Surabaya is a busy city and quite popular with tourists. I can understand why, it is a hub to several destinations in East Java. I’ve got quite a few friends who live there and I’ve had some really amazing experiences visiting the city. I watched the bull racing competition in Madura, visited the Submarine monument and even joined the Bromo and Madakaripura waterfall tour.

Having a friend help arrange my visit made my travels so much easier. The only thing I had to worry about while I was in Surabaya was what time my flight left. The rest of the time I could just enjoy myself, explore the city climb the volcano and visit the beautiful waterfall. Of course I enjoyed myself.

Want to book a 3 Day 2 Night Bromo and Ijen Tour? Find out more here.

I’d like to give you that same holiday feeling. You know, relaxation and peace of mind. So I talked to my friends in Surabaya and I came up with the travel itinerary that I’d join if I were visiting Surabaya for the first time as a tourist. The special itinerary covers Bromo and Ijen volcano, wandering around Malang and a bit of adventure and nature. Let me tell you about the three-day two-night Surabaya tour. Let’s get to it.

bromo sunrise view

Day 1

A private car will pick you up from the airport (or the tran station or your hotel). From here you will be taken to Cemoro Lawang. It’s a five hour journey along well kept roads from Surabaya. The journey is relaxing and it gives you the chance to see the surrounding countryside. After you check into your hotel you will have the opportunity to explore a bit of Cemoro Lawang.

Oh, remember, you are going to be waking up very early tomorrow morning.


The House of Sampoerna Museum is a cigarette factory and museum. It’s one of the best museums in Surabaya and it gives you a nice idea of the local history of the city. You also get the chance to see the factory floor where the women with the super fast hands work. You will be impressed (but I wasn’t allowed to take any photos to show you). Other option is visiting the submarine monument.

sunrise at bromo

Day 2

It’s going to be a long day, but I promise that you are going to enjoy yourself. First though you need to get yourself out of bed, because it’s 3:30 in the morning. Don’t forget to put on some layers or warm clothes.

Your driver will pick you up from the hotel and take you on the 30-minute drive to Bromo. When you arrive at Bromo you will swap cars and get into a 4×4 jeep for the final ride to Penanjakan at the top of the hill.

jeep drive around Bromo

You’ll immediately notice just how cold it is when you get out of the car. Bromo is more than 2,000 meters above sea level and those few hours before dawn are some of the coldest. You can buy a warm cup of tea from one of the small shops along the side of the road to warm yourself up before you go to the sunrise viewpoint.

Penanjakan offers the best views of sunrise over Bromo. It overlooks the volcano and the dusty plateau below. Surrounding the volcano is a semi circle of hills that stretch off to the horizon. It’s a beautiful place to watch the sunrise and officially start the day.

bromo east java

After watching the sunrise over Bromo you drive down the hill to look at the crater up close. It’s one of the easiest volcanoes to climb in Indonesia. There are steps cut into the side of the hill and it’s little more than a 100-meter climb from the base of Bromo to the rim.

In my opinion the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park has some of the most impressive landscapes anywhere in Indonesia. So in addition to climbing the volcano you will also visit the Savannah and the Tengger Sand Sea. I promise that you will be impressed by the views and come away with some beautiful photos.

Madakaripura Waterfall

Madakaripura waterfallFrom Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park you will be taken to Madakaripura Waterfall. It is a two hour drive from Bromo. You’ll pass green countryside as the road winds its final length up into the highlands. After a relaxing journey you get dropped off at the car park.

The area surrounding Madakaripura waterfall cool and shaded, with tall trees and thick vegetation. To get to Madakaripura waterfall you have to follow a small concrete path along the side of river. You’ll have to cross the river a few times, so bring along some sandals or shoes that you don’t mind getting wet.

It takes about 15 minutes to reach the waterfall. You will know you are close when the river turns sharply to the right and enters a deep ravine. The path ends and you will need to follow the rivers edge.

In the raining season streams tumble over the cliffs creating mini waterfalls. Vines and moss grow up the cliff face and small rainbows form as the drops of falling water catch the rays of the sun.

After 50 meters the ravine opens out. The cliffs surround you and there’s a deep ice cold pool (which you can swim in) filled by the tumbling sheets of water from Madakaripura waterfall. It’s a really special place. In fact the story goes that a famous Javanese general (called Gajah Mada) used to meditate here. You’ll understand why when you visit.


After visiting Madakaripura waterfall you will be driven to Banyuwangi, where you will be staying the night. There are two main routes to get there. The first follows the main coastal road. The second route follows a series of smaller roads that cross the highlands of Java. The faster route, which you’ll be taking, is along the coast.

ijen crater java (4)

Day 3

Ijen is famous for two things; the sulphur mines and the blue flames. You can catch both of them on this tour, but to do that you need to wake up early (so you’ll need to set your alarm again). The car will set off from the hotel at 1 am in the morning. It takes approximately one hour to get from the hotel to Paltuding (the car park at the base of Ijen). From there it’s a 3km hike to the rim of the crater.

Ijen Crater Tour, Ijen Crater Lake, Blue Fire

It’s easy to understand why the Midnight Ijen Crater Tour is so popular.

From the top of Ijen you can see the blue flames. They only appear at night, but they look magical. It’s not actually magic though. The sulfuric gas catching alight and burning at more than 600 degrees causes the flames. As you watch the sunrise over Ijen the blue flames slowly disappear to be replaced by the bright turquoise lake. It’s quite a sight and a beautiful place to start the day.

ijen down to the crater (2)

At the end of your visit to Ijen you will face your first major decision. One option is to go to Ketapang. From there you can take a ferry to Bali and continue you holiday on a new island (you can catch a ferry to Bali, hire a private car or catch a plane).

The second option is to go back with the driver to Surabaya. If you choose to do this then the driver will drop you off at your own hotel or back at the airport. Whichever option you choose, I promise you will enjoy this tour package.

hiking Ijen volcano

The 3-Day 2-Night Surabaya Tour

I love sunrise over Bromo and  Madakaripura waterfall is probably one of the best waterfalls I’ve ever visited. Put simply the Bromo, Madakaripura and Ijen tour is for people who love to be amazed by the natural world. To make this trip possible I’ve teamed up with a trusted local travel agency.

Included in the Tour:

  • Pick up from the train station or airport
  • Transport in a comfortable car. Avanza or similar
  • Experienced local driver
  • Tickets for Bromo and Ijen
  • All accommodation costs
  • Drop off at Ketapang harbour or Surabaya/Malang

Interested in joining the tour and visiting two of the most interesting tourism sites in East Java? Press the button below to find out  more.


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What do you think about this itinerary? How would you personalize this tour to make it just right for you?