Heading to Indonesia or Bali and looking to do something completely unique, different and out of this world!!? Well make sure you check out the famous Ijen Blue Lava Tour with Ijen Unique!!
Wait did I read that right?? ….Yes, I definitely said Ijen Blue Lava!!
Well ok it’s not actually Blue Lava, but Ijen is an active sulphur mine located within a volcanic crater and the escaping sulphuric gases burn a bright iridescent blue. It’s absolutely phenomenal! Located on the very eastern edge of Java [a few hours from Bali including a easy ferry crossing] it’s crazy how un-discovered this place is.
You could think you were on a deserted planet!
We woke up at 3am to make our ascent of the mountain aided by a 4WD. We pulled into a deserted carpark and started our climb in completely darkness. Our torches illuminated the dark faces of miners making their way up and down carrying golden rocks for the lucrative sulphur trade. They get paid a measly $7 per load and make about three trips per day our guide tells us. $21 for 6-8 hours back breaking work?? We are told it’s a highly sought after job in the community for its high pay. Not for the first time in Indonesia I am reminded how privileged I am, travelling the world. One of the miners later offers to take a photo with me, I accepted and made sure to tip him.
A little money here can really make the world of difference in a locals life!
As we climb up our guide, Bastian, tell us how he is a ex-safety inspection at the mine who was forced out due to “office” politics. He knows everyone on the mountain and has a little chat with them as we puff along. Near the top he stops us and gives us all gas masks. We don’t understand why but we turn a corner and a giant gas cloud hits us. Other climbers are left choking and gasping through their jumpers, either climbing unaided or with inadequate guides. I am so glad we chose Bastian of Ijen Unique Tours. You really, really need a professional to see the Ijen Blue Lava at its best!
We reach the summit and head down into the crater. It’s still pitch black except for the flicking of torchlights like fireflies leading a trail down. We round a corner and arrive deep within the crater. I can make our a faint blue flicker coming from a vent and then suddenly it erupts. A huge blue flame lights up the night, it’s magical and glorious. There are gasps al around. I’ve never seen anything like it and can only imagine how ancient people must have felt. Perhaps they felt this was a sign from God, a glorious message reminding us of the power of nature and the beauty of our planet.
The blue flame begins to flicker and die, but a new one pops up and it’s only meters away. This one is surrounded in smoke and it’s easy to believe it’s blue lava oozing up from the planets core. It’s seems the vent locations are known but still, it’s chaotic and life affirming. To be in the middle of an active volcano, in complete darkness, watching blue fire light up the night as the ground could erupt beneath you at any moment. Well maybe not any moment, but it’s a nice thought!
As as sunrises and the fires light fades we climb back up the crater. The glory of where we are comes into full light and I am amazed even more. Ijen Blue Lava maybe the star here but the natural landscape is a close second. If your in Bali check it out and be sure to contact Ijen Unique Tours for amazing professional service with no safety shortcuts!