Ijen Crater which is located in Banyuwangi, East Java Province, become one of the favorite tourist destinations in Indonesia, mainly because of the phenomenon of blue fire inside the crater. To be able to enjoy the scenery at Ijen Mountain, here are some tips for Mount Ijen Hiking.
The best time to visit Ijen is after December. At this time, the intensity of the fog in the Ijen Crater was lower. Thus, visitors can see the blue lake and blue fire without being blocked by fog.
The climbing path to the Ijen Crater is quite extreme for visitors who rarely or the first time to climbing. About 1.5 kilometers to the crater is a steep uphill road. Before climbing, visitors are advised to do a number of sports activities to stretch muscles.
Another important thing to consider is to start the journey at night. Visitors are advised to start climbing at 22:00 so that the trip can be more relaxed. The climbing route to the Ijen Volcano can be completed within two to three hours. The path includes a 3 kilometer uphill road and around 700 meters downhill to the bottom of the crater.
The road downhill to the bottom of the crater is not easy to pass. The track is a pathway made by sulfur miners. It is made down through random stone fragments that resemble stairs.
When down the footpath to the crater, visitors must share space with sulfur miners who carry tens of kilograms of sulfur. The blue fire can be enjoyed before the sky is clear. After enjoying the blue fire, visitors can continue the journey by trekking about 1 kilometer from the top of the crater to enjoy the sunrise.
For visitors who are not able to climb the Ijen, there is an Ijen “Taxi” which is a two-wheeled small wagon that has two towing ropes in the front. For each taxi usually drawn by one or two people and the shuttle cost around IDR600,000-IDR800,000. The Ijen Taxis are used by sulfur miners to add their income. Wages for transporting sulfur are only around IDR1000 per kilogram. Every day, the average miner transports 70 kilograms to 100 kilograms of sulfur.
There are two accesses to go to Ijen Crater, through Bondowoso and Banyuwangi Regencies. Most tourists, both local and foreign, choose Banyuwangi as the main access. The ease of accommodation and shorter distance to Paltuding Hiking Post is the reason. From Banyuwangi you can rent a motorbike or car to the Paltuding area.
While access from the Regency of Bondowoso is less desirable because the choice of accommodation is limited and also the distance to Paltuding is quite far from the city center. However, this route is a favorite for midnight tour travelers from the direction of Surabaya/Malang because it can cut travel time instead of having to go to Banyuwangi first.
If you have never climbed a mountain then you must pay attention to the following important tips:
1. Do physical exercise a few days earlier. This is very important for those of you who really rarely exercise, especially never go up the mountain.
2. Use layered clothes and thick jackets. The Ijen Crater atmosphere is very cold and can reach temperatures of 2°C. Not only the air but the wind here is also quiet strong.
3. Use shoes that have a jagged base or special mountain shoes. The road to Ijen Crater is very gravel which makes you easy to slip plus the uphill road is also very far. Therefore, make sure you wear shoes that are comfortable but can also support your body very well.
4. Thick socks is a must. Use a scarf and hat to protect you from the cold morning air. Scarves can also protect you from the poisonous gas coming from Ijen Crater.
5. Please bring only the items you need such as a camera, cellphone and a bottle of drinking water when going to Ijen Crater. That’s enough. Do not bring heavy and unnecessary items as trekking to the crater is not easy.
6. Before you start hiking, make sure you go to the toilet first. In the upper area of Ijen Crater there are no public toilets or any “safe” place to urinate.
7. If you are afraid of hunger, try to only eat foods that are not too heavy like pop noodles or boiled-eggs or chocolate as an energy source.
8. Flashlight. Along the way to the Ijen Crater the scene will be dark. Make sure you bring a small flashlight to help you light the way.
9. Masks are very important while up there. Ordinary masks are not enough because the smell of sulfur is very sharp and has the potential to damage the health of the lungs. In the middle of the trekking trip there will be a post where climbers can rent a special mask. The cost of renting this mask is around IDR35,000.
10. UV glasses. When you start to get close to Blue Fire and want to capture the moment there, make sure you use UV glasses to protect the eyes from the pain of the crater gas carried by the wind. Your eyes will be dry and runny near the Blue Fire.