The Ijen volcano complex is a group of strato volcanoes in between Banyuwangi and Bondowoso Regency, East Java, Indonesia. You can start both from Bondowoso or Banyuwangi. Best way is to start from Bondowoso and goes down by Banyuwangi if you want to continue to Bali. Bondowoso route has beautiful scenery but worse road.
Ijen Caldera is about 20 kilometers wide and the biggest crater lake in Java. Inside the caldera is a 1 km turquoise-colored lake, the primadona of this mountain. This caldera is the site of a labor-intensive sulfur mining operation, in which sulfur-laden baskets are carried by hand from the crater floor..
Ijen Crater has a unique phenomen where the crater lets out electric-blue flame, which makes tourist numbers increased. The phenomenon also happens in daytime, but only at night, people can see clearly the stunning blue fire. The blue fire is ignited sulphuric gas, which emerges from cracks at temperatures up to 600 degrees Celsius. It is the largest blue flame area in the world and local people refer to it as ‘Blue Fire’. Indeed the crater of Ijen is beautiful garden of stone as well.
Midnight hiking become the main option if you want to witness both the blue flame and the sunrise. It takes 1.5 hour tracking up, with quite steep route for beginner. Once you get on top, you need to get down to the crater to see the blue fire closely. But this route needs extra caution, and sometimes when the smoke goes to your direction, you cannot go further. You will meet a lof of sulphur miner on the same route, carying their sulphur on a wooden basket. As a responsible traveler, we have to give them way and let them through first. Consider carrying additional layers with you and only putting them on as needed. Though its really cold at first, you will get very warm very fast as you begin your ascend.
Spend a night in Ijen to explore the area. There are some waterfall, hot spring, coffee plantation and beautiful hills to explore. The whole Ijen area is owned by government company for coffee production. So you will see huge coffee plantation area. Villages around are lovely with every house in the same-design and beautiful little garden, all for the employees family. So don’t expect luxury hotels or cafe here, but enjoy the peaceful feeling of the village. If you want city-convenience, you can spend your night in Banyuwangi or Bondowoso city, with 1-2 hours distance from Ijen. Afterall, Ijen Crater is a one-of-a kind experience for every traveler.
The best time to visit Ijen crater is in dry season, between April – October. On heavy rain season, entrance only open by 3.00 am. For blue fire, best time to start is between 02.00 am and 04.00 am. A local guide is a must to help you down to crater. From the crater, you want to go for sunrise point by 4.00am. And be at sunrise point by 5.00 am.
The crater can be reached from either the east or the west by any kinds of vehicles, but the second part of the trip covers distance 3 km on foot or about 1,5 hours (jungle track). Extra 45-minutes walk down to the bank of the crater to see the phenomenal Blue Flame. Walk up from the crater and enjoy the sunrise and the beautiful turqouise lake.
The temperature drops at night, near the crater rim it can fall to about 10° to 2° Celsius. Refreshingly cool during the day even when the sun already risen. Daytime temperature is about 20°C. However, once you start hiking, your body will get much warmer.
There are not much option for food in Ijen area. Most of them are small stalls called “Warung”, there are no restaurant around this area. Forget looking for hotel restaurants, because there are only 2 hotels here owned by goverment-owned company. Just a few stalls which sells instant noodles, hot drinks, bread, and etc. So, bring snacks before you go up to Ijen area.
Positive attitude for sure
Bring warm clothes (jacket, sweater, gloves, scraft, etc), shoes
Sunrise shows around 05.00 am (if not cloudy)
Hire a local guide to accompany you down to the crater for blue flames
Bring a wet sniffer or mask, because the wind carries off the sulphur-smoke toward on track
Don’t rub your eyes when it’s sore because of the smoke.
If you come after00 am, unlikely you can see the whole crater, because of the thick smoke
Prepare mineral water and snacks to accompany while you hike
Eat before you start your trip
Prepare your camera and all of the gears to caputre the exoticness of Ijen and the mining.
Ijen is not just another mountain, it offers you a one-of-a kind experience. Contact us to make your best moments in Ijen!
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