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Travel Guide of Ijen in Indonesia by Influencers and Travelers

The Ijen volcano complex is a group of composite volcanoes located on the border between Banyuwangi Regency and Bondowoso Regency of East Java, Indonesia. It is inside an eponymous larger caldera Ijen, which is about 20 kilometres wide. The Gunung Merapi stratovolcano is the highest point of that complex.

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How to visit Ijen ?

Why traveling there?

Ijen, located in East Java, Indonesia, is famous for its breathtaking turquoise blue acidic crater lake, rugged volcanic landscapes, and the unique blue fire phenomenon. It is also home to the world's largest sulfur mining operation, where miners carry heavy loads of sulfur on their shoulders. Visiting Ijen is the perfect destination for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and those looking for an off-the-beaten-track experience.

How to get there?

The nearest airport to Ijen is the Banyuwangi Airport (BWX). You can fly to Banyuwangi from major Indonesian cities like Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bali. From Banyuwangi, hire a local guide or join a tour to get to the Ijen Crater. The journey involves a 1-2 hour drive to the Paltuding base camp, followed by a 3-kilometer hike to the crater rim.

What to book in advance?

It is highly recommended to book a guided tour in advance, as navigating the area on your own can be challenging. The guided tours usually include transportation, entrance fees, and gas masks (essential for the sulfur fumes). Booking a tour will also provide you with a knowledgeable local guide who will ensure your safety and provide insight into the region's culture and history.

What are the costs?

The costs of visiting Ijen can vary depending on your choice of tour and accommodation. On average, a guided tour to Ijen Crater will cost around $40-$60 per person. The entrance fee to the Ijen Crater is approximately $12 for foreigners. Accommodation costs can range from $10 for budget guesthouses to $60 for mid-range hotels.

What are the best things to do?

1. Hike up to the Ijen Crater rim to witness the stunning blue fire phenomenon and the sunrise over the turquoise crater lake.
2. Observe the traditional sulfur mining process and interact with the local miners.
3. Explore the nearby coffee and clove plantations.
4. Visit the nearby Kawah Wurung, a lesser-known volcanic crater.

Where to eat?

1. Warung Blambangan: A local eatery known for its delicious traditional Indonesian dishes.
2. Ijen Resto and Guest House: Offers a combination of Indonesian and Western dishes, with beautiful views of the surrounding rice fields.
3. Rumah Makan Banyuwangi: A popular restaurant serving traditional Indonesian cuisine with a focus on seafood.

Where to stay?

1. Ijen Resort and Villas: A luxury option with stunning views of the surrounding landscapes and comfortable amenities.
2. Arabica Homestay: A budget-friendly option near the Paltuding base camp, perfect for travelers looking to stay close to the starting point of the hike.
3. Kampung Osing Inn: A mid-range option offering a mix of traditional and modern amenities, with a friendly atmosphere.

Off the beaten path

For an unusual travel experience, join a night trek to witness the blue fire phenomenon at the Ijen Crater. This unique sight, caused by the combustion of sulfuric gases, can only be seen at night and is one of the only two places in the world where this phenomenon occurs. The trek starts around midnight and takes around 2 hours to reach the crater rim. Make sure to wear warm clothes and sturdy shoes, as the terrain can be challenging. This unforgettable experience will allow you to witness the mesmerizing blue fire up close and take in the serene beauty of the Ijen Crater under a starry sky.

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Learn More about Ijen

With its forty or so active volcanoes, the island of Java in Indonesia alone has almost a third of the volcanoes that dominate the Indonesian archipelago.
Ijen, located at the eastern end of Java, is now one of the island's best known and most visited volcanoes, along with Mount Bromo. 
Its acidic lake and impressive sulphur bearers attract its share of curious hikers every year. A successful trip to Indonesia cannot do without a volcano climb, and this region of Southeast Asia offers a wide range of treks, depending on the physical condition of each person.

Ijen is located in the southeast of the Kendeng caldera. This caldera, which was formed about 50,000 years ago, is the result of the explosive eruption that destroyed Old Ijen, the ancient volcano that peaked at 3500 metres.

With the first rays of the sun and the dawn, the turquoise waters of the lake light up gently before our eyes. But beware of those who want to take a dip, as this is the most acidic lake in the world.

To go back up to the ridge, you sometimes have to climb the somewhat steep wall of the crater, so vigilance is required. 
Once up there, you can watch the sunrise and enjoy the exceptional panorama. On a clear day, before the morning mist has invaded the horizon, we can see the majestic Mount Raung, which rises to more than 3300 metres, towards the south-west. Behind us towards the east, we can see the highest point of the Kendeng caldera, Mount Merapi, not to be confused with its namesake located near the Buddhist temple of Borobudur. This is an opportunity to take some nice pictures before heading back down to the base camp. 
The descent is not dangerous in itself, but be careful with your knees and joints, which are put to the test!

Climbing Kawah Ijen and descending into the soufriere at the edge of the acid lake is a unique experience. From the blue flame flows that snake through the night to the hard-working men, Kawah Ijen grips you and leaves you speechless... 

Frequently Asked Questions by Travelers planning a trip to Ijen

Are there any precautions to take when visiting Ijen?

To visit Ijen, you will need to make sure you take gas masks to protect yourself from inhaling the toxic gases escaping from the volcano.
These masks will normally be provided by the guides who accompany you.

Also, swimming is not allowed: remember that this is the most acidic lake in the world.

There is no accommodation around Ijen.
It is therefore advisable to stay in the town of Banyuwangi which is one of the closest to the volcano.

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