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Whether this is your first or umpteenth time visiting Indonesia, you should try booking a private tour to Mount Ijen, also known as Ijen Plateau or Kawah Ijen in Bahasa Indonesia. Mount Ijen really is spectacular. Sitting in the middle of the volcano is an amazing and photogenic turquoise-coloured lake, the largest acidic lake in the world. The volcano is also famous for the its “blue fire“, an epic natural phenomenon that occurs when the thick sulphur clouds come into contact with the extreme heat, around 600 degrees Celsius, issuing from the fissures of the volcano. Mount Ijen is the only crater in Indonesia where you can witness this phenomenon, which occurs around the clock, but can only be seen by the naked eye in the dark of the night, particularly between 1am and 4am. A truly mesmerizing sight and well worth the hike.

How do you get to Mount Ijen?

Mount Ijen is situated in East Java. The nearest airport is Blimbingsari, Banyuwangi. The drive from Banyuwangi town to the entrance of Mount Ijen is about an hour and is a fairly hilly ride. You can also travel there from Surabaya or Bali. The drive from Surabaya or Mount Bromo to Banyuwangi takes around 6 hours.

International tourists arriving in Bali can head from Denpasar to Gilimanuk Harbour in northwest Bali, approximately 3.5 hours by car, and take a 40-minute ferry ride over to Ketapang Harbour in Banyuwangi. Including the hour's drive to Mount Ijen from Banyuwangi town, the total travel time will be around 5-8 hours, depending on your exact location in Bali.

It's a good idea to stay a night in Banyuwangi before or after your Ijen hike and you'll find plenty of guest houses and budget hotels. If you would like to have a comfortable sleep on top of ticking off your bucket list adventure, we strongly recommend our Ijen Hike & Stay package, which includes a 2-night stay at Dialoog Banyuwangi, a private trip to Mount Ijen, dinner and a spa treatment.

Best time to visit

Mount Ijen is located at high altitude, so it's perfectly fine to visit all year round. However, the dry season from April to October is usually the best time with its hot sunny weather, but it can also get really busy. During Ramadhan Puasa is a good time to avoid crowds.

Entrance fee

Entrance fees differ for international and local guests. The fee is higher on the weekend – 150k Rupiah for foreigners regardless if you are a KITAS holder. Post-COVID, the national park has limited the number of visitors to 150 a day. We suggest you book your ticket in advance via the official ticketing website or secure your private Ijen Night Hike with us without delay.

Opening hours

The gate to hike is open from 2am until 12pm. However, most hikers will leave the plateau as soon as they finish hiking, typically around 8.30 am, and will travel back to Banyuwangi town.

Do note that Ijen is closed every first Friday of the month for conservation and maintenance. So avoid visiting on this day.

Clothing and equipment

Attire: It's best to wear layers with a jacket as it can be pretty chilly at the peak with single digit degrees, and gets warmer after sunrise and as you walk downhill. You may want to bring a raincoat, especially from December to February, just in case.

Footwear: Regular shoes are fine, but sturdy hiking shoes are better. Sometimes the gravel can be a bit slippery, and the trail is especially rough if you go down into the volcano crater.

Gas Mask and Headlight: These are essential as it is pitch dark at night and the smoke and smell from the sulphur are distinctly unpleasant. If you are taking Dialoog's Ijen Night Hike tour, we provide sanitized equipment and ensure a brand new gas filter for every guest. Alternatively, you can bring your own or rent them at the entrance for 45k Rupiah.

How far is the hike?

The track itself is 3.8 km long, wide, well-trodden and has plenty of rest stops. Although the path begins to incline after a few hundred metres, it's not too demanding. To reach the summit can take anywhere from less than an hour to two hours depending on the number of stops you make and your fitness level.

At the three-quarter point is a hut where many hikers stop for a hot cup of tea, coffee or Indonesian's favourite instant noodles. Once you get up to the final stretch, the path will flatten out and you will be hit by the smell of sulphur in the air. Before you know it, you will be at the summit.

What can you do at Mount Ijen?

Most tourists come to admire the spectacular “blue fire“ burning brilliantly in the dark, which can only be seen down in the crater. The toxic gases are extremely intense, especially down near the lake where the main sulphur deposits are. Even on the crater rim, there are a couple of places where you may require a mask, due to the wind blowing the sulphur across the track. The narrow track down to the crater lacks railing and is busy with people walking in both directions, with barely enough room to pass each other. Please be extra careful.

At the summit, you can also stroll around the flat plateau and wait for sunrise from this amazing vantage point. Watch the first rays of daylight stretch across the terrain and showcase the magnificent view. Have your camera ready to take tons of photos, capturing the best moments of this unforgettable experience – another one to tick off your bucket list.

With Dialoog's Ijen Night Hike tour, you can also add barefoot dining to this experience and enjoy a light sunrise breakfast with a hot drink as you soak in the views from on top of the world.

Who is this hike suitable for?

Anyone who is healthy and keen to do a lightly challenging walk up the mountain. If you change your mind along the way, fret not as you'll be “offered“ many times by the local miners the option of a trolley ride, known as the Ijen Taxi. You can start this ride from the foothill or even at the peak, and the price will vary accordingly.

If you have asthma or breathing issues, please consult with your doctor before the hike. Otherwise, go straight for the taxi option!

Extra tips

Use the toilet before starting the hike: The only decent toilet is at the entrance gate to Mount Ijen. Otherwise, you may find bushes along the way, and there is one toilet at the summit, but we can't vouch for its cleanliness.

Don't wear fancy clothing: The smell of sulphur is nasty and it stays on your clothes. We recommend not wearing any jewellery either. Silver especially will be tarnished by the sulphur.

Bring small change: You may be interested in buying a piece of “Devil's Gold“, which is a piece of sulphur, contributing to the livelihood of the local miners. Prices range from 50k Rupiah to more than 150k Rupiah depending on the size and shape.

Snacks: Bring snacks or energy bars to keep you going through the night. Otherwise, Dialoog's Ijen Hike & Stay will include a snack box with egg sandwiches and fruit to fuel you after the hike.

There are plenty of Mount Ijen Hike tours available. That being said, not every tour is equal. Dialoog works together with local guides to provide our guests with the most memorable private trip to Mount Ijen. Our guides are trained to deliver this unique experience to Dialoog's standards. Combined with their local wisdom, our private tour offers a fun and unforgettable adventure to share with someone close.

If you like what you read and are ready to take up the challenge, contact us via Whatsapp or dive right in and book Dialoog's Ijen Hike & Stay with us!
All photos are credited to Suta, Aga, and IslandHoppas