Ijen plateau or known as “Kawah Ijen” is highly recommended to mountain buffs and hikers. The Plateau was at one time a huge active crater, 134 sq km in area. Today, Ijen is a quiet but active volcano, and the landscape is dominated by the volcanic cones of Ijen (2,368 asl) and Merapi (2,800 asl) on the northeastern edge of the Plateau, and Raung (3,332 asl) on the southwest corner.
The area is extremely beautiful. When you fly from Singapore or Jakarta to Denpasar, Bali, you could see a great green turquoise lake surrounded by white smoke from your plane window. The lake can be reached from either the east or the west. The latter is the more popular approach, since it takes just an hour and a half to hike up the mountainside from the road’s end. From the Banyuwangi side, however, the trek takes six to seven hours from the village of Licin.
Kawah IJen is 2,300 metres above sea-level. The enormous lake, which is 200 metres deep, contains approximately 36,000,000 cubic metres of steaming, acid water. A walk around the crater takes a full day. Kawah Ijen is the world’s largest highly acidic lake and is the site of a labor-intensive sulfur mining operation in which sulfur-laden baskets are hand-carried from the crater floor.
The magnificent turquoise sulfur lake of Kawah Ijen lies at 2148 m above sea level and is surrounded by the volcanos sheer crater walls. The vent is a source of sulfur and collectors work here, making the trek up to the crater and down to the lake every day. Sulfur collectors hike up in the morning and return around 1 pm when the clouds roll in. They carry shoulder basket of pure sulfur from a quarry on the lakes edge under the shadow of the sheer walls of the crater. The mineral at Kawah Ijen is purer and is worth commercial exploitation despite the horrendous labor involved: Javas homegrown sulfur is a natural source of sulfuric acid, in great demand in the oil-refining business and in the production of fertilizers.
THE BEST WAY TO REACH MOUNT IJEN
There are two alternative routes to reach Mount Ijen that used by the visitors frequently:
The Banyuwangi route is more difficult because the bed condition of road but most of the climber use this way. We start from Banyuwangi and then to the Licin district and continue to Paltuding. From Paltuding you just walk around one and half hour (2 KM) to reach Ijen Krater. The total distance between Banyuwang and Ijen Carter is 38 kilometers.
The route here is better than Banyuwangi route because good condition of Bondowoso road. From Bondowoso we will go to Wonosari, Sempol and then Paltuding. From Paltuding we just walk around one and half hour