4D/3N Backpacking Bromo & Ijen Without A Tour (Part 11) : Probolinggo - Surabaya PATAS Express Bus Ride

        Our Kawah Ijen and Mt. Bromo a.k.a East Java backpacking journey is nearing to the end. If you followed our journey, you will know that my sister and I had an amazing time at Kawah Ijen, and subsequently at Mt. Bromo. To read our Kawah Ijen story, click here.

Early Morning Bison Ride Back To Bayuangga Bus Terminal @ Probolinggo

        It was a cold, refreshing morning at Cemoro Lawang, Bromo. My sister and I slept well through the night and woke up early to catch the 9am bison a.k.a green van ride back to Bayuangga Bus Terminal, Probolinggo. To get a ride, one will have to walk down the road and gather where the crowd and vans were. This is the time where most travellers choose to leave Mt. Bromo and head back to Probolinggo to get to their next destination.

        Our bison ride from Probolinggo up to Cemoro Lawang, Bromo costs us Rp.150,000 each. Find out the reason here. This time however, my sister and I paid Rp. 35,000 each for the bison a.k.a green van ride back to Probolinggo. There were a total of 12 passengers in the van. The rent for an entire bison is Rp. 450,000 per vehicle. The amount is divided equally with the number of passengers on board. It costs about Rp. 35,000 per person for a one way, full car trip.

        During the peak season where tourists and travellers from around the world flock to Mt. Bromo, it is relatively easy to get a bison ride at a cheap price, however you will find yourself paying more during low season.

Front row seats to a spectacular view at Mt. Bromo

Picturesque Cemoro Lawang @ Mt. Bromo #1

Picturesque Cemoro Lawang @ Mt. Bromo #2

Scammers & Scam Alert at Probolinggo

        I cannot stress enough that Probolinggo is well known by travellers as a notoriously scam-my place!! I repeat, PROBOLINGGO IS A NOTORIOUSLY SCAM-MY PLACE!! From highly aggressive salespersons to selling overpriced bus tickets and even snatching away your belongings in broad daylight, we have heard numerous cases of unfortunate events that have happened to unsuspecting travellers in Probolinggo. If you do not wish to be a victim, be street smart and know how to be a smart traveller. Find out what are the Top 5 Scams in Probolinggo @ East Java that you should know here.

        The moment my sister and I were dropped off in Probolinggo, we were surrounded by a heap of men, this time neatly dressed in batik attire. These men aggressively and persistently persuaded my sister and I, as well as other unsuspecting travellers to go to their travel and tours service centre located nearby where they will sell exorbitantly marked up bus tickets, tours and services to us.

        In an attempt to convince my sister and I to take up their bus service, I was told by these men that there were no A/C express buses available to get from Probolinggo to Surabaya, only crowded and smelly public buses were available in that area to which they pointed out the public bus stop nearby. They continued to boast that only their travel and tour service centre offers such exclusive and comfortable A/C busses in Probolinggo. Knowing better, I ignored these cunning men, crossed the road and made my way back to the food stall I hung out before to get the truth and the information we needed.

Bayuangga Bus Terminal @ Probolinggo

Fyi, the PATAS bus only arrives and leaves at its designated bay, and that is Bay No. 1. Kindly ignore the other buses that blatantly display the "PATAS" sign on their bus, but are parked in the other numbered bays for they are not the genuine PATAS buses.

Cheap & Comfortable PATAS Bus Express Ride Back To Surabaya City

        True enough, the kind and helpful locals there told us that a comfortable and reliable A/C express bus is available at Bayuangga Bus Terminal, operated by Bus PATAS. Remember the men dressed in batik attire we met earlier by the roadside? They quoted us a fare of Rp.80,000 per person whereas PATAS bus fare only costs Rp.30,000 per person!! What a rip-off that will be if we had trusted them! The difference of Rp.50,000 each person could buy us a very nice set meal in town!!

        My sister and I thanked the lovely people at the food stall and made our way to the bus terminal to catch the earliest bus available to Surabaya. For your info, Bayuangga Bus Terminal is located just across the road from where the bison a.k.a green van strategically drops passengers off in Probolinggo. At the bus station, we found PATAS Bus’ information counter and express bus at Terminal 1 a.k.a Bay No.1.

        Recent travellers to East Java have shared with me that the scammers at Bayuangga Bus Terminal are getting smarter in their scheming ways. The non-PATAS buses are seen displaying the PATAS bus sign in order to fool unsuspecting travellers. The so-called "helpers" there will approach you and insist that their bus is the genuine PATAS bus, but do not listen to them!! PATAS buses are identified not only by their sign, but also by the bay it leaves fromThe PATAS bus arrives and leaves only from its designated bay, and that is BAY NO.1!!

        The information counter for PATAS bus is located beside Bay No.1. Without further delay, we boarded the bus and waited for it to leave at 11.30am. As scheduled, the bus conductor boarded the bus, collected the payment and issued the bus ticket to us accordingly.

A warm welcome on-board PATAS Express Bus

Spacious and comfortable seats on the PATAS Express Bus

An enjoyable and safe ride on the PATAS Express Bus

A Love or Hate Experience – Of Buskers, Pengamens & Street Sellers

        While we wait for the bus to make its move, a handful of street sellers boarded the bus and tried to sell a wide variety of items to us such as packets of snacks, slices of fruits, and bottles of Aqua. They placed the items on our lap (for inspection and/or to arouse our curiosity) as they walked past us to the back of the bus and collect it back from us if we do not wish to buy it as they leave the bus. I have seen people throwing the items on the floor, which in my opinion is an impolite thing to do.

        These harmless characters did not harass or disturb the passengers onboard the bus. They will simply ignore us if we politely refuse their offer or do not make any eye contact with them. They are after all trying to make an honest living, so there is no need to despise or show disrespect to them.

        After that, a few buskers or street beggars boarded the bus and begged for donations followed by pengamens or street musicians. They sang their hearts out in hopes to receive some money from the passengers onboard the bus. One even sang a heartfelt song wishing us a safe journey to our destination. Aww…


Our PATAS Bus Ride Experience

        To sum it up, our express bus ride back to Surabaya city with PATAS Bus was pleasant, comfortable and most importantly, affordable. It was not long before my sister and I dozed off on the bus due to fatigue and the lack of sleep. We woke up when the bus arrived at Surabaya Bus Terminal and we made our way to our guesthouse by Blue Bird Group taxi.

Up next: A tour in Surabaya city and an honest review of our stay at Krowi Inn