After our amazing encounter with Mount Bromo (Read more about our trip to “Bromo’s Viewpoint” HERE and also about our exploration of the “Sea of Sand” and climbing Bromo’s active volcano crater HERE), it was now time for us to go and witness the majestic and unique Blue Fire/ Blue Flames phenomenon at Kawah Ijen!
FACTS ABOUT KAWAH IJEN:
- Ijen volcano in East Java (Indonesia) contains the world’s largest acidic volcanic crater lake, called Kawah Ijen, famous for its turquoise color.
- Picturesque Kawah Ijen is the world’s largest highly acidic lake and is the site of a labor-intensive sulfur mining operation in which sulfur-laden baskets are hand-carried from the crater floor.
- During the day, the volcano looks like a normal volcano, but at night it is a dazzling light show.
- Ijen crater lake is the world’s largest such body of water filled with hydrochloric acid. It is also the largest blue flame area in the world, owing to the large amounts of sulphur deposits
- The blue fire/ blue flame at Ijen should not be mistaken as molten lava. The blue glow is actually the light from burning of sulphuric gases when they emerge from cracks in the volcano at high pressure and temperature. When they come in contact with the air, they ignite, sending flames up to 5 meters high. This happens during all hours of the day, but is only visible during the night.
- Coffee plantations cover much of the Ijen caldera floor, and tourists are drawn to its waterfalls, hot springs, and dramatic volcanic scenery
HOW TO GET TO KAWAH IJEN:
To save time and money, book your tour to Bromo or Kawah Ijen once you reach the city of Yogyakarta – this is the cultural hub of Indonesia and a must visit during your trip. Once you reach Yoyakarta and have had some time to settle in, have a chat with your hotel receptionist or manager. They are usually inundated with offers from tour companies and can recommend/book your tour for you. We covered Sunrise at Bromo and the Blue Fire at Kawah Ijen, with a drop off to Bali which was our final destination.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
- If joining an organized tour, pick-up from your rest-house will be between 10-11 p.m. It is roughly a 90 minute drive to the base of Kawah Ijen from the neighbouring town of Banyuwangi, where it is likely you will be staying.
- It is highly recommended that you rent a mash from one of the locals, before you begin your trek up Kawah Ijen. The sulphur fumes are noxious and you will need one of these masks for sure. If you fail to get a mask at the beginning of the trek, you will have a hard time finding one later. We paid 50,000 Rupees for each mask when we went, but prices change according to demand.
- There will be an opportunity to visit the toilets before you begin your trek. Use the washrooms, even if you think you do not need to. I assure you there will be no further opportunities until you return from the trek around 8 a.m.
- Take an adequate amount of water with you. You will need it.
- Unlike Bromo, Kawah Ijen is not chilly and you do not need to dress warm. The trek and the hot sulphur gases will take care of that.
- Whoever your trekking guide is, they are responsible for you. Trust him completely. Chances are that he works as a miner at Ijen during the day, which means he knows this volcano quite well.
- The Ijen entrance fees were not included as part of our tour package, which meant that we had to pay extra at these venues. It is worth checking what is/ is not covered in your tour – we paid 150,000 Rupees because we were foreign tourists visiting during the weekend.
- A flashlight / headlamp isn’t necessary, but it’ll be helpful.
- IMPORTANT – Please DO tip your guide well. The guides here are miners working during the day and their job is more difficult than you can imagine. Even a few dollars can make a world of difference to them.
And, finally, I know they say that travel is food for the soul…but, trust me, this experience at Kawah Ijen will leave more than satisfaction in your heart, it will also instill confidence, love and endurance into your soul. Happy travels!
NEXT STOP INDONESIA? READ MORE:
- This Mushroom Based Restaurant in Indonesia is every Instagramer’s dream
- Visit Bandung (best kept secret of Indonesia!) if you love shopping for Designer Brand Originals at wholesale prices
- Duta Boutique Villa Yogyakarta (Indonesia): Your ideal base to explore UNESCO attractions of Borobudur and Prambanan Temples
*Cover Photo Credit: Budal Wisata