GENERAL INFORMATIONThe Ijen volcano complex is a group of strato volcanoes in between Banyuwangi and Bondowoso Regency, East Java, Indonesia. You can start both from Bondowoso or Banyuwangi. Best way is to start from Bondowoso and goes down by Banyuwangi if you want to continue to Bali. Bondowoso route has beautiful scenery but worse road.
Ijen Caldera is about 20 kilometers wide and the biggest crater lake in Java. Inside the caldera is a 1 km turquoise-colored lake, the primadona of this mountain. This caldera is the site of a labor-intensive sulfur mining operation, in which sulfur-laden baskets are carried by hand from the crater floor..
Ijen Crater has a unique phenomen where the crater lets out electric-blue flame, which makes tourist numbers increased. The phenomenon also happens in daytime, but only at night, people can see clearly the stunning blue fire. The blue fire is ignited sulphuric gas, which emerges from cracks at temperatures up to 600 degrees Celsius. It is the largest blue flame area in the world and local people refer to it as ‘Blue Fire’. Indeed the crater of Ijen is beautiful garden of stone as well.
Midnight hiking become the main option if you want to witness both the blue flame and the sunrise. It takes 1.5 hour tracking up, with quite steep route for beginner. Once you get on top, you need to get down to the crater to see the blue fire closely. But this route needs extra caution, and sometimes when the smoke goes to your direction, you cannot go further. You will meet a lof of sulphur miner on the same route, carying their sulphur on a wooden basket. As a responsible traveler, we have to give them way and let them through first. Consider carrying additional layers with you and only putting them on as needed. Though its really cold at first, you will get very warm very fast as you begin your ascend.
Spend a night in Ijen to explore the area. There are some waterfall, hot spring, coffee plantation and beautiful hills to explore. The whole Ijen area is owned by government company for coffee production. So you will see huge coffee plantation area. Villages around are lovely with every house in the same-design and beautiful little garden, all for the employees family. So don’t expect luxury hotels or cafe here, but enjoy the peaceful feeling of the village. If you want city-convenience, you can spend your night in Banyuwangi or Bondowoso city, with 1-2 hours distance from Ijen. Afterall, Ijen Crater is a one-of-a kind experience for every traveler.