Day Three: Trekking Kawah Ijen, Coban Sewu and Goa Tetes Waterfall

*This is a guest blog entry. For more details on our guest blogger, please scroll to the end of the entry!  

[This is part 4 of a series of 4 entries for my 4D3N trip to East Java, Indonesia. For my previous entries, click here, here and here.]

Itinerary for the day

Kawah Ijen Trekking -> Coban Sewu and Goa Tetes Waterfall -> Dinner -> Hotel 88

We checked out from our accommodation and departed at 12.00am. After a 2 hour drive, we arrived at the starting point of our Kawah Ijen trek at Paltuding. The temperature felt colder than Mt. Bromo, but you won’t feel cold for long, once you begin your 3 km trek up to the rim of the crater, and the steep descent of 45 to 60 degrees down the crater.

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As we descended down the crater, there was a constant flow of sulfur miners passing us by. Our guide, Eko, explained that they were making their daily rounds carrying up to 90 kg of processed sulfur on the back of their shoulders up the crater. Each miner usually makes 2 trips daily. As the path to the crater is very steep and uneven, do try to get out of the way and provide them a clear path when you see the sulfur miners approaching! Some sulfur miners will try to sell mini sculptures (such as mini turtles, flowers etc.) carved from the sulfur stones – you may want to consider purchasing from them but if you decline, they will not persist.

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Finally, we see the blue flames burning brightly amidst the curtains of smoke arising from the active vent. The flames burn blue not because the lava is blue – when the sulfuric gases react with oxygen, they ignite and burn with a flame that is electric blue. You will notice miners working near the edge of the lake and the active vent of the volcano. These miners are breaking off the sulfur that has cooled and solidified, to haul it up the crater.

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As the sun began to rise, we made our way back to the crater rim, and we could finally take in the panoramic view of the world’s largest highly acidic lake! The lake is turquoise-blue as a result of its extreme acidity (with a pH of almost 0), with high concentration of hydrochloric acid. The hydrogen chloride gas emitted from the volcano reacted with water to form hydrochloric acid.  During the day, although the electric blue flames are obscured by sunlight, the views of the whole caldera and the acid lake with the sun rise as the back drop are stunning and the surroundings are worth exploring!

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The trees are all bare due to a fire some years back. As I walked past these tree skeletons and observed the unique landscape, I felt like I was entering an enchanted forest!

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Finally, we decided to head back to the parking area! The walk down is, as expected, much easier than the walk up. You will pass by the cafe where the nature toilet is, and where your guide obtained the gas masks! Do note that coffee and tea is sold at the cafe at a higher price, to account for the cost of transporting the ingredients AND transporting water up to the cafe! According to my guide, there is no electricity supplied to the cafe, and all hot water is prepared by boiling water over fire and storing them in thermos flasks! Then again, it is nice to take a well-deserved rest and listen to the cheerful conversations among the guides, while sipping a warm cup of coffee or tea :).

The usual itinerary which follows would be an 8 hour drive back to Surabaya, with an optional visit to the shopping centre – Tunjungan Plaza Surabaya.

However, my friends and I opted to go to Coban Sewu and Goa Tetes Waterfall instead! On the way there, we stopped by for lunch and this was THE lunch where we had THE Ayam Soto :P.

Do note that opting for this would mean additional time and cost involved. The drive to the waterfall took approximately 6 hours, the trek itself took approximately 3 hours, and the drive back to Surabaya took approximately 3 and a half hours. Further, an additional cost of 250,000 IDR is payable to your driver and guide to cover petrol, local guide, and food cost. Nevertheless, we all agreed that it was well worth the time, energy and money spent!

Tip: You will have the opportunity to get wet and swim in waterfalls so do remember to wear wet attire. Sandals or shoes are highly recommended!

The descent down to the base of the waterfall included climbing down wooden steps, ‘belaying’ down tyre ropes’, walking across steel planks, installed by the locals to make the place a safer tourist attraction. As we reached the base of the waterfalls, we were surrounded by cascading waterfalls for 270 degrees of our view~ and this is just the beginning!!! 😀 Here, I shall let the pictures do the talking 🙂

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We managed to complete the trek and reach the parking area before sunset! (Hurrah!) The guide’s family prepared mee goreng for us which was really delicious~ and we were headed for our 3 hour drive back to Surabaya.

It was truly a fruitful day, and a perfect way to end our trip 🙂

For more information on our guides and travel tips, read our first entry here.

More about our guest blogger

Yumi is a full-time lawyer who enjoys travelling to remote places and going on hikes. She is an advocate of solo travel and loves interacting with locals. To get in touch with her, email her at: bongyumi92[at]gmail.com 🙂

< Previous: Day Two – Mount Bromo and about

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