After visiting Mount Bromo for sunrise I completely understand why it’s become a popular travel destination in Indonesia, especially for photographers. There’s a lot to see in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park that you may not be expecting. I will be telling you about the best spots to take photos at Mount Bromo as well as answering some questions that I personally had before visiting. Think of this as a Photography Guide to Mount Bromo.

What time of day should I visit Mount Bromo?

Sunrise is the best time to experience Mount Bromo. You will need to book a tour ahead of time and make sure you set an alarm. Photographers, tourists and thrill seekers alike gather at 3am in the morning, jostling into 4wds to get to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. As we set off into the night I realise quickly that we are not alone on this trip – there are maybe a hundred other 4wds heading up the mountain too. That brings me to an important piece of advice – try and go on a weekday to avoid the crowds!

This is the first glimpse we got of Mount Bromo!

What time of year should I visit Mount Bromo?

It’s best to visit in the dry season (April to October) because there’s a higher chance that you will have good weather. We visited in the wet season (November to March), so there was some annoying cloud cover at times that blocked the volcanoes from view. Thankfully we were lucky enough to still see Mount Bromo! I would have been very disappointed if we made all the effort to get up for sunrise without seeing Mt bromo. When booking, check the weather forecasts to avoid disappointment.

What Gear Should I Bring to Mount Bromo?

It will be colder than what you’re used to in Indonesia. I grew up in Switzerland and love the winter so I was completely fine with the temperature (15 degrees Celsius, 59 Fahrenheit). While I say that, there were some people in our group who were absolutely shivering in the cold since they weren’t used to it. Do bring a jacket and/or raincoat, and long pants. If you do happen to get cold upon arriving, the locals sell gloves, beanies and other warm accessories for very cheap prices.

In terms of photography gear, you will benefit from a standard zoom lens as well as a telephoto if it’s a clear day. Bring your usual photography and video gear, or at least a phone to take photos on! Remember, the best camera is the one that you have with you!

Can I Fly a Drone in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park?

Yes, you can fly drones here. A drone is one of the best ways to see the many angles of Mount Bromo without having to move! You will be able to get many angles that aren’t possible with hiking. Just make sure that you are flying safely and know where your drone is at all times. There are dangerous gasses emitted from the active Mount Bromo which could damage a drone if you get too close. Avoid this and you should be fine however. Thankfully there is not much network interference here as it’s away from the city. Thank you to Rod, Luke and Tat for the drone footage in this blogpost.

Is Mount Bromo Safe? Should I be scared of the Volcano?

Since Mount Bromo is an active volcanic area you do need to check if it’s safe before you visit. The governmnet sometimes issues warnings and shuts down parts of the national park. They monitor it constantly so 99.9% of the time there is no risk. The last eruption was in 2015 however it was not that dangerous. The park was shut down well before anything bad could happen. In 2011 there were continuous eruptions of volcanic ash for a few weeks, shutting down nearby communities and cancelling flights affected by the ash clouds. Please remember that there are over 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia and eruptions rarely happen, so don’t let fear stop you from visiting Mount Bromo. It’s a once in the lifetime experience and it was one of my main reasons for visiting Indonesia.

The Best Lookouts to Take Photos of Mount Bromo At Sunrise

As part of our 4wd tour we visited a few viewpoints in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. It’s important you get a good spot for sunrise so please make sure you read through the options! Here are the best spots that I’ve compiled in the area.

1. Penanjakan 1 Bromo

Penanjakan 1 Bromo is the best spot to see Mount Bromo at sunrise, with number 1 being aptly in the name of the lookout. It is the highest of a few lookouts that are all on the same road. Try and find a good spot before the sun starts to rise – you will want to be close to the fence so there aren’t people in the way. We actually found a spot towards the end of the fence where we could climb partly down the hill, where there were no people. Photographers sometimes need quiet to work!

2. King Kong Hill

Further down the road from Penanjakan 1 Bromo is the well-named ‘King Kong Hill’. This place is full on jurrassic vibes. You may prefer King Kong Hill because there are less fences and there is more nature. This will help your photography be framing the shot with plants.

3. Seruni Sunrise Viewpoint

This spot is slightly south of Penanjakan 1 Bromo but still offers a great view. If you are at King Kong Hill there is a track that leads to Seruni Sunrise Viewpoint. The advantage of Seruni is that it is closer to the volcanoes so you may get a better view if there are many clouds.

4. Bukit Cinta View Point

This lookout is not as good as the others during the day, however it’s still worth stopping by. Since this spot faces the rising sun, depending on the weather this could actually have the best colours at sunrise.

5. Tengger Caldera and Tagga Kawah Bromo

These two lookouts are actually on the edge of the active volcano. I prefer getting the variety of peaks in the photo so I didn’t personally go here, but if you want something different it could be worth visiting. You will need more time to get here and it takes more effort since you will need to climb quite a few steps.

Photography Spots in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park that you shouldn’t miss!

After sunrise there are some more photography spots to enjoy Mount Bromo. You can explore the flat lava fields along the base of the volcano, or the sand dunes to the west. If you want to see the volcanic activity up close you can even climb Mt Bromo itself (depending on volcanic activity the government may block off some paths for safety).

Lautan Pasir Bromo

Lautan Pasir Bromo is on the lava flats next to the volcano. Here you can take adventure photos with the 4wds, or with motorbikes. Make sure to ask your driver nicely to drive the car to a specific angle if you want a good photo. Also – ask if you can climb on the roof before you try it, since not all the cars had strong enough roofs for people to sit on them.

Tengger Caldera and Tagga Kawah Bromo

These lookouts are both on the edge of the active volcano. If you are adventurous and fit do go here! Here’s a photo from the drone of people climbing the track up.

Teletubbies Hill

The Teletubbies Hill is named after the grassy rolling hills found in the Teletubbies tv show. I was surprised at the name at first but it makes sense. Make sure to bring something colourful so you will stand out in the field. You can also pay to ride horses here and take photos with them.

Whispering Sand Dunes

The sand dunes in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park are quite interesting because of their dark silver texture. If you have time you may be able to get some nice portraits here, as it looks like an otherworldly landscape. It could be on the moon! We did not have time to visit but we drove past and it looked cool.

Food and Accomodation

There are quite a few food stalls around the lookouts in the morning so you can have a cheap and hot breakfast. I had noodle soup and some tea, a great way to start the morning. We stayed at the Jiwa Jawa Resort, which had good food and a relaxing atmosphere to unwind after the sunrise tour. For more accommodation options in the area click here.

How to Book a Tour to Mount Bromo

The best way to book a tour to Mount Bromo is through local operators, since the tours online are quite overpriced to be honest. Your accommodation will be able to help you in either Surabaya or Probolinggo. Jiwa Jawa had staff on hand to help with this type of planning. If you know how to ride motorcycles it’s also possible to rent one in the town and go there yourself (entrance fee applies). Otherwise, click here for online bookings.

All the Locations on Google Maps

Since I want to make it as easy as possible for you guys to have the information you need, I’ve put together a google map of all the locations I mentioned in the blogpost.

Huge thanks to the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Airasia Indonesia for sponsoring my travels to Yogyakarta!