Ijen crater is another world’s nature wonder existing only in Indonesia. Every second in this crater lake offers moments with various colors. When the dark drops, electric blue color spreads all over the crater wall, winding like a river flow. Sky turns beautiful shiny orange as morning crawls. During this very minute, the turquois color of the crater water is slowly unveiled.
Resting at an altitude of 2368 meter, journey to Ijen crater will surely require extra stamina. Challenge has even come before you enter main entrance, Paltuding. Your art of driving is tested as you’ll pass a narrow winding road sandwiched between lush bush and trees. The road is paved but unfortunately most of the parts already flaked off, making it stony and slippery in the rain.
From Paltuding, your feet will work harder. You don’t have another option other than trekking for three hours through various types of trails – from flat plain, sandy slope to steep path. This won’t be boring and tiring, however, as you’ll be treated to an expanse of fascinating natural scenery along the way. Sometimes, you may happen to meet traditional sulfur miners that manage to smile even while bringing 80 kg chucks of sulfur on one shoulder.
You’ll be a proud visitor when you finally reach the summit. All fatigue will soon disappear after looking at the beauty of the crater. Boasting greenish water, the crater lake has very high acid level with temperature reaching 200oC that will easily melt your skin down. Up here, you can enjoy the view of mount Merapi, Raung and Meranti being hand in hand from distance.
The most wanted highlight for tourist in this crater is its famous electric blue flames that can only be found in two countries – Indonesia and Iceland. The flame appears only at night, thus, torch, jacket and face mask are crucial during the hiking session. From the crater rim, blue fire looks tiny like dots of stars. Many act brave and walk down the crater wall to get a closer view of the unique fire though there is a warning not to go down.
But who can resist not seeing the dramatic view offered down there. The flames can be seen clearly peek out of cracks on the wall where sulfurous smoke also come from. To a certain degree, the flame of the blue fire looks like a flame of burning charcoal, very bright. Some even come in molten burning substance flowing toward the crater belly. This is definitely a real wonder that is second to none.
Ijen crater is nestled in Banyuwangi, a city on the easternmost tip of Java and near from Bali. This spot can be reached via Situbondo with the route of Situbondo – Bondowoso – Paltuding. If you’re already in Banyuwangi, you just need to head for Licin district which is just 18 km away from Paltuding.