- Hiking / Trekking
- Off the beaten track
At the foot of the volcano, begins a a short hike of about an 1h30 over an elevation of about 2 miles . It is true that this stage of the journey is not the easiest as the slopes are quite steep but remains surmountable because if I could do it, so can you. Halfway up you can come to a halt at a point where sulphur carriers must pass. In effect, these last stop at this sort of tollgate in order to weigh their blocks of sulphur and obtain a ticket that will be exchanged for money at the foot of the volcano.
All along the way you will come across them and some even sell figurines made of sulphur. It is mind-boggling to think that they carry blocks of 70 to 100Kg (154 to 220 pounds) and make the trip twice daily.
Once at the top, a breathtaking sight and I am not just talking about the sulphur vapour that can spout from time to time.
After too long a day in the bus, I had slept barely two hours when my guide woke me to tackle the Ijen volcano. An alarm call at midnight, one hour's drive in a Jeep and it was time to begin the ascent with a headlamp.
Two hours of climbing and a 45-minute descent later and I finally reached the blue flames. It was very difficult for me, but worth it, as the sight was absolutely incredible. It's not often that you can get close to the flames of a volcano in this way. At sunrise, the climb away from the volcano was much more straightforward and the view was fabulous. I could see the volcano's crater, the dying blue flames, the vivid yellow of the sulphur, the acidic lake and above all, a magnificent sunrise over the surrounding landscape. It was a difficult walk, but one of my best sunrises and one of the best memories of my trip to Indonesia.