“It is not the destination, but the journey that counts.” Robert-Louis Stevenson
This quote has never been more true for us than the day we decide to go to Mount Bromo. Bromo is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and it started releasing ashes a couple months ago. A security perimeter of 2 miles surrounds the volcano preventing us from getting too close. We are even more fascinated by it and want to see it.
Our journey starts in Malang where we take a local bus to Pasuruan. As we jump off the bus, a bemo (local mini-bus) picks us up and says it will take us to Wonokitri, where we want to spend the night. We agree on a price of 2,000 IDR and MuiMui and I are both griming, as we are happy with how easy it was. We start to get suspicious when the driver starts taking the small roads and we are the only passengers left in the bemo. Suddenly a group of ten youngsters on their motorbikes stop the bemo. They start talking with the driver and then the oldest out of the group says to us:
Guy– “Are you going to Wonokitri?”
Me – “Yes, why?”
Guy – “How much are you paying?”
Me – “2,000, what’s happening?”
Guy – “No, the driver said 200,000.”
Me – “No, he said 2,000 and everyone else paid 2,000.”
Guy– “In the city yes, but he’s taking you to Wonokitri which is not on his way so he wants 200,000.”
Me – “That’s ridiculous, tell him to take us back then.”
Guy – “He’ll take you back for 20,000.”
Me – “No, we’re not paying more than 2,000.”
We get off the bemo and are in the middle of the road. Still circled by the group of youngsters and the driver, MuiMui takes 4,000 IDR (2,000 each) and gives it to the driver. He refuses to take the money so she shoves it in his pocket and we walk away.
Now in the middle of nowhere, the youngsters want to take us to Wonokitri on their motorbikes for 50,000 each. What a scam! We start walking back and they keep following us. We don’t really feel safe with them laughing and hanging around us so we make sure we walk close to the houses. After an hour of walking and sweating, we arrive in the village where we originally planned to find transport to Wonokitri before the bemo had picked us up.
Unfortunately, there is no official transport, only large groups of men waiting on their motorcycles all day for that single tourist willing to pay their high price. We start bargaining but everybody wants 50,000 to 100,000, which is ridiculous! This little game lasts about 2 hours. As we are about to turn back, we find two older men that are playing around with their children and don’t look so dodgy. We ask them and they accept to take us for 30,000 each. One hour later, we arrive in the tiny cute village of Wonokitri where we are just in time for the beautiful sunset. We take the first homestay we find, eat, and call it an early night.
The next morning, we wake up at 4 a.m. to go see the sunrise on Mount Bromo. Being lazy, we negotiate a motorbike to take us. Before reaching the summit, we have the best view of Mount Bromo while on the motorbike. Fifteen minutes later, we arrive at the summit and the fog is preventing us from seeing anything. We order hot tea and kill some time before reaching the conclusion that the view is not going to get any better.
Arriving back at the previous viewpoint where we had a great view to find that the fog has caught up. It is impossible to see anything or take any photos. Extremely disappointed, we make our way back down to Wonokitri where we wander the small roads before trying to find transport back to the city.
A local man is supposed to pick us up and bring us to a bemo that is going to the city for only 10,000. He doesn’t show up so we decide to walk to the next village and try to catch a bemo ourselves. Thirty minutes later, a dozen of locals group around us and offer to take us to the city for 100,000. No one speaks any English other than: “Motorbike, 100,000, ok?” We say no to them and after sitting around for some time, they understand that we are not going to pay them and will wait as long as it takes for a bemo. They finally leave us alone. A local old man comes by and tells us to hurry up. He takes MuiMui’s backpack with him (I am feeling really bad as he is probably over 65) and brings us in the back alley to a pickup truck that is ready to depart. The back of the truck is full of empty gas tanks and two local old women. I join the ladies in the back with our large bags while MuiMui sits in front with the driver and another woman. We thank the old man and he seems very happy to have helped us. The truck drives us all the way to the city of Pasuruan. The driver is super nice and doesn’t ask us for any money. We give him 20,000 anyways to thank him for the ride.
We are happy there are some nice people after all when it comes to transportation. If we ever have to repeat this though, I would rather rent motorbikes to Mount Bromo.
We make it all the way to the city of Surabaya where we go straight to the train station. We choose the executive class night train to Yogyakarta, which is expensive, but so worth it as it has AC, reclining seats, electric outlets, and less people.
|What We Paid:||IDR||USD||Euro|
|– Bemo from Malang bus station to hotel||2,500/pp||0.30||0.20|
|– Deluxe double at Hotel Helios in Malang with private bath, AC, tv, clean, staff has limited English||200,000/deluxe||22.50||16.50|
|– Delicious noodles from street vendor in Malang||8,000/pp||0.90||0.70|
|– Dinner at Casablanca Cafe in Malang||11,000/pp||1.25||1|
|– Local bus from Malang to Pasuruan [1 hour]||8,000/pp||0.90||0.70|
|– Motorcycle from nearby Pasuruan to Wonokitri||30,000/pp||3.50||2.50|
|– Double room at homestay in Wonokitri||125,000/double||14||10|
|– Motorcycle From Wonokitri to Mount Bromo summit for sunrise [30 mins]||20,000/pp rt||2.30||1.70|
|– Meals in Wonokitri||10,000/pp||1||0.80|
|– Pickup truck from nearby Wonokitri to Pasuruan [1 hour]||10,000/pp||1||0.80|
|– Local bus from Pasuruan to Sarabaya [90 mins]||7,000/pp||0.80||0.60|
|– Local city bus to Gubeng Train Station In Sarabaya [40 mins]||4,000/pp||0.50||0.30|
|– Executive night train from Sarabaya to Yogyakarta [5 hours]||85,000/pp||9.50||7|