Destinations in Indonesia
The Breathtaking Ijen Crater
Surrounded by a landscape of lush coffee plantations and dramatic volcanic surrounds, Ijen Plateau is a quiet but active volcano with a stunning natural beauty that draws in visitors from around the world. It is the spectacular turqouise sulphur lake which fills the crater of Ijen which is the main attraction. The magnificent lake is located 2148 meters above sea level and is surrounded by the volcano’s sheer crater walls. At the edge of the lake, smoke billows from the vent of the volcano and the water begins to bubble whenever the volcanic activity increases.
Kawah Ijen (Ijen lake) is the world’s largest highly acidic lake. The vent also produces sulphur so it is the site of a labor intensive sulfur mining operation. Workers climb the crater every day transporting the sulfur by hand. Sulphur collectors are paid by the weight of what they collect and can carry loads of up to 70kg.
To see the stunning lake, visitors are recommended to hike during the dry season between April and October. The starting point for the trek is Pos Paltuding. The 3 km hike is steep and will take around 1½ hours. If you get up early and reach the peak for sunrise you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the sun emerging over magnificently dramatic scenery.
Nearby the volcano there are also coffee plantations, hot springs and waterfalls to explore.
While this is not the most accesible crater in Indonesia, it is well worth the effort to reach.
To climb Ijen Plateau you set out from Paltuding in East Java. Visitors can reach Paltuding from Bondowoso or Banjuwangi.
Ijen is closer to Banyuwangi but the road is very steep so you will need a four wheel drive. These can be hired through the Banyuwangi Tourist Office.
From Bondowoso it is around two hours by car to Paltudung. Minibuses also run from Bondowoso to Smpol however they only leave when they are full.
The easiest way to get to the crater is through a professional tour. Tours operate out of Surabaya that will take you directly to the crater and include transport in the cost.
Jalan Intan III Blok D No:14 BTN Bumi Selaparang Asri Belencong, Gunung Sari, Lombok Barat, West Nusa Tenggara - Indonesia.
Phone: +62 370 647327
Fax: +62 370 6163160
Be prepared for the smell of sulphur as it can be overwhelming.
The path to the lake can be slippery in parts so bring shoes with good grip and take care.
If you are hiking to see the sunrise take plenty of extra clothing as it is very windy and cold.