Kawah Ijen: Blue flames and liquid sulfur

11/07/2018 – 12/07/2018

Kawah Ijen in a few words

Ijen is another active volcano of the Java island, located in the far east. This volcano is different because of its sulfur mined crater. Minors transport two to three loads of 70-100kg a day and they can earn 1k IDR/kg at basecamp. Each load gets them at least 70k-100k IDR (4-6€) and a salary of 140k IDR/day (8€). Does not seem much, but it is actually a very good salary in Indonesia. This explains why locals keep on mining it generations after generations.

As a comparison, people cutting grass to feed their cows earn 20k IDR/day (1,20€) from their milk.


How to get there?

Two options:

  • From the West (Surabaya, Probolinggo, Bondowoso, ..)
    • Whatever you starting point, you will have to make a stop at Sempol village and book a jeep through a tour
  • From the East (Bali, Banyuwangi, …)
    • Whatever you starting point, you will have to make a stop at Banyuwangi town and book a jeep through a tour

Coming from Probolinggo, we took a local bus « Bémo » to Banyuwangi, 60k IDR/pp(3,6€), 8 hours. Do not trust any tout, as they will say whatever they can to make you buy a ticket! They promised us a direct, non-stop bu of 4 hours that will drop us off at the southern bus station in Banyuwangi… We got dropped off at the northern one (called Katangan), north of the ferry terminal to Bali at night. We managed to get on a yellow minibus to the city centre that we paid 10.000 IDR/pp (0,6€) (twice the local price).


Accommodations

Tired and upset about the bus trip from Probolinggo, we just stayed at the first hotel we passed by in the city centre. We rent a room at the « Anda Hotel » for 65.000 IDR/night (4€). We had a comfortable small twin room, fan and shared bathroom. Only problem was that people smoked everywhere and it smelled through the door… Nice place only for a couple of nights.

Toilets Banyuwangi-min
Squat toilets at the Anda Hotel. Talk about local style :p

Most cheap accommodations (less than 10€/night) are located in the south-west of town, all around the train station.


Activities

Most people come here only as a starting point to a night trekking to Ijen. There is no public transport to Ijen, especially at night… The only way to get there is by jeep, through a tour booked in any hotel in town. Usually, they ask 150.000 IDR/pp (9€) (excluding the entrance ticket, 100.000 IDR/pp – 6€). Are included:

  • Jeep to Ijen and back (starting around 12AM usually)
  • Stop at the coffee and cloves plantations
  • Stop at the Jagir waterfall

Tips: Ask beforehand to your hotel to switch the Jagir waterfalls to the « Kalipait » sulfur waterfalls if you can. Kalipait waterfalls are located only 3km up the road to Ijen. Usually, tours will take you only to Jagir because it is on the way back, but it is not worth it (especially if you went to Laos…). Ask at your hotel first and confirm beforehand. Although we did and confirmed again with our driver, we did not manage to change his agenda…


Banyuwangi pics

Banyuwangi (1)-min
Local style houses
Banyuwangi (4)-min
Banyuwangi Street art

Banyuwangi (3)-min

Banyuwangi children-min

Banyuwangi Masjid-min
Local Mosque, called « Masjid »
Banyuwangi (2)-min
One of the few public parks in Indonesia
Civette asiatique - Kopi Luwak-min
Asian palm civet bred to produce one of the most expensive coffee in the world « Kopi Luwak ». These animals eat coffee beans, but cannot entirely digest it. The feces are collected, thoroughly cleaned, sun-dried and crushed 😀
Cow express bus-min
No public transport, except for cows!

Food

Ronde et Tahu Ginger-min
« Ronde« : Rice paste balls stuffed with peanuts, sprinkled with crushed peanuts –  « Tahun ginger » : Ginger Tofu
Gado Gado-min
« Gado gado« : Boiled vegetables, potatoes, rice, shrimp crisps, tempe (fried soy beans) and peanuts sauce. Looks like digested food I know, but totally yummy 😀

Kawah Ijen pics

Dark Vador and Dark Mothor 😀
Pipes are used to drain sulfur fumes and make it easier for miner to mine solid sulfur. Mixing with air, gazeous sulfur bursts into flames with a typical blue color
Sulfur mined, loaded and ready for transport
Sulfur mining area
Sulfur
Minor at work
Ijen top path (2)-min
Trekking path

Ijen top path (3)-min

Ijen top path (4)-min
Local taxis
Ijen top path (5)-min
100.000 IDR (6€) and the less motivated ones can be back back down

Ijen (10)-min

IMG_1890-min

IMG_2251-min

Cratère Ijen (5)
Panoramic view over the crater and its acidic lake

Ijen (3)

Ijen (1)

Vue sur le cratère et le sommet

IMG_1824-min

Ijen (2)


How to leave Banyuwangi?

Three options:

  • Northern Bus station
  • Ferry to Bali (6.500 IDR/pp – 0,40€)
  • Southern Bus Station
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