Hiking to Mount Ijen in Indonesia

The Ijen volcano complex is a group of stratovolcanoes in the Banyuwangi Regency of East Java, Indonesia. It is inside a larger caldera Ijen, which is about 20 kilometers wide. The Gunung Merapi stratovolcano is the highest point of that complex. The name “Gunung Merapi” means “mountain of fire” in the Indonesian language.

You can start your hike in Banyuwangi up to Mount Ijen. The tourist guides are promising an unforgettable experience. The swirling wind, which blows fine sand, as well as the scent of rotten eggs spewed by the sulphur lake at the Ijen crater, could be discouraging, though.

The pathway to the crater, which was paved with dust and volcanic particles, made it almost impossible for one to gain enough traction to hike.

The Ijen crater, which is a quiet, but active volcano, offers a breathtaking view from its peak, which could easily send shutterbugs into a frenzy. High quality sulphur is mined here, with many workers walking up and down the path; some with wheelbarrows, others with shoulder baskets. The pure sulphur is delivered to a nearby town.

This isn’t a vocation for the faint-hearted, and stuck with a meagre wage, the enterprising miners try to supplement their income by selling pure sulphur stones carved into flowers and other designs, to tourists.

Location:   Indonesia

How to get there:   Travel options to Banyuwangi include a ferry service from Bali, or a flight from Surabaya (a bus ride takes six hours)

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