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How to visit Kawah Ijen, the crater with amazing blue fire

How to visit Kawah Ijen, From Jakarta / Yogyakarta / Surabaya : train travel on Java

Train from Probolinggo to Banyuwangi : we paid 450.000 rupiah for 2 tickets in Executive class (1st class) on tiket.com. Economy and Business class are obviously cheaper. Having tried both Business and Executive class, I don’t recommend you Executive as it is exactly the same as Business, only a bit more expensive. We didn’t try Economy but I am sure it is not as bad as everyone thinks. There are several train station in Banyuwangi, make sure you choose the one closest to your hotel. or you can book privat tour to Ijen expedition tour 

booking privat tour here

From Bali

Going to Ijen volcano from Bali is very easy and straightforward.

  • Bus to Gilimanuk : around 40,000 rupiah per person, leaving from Denpasar bus station. The large buses are much more comfortable and cheaper than the minivans.
  • Ferry from Gilimanuk to Banyuwangi : 6,500 rupiah per person

If you plan to travel to Bali after visiting Ijen, do not let you fool by the minivan and bus drivers who will hail you at the ferry terminal. When we arrived they offered us 150,000 rupiah per person for the ferry plus bus to Denpasar. If you take one of their minivan or bus it shouldn’t cost you more than 50,000 rupiah per person.

The ferry terminal in Banyuwangi is located opposite the train station. From there to go to the centre of Banyuwangi you need to take a yellow minivan or a tricycle. The yellow minivans are like a shared taxi that you can hail and stop wherever you want, as long as it is roughly on their route. Don’t pay more than 5,000 rupiah per person.

booking privat tour here

How to go to Ijen volcano from Banyuwangi

Once you are in Banyuwangi, you still need to arrange transportation to go to the entrance of Ijen volcano located here. You basically have 2 options : hire a private driver or rent a scooter.

The blue flames of Ijen

How to visit Kawah Ijen, the crater with amazing blue fire

Climbing Mount Ijen for sunrise is not easy. Ijen is about an hour / an hour and a half drive away from Banyuwangi. It takes about 2 hours / 2 hours and a half to climb and get down to the crater.

You will have to leave Banyuwangi between midnight and half midnight if you want to be on time to see the blue flames at night, before the sun rises.

Honestly, it is not worth it to see Ijen after 8am. That’s when the fog sets in and you won’t see past 5 meters. But going to Ijen for sunrise doesn’t mean you will catch the sunrise. You actually won’t see it as it rises behind the mountain. It is worth it though, to see the famous blue flames in the crater. And for that, you need to get up in the middle of the night and arrive there when it’s dark.

The sulfur miners of Kawah Ijen

Kawah Ijen is a working sulfur mine. Men are mining the sulfur down in the crater, exposed to the sulfuric gases, and most of the time without a gas mask on because they don’t have enough money to buy one. Once the sulfur is solidified, they carry it in a basket weighing up to 80kgs, on one shoulder. Which tends to distort their spines. They go back up and down the volcano on 4 kilometers, twice a day for around 10$ a day (they earn between 10,000 and 15,000 rupiah for 10kg.
How to visit Kawah Ijen, the crater with amazing blue fire
As they see many tourists visiting Ijen, they will ask you for money if you want to take a picture or ask for cigarettes or sweets to ease the pain in their throat due to the toxic gases. Some of them will offer to carry you up on a cart or guide you down the crater. Up to you to say yes to any of those services, although you definitely don’t need to be guided as you just need to follow the hordes of other tourists doing exactly the same thing.

Do remember to give the workers space while going down and up the crater, the path can be narrow and they can’t be waiting behind groups of tourists while carrying 80kgs on one shoulder.

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