Ijen Sulphur Mines
Filled with festive joy and ambition to make this christmas a memorable one, we decided to hike Kawah Ijen right after our 9 hour car ride from Surabaya airport to our Ijen accommodation.
TIP: Wear winter jackets. It gets really cold and windy at the top of the crater.
After another hour of car ride, we arrive at Kawah Ijen’s entrance all decked up and ready to hike!
Its true that you don’t need a guide to lead you up as the path is obvious. But a local guide kept following our group and making conversation. It was hard to throw him off. When we took a long water break mid way up, he continued waiting for us. Bypassing that awkward situation/hike up, he eventually became our guide when he asked if we wanted to go down to the sulphur mines of Kawah Ijen and take a closer look at the blue flames.
TIP: Bargain with the guide before the beginning of a hike, lest they threaten and ask for more money than what was mutually agreed on. Vague is sometimes not the best thing in a country you are unfamiliar with.
We saw some blue flames from the top of the crater. But by the time we got closer, the place was too misty and the blue flames couldn’t be seen.
Choose to go down the sulphur mines at your own discretion. It was fun and exciting but one wrong step could have sent any of us tumbling down crater and breaking our skulls.
It was a really rewarding journey once we reached the sulphur mines and it is something I would do a second time.
TIP: Bring gas masks.
For a moment down in the mines, the wind blew and we were engulfed in yellow fumes and choking on the smell of rotten eggs while completely blinded. We couldn’t move and masks didn’t help. It was christmas hell. Had to drink water to clear the throat from the coat of sulphur making it sore.
We started hiking at 2am.
Time it took to hike up Ijen: 2 hours
Time it took to hike into the sulphur mines: 2 hours
Time it took to get back to the entrance from the sulphur mines: 3 hours
Time it took to get back to our Kedah Impah Ijen accomodation: 1 hour
Time it took to get to breakfast before the buffet closed: 10 minutes
Prices as of Dec 2013
Entry to Kawah Ijen: 15 000IDR (1.29 USD)
Camera Pass: 30 000IDR (2.58 USD)
Cost of hiring a guide up Kawah Ijen: 150 000IDR (12.9 USD)
It was indeed a very merrymorable christmas.
Visiting Mount Bromo too? Read more about it here.