Java – Kawah Ijen & Mount Bromo

Let’s go on a pretty damn intense ride with me.

Spontaneously I decided to go on a journey to Java. But how to get there on a low budget from Ubud? Of course, I could have done it with a tour the easy way, but I don’t like the easy way. And I don’t have to travel on a low budget, but I want to. You always have a choice and I chose to go the adventurous way by myself.

So I left my backpack at the hostel and packed my carry-on bag only with the important stuff as light as possible. Call it minimalism. I took a grab scooter first to get to the bus terminal Mengwi (shouldn’t be more than 120k from Ubud). From there I took the bus to Gilimanuk (bus ticket around 50k), the nearest place to Java. From there I took a ferry (8k) to Java. Arrived in Java I took one more grab scooter to Banyuwangi (14k). If you take the earliest bus from Mengwi to Gilimanuk, you can easily do that trip in one day and you’ll arrive early afternoon in Banyuwangi (if I remember right, the ferry to Banyuwangi was around 1pm).

On my way to Banyuwangi I already booked a hostel not far from the city, the so called Mango Tree Guest House (65-100k/night). The host was amazing and organized the sunrise tour to Kawah Ijen for the next morning for a reasonable price (250k).

The sunrise tour started at 1:30am. I already knew its gonna be a long day, but first things first. We drove around 2 hours to the bottom of Kawah Ijen and started our hike up to the crater and down to the famous blue fire spot. To be fair, it isn’t really a place where you should expect an incredible sunrise. Its more the experience to see the blue fire, the lake and the walk along the crater. We got back to the bottom around 7:30am and drove back to the the guest house. There wasn’t much time to rest. I packed all my belongings and got picked up by a smart van (booked by my host).

It was a 4-5 hours journey to Probolinggo. We got there pretty late and got lucky that we were able catch the last bus from Probolinggo to Cemoro Lawang. Thats the place where you start your Mount Bromo adventure from. I met a guy from Malaysia in the bus and we decided to book a room together for that night (another short night). We got to Cemoro Lawing around 9pm and walked around and found a place to sleep.

After 4 hours of sleep we woke up and started our adventure up to Kingkong Hill for sunrise at 3am. The sunrise was stunning and the hike up there not too bad. After seeing the sunrise we wanted to go to the crater itself. There are three ways to go there from Kingkong Hill.

Either going back the same way and then you can choose between two options (1. go the official way and pay the entrance fee or 2. try to sneak in and start your hike behind the restaurant Cemara Indah and hike along the Villagers trail to Bromo) or jump on the back of a local (pay him 50k) and drive a different route with him to the crater on a motorbike as we did. It was so much fun driving through deep sand and sliding more or less to the crater. If you are into adventure, I would highly recommend that option.

We walked around the crater and enjoyed it a lot. After around an hour we got back to Cemoro Lawang and took the next bus right away back to Probolinggo because my train back to Banyuwangi was supposed to leave at noon. After three intense days without any sleep I finally had a good night sleep.

On my fifth day I took the same route back reverse from Banyuwangi to Ubud. After another day of taking a grab scooter, a ferry, a bus and another grab scooter, I finally checked in to my hostel in Kuta. Flo was already waiting for me and it was time for our first Açaí Bowl.

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