Mount Ijen Reviews
Mount Ijen Mar 08, 2012
Mount Ijen National Park is dominated by Mount Ijen, a highly active volcano with a working sulphur mine. The volcano is the main reason you would be there, although there are interesting plants and animals in the park too.
Tours deposit you at the bottom of the path, and whether due to the park or our specific guide we got no further help on that front, but there is really only one path and it is a pretty obvious one. It is a relatively easy walk to the crater edge. At around two thirds of the way, you come across a mining camp. When we were there, the mine was shut because of a recent eruption, but apparently in normal circumstances the miners are used to tourism and it isn’t a problem.
The sulphur rocks are bright yellow, and the miners carry them off the mountain in large, heavy wicker baskets. It looks like one of the hardest jobs I can imagine, especially given that when we were there the crater lake was still belching choking, headache inducing toxic clouds.
We arrived before the land had recovered from the recent eruption. Above the tree line, there were charred skeletons of small shrubs, and a few early brave grasses creeping back up the slopes. By the point you get to the twisted dead plants, you are already breathing in the suphur. The guides will advise you to tie a scarf over your mouth and nose. This reduces the smell, but it’s worth remembering that it doesn’t actually screen out the gas so you need to be careful how much time you spend in the actual gas clouds.
The crater lake itself is fantastic. You aren’t allowed to go down into the crater itself, but standing on the lip you can see a deceptively inviting blue lake, which every so often burps a new plume of white vapour into the sky. I have never seen anything quite like it. You can stay as long as you like, but eventually I developed a headache and had to go down.
Highly recommended, and far more interesting than the more famous Mount Bromo
Part of the My Honeymoon - Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia travel blog
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