Mount Bromo is a part of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park located high in an altitude of more than 2000 meters above sea level. The site is particularly popular for its spectacular view of sand sea, mountain peak and the volcanic crater. It’s not surprising that most nearby hotel charges pretty high rates, especially during peak seasons (e.g. Islamic holiday of Lebaran or Christmas).
However, there is a decent hotel for you and your family, Istana Petani Homestay (Istana Petani means Farmer’s Palace) that gives good value of money. In addition to being a place for sleepover, this rustic homestay promises a cultural experience, as the owner lives there too! At an affordable rate of 20 USD, you will have a double bed bungalow with a television and a private bathroom with hot shower.
Istana Petani Homestay: Affordable but decent
Featuring bungalow units with brick wall appearance, large windows and wooden floor; the accommodation looks more like American bungalows rather than the local ones, which are always made of wood. There are a few categories, namely Standard, Superior and Cottage Bungalows. A superior bungalow is priced at 30 USD a night with about the same facilities as the standard ones but it will have a better view of the surrounding from the balcony (mountains and villages are all visible), as the rooms are located on higher grounds as compared to the standard rooms. Bungalows with the highest rate are the cottage bungalows (40 USD per night), which also have the same facilities but are located near the crop field (the crop field is just in front of the terrace). Extra bed and blanket are provided for 4 USD. All rooms have no heater (or air conditioning), but you don’t need to worry as the hotel is not located around the mountain’s peak (60 km down below the crater). Therefore, the weather here is relatively warmer at night (around 15 degree Celsius).
Plant crops like a farmer
Istana Petani comprises a complex of bungalows in the middle of the field crop (mostly tomatoes). The field of green is just in front of your bungalow (cottage type) and you can see how farmers cultivate their lands to grow tomatoes, carrots and other crops. Want to get down there and pick a few tomatoes? Sure, you can pick one or two and eat them, but be sure to get permission from the farmer working in the field and don’t pick too many, as there are farmers working there everyday and they may not be happy to see too many tomatoes are gone.
Eat fresh and healthy local food!
Your 20 USD stay also comes with breakfast in the hotel’s cafe. The cafe is open for breakfast at 7am. The guests normally come back from the hike and arrive at the hotel between 7.30am to 8.30am and the cafe is open for free breakfast till 9am. Located near the front gate, the cafe serves fried rice or fried noodles for breakfast. It sounds modest, but make sure you also order an ala carte dish called cah sawi (stir-fried mustard with garlic). Being in the middle of farming area allows Istana Petani to use the freshest ingredients. Vegetables are taken from the homestay premises. A side note: the guesthouse supports healthy lifestyle, thus they don’t provide alcoholic beverages such as beer or junk food like instant noodles. However, you can bring your own beer or instant noodles to be consumed anywhere in the hotel, including in the cafe.
Arrange your sunrise trip to Mt. Bromo
For the sunrise view, the hotel can organize the transport for you. For safety reasons, people are not allowed to drive their own vehicle due to the sandy desert road below the crater. Only 4WD jeeps are allowed to pass through the sand sea that spreads before the very popular sunrise-viewing site.
The jeep will collect you at 3am and the trip will take about 1 hour to a hiking spot called ‘Penanjakan 1’ where you need to hike or ride a horse all the way to the crater before the sun starts to show herself at around 5.15 am. The rate for renting a jeep is about 500,000 IDR (35 USD). Up to 6 people can fit into the jeep so you can pay less if you ride with your friends or family. If weather permits, a beautiful sunrise awaits you at the peak of your journey.
Istana Petani Homestay provides decent room facilities and good outdoor views at very affordable prices. More than that, it also provides its guests with an eco stay experience where your children will be happy to play in the crop field. However, there is one more thing you need to know about this hotel. It is located quite far below the mountain’s crater. Hence, the weather will be more bearable. Located at 2,329 m above sea level, the temperature at Mount Bromo’s peak during the night can be as cold as 5 degree Celsius. If you are not accustomed to freezing weather, staying in a hotel nearest to the peak is not so wise. So why spend more money if you can have a decent and comfortable stay at only 20 USD?