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Indonesia is home to a few of the most majestic volcanoes, the Kawah Ijen being one of them. The volcano is famous for its ‘blue fire’ and breathtaking blue crater lake. It’s a very rare phenomenon which you definitely don’t want to miss during your trip to Indonesia.
The Ijen is situated in East-Java, fairly close to its brother Mount Bromo. This makes it convenient to visit both volcanoes. We really recommend visiting both volcanoes, as they’re both truly fascinating and absolutely unique.
In this complete guide, we provide you with all information about climbing the Kawah Ijen volcano in Indonesia: what you should bring, what you should wear, how to climb the Ijen with or without a tour and where to stay in Banyuwangi.
Getting ready for your trip to the Kawah Ijen, Indonesia
Packing your daypack
One of the most important things is a nicely packed daypack. We use the Lowepro Tahoe backpack as a daypack, and it works great for us. The things we’ve found absolutely necessary:
- Some snacks and plenty of water, because you will need a refreshment after climbing the steep volcano.
- A flashlight, because until sunrise it’ll be really dark and the tracks aren’t all good.
- A gasmask, to protect yourself from the toxic gasses.
What to wear
It can get really cold at the Ijen at night, and especially very windy. That’s why we advise you to wear warm clothing. It’s smart to layer up a bit, so you can take something off when you get sweaty from the hike. Another good advice is to wear some firm shoes. The track up to the crater is quite steep and rocky, so definitely avoid your flipflops.
Climbing the Kawah Ijen vulcano with a tour
If you don’t have a lot of time, we would advise you to book a tour. This means your tour operator will arrange accommodation, transportation and entrance tickets for you. It can be costly, but spares you a lot of fuss.
There are loads of local tour operators that can help you from Probolinggo, but also from Yogyakarta or Bali. Our advice is to hit the streets and check out different tour operators. In that way, you can compare their offers. Also make sure to read some reviews online. We booked a tour with Master Holidays which took us from Yogyakarta, to Mount Bromo, then to the Kawah Ijen and finally to Bali.
Climbing the Kawah Ijen vulcano on your own
Visiting the Kawah Ijen vulcano on your own is definitely the most adventurous and the cheapest. It can take up a lot of your time, but if you have some time on your hands, this option is worth it!
If you’re coming from Probollinggo, take a train to Banyuwangi. This will take around five hours and costs around 6 euros. Book yourself a nice accommodation in the village and check to see if your accommodation provides transport to the Kawah Ijen. If not, you can also rent a scooter and go there by yourself. It’s a 35-kilometre drive to the base of the vulcano.
If you want to see the famous blue fire, make sure you’re at the Ijen ticket office down at the base at 2.30 am. It depends on the mountain’s activity, but that’s the time the office opens most of the time. A ticket to the park costs 150.000 Rp (10 euros) for foreigners.
After you get your ticket, you can walk up to the park gate. Here you wait for the park to open, and from there you just follow the track that leads to the top. There’s only one path, so you definitely won’t get lost.
When you reach the crater lake, it’s time to go into the volcano to see the blue fire. Be careful here, because the track gets rocky. Check to see if there are other travellers going to the blue fire and follow them.
Where to stay near the Kawah Ijen vulcano
Banana Homestay (Banyuwangi): this hostel is one of the top choices in the Banyuwangi area and is famous for its friendly staff. You can get a room for two with airconditioning and breakfast costs 135.000 Rp (10 euros). Book this accommodation here!
OYO 496 Eston House** (Banyuwangi): this hostel is located in the center of Banyuwangi, which makes it the perfect base if you’re visiting the Ijen on your own. A standard room for two with airconditioning and breakfast costs 330.000 Rp (23 euros). Book this accommodation here!
Jiwa Jawa Resort Ijen*** (Banyuwangi): if you’re looking for some more luxury, this is the place for you. The rooms have a nice view of the garden and the mountains. A room for two with airconditioning and breakfast costs 2.000.000 Rp (140 euros). Book this accommodation here!
If you have any questions regarding the Kawah Ijen vulcano, please drop a comment in the comment section below!