Bali from Cemoro Lawang

If you’re headed to Bali from Cemoro Lawang – you can easily do it on a budget. This will also save you from spending those extra bucks for flight tickets. Head back to Probolinggo, but if your train from Probolinggo to Banyuwangi is late at night, hire a private car instead of waiting for a public transport. If you reach Probolinggo early, grab a coffee or French fries at a café close to the station.

Ferry from Cemoro Lawang

Ferry to Gilimanuk

Ferry Cemoro Lawang

The comfortable train journey to Banyuwangi is about four hours. From Banyuwangi, take a ferry to Gilimanuk dock from where you can take a bus heading to Denpasar. Though the whole journey could be tiring, it’s an experience by itself. You might even get to see gorgeous sunrise views like the pictures above.

Read: Renting a Scooter and how you can explore Bali in a Scooter

Read: Learning the Culture of Bali

Specifics

There is no harm in signing up with a tour if you’d like to make your travels simple and quick. With or without tour, we took our own sweet time to revel in the beauty of Mount Bromo.

The closest airport to Cemoro Lawang is Surabaya Airport, take a public bus from outside the airport to Probolinggo, and later hop onto a van heading to Cemoro Lawang. Probolinggo may not be a city as great as you expect, but don’t foresee the rest of your trip based on what you see.

Carry winter clothes as it can get cold at nights and early mornings. You can even rent winter clothes from the hawkers.

 For your own safety, consider making morning trips to Probolinggo, if you’re taking the pubic transport.

•If you decide to ride to Mount Penanjakan in a scooter, ask around for tips and road conditions.

Have you been to Cemoro Lawang and did anything different from what I did? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Related Posts:

  Visiting Mount Bromo? Read about the experience  

Want to explore Bali in your own terms? Rent a scooter and ride all of Bali

First time to Bali? Read my blog on the Balinese culture

14 Comments

  1. So that’s what the views should look like. I rode a motorcycle across the Sea of Sands solo in December (rainy season) and didn’t realize I was next to Mt Bromo because all I could see was white cloud and black sand. It was scary because there was thunder and rain starting to fall and I had no way of knowing where I was going. It was a bit stupid but such an adventure. I can’t wait to go back in August to see the views in your pics. Thanks for the tips too.

  2. Oh and I can recommend Rummah Kita in Lumajang if you are looking for a friendly relaxed and off the beaten track place to unwind after a Bromo adventure. Abdul is a cool guy. I stayed two nights just because I didn’t want to stop chatting with him

  3. Pingback: A Rendezvous with an Active Volcano: Mount Bromo | The Satori Saga

  4. Hi, I love the way you went with Cemoro Lawang and Mt Bromo… I’m planning a trip like this in coming Aug. May I have your advice on a few things?
    You stayed at Lava View Hotel, right? Would you recommend Lava View Hotel or Lava Cafe Hostel for couple?
    Is both of the hotel/hostel offering jeep tour to Mt Bromo?
    Do we need to pre-book the jeep tour?
    What is the cost for that?

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