Photo: A spectacular outlook.

Kawah Ijen from Banyuwangi

Our rating:

The landscape of far eastern Java is dominated by the Ijen volcano complex—an over 15km wide ancient caldera of which the northern crescent-shaped rim is still clearly visible. Just to the southwest of the complex sits Gunung Raung (3,332m), while Gunung Merapi (2,803m) forms a part of its eastern slopes. In the shadows of Merapi, just to the west, lies the main attraction, the spectacular and other-worldly Kawah Ijen (2,350m).

Travel better, travel smarter

Save money, receive our latest updates and get the most out of your travels.


Superlatives sit well with Kawah Ijen. Ijen’s crater lake is not just Java’s largest crater lake, it is also the largest highly acidic crater lake in the world. Ijen is also famous for its “blue fire” (sometimes erroneously reported as being blue lava) a natural phenomenon caused by sulphuric gas igniting upon contact with oxygen. Most importantly though, Kawah Ijen is famous for its sulphur mining, a dangerous and difficult undertaking where miners pipe the escaping sulphuric gas through ceramic pipes, allowing it to condensate and gather in molten pools. Once cooled, the sulphur is broken up and lugged out of the crater—all as the workers labour in clouds of the toxic gas. In all of Indonesia there is nowhere quite as breathtaking (often literally) as Kawah Ijen and it ranks along side Bromo as a highlight for many first time visitors to Java.

Don’t forget your camera. Photo taken in or around Kawah Ijen from Banyuwangi, Banyuwangi, Indonesia by Stuart McDonald.

Don’t forget your camera. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Kawah Ijen can be approached from both the east (from Banyuwangi) and the west (from Bondowoso) with the former being by far the more popular approach, perhaps due to the proximity to Bali, a drastically improved road surface and the fact that pretty much every man and his dog can arrange an organised trip to Kawah Ijen from Banyuwangi.

You can also approach it independently but for this you’ll need your own transport (a hired car or scooter) to reach basecamp. If you are planning on riding a scooter up, while reasonably well signposted, exercise care as some of the road, while resurfaced, remains very steep and is not well suited to novice motorbike riders. You have read your travel insurance ... Travelfish members only (Around 1,100 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

Don’t miss the boat!

Please subscribe to to read the rest of this article, or log in here.

Subscribing to Travelfish costs A$35 per year and it gets you access to more than 200 downloadable guides to specific destinations, fabulous discount coupons and 50% off our personalised travel planning service. Sign up here.


Location map for Kawah Ijen from Banyuwangi

Popular attractions in Banyuwangi

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Banyuwangi.

Best places to stay in Banyuwangi

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Banyuwangi.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Banyuwangi.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda
 Read up on where to eat on Banyuwangi.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Banyuwangi.
 Read up on how to get to Banyuwangi.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Banyuwangi? Please read this.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.

See below for more sights and activities in Banyuwangi that are listed on

Top of page

Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Banyuwangi? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Indonesia.

Top of page