I am completely ashamed to say, when I was packing in Brunei for this trip, I completely underestimated Ijen.
We don’t know each other very well, we were not acquainted yet.
At 12am, I was suited and booted and ready.
New shoes bought specifically for Ijen. Blue for the blue flame.
At 12am we assembled inthe lobby. Masks were distributed.
Why masks? The crater lake is reportedly one of the most acidic in the world – and that means terrible sulfuricbsmell that will pierce your eyes.
Then comes the safety briefing.
This is when I realise OMG I’m not ready for this hahahah.
We filed into 4WDs and off we went. The journey took 1 hour over precarious dark roads but was very calm, cool and windy.
Arrived! Ladies ready?
We were given face masks, but if you want to go down to the crater lake, you can rent better gas masks. I bought gloves though cause cold haha.
The total hike is 3km. 2km is supposedly flat land, easy walking, and last 1km, is more of a climb.
Eventhough it is dark:
I can certainly confirm that the first 2 km is a 45 degree incline and the last 1km is maybe 50-55 degree climb! Only the last 50m is somewhat less flat.
Half way up, there’s a lovely tuckshop.
Here I bought bananas and celebratory drink 😍
Kira aku cam confident lah nda lagi lama sampai. Haha.
The lady selling at the tuckshop said she’s there everyday and goes home every 10 days – what a life.
So onwards to the journey and everyone kept on saying flat land soon. Noooo its not flat hahaha. Just less steep!!!
My advice is just take it slow! And eventhough it’s so easy to just GIVE UP, I didn’t and so I continued up.
Eventually u will get there and that feeling of achievement and accomplishment is something that you can never buy.
With my “escorts” hahahaha. I think they were worried I’m gonna faint or something hahahah. Talked to them the whole way, asked about their lives, which part of Indonesia they were from, where their wives are from, what they do if not on this trip. Haha
Actually I love to hear about other people’s lives and love to ask questions. Apologies if u were ever in the mercy of mine hahahaa.
When we arrived, I had a choice of going down hill for 45 minutes to see the turquoise crater lake.
By the time I arrived, there was already a queue at the entrance so I didn’t and chose to see the sunrise instead.
So amazing 😭😭😭
This is the moment when I realised: I’m on Mt Ijen.
If I did go down, this is what I would’ve seen:
An amazing crater lake & Ijen’s signature blue flame.
Beautiful and turquoise.
This trek down is a precarious 45 minute descend which requires u to wear proper gas masks so be sure to rent them back at the base camp otherwise u can’t.
Anyway, as I sat down waiting for the sunrise, these are the things I saw and observed.
Sulphur miners were hard at work. And they carry up to 60kgs of sulphur daily down the mountain. Plenty of them overtook me on the way up (cause I’m so slow innit).
The sulphur is sold to agents who will in turn sell them in Surabaya.
As I was sitting and resting, Marul joined me and we made friends with these lovely ladies from the Netherlands.
Then sadly it was time to walk down.
When we went up, it was so dark so u can’t really see a thing. But on the way down, i realised that there were so many beautiful plants!
Spent so long just documenting and taking photos of them!
How is it that I didn’t see this big ass trunk on the way up??? This is why I’m so accident prone lah 😂😂
So beautiful and never seen in Brunei. Hehe. I guess these are cold weather plants.
Also on the way down, saw another mountain beyond the clouds.
Looks so far.
Sulphur sovenirs were also for sale. Unfortunately u have to hand carry them if u bought them as they’re not allowed in your luggage when u board the plane.
Anyway, we went down and drive back to the hotel, showered, skipped breakfast and slept for an hour before checking out.
Had lunch at this restaurant that overlooks Bali. Ravenous.
Also felt like my knees were made of jelly haha.
Then travelled on bus to a place called the Baluran National Park which made me feel like huh??? I’m in Africa????
Baluran is I feel so interesting. From the entrance we had to travel about 10km through an evergreen forest to get to this savannah.
We saw deer, and the biggest buffaloes I’ve ever seen in my life!
Read more here.
Then left Baluran and checked into our hotel, Hotel Santika. Really beautiful and modern.🙂
At this point it was about 9pm – I remember I was just SO READY TO PENGSAN. 😂😂😂
But it was definitely one of the best days of my life! Slept with a big big smile on my face.
Hashtag #mountaineer! 😂😂😂