Photo: A spectacular outlook.

Kawah Ijen from Banyuwangi

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The landscape of far eastern Java is dominated by the Ijen volcano complex—an over 15km wide ancient caldera of which the northern crescent-shaped rim is still clearly visible. Just to the southwest of the complex sits Gunung Raung (3,332m), while Gunung Merapi (2,803m) forms a part of its eastern slopes. In the shadows of Merapi, just to the west, lies the main attraction, the spectacular and other-worldly Kawah Ijen (2,350m).

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Superlatives sit well with Kawah Ijen. Ijen’s crater lake is not just Java’s largest crater lake, it is also the largest highly acidic crater lake in the world. Ijen is also famous for its “blue fire” (sometimes erroneously reported as being blue lava) a natural phenomenon caused by sulphuric gas igniting upon contact with oxygen. Most importantly though, Kawah Ijen is famous for its sulphur mining, a dangerous and difficult undertaking where miners pipe the escaping sulphuric gas through ceramic pipes, allowing it to condensate and gather in molten pools. Once cooled, the sulphur is broken up and lugged out of the crater—all as the workers labour in clouds of the toxic gas. In all of Indonesia there is nowhere quite as breathtaking (often literally) as Kawah Ijen and it ranks along side Bromo as a highlight for many first time ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,100 words.)


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