9. November 2019

Java: Sunrise hike to King Kong Hill & Bromo

We set off in the middle of the night to witness the sunrise over Bromo from King Kong Hill. Afterwards we drove with the scooter through the desert, climbed the volcano and stood on the crater rim.

We arrived in Malang the evening before and organized a scooter in advance. Our plan was to arrive at the airport in Malang around noon to drive to our home stay in Cemorolawang in daylight because of the desert that needs to be crossed. A friend told us, that there are always some locals who offer to take you out of the sand if the scooter gets stuck. At least during daytime… But unfortunately our 1 hour flight from Denpasar to Malang was delayed by 4 hours. We sat in the waiting room and had no information about the flight.

At first the display showed only a couple of minutes delay, then it was an hour and then we lost count. After more than 4 hours delay we got on the propellor plane and arrived in Malang when it was already dark. So we had to drive through the desert in total darkness. The drive was bumpy and we got stuck plenty of time. During some parts I just walked next to Felix who tried to ride the scooter through the so called „Sea of sands. Finally we reached our accommodation, were offered some hot tea (it get very cold in the desert during night) and went to sleep. The alarm rang at 2 am.

The alarm rang at 2 am and drove with the scooter from our homestay in Cemorolawang to the carpark near King Kong Hill. It was a bumpy 15 minutes ride. Then we started hiking up the hill. It was steep and exhausting. After a short while we reached Seruni Point, a first great viewpoint with a newly built platform. We knew, that this wasn’t the spot we wanted to see and asked some locals for the right way. The right and “official” way was a hidden very narrow and steep path between some rocks. We even had to climb a bit and kept following the path through a forrest. It took us about 1,5 hours to climb that Penanjakan Hill and to reach the viewpoint King Kong Hill.

But here’s a tip: next to the main viewpoint is another small path leading you to a much better and not so crowded viewpoint. Search for a great spot and wait for the sunrise! We were just in time for blue hour and were amazed by the view. This was indeed the most spectacular sunrise I ever witnessed and I would highly recommend this hike.

I loved the fog that covered the whole scenery. Especially the village Cemoro Lewang which is located on the edge next to the Bromo desert.

It is also possible to reach this spot without the exhausting hike if you’re arriving from Probbolingo by Jeep. We did the whole Bromo tour by ourself and had a lot of time up there. Soon we were almost alone and had plenty of time to hike down to our scooter. We decided to search for some breakfast restaurant and visited Bromo crater afterwards when the crowds were already gone.

We had a great breakfast at Rehat Bromo Rest Area and arrived at the carpark at Bromo around noon. It was the best decision and most of the tour-tourists were already gone. The carpark was almost empty. So, if you’re traveling on your own trough the desert I would highly recommend to spend a few hours somewhere else, eat, relax or do whatever you like and drive to Bromo crater afterwards. We saw all the jeeps driving directly from the viewpoints to the crater after the sunrise.

There is also a separate carpark for scooters near the temple at the foot of the mountain but its not far from the actual carpark. We declined many horse riding offers from locals and walked to the beginning of the stairs. The hike up the stairs is exhausting and the desert sand does not contribute to make it easier. But the view into the crater is worth the effort.

Even more exhausting than the hike to the crater rim was the ride on the scooter to Malang. We went another way this time. The road through the desert was much shorter. It went through forests and smaller towns instead. The road was winding and it went constantly up and down. And of course there were potholes everywhere. So also in a curve that became our fate. In the middle of this curve was a huge pothole. We fell and fortunately got away with huge bruises. Later we learned that these are known as Bali tattoos. After this very exhausting 2.5 hours drive we finally arrived in our airbnb accommodation in Malang.