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BROMO & IJEN: Wonderful Javanese Volcanoes

Two of the most impressive and interesting places I visited in Java are these incredible volcanoes. Bromo offers one of the most amazing views  I have ever seen plus a beautiful trek around the big caldera. Ijen, on the other hand, is culturally fascinating as workers harvesting sulphur and blue fire can be seen

7° 56' 34.6740'' S 112° 57' 11.4696'' E

Bromo Volcano

Solo hikking in Bromo

A beautiful trek can be done starting from the village of Cemoro Lawang. From there, this viewpoint over Mountains Bromo, Semeru, Batok and Widodaren, Tengger Caldera can be reached. Surrounding all the crater from the exterior we can enjoy the view for couple of hours. Later we will arrive to the plain called «sea of sand»


The view of the sunrise over Bromo left me speachless.


The name of Bromo derived from Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, the Hindu creator god

Java indonesia volcanoes
guided tour in bromo volcano
explore the bromo volcanoe alone
Explore Bromo volcano

This moon- like landscape can be very surprising in contrast with the typical tropical Javanese one


Even if called Bromo volcano, this is only the name of this crater. Mt. Bromo is inside the Tengger caldera, to its side there is Mt. Batok and Semeru is in the back

Discover bromo alone
4x4 in Bromo caldera

Jeep trips can be arranged, however I really enjoyed walking the «Sea of Sand»

8.058ºS, 114.242ºE

Ijen Volcano

Ijen volcano offers a very different experience. Both are incredible places and in my top travelling experiences. Like in the Mt. Bromo the visit to Ijen starts early in the morning. On this occasion even earlier, at around 2 am

how to see the blue fire lava ijen java indonesia
Sunrise at ijen

Local men work everyday from midnight to sunrise transporting the valuable sulphur

night trek in ijen blue lake

 (up) Turists and workers mix on the way to the crater, with very different purposes



Using long metal poles to break off chunks of yellow crust from the crater floor. The sulphur builds up around vents that belch out clouds of grey and yellow smoke from inside the volcano.

Bromo & Ijen-the blue fire of ijen volcanoe
How to see the blue fire in Ijen volcano

Tongues of blue flames ripple up the crater creating this extremely rare phenomenon. This is the spontaneous combustion of subterranean gasses as they seep out into the night air

self portrait breathing mask gas smoke

Even with the aid of a good mask, when getting too close to the fire or the source of the fumes the breath is often unbearable

Ijen without a guide
Bromo & Ijen-Workers in ijen volcano hikking

(Up) I found it incredible how the miners could work in those terrible conditions and still be willing to smoke, while for me it was hard enough to breath through the mask

Such physically demanding and hazardous work means miners’ average life expectancy barely reaches 50 years. More than 70 people have died in work-related accidents at Kawah Ijen in the past four decades, many due to the toxic fumes that billow suddenly from the rock’s fissures*

*TIME magazine

The miners will later sell the sulphur for developing cosmetics, matches, fertilizer, batteries or even sugar
01 Sulphur miners

During my stay in Java I also visited other volcanoes like this one, Kawah Putih, with intriguing blue colour lagoon over the crater (Bandung)

Kawah Putih volcano blue lake

Both volcanoes were for me amazing visits which I recommend to everyone. First the Mt. Bromo hike was probably the most beautiful view I have ever enjoyed. Breathtaking. Also walking around the caldera during a full day trek was easy and the contrast between the dry inside and the green surroundings was really astonishing.


On the other hand, the visit to Ijen was less spectacular from a landscape point of view. But seeing the miners, the blue fire and the experience of getting so close to the volcanic activity were all fascinating. However, it provoked mixed feelings, as getting to know so closely the poor conditions the miners work at was devastating. It clearly shows the labour exploitation that we often strive to hide or overlook.

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