This particular trip happens solely because of the blue flames. When I was traveling in Lake Toba, Medan, Indonesia, I met this amazing Brazilian guy, Paulo Leite. Leite – in Portugese it means milk, remembering how he explains to me that day. Coincidentally we were staying at the same chalet. He was once a teacher, now a full-time traveler, and currently he was in the midst of exploring Indonesia. We get into talking about where he’s been and where he’s going next, then he showed me the photos.
The blue flames. Captivating blue flames.
At that point, I have not seen anything like it. It might as well be a snapshot of something NASA took in Mars! But no, he said these are photos he took in Kawah Ijen, located in Banyuwangi regency, Indonesia. And I knew then I had to go and see them blue flames with my own eyes. (also knowing that this magnificent view is just less than 1 hour flight away… )
After some online research, I found out that the picturesque Mount Bromo which was in my to-go list and Kawah Ijen is in the same route, so I booked a flight to Surabaya via Air Asia. The only thing that you have to bear in mind, is the distance between these locations and the road conditions (they are no highways there).
Surabaya to Mount Bromo will take you about 3-4 hours drive, from Bromo to Kawah Ijen another 5 hours drive, and upon reaching Kawah Ijen, you’re already nearing the tip of East Java, and upon crossing it by ferry, you will reach the island of Bali. It’s the best route to go as you don’t have to waste time retracing the bumpy road to go back to Surabaya to catch a flight back home. The search to find a driver that can pick us up from Surabaya and take us all the way until Bali – lead me to Mr. Esnawan of Nathan Tour & Travel. His brother Harso was the one who picked us up and took us for the journey. I went on this trip with another 2 colleagues of mine.
Some tips :
- Check the weather forecast. We went to Bromo somewhere early September and it was really cold. (up to a point where we actually bought the gloves that the locals were selling). So bring a good thick jacket and gloves just in case.
- This is an exploring/hiking trip, so good stamina is necessary. I wasn’t prepared much on this part, so it took me a whole lot of huffing and puffing but in the end I still made it.
- Bring good torchlights because you will leave for the Bromo and Ijen excursions at about 3am when its still dark. Yes 3am.
- The reason why its good to end this trip in Bali is because there you can unwind and massage away all the tiredness of spending hours on bumpy roads and the hiking.
I think I’m going to let the photos do the talking now…
From Mount Bromo, we passed by Probolinggo and Situbondo on the way to the Ijen Crater, our next destination where the blue flames are at.