Bali, Indonesia, March 2019

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Took a week-long trip to Bali in March with three of my friends. It’s the first trip that I’ve been on with just my friends, without the help of my family or school.

The original reason we decided to travel to Bali wasn’t actually to visit Bali itself. One of my friends had done some searching and found a volcano called Kawah Ijen, which is located in East Java. Kawah Ijen is known for its blue flames, which occurs when sulphur deposits atop its peak ignite and burn blue.

What the blue flames looked like in Google Images
What the blue flames looked like in Google Images

To reach the observation area, we had to climb down a few hundred metres worth of rocky terrain, down into the crater of Kawah Ijen. Unfortunately, it was pretty crowded at the observation area, and I wasn’t armed with anything spectacular to take photos with, so the photos turned out quite unimpressive.

What the blue flames actually looked like
What the blue flames actually looked like

Only minutes after we caught a glimpse of the flames, they were put out by the miners, because leaving it burning for too long would result in the sulphur deposits burning away. These miners make a living out of mining the sulphur deposits, so leaving the flames on would literally be burning away their source of income.

As we were chilling near the crater lake, some of the rocks in an overhang above the lake had broken off and fell into the lake, which produced dangerous acidic gas. The miners started shouting Run, run! and everyone started to panic. Screams could be heard as all of us tourists climbed back up and out of the crater as fast as possible. I was genuinely terrified as I tried to ascend up the few hundred metres worth of rocks and boulders.

We managed to reach the safe distance in time, and snapped a few shots of the billowing gas cloud along with the crater lake.

Gas cloud masking our view of the crater lake
Gas cloud masking our view of the crater lake

It was an intense but satisfying experience that I would really recommend to anyone who loves nature and some element of adventure. As we descended, we got an amazing view of the neighbouring mountain too.

Say hello to my friend, Yadunand
Say hello to my friend, Yadunand

While we were planning the trip, we had entertained the idea of continuing further west to visit Mount Bromo, but we eventually decided against it, choosing to stay within Bali instead. We hired a driver, Made, that had taken my family and me around when we had visited Bali a few years ago. He brought us around to the various attractions and destinations that we had picked, like the Bali Safari and Marine Park and the Bali Bird Park.

Lions at the Bali Safari and Marine Park
Lions at the Bali Safari and Marine Park

It was a good break from the hectic hike that was Kawah Ijen. But of course, we weren’t done with thrilling experiences yet. We decided to go white water rafting, which meant hurtling down a 12km long river in nothing more than an inflatable raft. Each of us were equipped with a single paddle and a life vest, for safety.

Luckily, there was a guide that was in the boat with us. It was crazy how he managed to guide the boat down the river with just his bodyweight and a paddle of his own.

The guide who managed to keep all of us alive
The guide who managed to keep all of us alive

We also visited the Kanto Lampo Waterfall, which was incredibly beautiful. The water was very cold though; I was sneezing my nose off afterwards.

Under the freezing cold water trying desperately to pose
Under the freezing cold water trying desperately to pose

Made also brought us to the Uluwatu Temple to watch the sunset, which is said to be exceptionally beautiful from the temple. He wasn’t wrong.

Heavenly view of the sunset from Uluwatu Temple
Heavenly view of the sunset from Uluwatu Temple

Overall, it was an amazing week in Bali. Not only did we get to witness the incredible sights and sounds that Bali had to offer, we also experienced intense adventures and ate so much delicious food. I felt very refreshed after this trip, ready to tackle the coming school year.

Slightly proud, but I’m more excited about the future trips to come.