Travel like a local – Bali to Java

Ever since we discovered that Java is an amazing volcanic island with the Ijen crater famous for its blue fire, we just couldn’t wait to go there. We figured that we can travel like a local from Bali to Java and save some money, while gaining local cultural experience. Oh boy, it was not going to be easy…

On a bus with the economy ticket…

Bali to Java journey – let the adventure begins!

As soon as we got to the bus station and went to the ticket booth, the price that was quoted was double the regular amount the locals pay. After a bit of a struggle, we managed to buy our 90000IDR economy tickets, which include ferry ride and go directly to Banyuwangi…so they said. We boarded a pretty modern bus, put our luggage in the trunk and it was all looking pretty good. After we started the journey, the bus stopped literally 200 meters away and we were redirected to another bus. We had to transfer our luggage and find some space for it in the „new” rusty vehicle. There was no air-con and most of the passengers were smoking one cigaret after another, simply throwing butts on the floor. There was loud, overwhelming music in the speakers  and although the bus seemed pretty full we were still waiting for more passengers, and finally departured  30 minutes later. There were yet more people to board. They just stand on the side of the road and yell at the bus to stop and the  driver did so every 5 min to pick up additional passengers. Then, the bus stopped again just on the side of the road for about 45 mins. It turned out that the passengers from the another  bus would be squeezed in with us. The crowd was sitting in the middle of the vehicle on the plastic stolls – quite a solution.  Meanwhile, another western looking couple was struggling to find a place for themselves on the bus. Our hearts were a little bit lifted that we are not the only tourists going through that misery.

We made it to the ferry!

The route to the ferry took another 5 hours. Only the small windows were open providing just a little bit of fresh air and the sun behind the window had no mercy. Finally, we could get some air aboard the ferry. It was a moment of relief as we could stretch our legs and breath some fresh air.


That’s not the end of the story…

As soon as we got to Java, we were asked to leave the bus as it was not going to Banyuwangi, after all! We were advised to take taxi but we did not want to spend more on that trip. Together with our new friends from Belarus, we finally found small minibus that took us to the town, but wanted additional money which we did not give him, because we already paid for tickets to Banyuwangi. We decided to walk the last bit to our hostel. It turned out to be further than we anticipated, so we sat on the side of the road to rest for a while. Out of nowhere, a guy came by and offered us a ride for free to the hostel, that was a bit suspicious. It turned out that he is a guide and he provides blue fire night tours to Ijen, and that was his way to introduce us to his offer. It happened to be a fair price and we went to Ijen Crater the same night to see the magnificent blue fire, stunning sunrise and jaw-dropping views, but this is a different story… Read about it HERE

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