The Tengger region of East Java is a place where tradition and terrain intersect to make for an amazingly unique place to spend time. Situated at altitudes of 1,500 – 2,400 m, the Tengger is a region where tropical jungle meets temperate forest, and the Bromo Tengger National Park’s volcanic caldera features a sea of sand as well as grassland plains and rolling hills.
Adding life to landscape, the local Tenggerese are some of the most welcoming people, and trace their ancestry back to Majapahit royalty. Javanese Hindu traditions are still vibrantly represented. The Tengger is both a place of excursion and retreat, making it an ideal weekend getaway.
When exploring Mount Bromo and spending time in the Tengger, Tosari village is my favorite place to stay. It is a rural retreat among the clouds at about 2,000 m. The village’s quick access to Bromo Tengger National Park makes it the perfect place to stay to experience authentic Tengger culture as well as the natural beauty of the active volcano and its surrounding areas.
The weekend I spent in Tosari and visiting Mount Bromo was so perfect for connecting with nature and appreciating the quiet scenery of the Tengger countryside. I came in from Surabaya by private car, and was glued to my window as the road twisted and turned, gaining altitude and the forest grew denser and denser. About 3 hours later I was in Tosari settling in to my homestay and took the rest of the day to walk around the village, rest and relax.
The second day we set out on a hike and took in the Tengger village life and spectacular views. At some points in the hike there was pure silence, interrupted by the sound of the wind rustling through grass and trees. It is amazing how rare silence is. Four hours of walking took us to Dingklit viewpoint which overlooks the entire volcanic caldera and Mount Bromo. We had a protein bar lunch and soaked in the view. On the walk back we were able to grab a ride in the bed of a pickup. Hike Map
The next morning we woke up at 4 am and got into an Indiana Jones style Jeep that took us up to “King Kong” viewpoint to catch the sunrise (which I like better than the more popular Pananjakan- it is less crowded and more scenic), before driving down in to Mount Bromo National park where we climbed up Mount Bromo to the crater- because how often do you get to stare into the mouth of an active volcano? Then went off-roading in the sea of gray volcanic sand where you could almost imagine that you’re on another planet. A quick ride in the jeep took us to “Teletubby Hills” -the grassland area where wildflowers thrive on scenic rolling hills. (These are the names that the locals actually use for the local landmarks. The Tenggerese have a sense of humor and a penchant for television). We finished the day off with nasi goreng fried rice at a local restaurant before napping the rest of the afternoon away.
If you find yourself visiting Indonesia, I’d urge you to spend some time in the Tengger and visit Mount Bromo. You can’t do better in terms of natural beauty and landscape variety, and the region is an amazing place to experience Indonesian culture.
How to do Bromo / Tengger
- Jazzi Homestay $ – Local homestay, most authentic experience, amazingly friendly host Dedy Kurniawan
- Ancala Inn $$ – Comfortable and nice local inn with serene gardens just off the main road
- Bromo Cottages $$$ – Mini rustic cottages with basic amenities and nice view
- Your best option is to book a private car from Surabaya through your hotel as public transportation is a bit unreliable and full of switches.
- Cost should be about 400,000 Rupiah
- Cost should be about 400, 000 Rp. for sunrise and Mount Bromo
- 600,000 for sunrise, Bromo, and Teletubby Hill – totally worth the extra cost in my opinion
- Book directlywith a driver at the market, or through your hotel, although hotel prices may be inflated
- Take lots of water and some snacks
- If you get tired on the way down, you’ll probably be offered rides back into town by motorbike taxi, don’t pay more than 50,000 rp.