A view from the west side area of Ijen
Before getting in,
Basically all the alternatives on the previous page will get you to Paltuding which is the basecamp of Ijen. Below are some points that you might want to know just for additional information:
Entrance ticket to Ijen National Park (at Jambu): Around IDR 10-15k including your vehicle.
Entrance ticket to Ijen (approximate price):
Local Tourist = IDR 5k (weekdays) & IDR 7.5k (Weekend)
International Tourist = IDR 100k (Weekdays) & IDR 150k (weekend)
Accommodation: Hotels are available along the way to Paltuding (rate around IDR 200-500k). However it also means that you need to think also about the transportation to Paltuding during the midnight. There were actually few rooms available at Paltuding on few years back. But during my last visit on early 2016, those cottages are no more. You can still rent a tent there for around IDR 50-75k / night. Or since the hike will be started on 1AM, I prefer to just hang out around the 24 hours shops there while taking a small nap.
Meals are pretty easy to get as most of the shops are opened for 24 hours. Price varies from 10-20k for the meals.
Get a sweater or jacket as the temperature will significantly dropped as the night starts.
Masker, if possible a good one, is essential for this hike. Sulfur scent is really dense at the summit, and the smell is even much stronger on your way down to the crater. Trust me that a decent masker will help you a lot.
Don’t forget to bring any torchlight or headlamp.
While on hiking, please give way to the miners as those warriors are taking a massive load on their back
On the Hike
Track is approximately 2km long and usually can be reached in around 90-120 minutes to get to the summit. It is opened around 1AM so get your stuff ready before that. The tracking path is well established with 3-5m wide. Hiking direction is also clear so it is relatively safe for beginners.
By the time you start to smell a dense sulfur scent, it means that you are close already to its summit. To get the most out of Ijen, I recommend you to get at least 1 of the alternative below as soon as the summit is reached.
Hike Right for Sunrise View
When you reach the summit, rather than to go straight for descending down into the crater, try to hike another small hill on your right side (West area) to witness the best possible of sunrise view. As soon as you reached the upper level on that westside hill, continue your walk deeper through the west for around 15-20 minutes until you find an old abandoned structure.
It is correct that there is no specific direction to this area, however you can spot a small trekking path which I think sufficient enough to reassure your worried mind that someone has crossed this way before. Don’t worry, as long as the path is still reasonable to be gone through, then just keep going until you meet that old fortress-alike building. Because that spot is one of the best spot to get all of this nature harmony in Ijen. It is surely worth of your fears and as you may guess, only a tiny fragment from the total visitors who also notice this spot as well. So, this place with all its sublime view, will be all yours!
Go Down to the Crater for Blue Fire
If you’d like to see a closer look of those well-known blue fire - and how the miners extract the sulfur - hence you need to go down to the core of the crater. Unlike the previous path that you took to get you to the summit, this descent would be much more extreme as the path is significantly narrower and the steepness is quite sharp. Please consider as well about those sulfur smokes that is really tormenting. That is why getting a guide is truly essential for your own safety if this trekking path is what you intend to take.
Basically a guide (which is also the miner) will help you to spot the safer path to take, as well as to give you a full attention on the way you go down the track. I can tell you that during the dark night plus the foggy atmosphere, you will have no idea for which path to follow.
1 guide will charge you around IDR 100k / group, so if you are traveling alone, it is better if you join any other group so you can share its cost. 1 group is usually consisting of 5-6 pax depending on your negotiation with the guide itself.
Tips: Closely pay attention on the smoke’s direction. Don’t make yourself trapped within it as the smell is really excruciating. If your path is blocked by this smoke, it is better to wait for awhile rather than to proceed through it. The smoke direction will always move in minutes basis.
Hike Left - Eastside Hill
Once you are on the summit level and when the trekking path becomes relatively flat, observe your east side hill and you will notice another trekking path is available there. To be honest, I haven’t explored this area as well but I knew that the hill is cross-able since by the time I returned back from the summit during my last visit there, I spotted several tourists were taking a walk up there. This area would be my next ‘exploration-object’ in ijen and surely I would love to hear your story if you have managed to take this path already.
Again, Ijen is not all about the blue fire. Its unique completeness of several nature aspects can create an unspoken description of a true sublimity. Green lake, craters, mountains, blue fire and a relentless local miners - all teaches us the same point - that the life and everything which are inside this veil, are meant to be thankful. That this mother-earth is too powerful compared to what we are and what we thought about our own life. A kind of picture that we will never be able to see in our daily routine back there on the city. And Ijen is only about couple hours of travel out there. So why don’t we take a small walk, just for awhile?