Seeing the blue flames of Mt. Ijen was a major bucketlist item for us. Can we recommend a Mount Ijen tour or not?
Hiking Kawah Ijen has been a dream of mine ever since I was a kid. While backpacking in Indonesia, we did an Ijen Crater tour from Banyuwangi and it 100% lived up to its expectations.
Yes, the Mount Ijen hike is absolutely worth it. It has been on our bucketlist for ages and the real-life experience was even better than my imagination.
Like all Ijen Crater tours that aim to see the blue flame, our tour started in the middle of the night. We didn’t mind and actually managed to get some extra sleep in the car.
We arrived at the checkpoint early so we had to wait a little bit until we could begin the hike.
We were given flashlights and gas masks and started the ascend. As we are horribly untrained, we had to go very slowly and take a lot of breaks. Fortunately, our guide was very patient. Additionally, he shared a lot of knowledge about the Ijen Volcano with us. He also shared a lot of information about Java and Indonesia in general and it was pleasant to have a conversation with him.
While we ascended in the dark, we saw other tourists literally being pulled and pushed to the top and I must admit it looked more tempting with every step.
I was super happy that I made it to the top!
We had a little rest at the crater rim before we put on our gas masks and descended into the crater. Although we were by no means fast, we were in time to see the blue flames of Ijen! What an experience!
Afterwards, we had time to walk around the crater and observe the active sulphur mining. I still have no idea how these men manage to carry their loads of 60-80 kg up to the crater rim and down the volcano.
Nowadays, they profit a bit off of tourism as they let tourists try and lift their baskets, sell small pieces of sulphur, or push and pull tourists up the mountain instead of sulphur.
Our lovely tour guide shot some amazing photos of us and we made our way back up.
We were too slow to observe the Kawah Ijen sunrise from the top but instead, we noticed on the way that it gets lighter. We didn’t mind as this gave us the chance to see the Crater Lake with some daylight. It’s the largest highly acidic crater lake in the world but the colours look like they are out of this world.
The hike back down was super interesting as we were finally able to see the landscapes which were hidden from us during our dark ascend.
We were back at our hotel in time and immediately hopped on the ferry to Bali where our Indonesia adventure continued.
Would we do it again? 100% Yes!
⭐ Rating: 4.6 / 5 (32 reviews)
The interest of a guide is to take the discovery to a higher dimension. This was perfectly the case here: punctuality, highlighting of the history of the crater, rich answers to our questions. The guide also took incredible photos of our couple and even made a beautiful video montage that caused a stir! Even when descending from the volcano our guide was not stingy with explanations and discoveries. All this without preventing us from enjoying the moment. I also felt the openness of the guide, an English that is easy to understand (usually it's complicated). Respect
– Ahmad (see more reviews)
The Kawah Ijen hike includes:
Your hiking Mount Ijen itinerary should look something like this:
Mount Ijen tours from Banyuwangi or Bali are your best and most convenient option.
Budget: Mango Tree Homestay
The Ijen Trek was one of the hardest treks we’ve ever done. 600 m elevation gain in 10 km (2000 ft in 6 mi) is no joke.
Additionally, you ascend in the complete dark. For the descent into the crater, you have to wear a gas mask which makes breathing tough.
If you’re still on the fence about whether you should tour Ijen, let us tell you, yes, you should.
The Ijen crater hike, seeing the blue flames, the picturesque crater lake, and the sulphur mining is a bucketlist experience!
If you’re on the fence about whether you should book a tour or go on your own, remember that you hike most of the time in the dark. Additionally, you 100% need a gas mask. Hence we don’t recommend hiking Ijen on your own but do it with a tour!
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Itinerary Indonesia 2 weeks with map: You wonder where to go in your two weeks in Indonesia (and we don't mean just Bali)? Our indonesia trip plan shows you how to travel Java, Bali, the Gili islands, Lombok, the Komodo National Park, and Flores in just 14 days.