3 days in Java - Kawah Ijen & Mount Bromo
Meeting in Seminyak, our trip began with a long day of transport. This was done in a very comfortable minibus, taking us all way from South Bali up to Bedugul and further on to the ferry port in Gilimanuk. We passed through some incredibly beautiful, rural and untouched landscapes on the way, making a long day of transport a great experience itself.
Arriving in the village of the Bromo site, we had a delicious local dinner (including some of the best ginger I’ve had) and got the opportunity to buy some cheap, but surprisingly, warm beanies to protect us from the cold at an altitude of 2,300m. After that, we went early to bed, preparing ourselves to wake up at 3am the following morning.
Waking up at 3am is not nearly as bad, when you know what you’re about to experience - the mighty Mount Bromo.
Aboard an off-road 4x4 Jeep, we were taken to the “King Kong” viewpoint, overlooking the three volcanoes Bromo, Semeru and Batok.
When we arrived, it was still completely dark, giving us the opportunity to gaze at a totally clear and starry sky. Seeing shooting stars while the silhouettes of the volcanoes started to illuminate in the moonlight, was such a unique experience and I immediately knew what Indotravelteam meant, when they said we would feel the “volcano spirit”.
After watching the sunrise, we ascended to the Sea of Sand, a huge desert-like area around the volcanoes. Driving towards Bromo, you started to realise how small we are compared to these massive natural wonders. This realisation was became even more intensified, as we walked up to the edge of the crater at Bromo. Hearing the roar from the volcano while smelling the vapours of sulfur, you knew that this was not just another spot on your to-do travel list, but much more than that. Again, I’m certain that Indotravelteam were right in saying that we would remember these moments for the rest of our lives.
We were now ready to continue our trip towards our next destination - Kawah Ijen. Some hours later, we arrived at a nice hotel nearby the basecamp of Ijen, much in need of a bit rest before conquering another volcano.
The last day of our trip actually started on day 2 at 11pm. Driving for 2 hours through the night, we arrived at the basecamp at Kawah Ijen, meeting our local guides and getting our safety instructions. We were also given flashlights and gas masks before starting our ascend, making it easy and safe to navigate, despite it being in the middle of the night.
An hour of moderately intense hiking, we arrived at the top of Kawah Ijen, again just barely able to see the outlines of the volcano in the moonlight.
It was now time to descend into the crater to watch an incredible natural phenomenon - blue fire. The route down is steep and rocky, but the guides knew exactly how and where to walk, getting us all down with no issues. As we arrived at the bottom of the crater, we started to smell the sulphur and put on our gas masks.
Shortly after, we were met by the incredible sight of blue flames coming out of the crater, while workers were carrying big loads of sulphur, up the same steep crater we had just descended.
Just to the right of the site of the blue flames, we started to see the big acidic lake appear as the sun rose up behind the walls of the crater. A truly incredible view, that I still cannot quite compare to anything else I’ve experienced in Indonesia, or the rest of the world.
Full of excitement, we headed up to the top of the crater again and back to the basecamp, where our tour leader and driver were awaiting us.
Falling a sleep in the minibus back to Bali, I knew I had just created memories that will stick with me for the rest of my life.
by Oliver Kilde @okilde