The volcano Mount Ijen rises grandly on the eastern part of Java. It is famous for its awesome landscapes and turquoise blue lake but mostly due to its amazing crew of sulfur miners who gave the crater a unique reputation.
The ancient Ijen volcano emerged 250,000 years ago. It completely disappeared during an eruption dating 50,000 years ago leaving a huge caldera named Kendeng. New volcanic cones started to rise on the south rim of Kendeng, namely the Kawah Ijen that we see today.
The first eruption recorded by western observers goes back to 1796, and the most recent was in 2018. Eruptions were also documented in 1817, 1917, 1921-1923, 1936, 1952, 1962, 1976, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2011 .
In 1921, the Dutch colonizers built a bridge to regulate the water level of the lake and protect the villages and coffee plantations below.
Today, Kawah Ijen is a famous tourist destination. The walk is not easy and certainly requires some preparation but the spectacular and somehow troubling scene that awaits you on the top is worth all your efforts. Kawah Ijen harbors the largest acid lake on the planet.
Apart from the striking landscapes, the amazing sight of the sulfur miners striding up and down the crater to earn a living stirs the admiration of all. The miners get paid according to the quantity of sulfur they deliver. In one trip they should not carry less than 60kg.
The hike to Kawah Ijen
A trekking adventure up to Kawah Ijen is a fascinating experience. If well-organized the hike is feasible even by children. The trail is steep but well-beaten. The starting point is the Paltuding village at the foot of the volcano.
You need about two hours to hike up the volcano and it takes only one hour to walk down. Anytime of the day is good but the night trek with sunrise from the peak is certainly the most unforgettable option.
How to get there.
The volcano is rather difficult to access. The best road to Paltuding starts from Banyuwangi.
§ Entrance ticket:
§ Weekday - Rp100.000
§ Weekend - Rp150.000
§ Photo Camera - Rp250.000
Bring masks or scarves to protect yourself against sulfur fumes. You will also need warm clothes and a headlamp if you hike in the night.