Mount Ijen (Kawah Ijen) is located in the eastern part of Java. Here you can descend to the world's largest acid lake, and meet the sunrise at the crater's edge. And only here you can see the unique natural phenomenon of the blue fire show - the blue flames of burning sulfur.
There is a lot of information on tours to Mount Ijen online, often combined with Mount Bromo. For example, MyBaliTrips offers a one-day tour that includes transfer, guided hike, and accommodation. More details about the tour can be found in the article Going to the active volcano Ijen on the island of Java.
Mount Ijen is located near the port,so it is easy and fast to get there from Bali.
Bus from Ubung (Denpasar) to Gilimanuk Port
Ticket price for the bus - 50-300k.
For independent travelers, the following option is suitable: route Denpasar (Ubung) - Gilimanuk Wharf, drive 3-5 hours. You can book a seat by calling the number on WhatsApp.
Be prepared for the fact that buses are usually cold and noisy - for some reason people here like to crank up the air conditioning and listen to peculiar Indonesian tracks. It is better to bring a warm sweatshirt and headphones, earplugs. The buses are old, but the ride was quite comfortable.
If traveling for the first time, it's worth considering tickets direct to Banyuwangi.
There are options on the Traveloka app for 200-300k, with a convenient route straight to Banyuwangi. These tour buses (Gunung Harta, etc) pick up at the ferry, feed - stop at cafes along the way (dinner is included in the ticket price), some have WiFi and coolers, tea/coffee, snacks. They are comfortable, but the ride is longer.
You can also go by bike or car (personal transportation may require documentation) or rent a car with a driver.
Gilimanuk - Ketapang Ferry (Bali - Banyuwangi)
Ticket per person on site - 18k
Through the Ferizy app - 8.5k
The ferries depart every 15-20 minutes, the journey takes from 40 minutes to an hour, and the port is open 24/7. There is a comfortable lounge upstairs with soft chairs, air conditioning, and a mini-cafe. You can grab a bite to eat, charge your phone, sing and even get a massage. Or sit outside and watch the volcanoes of Java.
From the marina to the village of Banyuwangi and to the volcano is still about an hour drive.
Important! Don't forget to change the time back one hour (the time difference from Bali to Java is minus one hour).
Vario rental - 100k per day
You can rent a bike in advance (for example, at Tripoli) or on the spot - from guest house owners or at the City - Stasiun Banyuwangi Kota/Karangasem City Station. We chose the latter option, as there are several rentals near the station.
Accommodation in Banyuwangi - where to stay and how to get to the volcano
There is a lot of accommodation in Banyuwangi and the surrounding areas, but the quality leaves much to be desired.
We recommend choosing a place in Licin, from there it will be closer to get to the foot of the volcano than from Banyuwangi. There is another option - to book a place in homestays right at the beginning of the path to the volcano. For example, Rante Cafe n Homestay (500k). Then you can just leave the cafe and go to the trail.
It's VERY cold! Wear your warmest clothes, take a raincoat. Don't forget about gasoline - there are no gas stations along the way.
Many gestas offer kits for hiking - sulfur mask, jacket or jacket, hats, gloves, flashlight. It is desirable to take not too heavy, but warm jacket and / or raincoat - it will be hot when climbing, but at the top it blows away. You can also rent kits at the entrance to the geopark or at the place where you will stay.
IMPORTANT!!! Remember that the road to the start point is very difficult - it will definitely be dark at night, it can be slippery, it's practically a mountain serpentine. You should be especially careful on the way back, as you are going down the slippery road all the time and you need to let your brakes cool down. We were advised to book a motorcycle rather than a bike.
Paltuding - the starting point of the trail to Ijen.
Entrance to Ijen Geopark - 100k (150k on holidays)
No discounts for those with Kitas.
The trail opens at 2:00. Before that time, you can visit a small museum or have a snack - there are many warungs around. They also offer jackets, masks, hats, gloves and flashlights for rent.
The road to the top will take from 1 to 3 hours, depending on your preparation and pace.
The route is difficult not only because it goes uphill, but also because of the large number of people - if you pass large groups, it becomes a little easier to walk. But it cannot be called an easy route.
At the top, you have two options (or you can do both): go down and see the 'blue flames' (I later read that the flames are best seen in August) or go to meet the sunrise at the lookout point.
The descent to the crater takes 20-40 minutes, and this is where gloves come in handy. The path is narrow, rocky, and very slippery because of volcanic dust.
We used respirators twice, breathing in them is not much easier. When a cloud of smoke moves on you, hold your breath: the wind quickly changes direction and you can wait it out. If you are not going down to the crater, you may not need a respirator.
We descended and then reached the observation point after dawn. Next time we decided to meet the sunrise on the summit, and to go down to the lights when we could see them better.
Recommendations and important things
- Set aside time to rest before the trek,
- Set the time back an hour in Java,
- Choose accommodation in villages on the way to the volcano, such as Lichin, or at a homestay in Paltuding near the start point,
- Take warm clothes, raincoat, comfortable shoes. It's better to choose something that you can't spare: everything will smell like gray and get dusty,
- Be careful on the descent. Choose a more powerful bike or take a motorcycle.
Buy a ticket at the ticket office at the port, head to the turnstiles.
40-50 minutes, and you're on Bali!
The bus stop is about a 10-minute walk away, and the port employees will indicate the direction.
P.S. Perhaps we were just unlucky, but more than half of the recommended Google Maps locations were closed: cafes, and shops.
If you have time or stay near the station, I recommend the Palm Sugar Cafe gallery, which also has an artist's workshop.