The Kawah Ijen volcano and crater lake in Banyuwangi is hands down one of the world’s most spectacular sights. Don’t leave Indonesia without seeing it, especially if you’re already visiting Java or Bali!

The lake at Mount Ijen is the biggest acid lake in the world, and it’s also famous for a crazy phenomenon known as the ‘Kawah Ijen blue fire’, where you can see hot blue flame burning like lava in the dark.

The good news is that the Kawah Ijen lake is pretty easy to visit from Bali and other parts of Indonesia. Most people either visit Mount Ijen on an overnight tour from Bali, or do it as a road trip combined with Mount Bromo and other epic sights in East Java.

This travel guide will explain how to get to Kawah Ijen, where to stay, entrance fees, safety tips, and everything else you need to know before you go!


Kawah Ijen Volcano Mount Ijen Crater Lake Blue Fire Banyuwangi Indonesia

Sunrise colors on the Kawah Ijen lake


 

Where Is Kawah Ijen?

Mount Ijen is an active volcano crater located in East Java, Indonesia.

Kawah Ijen (which means ‘lonely crater’) is near the seaside town of Banyuwangi, which sits on the far eastern end of Java island.

Java was actually connected to Bali by land in centuries past, and even though the two islands are separated by water nowadays, you can still travel between them easily.
 

How To Get To Kawah Ijen

There are three main ways to get to Kawah Ijen:

  • Drive and take the ferry from Bali, or
  • Fly to Banyuwangi and do the short drive to Kawah Ijen from there, or
  • Do a multi-day road trip across several points of interest in Java

I’ll explain each of these options below, and then we can discuss the hike itself.
 

Kawah Ijen Gas Mask Volcano Mount Ijen Crater Lake Blue Fire Banyuwangi Indonesia

Cheese

Sulfur Mining Banyuwangi Drone

Sulfur mining at Kawah Ijen


 

• Drive To Ijen From Bali

Doing a Mount Ijen tour from Bali can be a good option because Bali is already so popular and easy to reach.

Kawah Ijen and Banyuwangi are connected to Bali by a ferry service that runs 24/7 (every 15 minutes). The ferries are dated but comfy enough, and they cross the Bali strait in just 30-45 minutes.

If you’re staying in the main tourist areas of south Bali, it’s a 4 hour drive to the ferry port at Gilimanuk, and then after crossing you’ll have to drive another 1.5 hours to Ijen.

In total, you can expect about 6-7 hours of transit time in each direction, so it’s not really possible to do this as a day trip from Bali. You’ll need a minimum of 2 days and 1 night.

You can easily arrange this trip with your favorite Bali driver or book a tour online, but I wouldn’t recommend driving a scooter all the way from Bali to Ijen because the road at Gilimanuk is notoriously dangerous for motorbikes.

Kawah Ijen Volcano Mount Ijen Crater Lake Blue Fire Banyuwangi Indonesia Drone

Drone pic of the Kawah Ijen crater lake


 

• Fly To Banyuwangi

Banyuwangi has its own airport (BWX) and you can fly there from Bali, Jakarta, or Kuala Lumpur.

This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get to Ijen, and it’s still pretty economical. One way ticket prices are sometimes as low as 750k Rupiah ($50 USD). You can shop for flights to Banyuwangi at Skyscanner.

Once you’re in Banyuwangi, it’s still a 1 hour drive to Mount Ijen from the town, but you can easily arrange this with your hotel or book a shared tour online for as low as 600k Rupiah ($40 USD).

Kawah Ijen Volcano Mount Ijen Crater Lake Blue Fire Banyuwangi Indonesia

Views of the lake before sunrise


 

• Road Trip Across Java

Another great way to visit the Kawah Ijen volcano is to take an epic road trip / tour across East Java, stopping at all the best sights like the Mount Bromo sunrise, the Ijen crater, and some of Java’s famous waterfalls like Tumpak Sewu.

That was how we visited Ijen for the first time, and it was an unforgettable experience. The only downside is that a full road trip like this is more expensive, and it takes more time. Java is a big island and things are a bit spread out.

You’ll need at least 3 days, and even that’ll feel rushed. The nice thing is that you can organize a Java road trip starting from Bali (and ending there), or you can do it from a city in Java like Yogyakarta.

Take a look at my 1-week Java Travel Itinerary for more ideas!

Mount Bromo Kawah Ijen Tour

Mount Bromo is another epic volcano that’s popular to combine with Mount Ijen for an extended road trip through Java. Bromo/Ijen tours require at least 3 days.


 

Best Mount Ijen Tour Package

Here are some good tour packages for visiting the Kawah Ijen volcano:

We’ve used GetYourGuide for lots of tours and activities around the world, and they’re great. Highly recommended!

Kawah Ijen Volcano Mount Ijen Crater Lake Blue Fire Banyuwangi Indonesia

Different colors after the sunrise at Kawa Ijen


 
 

Kawah Ijen Hike – What To Expect

 

Quick Facts

  • Distance: 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) return
  • Elevation Gain: 435 meters (1,430 ft)
  • Start Elevation: 1,865 meters (6,120 ft)
  • End Elevation: 2,300 meters (7,550 ft)
  • Duration: 3 – 5 hours return
  • Difficulty: Moderate

 

• Midnight Hike

The hike to the Kawah Ijen volcano normally starts with a midnight pickup from your hotel in Banyuwangi, a 1 hour drive to the park entrance, and then a crowded (but dull) hike up the mountain in the dark.

The main path is all dirt and fairly steep, but it’s well defined and family friendly. You will definitely work up a sweat because of the incline, so for people who don’t do much hiking I’d rate it as moderate.

The first 2 kilometers of the path is the steepest part, but then it levels out and becomes flatter when you’re getting close to the finish line. The Kawah Ijen hike to the top of the volcano has a one way distance of 3 kilometers (1.8 mi) and you gain about 435 meters of elevation (1,430 ft). That’s not including the blue flame section, of course. That comes later.

If you’re really feeling lazy (or in a hurry), you can pay the local sulfur miners to push you up the hill on their trolleys for like 400k Rupiah ($28 USD). Seriously! There are lots of these guys on the trail and they’re very persistent trying to sell rides. We found it annoying, but I suppose they wouldn’t be there unless plenty of tourists are happy to pay it.

In total, the Kawah Ijen hike to see the lake takes about 1.5 hours depending on your pace. If you walk quickly I’m sure you could do it in 1 hour, and even slow hikers won’t take more than 2 hours to reach the lake.

A tour guide is not required for this hike, although it can be helpful to have one if you want to see the Kawah Ijen blue fire.

For those of you who plan to skip the blue fire (like we usually do), you don’t need to start at midnight, although I would still recommend you start early and try to reach the Kawah Ijen crater lake for sunrise if you want the best views and pictures.

The sunrise at Kawah Ijen is not anything special in itself (actually it’s blocked by a mountain), but the colors on the lake are nice and it looks downright mystical in the early morning. We started walking at 3 AM, and that was perfect.
 

• Kawah Ijen Blue Fire

After arriving at the crater lake, most tours will immediately start to hike down into the crater to watch the Kawah Ijen blue fire. You can only see it in the darkest hours of night, so there’s a limited window of time to see it before the sun comes up.

This electric blue flame is a unique phenomenon caused by sulfur gas burning at temps of up to 600 °C (1,112 °F). The only other place on Earth where you can see ‘blue lava’ like this is in Dallol, Ethiopia.

Still, the blue flame (and the hike down into the crater) is completely optional. The path is crowded, it’s steep and rocky, there’s a nasty cloud of sulfur making it hard to see or breathe, and it’s very hard to get decent photos of the blue fire in the dark.

Unless you’re a professional photographer, you won’t get any great pictures of the blue flame (that rules me out). And even if you are, it’s still a huge challenge to try to capture it with a camera at night with smoke swirling around.

If you decide to go down to the blue fire, this part of the hike takes about 45 minutes in each direction (plus an elevation change of ~150 meters), since you have to go back up from the same way you came.

Blue Fire Kawah Ijen Blue Flame Mount Ijen Lava Banyuwangi Indonesia

The famous Kawah Ijen blue fire (© GYG)

Blue Fire Kawah Ijen Blue Flame Mount Ijen Lava Banyuwangi Indonesia

Hikers on their way to go see the blue flame (© GYG)


 

• Kawah Ijen Crater Lake

The best thing to see at Kawah Ijen is the turquoise crater lake. It’s super photogenic, and I think the best time to take pictures is right before the sunrise or else a few hours after.

This 700-meter wide lake is actually the biggest acid lake in the world, and there are a bunch of different nice viewpoints around the rim of the Kawa Ijen crater.

The best photo spot is a ‘sunrise point’ with some twisted trees (GPS here) that you can reach with an extra 30 minutes of walking. After you reach the main view of the lake, just turn right and keep walking along the crater rim in a semi-circle until you find it.

If you have time, I would really recommend staying here after sunrise and waiting until the sun hits the Kawah Ijen lake itself. Most people leave before then, but the sun really lights up the turquoise color and it looks absolutely unreal.

Kawah Ijen Volcano Mount Ijen Crater Lake Blue Fire Banyuwangi Indonesia

This popular sunrise point at Kawah Ijen is pretty easy to reach

Kawah Ijen Volcano Mount Ijen Crater Lake Blue Fire Banyuwangi Indonesia Drone

Smoking lake

Kawah Ijen Volcano Mount Ijen Crater Lake Blue Fire Banyuwangi Indonesia Drone

Drone views of the Kawah Ijen volcano after sunrise


 

• Sulfur Mining At Kawah Ijen

One of the unique things about the Kawah Ijen volcano is that it’s mined for natural sulfur deposits, which come from an active vent inside the crater.

This is one of the hardest jobs in the world because the workers are carrying 90 kilo (200 lb) loads of sulfur, while constantly being exposed to a smoke cloud with almost no protection. We saw guys using shirts over their mouths and some with no masks at all.

Breathing in sulfur like this 24/7 is terribly unhealthy, and if I had to guess, these guys probably won’t live to see old age.

The sulfur is used in cosmetic products, and the miners only earn about $15 USD per day, which is considered good pay in this part of Java compared to the living costs.

Sulfur Miner Banyuwangi Indonesia

The work at Kawa Ijen is tough and dangerous

Sulfur Mining Banyuwangi Drone

Sulfur miners working in the smoke

The other hurdle is that they have to carry the sulfur baskets up out of the steep crater, and then all the way down the mountain, making multiple trips per day.

Remember to give the miners the right of way while they’re working, and if you plan to take pictures of them you should ask permission before you whip out your camera.

Usually they’ll ask for a small tip in return for photos. We gave a guy 20k Rupiah (~$1) and he appreciated it. On a busy day, I’m sure they get plenty of tips!
 

Sulfur Miner Banyuwangi Indonesia

Hauling the loads up the mountain

Sulfur Mining Banyuwangi Indonesia

Sulfur pile


 

Is Mount Ijen Safe?

Mount Ijen is generally safe to visit, but if you have asthma or any kind of breathing/health problems, I would definitely skip the blue flame and just enjoy the lake from above.

The sulfur cloud inside the crater is very nasty (even with a gas mask), and the wind can blow it in your direction at any time. If you stay out of the crater, sulfur gas is not really an issue and you won’t need a gas mask (although it still doesn’t hurt to have one).

It’s a good idea to check the current status of Kawah Ijen before you make travel plans, because it is an active volcano after all. The Indonesian government will close the park if they notice tremors or unusual activity.

Eruptions at Mount Ijen don’t seem to be very common, but they do happen from time to time. 49 Indonesian sulfur workers were killed in a gas explosion in 1976, and another 25 died in 1989. More recently, 30 local people were hospitalized by toxic gas after a small eruption in 2018, and a sulfur worker drowned in a 3-meter tsunami from the lake in 2020.

I don’t want to scare you, this is just a reminder that safety is never 100 percent with a volcano. But in the case of Ijen, I’d say it’s generally safe. The people most at risk are the locals working in the depths of the crater 24/7.

If you really want to maximize your safety, you can skip the blue flame and stay outside of the crater. That’s where most of the accidents have happened over the years, and the best pictures of the lake are from above anyway.

With that said, the Kawah Ijen volcano does get hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, and those incidents are the only ones I’m aware of in the last 50 years, so I’d say it has a pretty good safety record overall.

If you visit Kawah Ijen with kids or older folks, I wouldn’t go inside the crater (especially at night), but instead just look at the lake from above. This trek is still very worthwhile even if you only see the volcanic lake from above.

Kawah Ijen Gas Mask Volcano Mount Ijen Crater Lake Blue Fire Banyuwangi Indonesia

Sulfur Mining Banyuwangi Indonesia       Sulfur Mining Banyuwangi Indonesia
 
 

Kawah Ijen Entrance Fee

  • Foreigners (weekdays): 100k IDR ($7 USD) / person
  • Foreigners (weekends): 150k IDR ($10 USD) / person
  • Domestic: 5k IDR / person

These entrance fees are current as of 2022.

Usually if you book a Kawa Ijen tour, the entrance fees are already included in the total price of the tour, so that’s something to double check with your tour provider.

Sulfur Mining Banyuwangi Drone

Crazy colors


 

Weather / Climate At Mt Ijen

Even though this is Indonesia, Mount Ijen can be pretty chilly before sunrise since it’s well above sea level.

Temperatures in the early morning can drop below 7 Celsius (45 F), and it can get windy too since you’re on an exposed mountain. However, after sunrise it warms up a bit.

It’s best to dress in layers, because when you’re hiking up the mountain you’ll warm up pretty quick and may even get hot.

Mount Rante Ijen Trail

The trail back down the mountain, with Rante peak in the distance.

Gunung Merapi Ijen

Mount Merapi is one of the old volcanic peaks you’ll see at Ijen. Don’t worry, you don’t have to climb this one!


 

Mount Ijen Indonesia Sample Itinerary

Here’s a sample of what your itinerary at Kawa Ijen might look like.

Keep in mind this is assuming you start from Banyuwangi and want to see the blue fire. If that’s not your plan, then you can do whatever you want, and you don’t need to follow this itinerary at all!

However, this seems to be the most common schedule for people visiting Kawa Ijen:

  • 12:00 AM – Hotel pickup and start the tour to Kawa Ijen.
  • 1:00 AM – Arrive at Mt. Ijen and start hiking to the top of the volcano.
  • 2:30 AM – Arrive at the top of the volcano and start hiking down into the crater.
  • 4:00 AM – Reach the bottom of the crater and witness the electric blue fire.
  • 5.30 AM – Watch the sunrise from the top of the Mount Ijen Indonesia volcano.
  • 8:00 AM – Start hiking back down to the main park entrance.
  • 9:00 AM – Arrive at the bottom and drive back to your hotel in Banyuwangi.
  • 10:00 AM – Done! Arrive back in Banyuwangi for brunch.

Again, if you’re not planning to see the blue fire at Kawa Ijen, then you don’t need to follow this itinerary at all, although I’d at least plan to reach the top of the crater in time for sunrise.

Turquoise Lake

Turquoise Kawah Ijen lake


 

What To Bring To Kawah Ijen

  • Gas Mask: If you plan to see the Kawah Ijen blue fire, you will definitely need a gas mask for that part of the hike. These are usually included with Ijen tours, or you can rent them at the entrance for 45k Rupiah. We bought ours for 85k on Shopee and had them delivered to our hotel in Bali.
  • Goggles: Most people only bring a gas mask for the blue flame, but goggles can be very helpful too since the smoke burns your eyes. Our goggles were included free with the gas masks we bought on Shopee.
  • Jacket: This is essential for the Kawah Ijen sunrise because it can be pretty chilly. After sunrise, you’ll want to shed the jacket.
  • Footwear: Regular shoes are fine, but sturdy hiking shoes are better for the Mount Ijen hike. Sometimes the gravel can be a bit slippery, and the trail is especially rough if you go down into the volcano crater.
  • Poncho: If you visit Mount Ijen during the rainy season in Indonesia (especially December to February), you’ll want to bring a rain jacket just in case.
  • Snacks: Your Mount Ijen tour may include free breakfast, but they’re skimpy and you’ll probably be wanting energy snacks to go with it.
  • Headlight: A torch is handy for hiking before sunrise since the path is very dark. This is especially true if you go inside the crater, because it’s a steep and rocky path down to the Kawah Ijen blue fire.
  • Tripod: You’ll need this if you want to get decent pictures of the blue flame at night.

Sulfur Mining Banyuwangi Indonesia
 

Sulfur Mining Banyuwangi Indonesia

Devil’s gold


 

Other Tips For Ijen

  • Clothing: The sulfur smell is nasty and it stays on your clothes, especially if you go very close to the blue flame. Don’t wear nice clothes or jewelry (silver especially will be tarnished by the sulfur). After you wash and dry your clothes, the smell will go away after awhile, but I still wouldn’t wear anything fancy for this trek.
  • Bathrooms: The last bathroom is at the Kawah Ijen entrance. Do your business before you start the hike. There aren’t any proper bathrooms on the trail to Ijen, although you can find plenty of tall bushes to pee in near the east side of the crater lake.
  • Cell Service: We had good reception with Telkomsel for most of the hike, including decent service at the top of the crater lake itself.
  • Drones: So far, drones are allowed at Mount Ijen and there aren’t any rules against flying them. There’s a lot of wide open space to fly without bothering people, especially if you keep walking along the rim and get away from the main crowds.
  • Restaurants: If you stop for food in Banyuwangi, check out Kedai Panorama, Srengenge Wetan, or Company Man Angkringan. Good food at reasonable prices!

 

Where To Stay

The main base for visiting the Kawah Ijen volcano is the town of Banyuwangi, and most people stay at least one night there since you do the Ijen trip overnight.

Banyuwangi has lots of decent accommodation now, with a variety of homestays and hotels, and because of the influx of tourists the options are growing every year.

If you want to stay directly at Ijen, check out Avrila Guesthouse. Their rooms are very basic, but the location is super convenient since it’s only a 3 minute walk from the entrance to Ijen!
 

Banyuwangi Hotels

Ijen Resort And Villas

Volcano pool views at the Ijen Resort & Villas


 

Best Time To Visit

There’s not really a best month to visit Banyuwangi or the Kawah Ijen volcano, although any time in the dry season is better.

Indonesia’s dry season runs from April to November, and during this time there’s less rain and the mountain visibility is best. This applies to East Java too.

You can still visit Mount Ijen during the rainy season in East Java (December to March), and the mornings are normally clear. Even if it happens to be cloudy, you can still see the crater lake.

Definitely try to avoid weekends and public holidays, because the park can get very crowded during those times.

Sulfur Mining Banyuwangi Indonesia

Kawah Ijen Volcano Mount Ijen Crater Lake Blue Fire Banyuwangi Indonesia
 
 

Is Mount Ijen Open / Closed?

Mount Ijen is open every day of the year except for the first Friday of each month. It’s currently open to tourists as of 2024, and the inside of the crater is also open again so you can see the blue fire!

In January 2023, the activity level for Mount Ijen was raised to Level 2 (‘Alert’), and the blue flame tours inside of the crater were closed for 8 months. According to the authorities, this was because of a rapid rise in the lake temperature and an increased number of earthquakes.

However, Ijen’s activity was lowered to Level 1 (‘Normal’) again at the end of July 2023, and the ‘blue fire’ has been re-opened as normal since August 12, 2023. Tours are going into the crater again now.

I’ll update this travel guide if anything changes. You can also check on status updates for all of Indonesia’s volcanoes at Magma Indonesia.

Overall, the mountain is rarely closed to the public, and that would generally only happen temporarily if there’s some kind of unusual volcanic activity or other safety concerns.

Happy travels!

Kawah Ijen Volcano Mount Ijen Crater Lake Blue Fire Banyuwangi Indonesia

Ijen looks similar to Mount Kelimutu, another volcano in Flores with twin turquoise lakes!


 

Health Certificate Requirement For Kawah Ijen (2024)

Since January 6, 2024, there’s a new requirement for all hikers to show a health certificate in order to visit Kawah Ijen. According to the new rule, tourists must be in good health, have no history of asthma or heart disease, and must show a health certificate from a doctor.

This new rule was prompted by the death of a 64 year old tourist from Jakarta on December 30, 2023, which was suspected to be due to exhaustion and heart disease.

The tourist who passed away was actually using a trolley service, not hiking, but the relatively high altitude and lower oxygen levels at Ijen could still be taxing for someone who’s not in good health.

You can get a health certificate from any clinic in the Banyuwangi area, and apparently an impromptu pharmacy has even popped up that’s offering health certificates at the entrance to the mountain.

This is a very new development and things could change at any time. According to Detik (Indonesian news) there’s already been some pushback from people unhappy with the new rule, and I expect it will probably be short lived, like usual.
 

More Things To See Near Ijen

There are lots of good things to see near Kawah Ijen and Banyuwangi, but two of the top sights are Red Island Beach (Pulau Merah) and Djawatan Forest, an old canopy that looks like Fangorn Forest from the Lord of the Rings movies.

A lot of Mount Ijen tour packages include a quick stop at Jagir Waterfall, and if you look around there are a bunch of other nice ones like Belawan Waterfall.

The Kawah Ijen caldera (and the rest of the Banyuwangi area) is absolutely loaded with waterfalls. Near the park entrance, there’s even a unique acid waterfall called the Kalipait Waterfall that flows from the sulfur lake at Ijen.

You can check out my 1-Week Java itinerary for more ideas of what to do in East Java and Central Java.
 

More Indonesia Travel Guides

Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoyed this Kawah Ijen travel guide.

Seeing the blue fire volcano of Mt Ijen up close was one of the best parts of our visit to East Java, Indonesia.

Don’t forget to check out my Mount Bromo guide as well as my complete Indonesia Travel Guide with more tips, info, and photos!
 

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33 comments

Beth McG August 10, 2023 - 11:26 pm

Thanks for all the great tips. Love your photos as well! I’m heading to Bali in December from Boston and wondered which tour to Mt. Ijen you recommend. I’d like to do the 7pm pickup in Bali. Thanks 🙂

Reply
David & Intan August 11, 2023 - 3:31 am

Hey there! Here’s a GetYourGuide tour with 9 PM pickup from Bali, although there’s a 2 pax minimum so that makes it a bit expensive. This Viator tour is a bit cheaper, but the pickup time is at 1 PM. Hope this helps. Have a great trip!

Reply
Beth McG August 11, 2023 - 12:37 pm

Perfect! Thank you

Reply
Nienke August 13, 2023 - 11:19 am

Hello,

We are travelling to Java in 3 weeks and would love to see the blueflames with the Ijen tour. We saw that the activity level is currently back at level 1. Do you know if the crater is open during the night for the blueflame tour again?

Thank you!

Reply
David & Intan August 13, 2023 - 12:38 pm

Hi! The blue fire just re-opened as normal on August 12, and tours are going there again now. I double checked with two local sources living at Ijen and they confirmed.

Reply
Nienke August 13, 2023 - 7:54 pm

Thank you so much for checking! We are really looking forward to it. Thanks again for your blog, it was really helpful! Kind regards, Nienke

Reply
David & Intan August 14, 2023 - 1:19 am

Welcome! Have a good trip!

Reply
Elaine & Gary August 24, 2023 - 9:55 pm

Hi David and Intan,

My husband and I have been making enquiries about seeing the Blue flames in the Ijen Crater. We’ve been met with a brick wall with a company we were hoping to book our whole trip with. They visit 5 volcanoes, including Kawah Ijen, but will only do the sunrise trek and won’t do the night trip to see the blue flames. Which we particularly want to do! They say they “don’t have any emergency contingency plan in place should anything go wrong” & also say the Crater is closed to visitors. We know by doing some research that it is not closed now. They then said that we could organise our own trip to see it but they would have no part in it. So that’s what we’re looking to do! Are you able to provide us with any reputable company or guide that can arrange this for us? Pick up from where we’d be staying, Blue flame tour and transfer back to the accommodation? Would they provide the gas masks? We are seasoned travellers and avid scuba divers ourselves and are very fit! Trekking to Machu Piccu 2017, Freedom Trail Trek 2018 and Everest Base Camp in 2019 all for a charity. We hope to do this volcano trek for the same charity too.
Look forward to your response and loving your write up!
Best wishes Elaine & Gary 🙂

Reply
David & Intan August 25, 2023 - 12:36 pm

Hi Elaine & Gary! Sorry to hear that about your tour company. Yeah, unfortunately it seems like some Ijen companies are slowly adjusting to the news about re-opening. Hopefully that changes before long.

Do you know where you guys would be staying for the tour that night? Would your accommodation be in Banyuwangi or elsewhere? Or is it flexible? I’ll try to give a tour suggestion if possible. Thanks!

Reply
Gary and Elaine August 31, 2023 - 1:23 pm

Hi David, We will be staying in the Ketapang Indah Hotel in the Banyuwangi in early October. Many thanks ! Elaine and Gary

Reply
David & Intan September 1, 2023 - 5:33 am

Hi guys. Unfortunately it sounds like most Ijen tours are still starting at 2 or 3 AM and skipping the blue fire, even though it’s supposed to be open now. Is your trip date coming up soon? Hopefully things change before long. I’ll try to give an update and a tour recommendation as soon as I know more. Regards

Reply
Gary & Elaine Barnes September 1, 2023 - 8:43 am

Hi David, Thanks for your quick replies! Thanks for checking too. Our trip’s arrival in the area to climb Ijen is Oct 5th, that’s the night we were hoping to do the hike to see the blue fire, the group we’re with are doing the sunrise hike on the 6th leaving at 4am….one we were going to miss if we were doing the blue fire hike as we would have been picked up at midnight. However, we are hopeful, so if you’re able to give us an update and a tour recommendation when you know, we’d be very grateful. Thankyou.

Aga August 25, 2023 - 2:58 pm

Would be eager to hear from anyone who has seen blue fires after the re-opening. Many tourists on forums say they went but fires were not there. One wrote that miners put blue light to pretent fires just to get additional fee from tourists. Has anyone actually seen blue fires after August 12?

Reply
David & Intan August 26, 2023 - 11:51 am

Hi. I saw some recent Facebook comments about that, but it sounded like they started the hike too late to see the blue fire.

It takes 3 or 4 hours to hike from the entrance to the blue fire, which means you’re really supposed to start at midnight. That will put you inside the crater at about 3 or 4 AM, when it’s still very dark. I wouldn’t start the hike any later than 2 AM. If you reach the crater at 5 or 6 AM, there’s already morning light and you’re less likely to see any blue flame.

I’m not sure why the tours are still starting late. It could be lazy tour operators, or maybe the Kawah Ijen management has changed their mind again about opening the blue fire route. Hopefully we can clarify soon.

Reply
Gary & Elaine September 14, 2023 - 11:45 am

Hi!

We were just wondering if you had any further clarification on any tour companies doing the Blue Fire trips again, now it has re-opened? I’ve come across some companies that state they’re doing the Blue Fire trek but on reading the itinerary/small print you can see that they’re leaving far too late to catch the blue fire in the dark! Any further news on ones that pick you up at midnight and arrive at a decent time to catch them?
Another thing I’ve noted, is that every 1st Friday of the month they close Ijen? Our tour company has changed the original itinerary because of this. So they’re now planning the sunrise trek on the Saturday Oct 7th. (Our previous comments above stated a different day) Any clarification will be appreciated. Many thanks. Gary & Elaine

Reply
David & Intan September 14, 2023 - 4:58 pm

Hi. We just talked to an Indonesian tourist from West Java who saw the blue fire on August 25. Here is her Instagram post about it, and as you can see it was putting on a great show. Lots of blue fire.

My wife talked to her in bahasa and she told us they started hiking at 2 AM. We still haven’t found any tours going at midnight right now, and I don’t know why that is, but apparently you can still see the blue fire with the later start, if you’re lucky.

If I was in your position, I would go ahead and book a tour with free cancellation (either through your main tour provider, or your hotel, or an online tour company) and hope for the best, although sadly there are no guarantees you’ll see the blue fire.

In the meantime, if I find a tour with an earlier departure I’ll post it here for you, as I still think that’d give you a better chance of seeing the blue fire. Hope this helps!

Reply
Gary & Elaine September 28, 2023 - 8:49 pm

Hi David,
Sorry for the late reply. Thankyou for getting back to us with your update. We fly out this weekend! I think we’ll play it by ear and see if anyone is offering any trips. Our tour company has also rescheduled a couple of days, so we may be too far from the Ijen area on the night we had originally proposed to see the Blue fire :-/ May be it’s not meant to be. Thank you for your help! We may not see any further posts as we’re not taking our laptop and may not have any internet to access this page on our phons to see if you’ve replied. We don’t get any notification that you’ve replied, we can only see you have when we go onto your page.

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David & Intan September 30, 2023 - 9:38 am

Good luck! I’ve heard from some more people who have seen the Blue Fire recently, but it still seems to be hit and miss.

Elaine and Gary October 24, 2023 - 7:49 am

Hi David!
Update! Gary & I had been in touch with you before our trip. We have now returned. Climbed 5 volcanoes…..amazing! Our biggest highlight was the fact that we DID get to see the Blue Fire at Ijen!! We arranged it at the hotel reception when we arrived. It was a midnight pick up, an hour and 15 min drive. We had a coffee near the gates (they opened before 4am) we were the first to reach the bottom, complete with gasmasks, and took some amazing footage of the blueflames even with a.mobile phone. We just asked people to turn off their headlamps for a short time. Yes, the smoke was very overwhelming, gas masks were rendered useless for a few mins. But if you didn’t panic, as some do, then it was pretty scary. Some we saw heading down, shouldn’t have as they were so badly equipped… one wearing crocs! Buffs were not enough protection from the billowing smoke either. Alot were still queueing to go down as daylight came so they never got to see the Blue flames.
So a huge thanks to your input and advice! We got to see it. Or guide was fantastic too.

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David & Intan October 25, 2023 - 2:45 am

Nice! Thanks for the update. Glad to hear a good report about the blue fire!

Aga August 25, 2023 - 2:59 pm

Great post by the way 🙂 I will follow some advice!

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David & Intan August 26, 2023 - 11:38 am

Thank you!

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Mohit October 6, 2023 - 10:51 pm

Hey David, amazing write-up. My wife and I are headed there for our honeymoon next week. Do you know if you need a guide? We have a driver and are both advanced hikers.

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David & Intan October 7, 2023 - 1:26 am

Hi Mohit, thanks for your comment.

A guide isn’t really needed for the hike if you have a driver. He can take you to the entrance, and from there the path will be pretty clear since there are always lots of other hikers going up.

A guide would probably be a good idea if you want to go down into the crater and try to see blue fire, though. That part is a bit harder to navigate in the dark.

Regards

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Jason January 9, 2024 - 11:33 am

As of January 6th 2024, due to a series of incidents and a death, ALL hikers including locals and foreign tourists are required to get a medical health certificate before booking this hike.
The cost is between 60,000 and 150,000 rupiah depending on the clinic you use.
The certificate is valid for 2-3 weeks after issue and is gained the same day.
There is also no longer the ability to hire a scooter or get a lift and do the hike yourself, all hikes must now be conducted with a licensed guide.
I just arrived in Banuwangi and was going to book the online ticket to the park and just hire a scooter, although you can still buy tickets, you will not be allowed to enter unless you have a guide and the certificate.
I will do a tour tonight from my homestay with these new rules in place.

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David & Intan January 9, 2024 - 12:19 pm

Thanks, noted, although I expect that rule will probably be short lived (like usual). According to Detik there’s already been some pushback from Indonesians unhappy with the new rule.

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jason January 9, 2024 - 1:47 pm

yea I can imagine the same, but it was more a word of warning for the time being while it is enforced just so as not to catch any unsuspecting visitors to your page out.
It nearly caught me out, although I always research all sites I visit as I don’t usually do tours unless I have to, but even a few of the tour operators i spoke to today as of the 9th Jan when I am doing my trip knew nothing about it.

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David & Intan January 9, 2024 - 3:58 pm

Sure, thanks! Let us know how your trip goes and I’ll try to keep the article updated as well for anyone reading it in the future.

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jason January 11, 2024 - 7:11 am

The blue fire was excellent, albeit very overcrowded and mismanaged, we saw about a dozen people turned away who had made the trip solo, like I had planned on a scooter.
There are guides waiting around at the entrance point, so it is entirely possible people MAY be able to ride up with the doctors note and hire a local (possibly)
I am guessing that these people either wanted to pay on arrival (Which isn’t possible now) or didn’t have the correct documentation or guide with them, cant say as we didn’t speak to any of them.
So for now the easiest thing is a doctors note for around 100,000Rupiah (£5/$6) which includes weight, height, blood pressure, and heart rate assessment, whole process takes about 1 hour and certificate is issued immediately upon payment.

David & Intan January 11, 2024 - 3:49 pm

Great! Thanks for the update.

Juergen February 24, 2024 - 10:41 pm

Hi, what type of mask did you have?

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David & Intan February 25, 2024 - 8:39 am

Hi. We bought our masks for 85k Rupiah on Shopee and had them delivered to our hotel in Bali. Masks are also included with Ijen tours, or you can usually rent them at the entrance for 45k.

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