Java volcanoes

Seeing eight of East Java’s volcanoes in one hour

The small plane of Garuda Airlines, an ATR type aircraft, ascended from Blimbingsari Airport in Banyuwangi, East Java, to a beautiful morning with clear skies. It was a good thing that the seat number given to me was a left window seat and a little behind the wing of the plane. I looked out the window and all I can see was sloped greenery but in a few minutes, the outline of a volcano came into view. As it rounded the mountain, to my bewilderment, a bigger, ancient and probably extinct caldera unfolded and I was just speechless. At the southern part of this caldera is Kawah Ijen, the volcanic crater lake that we visited the night before, volcanic smoke emanated from its lip.

One of the most awaited views that I always anticipate when flying is seeing volcanoes up close or from the air. The Philippines does have several and some of these I’ve seen while in transit between Manila and Cebu. But I never expected that flying from Banyuwangi to Surabaya in East Java, Indonesia, I will at least see eight (!), yes, EIGHT volcanoes!!!

Philippine volcanoes as seen from the air: Mayon Volcano | Mayon Volcano early in the morning | Taal Volcano | Bulusan Volcano

Like the Philippines, Indonesia is within the so called Ring of Fire, a circle that is actually boundaries of tectonic plates around the Pacific Ocean. Where these plates meet are where volcanoes are found and Java, one of the biggest islands of Indonesia has lots of it. So much that even an hour’s flight will give you a chance to see several!

The Ijen Caldera stretches 20 kilometers end to end and is the first thing that you will see from Banyuwangi. You won’t miss it as the outline of the rim is noticeable. At the southern end are the volcanoes: Gunung Ijen with its crater, Kawah Ijen and another crater lake, Kawah Bulan Sabit. Closer to Gunung Ijen and marked with a white crater is Gunung Raung.

The next volcano is Gunung Argapura which is no longer active and is part of a bigger volcano complex. Gunung Lamongan is a smaller volcano between Argapura and Gunung Bromo. Despite its smal size, the cap of clouds at its peak against the landscape make it picturesque. This next two volcanoes are quite popular and I didn’t imagine that I will see it even from a distance. Gunung Bromo is what we often see in pictures with that beautiful and glorious morning light. But above, Bromo is not so defined unlike Gunung Semeru, the taller of the two, its white peak peaking from behind. And just before the flight lands in Surabaya’s airport, you can see the twin peaks of Gunung Arjuna and Gunung Arjuno which are just close to each other.

There, eight volcanoes in one hour and it is very much interesting to see all these. Just prepare your supertelephoto lens so that you can get a close up of these geologic wonders.

The eastern flank of the Ijen Caldera

The eastern flank of the Ijen Caldera

Close up look of Ijen Caldera with Kawah Ijen at the center area

Close up look of Ijen Caldera with Kawah Ijen at the center area

Gunung Raung which is just near the Ijen Caldera

Gunung Raung which is just near the Ijen Caldera

Gunung Argapura between Ijen Caldera and Gunung Bromo

Gunung Argapura between Ijen Caldera and Gunung Bromo

Gunung Lamongan in Ranuyoso is a smaller volcano

Gunung Lamongan in Ranuyoso is a smaller volcano

Gunung Bromo in the foreground and Gunung Semeru in the background

Gunung Bromo in the foreground and Gunung Semeru in the background

Gunung Arjuna

Gunung Arjuna

Gunung Arjuno

Gunung Arjuno

The Ijen Caldera is the biggest caldera in Java and to its southern part is a series of volcanoes and craters including Kawah Ijen

The Ijen Caldera is the biggest caldera in Java and to its southern part is a series of volcanoes and craters including Kawah Ijen

This trip made possible through the Wonderful Indonesia program of the Ministry of Tourism. Check out the official website, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But don’t forget to Like my Langyaw Media Facebook page for updates.

For stories during my WONDERFUL INDONESIA trip, click on the TRIP OF WONDERS tag.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications.

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces.

I’m open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

One Comment

  1. Estan Cabigas (@EstanCabigas)
    September 24, 2016 @ 11:58

    8 #volcanoes in 1hour?
    https://t.co/MhsR9gNNWq #tripofwonders #wonderfulindonesia @indtravel #geology https://t.co/MaS3U4BDG6

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