If you want to save some money and hike Bromo by yourself, you can do it! I was searching on how to get from Surabaya to Probolinggo, or Surabaya to Bromo, or Probolinggo to Bromo and I read a lot of other blogs. Should I take the bus from Probolinggo to Bromo or should I take the train from somewhere? I finally made a plan and flew into the Surabaya airport during January and it was definitely the low tourist season. I was the only “tourist” on the plane and it landed around 12:45 pm. The teenager next to me was trying to take a selfie with me in it. I told him “No, put that away”. Once you land, walk outside the baggage claim/arrival hall and avoid at least 10 taxi drivers. You will see 1 or 2 big, white Damri buses. There is a man in a uniform outside the bus and he asked me if I was going to Probolinggo. Most people will know why you are there. I said yes and boarded the bus. I knew it was going to the Bungurasih bus terminal . I was the only tourist on the bus. There is a sticker on the windshield that says the ticket price is 25,000 R. A lady in a uniform gave me a ticket and I paid her. The bus was about full and it left for Bungurasih and arrived in 20 minutes.
Once you exit the bus, avoid the 20 taxi touts and follow everyone into the main bus terminal. If you walk towards the main bus terminal, you will see a sign that says “antar-kota”. Walk towards it, turn left, turn right, and then turn left. You’ll see a big red LED sign that says bus terminal. There will be about 15 big coach buses sitting in their stalls with a TV screen showing departure times. I stopped there because I saw between me and the buses, about 15 men shouting directions at people to board different buses. Some buses had numbers on their stalls and city destinations. But I didn’t see Probolinggo, so I tried to read the TV screens. I wanted the AC bus and not the economy bus. I didn’t see the AC bus, so I stayed in the terminal and walked down the aisle trying to read the signs above the buses. One of the many touts asked me where I was going “Bromo?” and I decided to say yes. He pointed me to a bus that had Probolinggo written above it. I asked him if it had AC and he said yes. I thanked him and walked towards it. Another man started walking with me saying “Bromo? I will take you to the bus.” I told him what bus I was going to because I didn’t want the economy bus and he took me to the same bus the first man told me about. It was in the middle, right of the row of buses. I boarded the bus around 1:45 pm, ready for all the scams and nothing crazy happened. It must be low season I thought. I was the only tourist on the bus and the bus was only 30 % full. It took about 2 hours and it cost me 20,000 R. I paid on the bus after it was traveling for 10 minutes. There is a driver and a money collector.
Once you arrive at the Bayuangga Bus Terminal at Probolinggo, make sure it really is the bus terminal. I was watching my GPS on my phone and when we arrived, there will be about 20 other big coach/tour buses. Don’t get off before hand otherwise they will scam you. My driver took everyone to the correct terminal. I read that I needed to find Toto Travel inside the terminal. I arrived around 4:00 pm and walked past and ignored the touts asking me where I was going and saw a big sign that said Toto Travel. Mr. Toto used to drive people up to Cemoro Lawang (pronounced Jemoro Lawang or Chemoro Lawang), drop them off at a guesthouse and then come back to Probolinggo. But then he opened his own travel business and it just the middle man now. Talk with him. He is honest. He told me not too many tourists were coming through this week. I was the only tourist there. He said you could wait outside the terminal for the little minibuses but a group of 4 people had just left 30 minutes ago. The minibus takes 1 hour to get to Cemoro Lawang and they charge 450,000-500,000 R. If there are 12 people seated comfortably, it’s cheaper, but if there are only 4 people, they want you to pay around 115,000 each. Toto said the motorcycle taxis will take you for 100,000 R. He showed me the driver and I said I would do that. It was almost 5 pm, raining, and I wanted to get up to the mountain. Toto also said he could book me a homestay guesthouse for 150,000 R. I read online that some people were getting 100,000 R a night, but I thought I would get there after dark and didn’t want to search around. He called Yog homestay and booked the room for me. I paid him.
After a quick dinner in the bus terminal at Depot 32 (the menu on both walls said that Nasi Goreng was 8,000 and the guy tried to charge me 10,0000. After reading about all the scams at Probolinggo, I wasn’t going to get ripped off so I put my foot down and he gave me correct change), I got on the motorcycle taxi and 1 hour later, made it to Yog. There was the less expensive rooms and the more expensive rooms. Yog consists of two houses near Cemara Indah Hotel. My house had 5 bedrooms and a shared bathroom. It was cold up there. About 15 degrees C, 59 F. No hot water. No heaters in the rooms. Just two big blankets and a pillow. I spoke with a German couple who had hiked Bromo that day and went to bed. I woke up at 4 AM because they said the sun rises a little later in the winter months. I walked up the road to the lookout point #1 and the sun rose about 5:30 AM. I had a flashlight app on my phone and didn’t have a jacket, so I took one of the blankets off the bed and wrapped it around me. It was definitely needed. Two Jeeps passed me on the way up the mountain. Part of the road was brand new. There were about 15 people at lookout point #1, and by 8 AM, most of them had left because it was pretty cloudy. I walked back down the mountain at 9 AM and passed a lot of farms.
Since Yog is next to the Cemara Indah Hotel, I decided to walk to the parking lot for a better view of Bromo. It started to rain and I saw a horse path going down towards Bromo with a sign that said “You need to buy a ticket at the ticket office”. The tickets were 217,000 R. There is a little guard shack at Cemara Indah Hotel, but there wasn’t anybody in it. I started walking and saw where all the Jeeps were meeting. I walked near them but then turned towards the Hindu temple. I didn’t see a ticket office but some people were trying to sell you flowers and horse rides. I just kept walking through the rain until I reached the steps that go up to the volcano. I declined several attempts from the other Indonesian tourists to have my picture taken with them (we’re here to see Bromo, not me!: ) ), and looked into the crater, breathed in too much sulfur, and then walked back to Yog. I booked another night with Yog, and left the next morning at 10 AM. There were 11 other tourists that had shown up and we met at the bottom of the hill and paid 40,000 R each to go back to the Probolinggo bus station. The minivan dropped us outside the bus terminal and it was up to us to go to the bus terminal, train station, or stay in town.