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Indonesia - Java

Bromo and Ijen are 2 must-see places on the island of Java. These volcanoes, still active, can be visited. The view and the experience are impressive. I explain here everything you need to know to visit these volcanoes:

Bromo volcano

The Bromo volcano is an active volcano on the island of Java. It is 2,300 meters high and erupts about every 5 years, with the lava remaining inside.

The volcano is surrounded by what is called the Sea of ​​Sands and can be visited in different ways.

Watch the sunrise in Bromo

The main activity is to admire the sun rise over the volcano. You will therefore have to sleep in the small village of Cemoro Lawang from where you can leave on foot.

Get ready to get up early ! Leave from the hotel at 3:30 am maximum to begin the hike. The sun rises around 5:30 am. It's free and you just have to follow the path to the point of view.

The walk takes about 2 hours . Prepare something to cover yourself, it's very cold at the top until the sun comes up. Also think of a flashlight because you will be walking in the dark.

 

The most popular spot is called King Kong viewpoint . (mark this on your Maps.me GPS) Prepare for the crowds. Many tourists, especially Chinese, go up to the viewpoint by Jeep.

You have this alternative too if you don't want to walk.

The path passes through shrubs and stony terrain, bring good hiking shoes. The hike is not very hard, it's just that it climbs quite a bit. Don't hesitate to take breaks.

Tips : try to leave even earlier to have time to find a nice point of view and to be almost alone. You can have different angles to take pictures.

I hope you will have better weather than me and that you will have beautiful light and a sea of ​​clouds from which the volcano protrudes!

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Start of the route from the hotel to the path to reach the top

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Cemoro Lawang village and King Kong hill photo viewpoint on the right

Explore the sea of sands and climb to the top of the crater

The sea of ​​sands refers to the plateau that surrounds the volcanoes. You can take a Jeep ride after admiring the sunrise.

To see the crater of the volcano, a Jeep will drop you off at Luhur Poten Hindu Temple from where you will have to walk about ten minutes to reach stairs . So begins the ascent to discover the inside of the smoking crater with your own eyes.

 

Tips : Provide a scarf for dust and fumes.

NOTE : access to the crater is not always authorized depending on the activity of the volcano, for safety reasons. Find out when you buy your tour, if you choose to do it by Jeep rather than on foot.

I couldn't do it, so here are the amazing pictures of Salt in Our Hair, link to their blog by clicking on the pictures.

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How to get to Bromo and how much does a ride cost?

There are several tours available at agencies.

You can visit Bromo for a day from Malang , or from Probolingo with a private or shared Jeep.

From Probolingo you can also go to Bromo directly by bus , with a journey lasting 1h30 and sleep there.

If you are from Malang and have the budget for it , I suggest you take a tour that includes Bromo and Ijen. On the way you will see:

  • Coban Pelangi (waterfall)

  • Savannah

  • Sea of ​​sands experience

  • Overnight in Cemoro Lawang

  • Sunrise at the top of King Kong Hill

  • Visit of the Bromo crater

  • breakfast at the hotel

Tours can cost between IDR 500,000 and 2,500,000 (or between € 30 and € 155 ) depending on the number of days, a private or shared Jeep, and the level of comfort desired.

Bromo, where to stay?

If you don't want to take a tour, where no accommodation is included in the tour you have chosen, I advise you to stay at Bromo Otix Guest House.

 

The comfort is reasonable and there is a hot shower. On foot you can go to a restaurant and start walking for the sunrise.

Price : 16 € for a double room.

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Ijen volcano

The Ijen volcano was a unique experience that I absolutely wanted to do. If I tell you to descend to the bottom of a crater of a still active volcano? Yes you probably tell yourself she's completely crazy. Still, it could be one of the best memories of your trip.

The Ijen volcano is located in the far east of the island of Java. Its turquoise blue lake is the most acidic lake on the planet !! It also houses a sulfur ore plantation and is famous for its "blue flames" or "blue fire" in English.

Now you understand what makes it unique. It is therefore possible to descend to the bottom of the crater in complete safety . Of course, being an active volcano it is constantly monitored by volcanologists for its activity. If there is suspicion, no visit will therefore be authorized. It is possible to go without a guide, but I do not know the prices at the entrance or the cost of renting a gas mask. I recommend going with a guide who is there to ensure our safety, show us the best paths and give us explanations about the volcano.

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Mount Ijen hike - the process

The hike is not inherently hard. It is tiring because it starts very early.

 

Get ready to go to bed very early 8pm (or even before) because you leave the hotel around midnight for about an hour drive ! (Don't be like me, who slept 4 hours in 2 days by doing to Bromo and Ijen hikes in a row !)

 

Then you will walk uphill which climbs well , but it's a road so it's fine . The guide will let you climb at your own pace.

When you get to the top you have to go down into the crater and this time it's gravel, you have to be careful where you put your feet. The miners will already be at work and you have to push yourself immediately to leave the path open to them given the heavy loads they carry (and this is quite normal).

 

You arrive at the bottom of the crater where the sulfur is extracted . The sulfur vapors are harmful and the smell of rotten eggs a little unbearable, but you will have a gas mask. I still advise you to bring a scarf or a cloth to cover the mask and the eyes from time to time, because even with the mask, in the heart of the smoke, it quickly becomes irritating and unbreathable. I don't want to scare you, depending on the wind that was changing, it happened 2-3 times a few moments to cough and want to escape the cloud but that's all. You can see the miners without masks and the awesome work they do.

 

They will show you the blue flames which owe their color to sulfur. It's quite spectacular! Around 4 am you will go up to reach the summit and watch the sunrise over the lake from the ridge. A fairly magical spectacle when the lake appears little by little. The colors of the sunrise were not there when I was there, because the sky was a little overcast .. But that did not disappointed me from the experience !

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The condition of minors

I had to tell you about the condition of these courageous men.

This incredible experience, due to its unique aspect, also questioned me in relation to my comfort in life.

The slap I took when I saw them moved me to tears, literally.

I found it unfair that I came to visit while they were killing themselves to earn almost nothing. It should be noted that minors are between 14 and 50+ years old and that they work without gas masks. Some work day and night without sleeping, or only for an hour lying by the side of the road. The climb in the gravel is steep, so imagine with bamboo baskets on the shoulders weighting more than 80kg. There are more than 4 kms to travel to unload their baskets, some make 2 round trips per day. This hard work pay them the equivalent of .. 10 € !! What you or I spend on a pack of cigarettes or a cocktail.

I have HUGE respect for these men who literally kill themselves every day to support their families and a deep gratitude to be born where I was born.

So let's respect these workers when we visit Kawah Ijen, let them pass, give them some coins if we take pictures of them.

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What to bring?

Make sure the tour includes a flashlight and gas mask.

- Also provide a fabric or a scarf to hide your eyes or breathe better.

- Good hiking shoes.

- A lot of water because suffers, it dries up.

- Something to nibble on because going on an empty stomach, and hiking at night, it digs!

- Obviously, enough to take pictures.

 

Warning !! Drones are prohibited . Or you need a mandatory certificate, buy the right which is quite expensive if I remember correctly (60 euros I think) normally reserved for professionals

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How much does it cost ?

You can book the tour at an agency or directly at your hotel / homestay. The prices vary little, counting around 20- 25 € with return trip by minibus included.

The minibus picks you up from your hotel around midnight and you are back around 10am.

Where to stay

Banyuwangi is the small town to stay while visiting Ijen Volcano. Lots of hotels or home stays offer tours including a minibus that will pick you up directly on site.

Banyuwangi is also the place from where to take the ferry and then go to Bali . 45 min crossing for only Rp 6,000 (€ 0.34)

I hope this article has convinced you to go explore these volcanoes, to brave the lack of sleep and hiking for a unique experience! An unforgettable moment that will open your eyes to the condition of minors, to the formation of our world and to yourself!

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