Visiting Kawah Ijen on Java – The mysterious blue flames

General information about Kawah Ijen

Ijen is a volcanic complex at the eastern end of the Indonesian main island of Java. It is particularly famous for its blue sulphur flames and the turquoise volcanic lake, Kawah Ijen. One thing in advance: You can do the Ijen even without a certain basic athleticism. Just don’t have a problem getting up early if you want to see the flames in the dark. A visit to Kawah Ijen can be ideally combined with a holiday in Bali or with a trip to Java from Bali or vice versa. The ferry to Bali (larger island at the bottom right of the picture) takes less than an hour. The starting point for Ijen is the town of Banyuwangi. It is a good idea to combine Ijen and Bromo, as they are easily accessible by train. Be sure to check if Ijen is open before you arrive, as it closes sporadically when volcanic activity is too high.

Crater lake

Kawa Ijen captivates with its turquoise water and rising vapours. The lake itself is also called the “largest acid barrel on earth”. The lake is almost 1 km long, 600 m wide and up to 200 m deep. The PH value of the lake is 0.3 in some places – that’s just sick, considering that even battery acid has a PH value of about 1. Logically, this means there is no life at all in Kawah Ijen.

Are you thinking about travelling to Java? Then you’ve come to the right place.
Blick auf das größte Säurefass der Erde - den Kawah Ijen

Kawah Ijen on your own or with a guided tour?

You can easily climb Kawa Ijen without a tour. The prerequisite for this is that you have no problem riding a scooter. In any case, I recommend not to wear your best clothes. I still had the smell of sulphur in my clothes weeks after the climb. Also keep in mind that it will be very cool on the crater in the morning. I’ll show you both options:

Kawah Ijen on your own

You book cheap accommodation in Banyuwangi and rent a scooter and a respirator (you need it) and a torch. Around midnight, you set off for the entrance to Kawah Ijen. The journey takes about 1-1.5 hours. Pay the entrance fee and follow the path. You can’t really miss it. If you are unsure, just follow the crowds. I’ve written down the costs here if there are two of you. You really don’t need a guide for the tour, you’re sure to find the way by yourself. You might want to consider visiting the volcano during the day to avoid the crowds of tourists. With this option, you will logically not see the blue flames. On a weekday, the two of you will pay about 435,000 rupiah and on the weekend 535,000 rupiah.

What you needCosts
Übernachtung (Budgetunterkunft f. 2 Personen) 100.000 Rupiah
Scooter rental70.000 Rupiah
Mask hire fee2 x 25.000 Ruhpiah
Admission (during the week)2 x 100,000 Rupiah (On weekends 2 x 150,000 Rupiah)
Train station to accommodation15.000 Rupiah

2 Guided tour to Kawah Ijen

Those who want it more comfortable can also simply book a tour. This usually includes accommodation, transport, guide, entrance fee, mask, torch, water and breakfast.

Falls Du mit dem Gedanken spielst, eine geführte Tour zu buchen empfehle ich dir Yofie. Ich habe ihn damals auf der Straße kennengelernt und wir haben immer noch sporadisch Kontakt miteinander. Er ist ein super sympathischer Kerl der ein verhältnismäßig gutes Englisch spricht. Der Vorteil ist, Du kannst ihn vorab kontaktieren und alles abstimmen. Er holt dich auch gerne vom Bahnhof ab. Ein Zimmer für 2 Personen kostet 150.000 IDR (Ventilator) bzw. 200.000 IDR (A/C). Die Tour zum Ijen kostet 300.000 IDR pro Person. Zu zweit mit dem Ventilator-Zimmer zahlt ihr also 750.000 IDR. Als Leser meiner Seite erhältst Du vor Ort 10% Rabatt auf deine Buchung (nicht über Buchungsplattformen). Einfach eine Nachricht unter der unten angegebenen Nummer und alles Weitere abklären. Dazu musst Du Yofi quasi einfach nur von mir grüßen :-). Kein Affiliate. keine Werbung – einfach eine nett gemeinte Unterstützung.

Puli Amelia
Jl. Basuki Rahmat
Singotrunan, Lateng
Kec. Banyuwangi
Tel: +6289652470404

Arrival Kawah Ijen

There are several ways to reach Kawah Ijen. I can recommend bus & train. If you are coming from the west, it is recommended to take the train. If you are coming from Bali, you can take the bus or ferry. The train network in Java is relatively well developed, so you can travel Java perfectly by rail. You can travel from Jakarta to Banyuwangi with a change of trains. Most come from either Probolinggo (Mt. Bromo) or Bali.


The route from Surabaya to Probolinggo – Banyuwangi is operated 4 times a day. If the departure times have not changed, they are as follows:

SurabayaArrival time in ProbolinggoArrival Time in Banyuwangi (Ijen)
1:20 Uhr3:11 Uhr 7:29 Uhr
4:15 Uhr6:25 Uhr11:14 Uhr
14:20 Uhr16:30 Uhr20:54 Uhr
16:5018:49 Uhr23:34 Uhr


From Bali, you can easily get to Banyuwangi by bus. I would recommend going to the Ubung Bus Terminal in the morning and asking for the next bus there. Don’t be fooled by the drivers and ticket sellers. Always buy tickets on the bus and not outside. The fare should cost around 80,000 – 120,000 rupiah. Luxury liners are a bit more expensive. The journey takes about 5-6 hours. The ferry ride is included in the price.

Schwarz-Weiß-Aufnahme vom Kraterrand des Kawah Ijens

A Sad Truth…

While we climb Ijen to see the flames and the lake, there are people who earn their living by transporting sulphur. With 2 baskets attached to a bamboo pole, they transport between 70 – 100 kg of sulphur. They climb up from the crater several times a day with these crazy weights on their shoulders. The life expectancy of these poor people is about 40 years, as they are exposed to highly toxic sulphur fumes every day. I talked to one of them for a while. He said the pay is relatively good and they see no other way to provide for his family. This conversation really affected me emotionally, because I didn’t know how to react. Then we smoked a cigarette together before he went on his way. He did not want to accept any money.

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We are Julian & Naomi and we love to travel the world and immerse ourselves in other cultures. We have an adventurous, spartan, sustainable and reflective travel style. In our opinion, the greatest adventures are experienced when you do things on your own and try to live like a local. The taste of a country is best captured on the road
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