[3 MIN READ]
WHERE IS IT?
Kawah Ijen, the biggest crater lake in Java, is located in the Banyuwangi Regency of East Java, Indonesia.
HOW TO GET THERE?
We did this trip along with the Mount Bromo trip, so we drove for about 5 hours from Mount Bromo to Bondowoso where we got our resting hotel before embarking on another 30-45 minutes car ride to the Ijen’s post the next day.
If you’re planning to come straight from Jakarta, you could also take direct flights with Citilink, Garuda Indonesia, NAM Air for only about USD 85 round trip. The flight will take approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.
HOW MUCH DID IT COST?
We got a tour package along with Mount Bromo from @bromoadventour so the total cost was USD 85 / pax for 4 people for a 2-day and 1-night trip. The cost was not inclusive of our flights and not inclusive of the 1-night hotel I booked prior to the Ijen trip. Meals were not included as well.
For the routes I took, flight cost around USD 80 in total flying into Surabaya from Jakarta and leaving from Banyuwangi back to Jakarta. The resting hotel was about USD 20. In total, the cost was around USD 185. Meals were pretty cheap in the area so we probably spent another USD 10 – USD 20 for food.
IS IT WORTH IT?
ABSOLUTELY YES!!! I was surprised it took me this long to get here, maybe because it’s not as highly advertised as other destinations in Indonesia like Bali, so my knowledge about the place was limited. But this trip was so worth it and was extremely different and rewarding compared to all my previous trips. How many people in the world have ever seen the blue fire you think?
CAN YOU GO BY YOURSELF WITHOUT A GUIDE?
Yes, the hike was pretty straightforward and you’ll see groups of other hikers going the same way so you wouldn’t get lost.
After we got to our resting hotel (Palm Hotel at Yani Bondowoso) from a 5-hour car ride from Mount Bromo, we all slept like babies and got really amazing rest we all needed. The last 24 hours were very exhausting but fun at the same time. When we checked out from the hotel after midnight, it only took us about 30-45 minutes driving from Bondowoso area to the Ijen’s base. We got there at around 2AM. When we looked up, there were hundreds of sparkling little surprises in the sky. The sky was even darker than Mount Bromo’s so the stars were brighter. The road was pitch black but there were so many other groups doing the hike and we were with our guide so we weren’t worried.
The first 2-hour hike wasn’t hard because we were mostly walking uphills in smooth terrains, however, it was very steep and some of us had to stop a few times to catch a breath. It was also made a bit harder by the fact that we couldn’t see anything other than what was light up by the flashlight. When we finally got to the top, we could see sparks of blue fire from afar. We wanted more so we decided to walk further down.
Now, this is the challenging part. Our guide was very skilled in knowing which rocks to step on and he tried his best to find us the easiest route down. Luckily it wasn’t raining the day before, I would imagine this hike to be very slippery and dangerous if the rocks were wet. That’s why it’s really recommended to wear good shoes, you don’t need hiking shoes, but good sneakers will definitely help. The way down took another 30 minutes but the blue fire view was really spectacular.
I tried to take a few pictures but my camera was not really equipped to take that kind of pictures, the results came out a bit blurry. Our guide did get some pretty cool shots though (below). One thing to note is the smell of the sulfur was very strong and it made it almost hard to breathe so do remember to take a mask with you. Ours was provided to us by our guide.
After the sunrise, the blue fire started to fade. It’s basically still there but you just can’t see it because of the sun. We then walked further down to the lake. The lake looked pretty amazing with its turquoise color water, but do not be fooled by its beauty because it is highly poisonous and highly acidic. Do not touch the water with your skin, you can stay closer to the water for the picture, but just keep your hands to yourselves.
THE WAY BACK
Our way back was much easier because we were going downhills. What surprised me was the view. It was very different than the one I saw on my way to the Blue Fire, well it was pitch black so I really couldn’t see anything. There were volcano mountains and the big lush of jungles made it feel like I was in a Madagascar movie.
We started the hike at around 2AM and we got back to our car at around 7:30AM so in total the whole trip took about 5.5 hours. It didn’t feel that long because what awaited us at the end was worth the sweat. Please keep the place clean when you visit and don’t forget to tell it to your closest friends.
PS: Some of the pictures were taken by our guide Alfan from @bromoadventour. Thank you for sharing them with us!