We had a crazy day planned where we would get to Bali airport and from there head straight to Banyuwangi, where we would begin another midnight trek to Kawah Ijen! It was incredibly exhausting, don’t do this if you tire easily.
The journey to Banyuwangi had me sitting on the edge of my cab seat the entire time, praying we would make it in time for our 1 am trek start.
We had some confusion at the airport when getting a taxi when the driver kept insisting he was at ‘parkir eeee’, and we were at Parking area E. We finally found him at Parking I (‘eeee’).
Banyuwangi is on another island to the west of Bali, so from the westernmost point in Bali (Gilimanuk) , we had to take a short half hour ferry to Banyuwangi, from where our Ijen tour operator picked us up. Banyuwangi has a one hour time difference compared to Bali, so that helped us make it in time.
We barely got any time to rest, before we were headed off to Kwah Ijen, the volcano famous for its sulphur fumes that catch fire and emit blue flames! These can be seen at night, necessitating the midnight trek up to the crater.
For the trek up the crater, we were supplied with gas masks and headlamps. We also rented a jacket at the case of the volcano, as it got pretty cold there!
As we started the ascent, we suddenly realized the gas masks were really very necessary as the sulphur fumes we were breathing got in our throats and it burrrrrnt!
The Gas masks on the other hand made it that much harder to breath and we were all panting quite a bit from the ascent.
When we got to the top, the fumes were everywhere and it was pretty hard to see the blue flames though the gases. Every time we would try to get closer to the flames to take a picture, the wind would change and suddenly blow the gases our way. It was quite exciting.
Eventually the sun came up and we could see the crater and the acidic lake in the center. Quite an otherworldly scene. The locals were mining sulphur there (no gas masks!), which they carried back down.
The way back down was pretty easy and on the way back to the tour start point, we stopped at a quiet little waterfall, which perhaps I would have appreciated better had I not been seriously tired.
Once back, we boarded a bus back to bali