How To Reach There
The Ijen Plateau can be reached through Bondowoso from either the northern or the southern coast. It is closer to Banyuwangi, but the road is very steep and badly deteriorated. A 4 WD is essential, although difficult to hire in Banyuwangi and outrageously expensive. Most people walk the last 8 km along the road to Pos Paltuding (the PHPA Post, the starting point or the trek to the crater) from Bondowoso.
What To Bring
- Gas masks: due to the strong pungent smell from the sulphur in the blue lake, this is highly recommended to bring or rent.
- Scarves – also to protect yourself from the sandstorm.
- Headlight: if you are going to hike Mount Ijen at around 2:30 or in the midnight, this is a must.
- Comfortable Shoes – wear either a trainer or hiking shoes. Don’t wear sandals or open-toed shoes as it is quite grumpy.
- Light jackets and layers – the temperature can be a little chilly if you plan to be in the area before sunrise.
Kawah Ijen weekday entrance fee – 100,000 Rupiah.
Kawah Ijen weekend entrance fee – 150,000 Rupiah.
Best time to visit Mount Ijen
The best time to visit Mount Ijen is between April and October as this is the dry season. If you choose to visit during November and March it is the rainy season so the path can be quite muddy and slippery, which will make the hike substantially harder.
To see the famous blue fire (often mistakenly referred to as blue lava) you need to hike to the crater of the Kawah Ijen volcano before sunrise. This requires a very early start as it takes around 90-120 minutes to hike to the crater viewpoint. To get there in time you realistically need to start the hike a minimum of 2 hours before sunrise, but preferably even earlier if possible!
If you have the time, we recommend to plan an extra day or two in the area. Occasionally toxic gases are released from the crater, which results in Mount Ijen being closed off to tourists. If you’re unlucky enough to visit when it is closed, staying an extra day or two could end up being the difference between being able to visit and not being able to visit!
Hiking Mount Ijen
Assuming that you’re taking a sunrise tour to see the blue fire, then it will still be dark when you arrive to the Mount Ijen car park. Gas masks are available to rent at the start of the hike, but alternatively you can bring your own. After you’ve got everything you need, it’s time to begin the climb.
The first kilometre is uphill but shouldn’t prove to be too much of a challenge. In contrast the second kilometre is very steep and we personally found it extremely tough. We recommend taking your time at this point and even stopping if you need to as it is the hardest part of the hike. Once you’ve finished that section there is around another kilometre and a half to go until you reach the summit of Kawah Ijen. Although this section is still uphill, it’s thankfully nowhere near as tough as the second kilometre.
It takes around 90-120 minutes to hike to the summit of Mount Ijen from the car park. That being said, the hike can be completed in less time if you are relatively fit. If you aren’t used to strenuous physical activity then it may take longer than 2 hours to reach the top, so it’s worth keeping that in mind if you want to see the blue fire!
Watch The Blue Fire
The viewpoint at the summit of Kawah Ijen offers great views of the crater and its large acid lake. When you arrive at the summit it is still likely to be dark, so you won’t be able to enjoy these views until after sunrise. In the darkness you will be able to see the blue fire that Ijen is famous for, but for the best view you need to actually hike down into the crater.
Although the phenomenon of blue fire occurs both day and night at Mount Ijen, it is only visible in the dark. For this reason it’s important to arrive as early as possible so that you can observe the blue flames before sunrise. If you arrive too late or take too long to hike up, then you’ll miss your chance. Blue fire such as this rarely occurs elsewhere in the world, making Mount Ijen one of the best places to see it. It’s a truly incredible spectacle, so it’s well worth the early start!
For the best view of the blue fire you have to hike into the crater of Mount Ijen, but you should still be able to see it from the summit viewpoint.
Mount Ijen is also home to the largest highly acidic crater lake in the world. The water in the crater lake is a distinctive turquoise-green colour and contains both hydrochloric and sulphuric acids.
From Mount Ijen to Mount Bromo
Heading west, your next stop DIY should be Mount Bromo. To get to Mount Bromo, you’ll first need to get to Probollingo.
There are several trains from Banyuwangi to Probollingo. If time is a factor, you can go to train station straight after climbing Mount Ijen:
Train: Mutiara Timur Siang
Departure time: 8:30am or 9:00am
Price: 85,000 IDR / $6.40 Business class; 120,000 IDR / $9.00 Executive class (approximate)
Journey: 5 hours
If you want to have a trip to Mount Bromo and Mount Ijen within a few days, we can provide you several plans which is relaxing and not packed. Visit Tourmountbromo and take a look.