After some trip to Bali and Lombok with high school friends, I am back to my solo exploration of my second home country.
One of the sights I have been wanting to go to is the Mt Ijen Blue Fire in Banyuwanggi, and this time, I just can't let it go since I am quite close to it already - an island hop from Bali, and I shall be there.
It was a little after lunch when I left Bali en route to the Gilimanuk port. It took the bus about 6 hours (fare was 50K rupiah) to cross to Ketapangg. I got off the bus just before it rolls its wheels off the ferry and moved along with my foot. that night.
From the port exit, I saw some guys laying sticker ads of tours of what seemed to be a travel and tours office opening soon. I asked them anyway, and one of the guys happened to be the owner.
He said the tour starts 12mn, costs 200K for locals, 350K for expats, and luckily, he has guests. It seems if they don't have that ample amount guests, the rate will change. In fact, some of the other travel operators (mostly selling bus tickets) are offering 300K for a 2 person trip on a motorbike. (This other guy has one guest currently staying in a guesthouse and wanting to get a tour.
The package includes transpo on a van, gas mask, a guide, and entrance fee.
That days was a weekend and it seems like we were in a parade on the trail. You don't exactly need a guide as the trail is quite clear and wide. It was drizzling at the time, and so the trail was quite slippery. A jacket, shoes with traction, and a flashlight shall be readied by the guests. No flashlight was provided (luckily I had mine).
Funny thing, there were a lot of locals, seniors, disabled, and just lazy guys who came up with porters to carry them up. They had a trolley where their guests sat while being pulled up.
Apparently, as much as possible, guest should hurry up ahead. From the crater mouth down to where the sulfur and blue flame come up, the trail becomes narrow, and if you happen to be behind a senior, well... you bet you will be at the balcony view.
As per the guide and guides of other groups, the sulfur has to be ignited as it won't fire up on its own. So, somebody has got to come up early to start the show. Then, just before sunrise, they pumped up water to put off the fire. The water was also used to cool off the sulfure and solidify.
Overall, honestly speaking, it was not as I expected. perhaps, there was way too much people that I could not focus on what I actually came there fore. I rather enjoyed more the view that came up after brightness.
contact number for the tour company is:
+62 813 31861276.
There are also almost close to basic guesthouses right in the port, or in front of the train station (100m to the right from the port) at rates 40K, 50K, and above.