Blue Fire at Ijen Volcanoe


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

We got a lift to our homestay from a strange guy who happened to be a driver taking tourists to Ijen Crater at night. We decided to pay 300.000IDR per person for the whole trip which included
  1. transport,
  2. mask,
  3. torch,
  4. entry fee (higher during the weekend)
  5. tourguide on a way up to the volcanoe and back.
You could probably do it cheaper by hiking on your own and arranging just the transportation. We were picked up at 00:30 and after an hour drive we reached the starting point of the walk. Even though it is Indonesia it gets quite chilly at night, especially in the mountains. Do not worry it is possible to rent a jacket.

 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.

9 Replies to “Blue Fire at Ijen Volcanoe”

  1. naturaleeashlee says: Reply

    Visiting natural landmarks is then best part of travelog to other countries. It’s much more thrilling than!

    1. You are totally right:)

  2. Your pictures look amazing! Definitely not something my travel agent could help me book but I’d totally do this! Thanks for sharing all the details!

  3. Walkingwiththepack.wordpress says: Reply

    Wow!! This looks amazing, another destination to add to my travel list. I can’t imagine how breathtaking it is up there

  4. I never would have thought of making a hike like this at 2am, but being able to see the sunrise would make it so worth it! If you take one of the ‘taxi’ options for the ride up, do they typically provide the masks? That would make spending the extra worth it! Thanks for this cool idea!

    1. I am pretty sure mask was available, for an extra cost, though! It wasn’t very expensive, that’s for sure:)

  5. Wow this place looks amazing. Great pictures

  6. Sounds like an amazing adventure! Not many people can say they journeyed inside a volcano!

  7. I was meant to do this hike but I was sick on the day. I’m so sad I missed it!

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