Located at the east coast of Java you can already see the west coast of Bali. Most people might never really heard of Banyuwangi and basically there is not much to see there except from the Volcano tour – quite similar to Probolinggo.
There are some beaches to visit but as it is still on Java the people will keep watching you steadily while sunbathing in a swimsuit. On your way to the beach you might pass on of the oldest Chinese Temple in Indonesia: Hoo Tong Bio Temple.
It’s a nice stop to take some pictures of this giant red temple.
Usually the hostels and homestays in Banyuwangi assist in arranging the tour to Mount Ijen. We paid around 20€ for the transportation to the bottom of Mount Ijen and back, the guided tour to Ijen as well as a stop at the Jagir Waterfalls. They offer you some water during the tour as well.
We had to start at midnight to the bottom of Ijen to get up there during darkness to reach the top far before sunrise. A steep and exhausting 1,5 hours hike up to the top of the crater and 30 min hike down in the crater not only meant a new physical experience but also provided an unique moment in the crater itself.
We were lucky to spot the blue flames, smelled the strong acrid sulfur and admired the beauty of the lake in the crater. Watching the locals dragging around 90 kg of sulfur up the bold and difficult way makes you speechless. They earn around 1€ per 15 kg sulfur they carry up the crater. For me this sounds like nothing – but for them it’s a lot of money.
Some visitors offered them water, snacks or even money. But they were mostly asking for cigarettes…
After climbing Mount Bromo this trip finally showed me how much I like nighttime adventures like this. It’s a special experience to climb a mountain in the darkness and to discover it in a very new way on your way back. You still have to take the same path twice but it offers you a totally different impression in the sunlight of the early morning. Walking around the top of the crater is an immense and awesome feeling. You feel so small looking around and seeing the huge mountains, the giant crater and all the natural phenomenon.
Do I need a guide?!
To be honest, this trip can easily be done without a guide. There are so many groups with a tour guide that you could just follow them up there. It’s unlikely to get lost there as there are always a bunch of people around. Just make sure your transportation is guaranteed at one point and you’ll be fine.
If you have the possibility take your time to wander around the crater to the far opposite side. The view is amazing and it only takes about 30-35 minutes one way to walk there.
On our way back from Mount Ijen we had a quick stop at the Jagir waterfall. Actually there are three waterfalls in total and one big nature pool offers a perfect spot to have a swim. Unfortunately we were to tired and exhausted from our nighttime trip so we just stayed for a couple of minutes. You can easily spent some hours here enjoying the refreshment.