Sulfur Porters

  • Written by:  Heinz von Holzen
  • Date Posted:  February 19th, 2015
  • Category:  
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For information in German please do use the following link

The brutal side of Sulfur

The journey starts with a comfortable 3.8 km hike up the slop of a volcano to the rim of the crater. Next follows an almost 175 meters vertical drop down into the steaming, smoking gut of the volcano. The porters then need to protect their faces with mostly a wet rug and step right into the poisonous fumes and chip out blocks of the hardened sulfur with which they fill two baskets weighting each about 35 kg. A bamboo stick then connects the basket and the porter carries the load back up to the rim of the volcano and three kilometer down to the collection point. The entire journey for one load takes approximately 5 hours for which the porter receives 625 Rupiahs per kilogram.

 The mathematics

One porter makes two trips daily and this six days in a row and then has to rest for one week.

900 Rupiahs per kg x 70 = Rp.63.000

2 loads a day = Rp.126.000

All this hard work for about = US$ 10 a day

Average life expectation 45 years

Please Help

During our journeys to East Java we have met and become friends with many of these porters. We now have committed ourselves to help these brutally hard working porters and their families as often as possible with clothes and some financial assistance. Three or four times a year we load up a small truck full of essentials and drive for four hours across Bali. In Gilimanuk we board a ferry for an hour and continue our journey in East Java where it will take a further three hours to reach the remote but exceptionally picturesque caldera of Kawah Ijen.


Obviously we always have plenty of empty space on our pick up truck and as a result we work hard to fill up all the empty space with your old clothes. We are certain that in your wardrobe you have plenty of linen that you have not worn for the past 12 months, making it an absolute nuisance to keep them any longer.

They get dusty moldy and for certain they are badly out of fashion. As you very well know yourself, we always run out of storage areas and periodic clearing is always most welcome. Please keep in mind that the mining area for the sulfur is at an elevation of 1500 meters over sea level and as such nights can be bitterly cold. This again means that even winter or baby clothes are most welcome. Unfortunately ball room dresses are not of much use……

Donate generously

Perhaps you wish to join us in our efforts to bring just a little sunshine into the dull lives of these incredible hard working people. To do so, simply bring your aged cloth to Bali, give us a call and we will pick them up from your hotel.

We will wash each piece and make 100% certain that each and every piece of cloth or shoes will reach the right person.

  • Welcome to Trekking and Volcano Adventures in Indonesia

    Unfortunately Indonesia is far too often for the wrong reasons in the lime light of the world press. Terror, tsunamis, earthquakes, destructions of rain forest and corruption seem to be the favorite subject of the media. To my great disappointment far too few people talk about the incredible cultural diversity of the nation, the enormous size, and totally forget to focus on the unbelievable beauty of this great nation.
Beside the incredible beauty of Indonesia, a nation is only as good as its inhabitants. I cannot think of another place on earth where you would find so many incredible kind people that will be delighted to look after you in a way normally only kings and royalty are treated.
 Hopefully these colorful stories will encourage many readers to pack a good pair of quality hiking boots and a backpack big enough to store the impressions of the countless memorable discoveries awaiting one throughout Indonesia. Selamat Jalan and happy trekking Heinz von Holzen Trekking @ Indonesian Trekking Adventure
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