Our Volcano Ijen adventure on Java!
You already know how we got to Java, Bunywangi on a local bus from Bali
We now wanna take you on an adventure to the amazing Ijen Crater located on the East Java, best known from its magnificent blue flames, visable at night!
The coast of the organised volcano tour at night
- entry fee (higher during the weekend)
- tourguide on a way up to the volcanoe and back.
A night hike towards the blue flames
The hike itself is not difficult as there’s heaps of people going up the same direction making it impossible to get lost on the track. The route up is pretty steep but well maintained so with some effort you will make it to the top in an hour and a half. By the top, I mean the place where you can take a look at the blue fire coming out of the crater. The blue colour is clearly visable only at night so it’s important to start your hike at around 2am. Taking some well-deserved rest and staring at the blue flames is an awesome reward.
Descent to the bottom of the crater
At the moment, May 2017, it is not possible to hike down to the bottom of the crater to see the sulphur blue flame from up close due to the high amount of the toxic gases. It is recommended to wear a mask which will filter the air and make your breathing easier. It really gets very intense at some point as the toxic cloud from the volcanoe can be blown at any direction any time, depending on the wind. It can be harsh to your throat, nose and eyes but it’s doable as well. So no need to panick. Just wear your mask when you feel it’s getting taugh and smelly. So what is coming out of the volcanoe is ignited sulphuric gas emerging from cracks at the creater floor at temperatures up to 600 Celcius.
It is also a site of sulphur mining operations. You can see miners flashlight right at the bottom at night. Sulphur chunks are carried by them in baskets from the creater’s floor. It is considered one of the hardest jobs on the planet due to the high toxicity of the surroundings and the miners have to carry their loads to the valley 3 kilomiters away to get paid. Pretty harsh. You can buy some sulphuric souvenirs from the miners at the price of 10.000IDR. It’s only 1$ but for them it’s a huge reward for their undoubtedely hard work.
Walk to the edge of the crater
The blue fire is just the beginning. From here, take the road up for another 20-30 mins. It will take you to the edge of the volcanoe overlooking the beautiful, emerald lake. If you make it there before 5:00am, you will encounter an amazing sunrise. The magic hour is just perfect for taking beautiful photographs while the volcanic peaks get the first beams of light and get illuminated. For the drone users, it looks like it’s a perfect place to fly above when the sun finally comes up. We encountered at least 6 independent drone pilots so we were pretty sad we decided to leave our phantom back in the hotel. We still managed to gather some excellent footage with our DSLR and GoPro.
A very pleasant morning
What a wonderful morning that was! With the magical, soft, sunrise colours you can truly enjoy the mother’s nature beauty. The blue fire is no longer visable but from now on, you can admire the most spectacular, indonesian surrounding with the volcanic peaks.
Take a slow walk back to the starting point of the hike and enjoy every moment. The lake inside the crater is fantastic with an intense emerald colour and the gas coming out of the crater is sometimes yellow. Spectacular.
You can get a lift up to the top!
When you decide to take a hike up but you will find it too difficult to continue, there’s many “taxi” possibilities. Local people just stand on the side of the track with some kind of trolleys and want to offer you an effortless ride to the top. We saw few people using this opportunity so even with an injury you can get to the top to admire this perfect location. What’s interesting, there’s a warung somewhere in the middle of the hike where you can buy something to eat, drink or just rest.
Take your time on a summit!
The place is very busy with tourists so if you want some more privacy by the crater, you could wait a bit longer after the sunrise. Most of the visitors decide to descent the track shortly after the sun comes up above the horizon. Take a moment and absorb the beauty around you. At 7am it will be less and less people on the top until you will be practically alone at around 9am. It’s worth the wait;) to sum up, it was a true highlight of the Eastern Java and it’s worth some trouble and effort to arrive to Bunywangi, the gateway to this volcanic attraction.