Ijen volcano is a popular hiking spot in East Java and is by far the most unique thing to do on the Island. Ijen houses the world’s largest acidic volcanic lake, which glows a beautiful turquoise emitting electric blue flames. These flames are especially beautiful at night.
The lake also looks magical during sunrise, with the changing hues of the sky as a backdrop. Note that you will need a gas mask as you near the crater because the high level of sulfur can be toxic (and very smelly).
Kawah Ijen, as it’s known, also has another unique feature. It is a fully commercial volcano. You’ll see dozens of local men collecting the sulphur deposits in the crater and bringing it down the mountain. This is back-breaking work which they do without the protection of a gas mask. Be careful not to obstruct them in their work as this is their primary means of income, despite the incredibly low wages. Because of this, they are more than happy to accept small tips from visitors.
Where to stay when visiting Ijen?
The most common basecamp when visiting Ijen is the town of Banyuwangi, which is located some 35kms away from Ijen.
When travelling the 605kms from Yogyakarta to Ijen via Banyuwangi, you have 3 options: taking the train (13.5 hrs), the bus (13 hrs) or taking an indirect flight via Surabaya for around 4 hours plus 1 hour transfer time.
Travelling by train is a cheap and comfortable way from Yogyakarta to Banyuwangi. However, there is only one direct train available daily and the journey takes about 13.5 hours. Fares start at 166,000 IDR ($10).
When flying, you’ll need to make a stopover in Surabaya. The fastest one takes about 4 hours, excluding transfers to and from the airports. Total fare starts at 1,200,000 IDR ($80).
PRO-TIP: Instead of travelling straight from Yogyakarta to Ijen, we recommend to make one stop at Bromo Volcano which is on the way, and possibly also at Sewu waterfall.
Organizing a tour from Banyuwangi
It is easy enough to visit Mt. Ijen independently, especially if you have some experience with hiking. From Banyuwangi, you can rent a 4×4 jeep with a driver to Ijen Crater. Rates start at 250,000 IDR ($15) per person for the ride alone. Entrance fee to the crater costs 100,000 IDR ($6) on weekdays and 150,000 IDR ($9) at weekends.
However, if you want to get the full experience and also want to get a good close to the crater’s sulphuric blue flames you’ll need a guide. Also note that the most popular time to visit Ijen is at night, because this gives you a good magnificent view of the blue fire. Hiking this mountain in total darkness without a guide is not recommended.
For this reason, we recommend to book a tour from Banyuwangi or even better, book the Ijen sunrise tour in advance with Klook. Their tours are run by trusted guides and the rate of 431,000 IDR ($26) already includes pick-up and drop off from your hotel in Banyuwangi, gas mask for the tour, as well as entrance fee.
With all these benefits it’s already cheaper than doing it on your own, plus you will have a guarantee that you can go on the same night that you arrive.
If you prefer to take the train, we recommend the direct train leaving from Yogyakarta to Banyuwangi at 07:00.
This journey will take about 13.5 hours with fares from 166,000 IDR ($10) to 290,000 IDR ($17).
Train schedule Yogyakarta to Banyuwangi:
Sri Tanjung 194
13 hours 34 minutes
166,000 IDR ($10)
The train departs from Lempuyangan Station in Yogyakarta at 7:00 in the morning and arrives around 20:30 in Karangasem or 20 minutes later in Ketapang.
Banyuwangi Train Station
The actual train station you need to travel to is Karangasem, with the final stop Ketapang (Banyuwangi Baru Station).
Ketapang is about 10km from Banyuwangi and is most convenient if you want to take the ferry to Bali. If you want to stay around Banyuwangi however, we recommend to get off at Karangasem which is only 4km from Banyuwangi. Around the train station you already find lots of accommodations.
Yogyakarta Train Station
Yogyakarta’s Lempuyangan Station is well located in the heart of the city and is relatively easy to reach from the Jalan Malioboro tourist neighbourhood. Taxi fares are around 25,000 IDR ($1.70) to the station.
Yogyakarta to Ijen by Flight via Blimbingsari (BWX)
When taking a flight from Yogya to Ijen, you have to fly to Blimbingsari (BWX), also known as Banyuwangi Airport.
The flight will take about 4 hours, including a stop over in Surabaya, plus a taxi drive from Banyuwangi Airport to Banyuwangi city centre of 30 minutes. Unfortunately, there are no direct flights from Yogyakarta to Banyuwangi, which means all flights will stop at Surabaya Airport.
The fastest way to reach Adisucipto Airport from the city center is by train. This train journey takes only 20 mins and costs 8,000 IDR ($0.50).
However, direct trains run only about every hour. Indirect trains can take over an hour to reach Maguwo Station, so pay attention which train you take and bear in mind the scheduled arrival time.
Train to Adisucipto International Airport (JOG)
If you’re coming from the backpacker area in Malioboro, you can board the train at Tugu Station. Get off at Maguwo Station, which is connected to the airport.
Taxi to Adisucipto International Airport (JOG)
If you prefer to take a taxi, a journey to the airport also takes about 20 mins and fares start at 82,000 IDR ($5). We recommend booking via Grab or Gojek for cheaper rates.
Bus to Adisucipto International Airport (JOG)
TransJoga also offers buses for only 3,600 IDR ($0.20). But we don’t recommend them if you’re in a hurry because the journey takes about an hour. Ask your hotel for assistance in finding the nearest bus stop for Bus #1A.
Step 1: Yogyakarta City Centre to Yogyakarta International Airport (YIA)
Duration: about 1 hour Cost: 45,000 IDR ($3)
The journey to Yogyakarta international airport (YIA), will take longer than Adisucipto International Airport (JOG), but the journey is still not too bad.
If you want to beat the road congestion (and save money), we recommend to take the train to Wojo Station (1 hour) and then take a shuttle bus to the airport (15 minutes).
Train to Wojo station
Trains depart from Tugu Station, which is the nearest station to Jogya’s backpacker area. There is no airport rail terminal so you will get off at nearby Wojo Station. The train fare costs 30,000 IDR ($1.80) and the journey takes about one hour.
Wojo station to the airport
From Wojo Station take a Damri shuttle bus to complete the journey to the airport. It takes only about 15 mins and costs 15,000 IDR ($0.90).
Taxi to Yogyakarta international airport (YIA)
A more seamless option is to take a taxi from your hotel directly to the airport. Fares start at 247,000 IDR ($15) and the journey takes a little over an hour depending on the location where you stay in Yogyakarta.
Step 2: Yogyakarta to Blimbingsari Airport by Flight
There is no direct flight from Yogyakarta to Blimbingsari Airport.
The quickest flight including stopover in Surabaya, takes 3 hr 50 mins. See here an example itinerary:
Yogyakarta to Surabaya (1hr 10m)
Layover at Surabaya (1hr 50m)
Surabaya to Blimbingsari (50m)
Fares start at 760,000 IDR ($46), but this includes a 7hr+ layover in Jakarta. However, in this case we would rather recommend to take the train, which is a more interesting experience and produces far less emissions than a flight.
When taking a flight, we recommend to book one with a shorter layover in Surabaya which start from 1,200,000 IDR ($80).
Step 3: Blimbingsari Airport to Banyuwangi City Centre by Taxi
Duration: 30 minutes Cost: 248,000 IDR ($15)
Blimbingsari Airport is located about 17km south of downtown Banyuwangi.
To reach your accommodation in Banyuwangi, you can take a 30-min taxi ride, which costs around 248,000 IDR ($15).
There is also a Damri shuttle bus service which connects the airport with the ferry port and the city centre. These Shuttle buses are timed to meet arriving flights. A ticket on this bus only costs 25,000 IDR ($1.70).
Yogyakarta to Ijen by Bus
Duration: 13 hours Cost: 150,000 IDR ($10)
There are long distance bus services departing Yogyakarta to Banyuwangi daily. Fares cost from 150,000 IDR ($10) and the journey takes at least 13 hours.
Both the price and duration is similar to taking the train, but the bus is often late due to traffic in and around urban areas and delays at scheduled rest stops. For this reason we would rather take the train than the bus.
The bus should be considered only as a last resort, but if it is your only option head to Jogya’s Giwangan inter-city bus terminal which is located about six kilometres south of the city centre.
Mila Sejahtera bus company operates to Banyuwangi at 00.30, 13.10, 14.40, 15.20, 16.00, 17.20, and 19.00.