January 8, 2015
It might absorb your time but it will save you some cash and lets be honest, reaching Ijen volcano on a budget and independently makes one hell of an adventure. Here’s how to see this iconic volcano, its blue fire and sulphur miners on your own steam…
Be prepared for public transport to be rather slow…
Public buses leaves Probolinggo for Bondowoso from 9am onwards (20,000 Rupiah) but this journey takes almost 4 hours and risks missing the angkot connection to Sempol/Kartimore village. This departs between 12pm and 2pm, whenever it is full. After bartering for this transport we attained a seat for 25,000 Rupiah pp. A stop-over in Bondowoso will ensure your arrival at Ijen on an earlier angkot/minivan journey. Either way prepare yourself for the slowest of approaches over a crumbling road. Not only is your driver also the delivery man between the town and city but locals making their way to this remote region are captivated by the last minute buys they can make in civilisation.
To catch Ijen volcano’s amazing blue fire you’ll need to leave Sempol/Kartimore around 1am. A motorbike driver charges 100,000 Rupiah per person to take you to the park office (also the site of the parks official accommodation) and return to collect you at any given time. Booking your return journey for 8am allows you ample time on the mountainside, to experience Ijen’s many other highlights.
An angkot plods its way back to Bondowoso from the villages around 3pm. This means you miss any onward connections and have to spend the night here.
Return public transport from Bondowoso to Ijen Volcano = 150, 000 Rupiah
Return public transport from Probolinggo to Ijen Volcano = 190, 000 Rupiah
From Bondowoso private transport can be hired from most accommodation for 1,200,000 Rupiah (US $120) per car for the ‘blue fire’ tour that departs at 11pm. If you are not concerned with seeing blue fire then 900,000 Rupiah should cover a daytime trip.
Tours can be arranged from ridiculously far locations in Indonesia that entail an arduous bus journey, five hours sleep and an onward drive that departs as soon as you descend the mountain. One such bus tour can be arranged from Probolinggo whose close proximity means less dramatic travel distances, Toto travel have an office at the cities main Bayuangga bus terminal. or check out www.tototravel16.blogspot.com
Hotel Anugerah has friendly staff and comfortable rooms with various facilities. Double rooms range from 137,000 Rupiah to 275,000 Rupiah including breakfast.
Save heaps of cash by eating at the locally run Java Resto. A friendly and fun family will warmly invite you with large smiles, cook delicious authentic cuisine and can assist with local transportation.
Rebecca Mayoll is a ‘just turned 30’ freelance writer and photographer from England. She is the co-founder and author of straightondetour.com, a travel website with the mantra ‘find your own adventure.’ Promoting adventurous destinations, independent travel and giving a humorous insight to the World of travel is what Becky does best.