Going to Ijen Crater (Kawah Ijen) was the most memorable experience of our trip to Indonesia.
We started the climb at 8am. It lasts 1h30 and is quite difficult because the road is very slippery and steep but it is really worth it. Not only for the scenery, the lake in the crater has an extraordinary bright turquoise blue color, but also to share a few hours with the sulfur miners, who make this trip once or twice a day with a basket filled with extremely heavy sulphide while breathing unhealthy air.
Despite their difficult working conditions, they are so friendly with tourists and help you the best they can to descend into the crater with them. They will also offer you to borrow gas masks in exchange of a few rupees. They will not be too pushy but they still expect to be tipped, which is the least you can do, given their extremely low salary.
HOW TO GET TO Kawah IJEN?
Kawa Ijen is located on the island of Java, but in the east, and very close to Bali. It is therefore quite possible and really worth it to organize a trip from Bali.
We came through the other side, just after Mount Bromo. For convenience, we booked a tour through a local travel agency, which included the transfer from Yogyakarta to Mount Bromo, then Kawah Ijen, 2 hotel nights with breakfast and transfer to the ferry port for Bali. We booked it at our guesthouse in Yogyakarta, Venezia Garden, for about 80 euros per person. In total, the tour lasts three days. This is certainly the simplest solution, it is not much more expensive than doing it by itself and it’s cool to be with fellow travelers.