Featured photos from my overnight homestay and hiking experience in Ngadas Village near Mount Bromo Volcano in East Java Island, Indonesia.

I stumbled upon Ngadas while searching for alternative ways of reaching Mount Bromo Volcano, one of Indonesia’s top tourist attractions and a must visit for photographers.

Ngadas was a small farming village found along the way from Malang to Mount Bromo in East Java, Indonesia. This small highland village had extensive crop farms that covered entire mountain tops. Ngadas’ landscapes differed from highland farming villages in Bali or Banaue in the Philippines. Instead of man-made rice terraces, shaped like giant steps, the ones at Ngadas contoured more naturally with the slope of the mountains.

Countrysides of Ngadas Village near Mount Bromo Volcano

Journey to Ngadas

Doing a traverse by entering from the western side of Bromo (Malang)  and exiting at the usual tourist route via Probolinggo seemed like an awesome plan. This way was more sensible for my itinerary because I was coming from Yogyakarta, which was located further west of Mount Bromo.

At the time, there wasn’t a lot of information online about getting to Ngadas. Only one blog post in Travelfish gave me the idea that it was possible and had lots of useful tips on how to go about it. Knowing little about transportation to Ngadas wasn’t going to stop me :)

I will post more specifics on getting from Yogyakarta to Ngadas in future posts. In the meantime, here’s a summary of how I did it:

  • Night train from Yogyakarta to Malang via Malabar Express (8 hours) – Rp160,000
  • Angkot (mini bus/van) from Malang train station to Arjosari Terminal in Malang (30 min) – Rp3,000
  • Angkot from Arjosari Terminal to Tumpang Market Terminal  (45 min) – Rp5,000
  • Angkot from Tumpang Market Terminal to Gubugklakan (45 min) – Rp10,000
  • Ojek (hired single motorcycle w/ driver) from Tumpang to Ngadas (45 min) – Rp75,000

Commuting outside tourist areas in Indonesia was sometimes difficult. Many locals/drivers did not speak or understand an ounce of English. I had to pick up basic words in Bahasa Indonesia, ask around and befriend fellow commuters to make sure I was on the right path. There was always someone around that spoke basic English.

After muttering this phrase, locals would usually warm up and make an effort to help me:

“Saya tidak mengerti Bahasa Indonesia. Saya dari Philippines,” which translates to “I cannot understand Indonesian. I’m from the Philippines” or even just “Saya dari Philippines.”

Smiling while trying to speak the local language also helped :D

Welcome arch of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park

Gubugklakan-Ngadas road

Verdant forest views along the way from Gubuklakan to Ngadas

Ngadas Homestay

My helpful ojek driver dropped me off at a homestay in Ngadas and talked to the family for me. Ms. Wichi and Mr. Worionto, my hosts, offered to let me stay in their home for Rs100,000 per night (inclusive of dinner and breakfast). Accommodation was basic, basically a mattress with clean sheets and shared toilet  … the squat type, gasp

They were very hospitable, which broke the awkward feeling I had that I was intruding in their daily life. I was not particularly used to staying at homestays yet.

This way to homestay :)

Homestay, where the ojek dropped me off in Ngadas. Construction is probably done by now.

Welcome bowl of “Salak,” also called “Snake Fruit.” Consistency was sort of fibrous and semi-hard. Mine had a faint sweet taste. The taste was similar to apples but much less sweet.

Bakso and Javanese Coffee

After settling in, I rushed to the food stall I spotted along the main road earlier. It was ornately built in traditional Javanese architecture, easily grabbing the attention of any curious passerby.

They served Bakso, a noodle soup dish with meat balls, and Javanese coffee. It was my first time to try Bakso. I was an instant a fan! I also loved Javanese coffee. I’ve been sipping at least one cup every day since I arrived in Indonesia … can’t get enough of ’em. Both were sublime remedy to the chilly mountain air. The best part was enjoying my meal with the relaxing panoramic view of the lush countryside.

Totally, one of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had.

Bakso stall in Ngadas

Beautiful view from the balcony dining area at the back

Delicious hot bowl of Bakso

Hot Javanese coffee

There was a guest house beside the Bakso stall, I think the rate was around Rs200,000 per night for a bungalow. The structures were also built in traditional Javanese style and surrounded by a charming garden. I wouldn’t mind staying there  if I hadn’t already checked-in at the homestay.

The cutest little gate!

Greens and colorful flowers surrounding the bungalows

Gazebo and garden with the serene overlooking view.

Loved these clay tile roofs! They’re more common in Java Island than modern metal roofs. I was obsessed with taking photos of the clay roofs.


Ngadas countryside hike

Ngadas was largely unpopular to tourists visiting Mount Bromo. I was probably the only tourist wandering around its scenic countrysides thanks to the timing of my visit, during the off season in March.

I loved the untouristy and offbeat vibe of Ngadas. Most visitors would only pass through this little village and probably spend a few hours taking photos. Spending the night at one of the homestays in Ngadas turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences of my trip to Indonesia.

I was not in any rush and had plenty of time to enjoy Ngadas’ cool mountain air, fresh Javanese food, offbeat vibe, and picturesque highland views.

Muslim cemetery

Hiking further away from the village center

Villagers calling it a day and walking home, carrying firewood

Local smiling for the camera. There was an awkward moment when he just paused in front of me for several seconds after I took this shot. I smiled and said, “Terima Kasih” (thanks). He was still just standing there, I thought he was doing it, expecting I’d give him a “donation” or something. I was about to reach for some bills when he suddenly reached out and held his mean looking sickle. I was scared, my heart stopped for a split second as I got flashbacks of suspense stories and horror movies, but I later realized he wasn’t going to harm me. He was probably just adjusting the heavy weight of the load on his back. So, I hurriedly walked away :D

Mist and low clouds start to roll in

Time to go home

The mountains start to disappear from sight because of the thick clouds. I’ve lived in the lowland tropics all my life, so it all seemed so magical to me. I loved the solace, the timelessness, the vast empty space, the echoing howls of the chilly wind. These moments always put me in the mood to listen to melancholic music like Coldplay.

Misty pines

Time to really head back. Couldn’t see anything further than a couple of meters.

Loved the stark slim silhouettes


It’s okay not always knowing where we’re going. Sometimes, we only need to follow the path ahead of us. Sometimes, we need to make our own paths.

Dinner at Ms. Winchi and Mr. Worionto’s homestay. Freshest Tofu I’ve ever eaten.

More fresh Tofu for breakfast. I’d love to stay in Ngadas longer!

You can find more details of my 4-day trip to Ngadas, Cemoro Lawang, Mount Bromo, and Probolinggo on my Mount Bromo Itinerary.