Hiking the great outdoors
Bangsring Breeze is situated in an area highly recommended for those who love the outdoors.
Our resort is laying amidst small plots of farming land and teak tree plantations, conveniently welcoming you for short afternoon walks.
A short boat drive aboard our boat will bring you to Menjangan Island and the West Bali National Park where our guides will accompany you to explore the park.
At less than an hour drive from Bangsring Breeze we offer our guests a range of activities and excursions within the Baluran Natural Park.
A vast forest preservation area, Baluran National Park is renowned for its beautiful scenery and is ideal for enjoying safari activities. Located at the north-eastern extremity of East Java - Indonesia, the park consists of hills, monsoon forests, mangrove forests, savanna and lowland forests. Baluran (1247 meters) is an extinct volcano located at the centre of the park.
The highlights of our hiking / trekking locations however would have to be the highlands of East Java around Mount Bromo and Semeru and in particularly the Ijen plateau or known as “Kawah Ijen”.
The Ijen Plateau was at one time a huge active crater, 134 square kilometres in area. Today, Ijen is a quiet but active volcano, and the landscape is dominated by the volcanic cones of Ijen (2,368 meters), Merapi (2,800 meters) on the northeastern edge of the Plateau and Raung (3,332 meters) on the southwest corner.
At the Kawah Ijen you will find the world’s most acidic lake. The magnificent turquoise sulfur lake of Kawah Ijen lies at 2,148 meters above sea level and is surrounded by the volcano its sheer crater walls. The vent within the Kawah Ijen is also the source of elemental sulphur.
The Kawah Ijen’s homegrown sulphur is a natural source of sulphuric acid and is in great demand in the oil-refining business and in the production of fertilisers.
But, it is not these attributes that gives Kawah Ijen international recognition. Instead, it are Kawah Ijen’s extraordinary sulphur miners who give it recognition through their work in this surreal setting.
The Hike to Kawah Ijen
From the car park at Pos Paltuding, the 3 km (1.5 hour) hike to the rim of the Ijen crater is well marked and not particularly difficult, but it is all uphill so you need to be reasonable fit. It’s best to visit in the dry season (April - October) and hike early in the morning before the clouds roll in and obscure the view.
The first section of the hike is on a wide, well worn track and travels through a tropical, misty forest. At around the 2 km mark, you will reach a small shelter that is used as a sulphur weighing station and a rest stop for the miners. Beyond there, the trail narrows but the views open up to lush forest slopes and the volcanic landscape of the Ijen Plateau.
You’ll notice the distinct sulphur odour as you approach the crater’s rim. You might want to bring a mask or a bandana to cover your mouth and nose. The view from the rim is nothing short of stunning. The 200 meter deep lake sits inside the Ijen crater and its almost garish blue-green colour contrasts sharply with the sheer, grey crater walls.
Many people are content with the view from the rim, and signs warn that it is dangerous to go beyond this point. If you wish to get a closer look at the bottom of the crater, we strongly advise you to approach one of the Ijen sulphur miners and ask for their guidance down the steep, rocky path that leads into the crater and down to the sulphur deposits and steaming vents of acidic gases.
What you will witness at the bottom in the crater can only be described as unearthly, film set-like and just a little bit crazy!
The Kawah Ijen sulphur miners
Two hundred meters below the rim, near the edge of the lake, miners work in inferno-like conditions. Molten sulphur drips slowly from the end of ceramic pipes and pools on the ground where it cools, solidifies, and turns bright yellow. Workers use crowbars to break the sulphur into chunks that they load into large baskets. The fumes are intense but miners use no protective equipment. Most wear only thin t-shirts, cotton pants, and flimsy rubber boots.
When baskets are filled, miners walk back up to the rim on the perilously steep trail carrying 60-80 kg loads. They deliver the
sulphur 3 km down the mountain, and then they walk back up and do it all over again. The Ijen miners are paid by the weight of sulphur they transport each day. The average wage is 10-13 US$/day.
One might say that at the Kawah Ijen the raw beauty of nature meets the harshness of life. No matter how often we visit this incredible powerful place, we continue to be overwhelmed by the scenery and humbled by the men who earn their living here.
Watching the miners go about their daily work, a job so physically demanding and dangerous, you’ll think twice about ever complaining about your job. These men are truly amazing, and they’ll stay in your thoughts long after you’ve left Kawah Ijen.