I've read that there is a 12 hours bus departing from Cemoro Lawang to Yogyakarta, but I couldn't find timetables and not sure if that's the best option. May be a bus ride to Probolinggo and the train is better option? I prefer night transport if possible, is possible to do it by night bus or night train?
The journey is typically split in 2.
- Cemoro Lawang to Probolinggo
- Probolinggo to Yogyakarta
Cemoro Lawang to Probolinggo
This journey takes around 1.5h regardless of the type of transport you take.
- Renting a motorbike in Probolinggo is the nicest option, see Probolinggo to Bromo by motorbike, possible?
- Catch a ride in a shared taxi with some other tourists. Typically, you book a whole car with driver from Probolinggo to Cemoro Lawang & back for around 650'000 IDR. So a ride back should cost half of that, for a whole car, with a driver.
- Catch a ride on a motorbike taxi, locals in Cemoro Lawang will be happy to provide that. Be ready to negotiate. I would not pay more than 150'000 IDR.
Note: you may be stuck in Cemoro Lawang if you haven't already organized your journey, so unless you're prepared to spend a bit of extra time waiting for a good deal, you could end up being in a weak position to negotiate, and pay quite a bit for your ride.
Probolinggo to Yogyakarta
- train journey is around 8h if I remember well, and price for that is around 260'000 IDR. You can have info on train timetables online, at train stations & in local supermarkets (indomart, alfamaret & the likes), more on this on How to buy train tickets in Indonesia?
- buses are leaving from Probolinggo bus terminal, be ready for an epic ride.
Train vs buses/taxis in Indonesia
After traveling for a month in Indonesia, I really appreciate the train a LOT. Train tickets are usually a bit more expensive, but the price difference is definitely worth it.
Here is a non exhaustive list of advantages:
- fixed price (no annoying & time consuming negotiations)
- buying a ticket is easy (online, or local supermarket, or train station)
- it's more reliable than road transportation
- it's faster than buses
- it's comfortable (even the economic class)
- it's clean
- there are plugs next to the seats (charge your electronics)
- it supports the country for improving its railway infrastructure
- the list goes on...
I haven't taken the exact route you have taken, but I had a similar problem as I had to go back from Lawang to Jakarta. (Because my passport was stolen in Lawang, so you might want to watch your belongings)
What I did (and what's probably the cheapest option), is to take a minibus to Probolinggo (if I remember correctly, they run at least every 1 or 2 hours). The minibuses depart from the town, just ask around and people will be able to tell you from where.
Once in Probolinggo you should go to the bus terminal. From there I'm pretty sure there'll be regular bus services to Yogyakarta. I went there spontaneously, because the trains run quite infrequently and asked around at the travel offices there and some guy managed to put me on a bus to Jakarta (which if I remember correctly passed through Yogyakarta and was overnight) in a matter of 20 minutes or so. You should definitely ask around and not just wait as some buses might just be passing (coming from Bali) and not necessarily stop at the bus terminal but outside on the street.
Note that timetables probably won't be much use as there's different companies running the buses and as timetables seem to be rather decorative in Indonesia. I think you have the best shot by just going there and ask, in the worst case you might have to wait for an hour or two.
Also be prepared to negotiate for the price. I think I did get ripped off (If I remember correctly 600k Rupiah for 26 hours of bus), but at that time I was just very desperate to get to Jakarta before the immigration office closes down for Friday prayer.