Jawah Ijen is a volcano famous for the miners who risk their lives to extract the sulphur, and for the acid lake in its crater.
Leave very early, or at night (with a guide) to see the blue flames - I didn't do it and I regret it. Think about taking a mask if you want to go to the bottom of the crater or you will be suffocated by the sulphur fumes.
Kawah Ijen is a place that you usually visit together with Mount Bromo, two inseparable visits that are a must do for any trip to Indonesia
. The road there is in such a bad state it keeps you on the edge of your seat so you can't sleep, despite having left so early in the morning that the sun is only just rising when you get to the car park.
The ascent of Kawah Ijen is easy enough for tourists, but you will admire the carriers trotting along with 60 to 80 kg on their back. This turns to complete amazement when you arrive at the crater and see where they get their yellows blocks from.
They have to go down to the bottom of the crater on a path that is barely visible among the rocks. The sulphur is extracted by the side of the acidic lake whose bright green colour makes you long to go swimming...I stayed to watch our guide, also a miner, collect his load whilst I realised that the effect of the sulphur on his unprotected lungs is very unpleasant... Kawah Ijen is a dangerously beautiful place
, where you feel truly humble faced with the work of these men who are sacrificing everything for their families.