Volcano adventure in Ijen
I was looking forward to visiting East Java. It was a last minute decision but it was really worth it. Not many people wants to wake up at 1.25 in the morning but I can assure you that the sunrise is something that will take your breath away. Take all the coffee you can and enjoy the adventure.
Discover Java and the Kawah Ijen volcano in 2 days
Let's start the adventure
To travel to East Java we had to drive for three and a half hours to the Gilimanuk ferry port. The interesting thing about this port is that it operates 24 hours a day and also that the public transportation to get there is very cheap. So it is a great option if you want to make an economic trip. You can buy your ticket on site, you don't necessarily need to buy it online but if you do it on site there is an additional charge. It's arround IDR 5K for their service. In our case, we bought them online.
There we took the ferry to go to the Ketapang Ferry Port in East Java. This port connects the eastern coast of Java with Bali and the average ferry duration between the two harbors are usually about 1 hour. Since we took our car with us, when we arrived to the port, we continued driving for another hour and we finally arrived to the hotel.
Ijen Resort and Villas
We arrived at Ijen Resort at 8pm. I booked the hotel last minute and our expectations were very low. When we arrived we realized the views were AMAZING. It was the best relaxing place to stay if you are looking for something different with the exotic views that surround the hotel. The resorts also has a restaurant, outdoor pool, bar and garden so it is full of options to enjoy your time there.
I was really exhausted from the trip so arround 10pm I went to sleep. The alarm was set for 1.25am and I was excited for what was comming next day. I recommend you that, If you are going to make a quick trip you should get up early in order to make the most of the days.
Kawah Ijen Blue Fire
The alarm sounded at 1.25am and, even I was exhausted, I woke up and our day began. It was going to be a great day and we had no time to loose.
Before setting off, I took a super-black coffee to wake up a little bit because our adventure to the Ijen Crater was about to get started and we would need the all the energy we could get. We were super excited about hiking the volcano because it was something I was looking forward to do for several time now.
IJEN INFO: Ijen is not just a volcano, it is a group of composite volcanoes located on the border between Banyuwangi Regency and Bondowoso Regency of East Java, Indonesia. It is inside an larger caldera with the same name, Ijen, which is about 20 kilometres wide. The Gunung Merapi stratovolcano is the highest point of that complex. The name "Gunung Merapi" means 'mountain of fire' in the Indonesian language.
We arrived at the bottom of the Crater at 5-6 am and we saw the sunrise. It was so beautiful. On one side we were able to see the volcano peeking out of the clouds. On the other side, the sky was pink and the lake is exposed and clear. We were SO LUCKY. The day was super clear and nice and when we arrived at the top of Ijen, it was so worth it.
The lake is spectacular and it is recognised as the largest highly acidic crater lake in the world. This lake is the site of a labour-intensive sulfur mining operation, in which sulfur-laden baskets are carried by hand from the crater floor.
After watching the sunrise, we hiked back down the volcano and thats when we saw the workers that carry the sulfur-laden baskets by hand. We stoped to talk to them for a bit and they told us that the work is paid well considering the cost of living in the area, but is very onerous. Workers explained to us that they earned around Rp 50,000–75,000 ($5.50–$8.30) per day and once out of the crater, still need to carry their loads of sulfur chunks about three kilometers to the nearby Paltuding Valley to get paid. We were very surprised and touched by their experience.
After talking to this workers, we continued our hike down. We took our car and went to have breakfast at our hotel. The rest of the day was really rainy so we stayed mostly at our hotel but when the when the rain subsided we went to watch the locals play jungle volley.
This day we were exhausted but we were also very happy because we finnaly had the opportunity to visit one of the most amazing places I've been in my entire life. I highly recommend it.
Ijen Resort and Villas
The last day we overslept a little bit so we had no time to explore much. Luckily, the hotel is surrounded by enormous rice fields disappointed at all.
Our days in Java were over and it was time to head back to Bali in the same way we came, using the ferry.
I must say It was a very short and improvised trip but it has been for sure one of the most amazing ones I've made. I think this trip is perfect if you are in Bali and you want to do something different and special. I promise you you wont be disappointed at all.
Before you travel
- Make sure you wear comfortable clothes and shoes for the hiking
- Carry a backpack with water and some food on all routesBuy travel insurance.
- There are a variety of travel insurance plans and options, but they typically cover emergency medical coverage, evacuation, lost luggage, and trip cancellation.