First Travel Experience: Backpacking to Ijen Crater and Alas Purwo National Park

This is my story about my first backpacking experience to Ijen Crater and Alas Purwo National Park in East Java. Accompanied by friends from university, we explored the beauty of nature. First is definitely memorable. 

How I started 

Traveling and backpacking were actually a new thing for me. I never had any idea I would start to travel until I joined a community in my university.

Everything had changed. Back at that time I was an active teen who liked to experience something new.

College life had gave me so many memorable experiences, including traveling.

Now I can’t stop directing my feet to step on new places I’ve never been.

I was a newbie at that time, thought that going to new place is holiday, and holiday spent much money.

Few times I expected that the budget spent for going to one place was beyond the budget that backpacker could press.

I learned a lot though, and this experience, my first backpacking started with people that introduced me to something that became my passion right now.

Seeking for Ijen’s Blue Fire

Ijen Crater, that’s our first destination. Ijen Crater was located at Situbondo, East Java. Surely I had no idea, and the worst was I never heard about this place.

Ijen Crater was popular for foreigners especially European and Japanese. There was a magic moment called “Blue Fire”, a rare phenomenon which can be found in 2 places in the world, Ijen Crater and Iceland.

To watch the “Blue Fire’, climbing up in the midnight is a necessary. The moment starts at midnight until 3 a.m. Too bad, we didn’t know about it earlier so we missed this moment. Stunning view of the lake.

the miners in ijen crater

Travel Itinerary – Ijen Crater and Alas Purwo National Park

Day 1-2

Jakarta to Malang by train train from 2 p.m till 10.33 a.m. We used economy train and it’s damn hot and noisy. It was my first time, and first time never felt good because we didn’t get use to it.

Then, we directly used bus to Jember and arrived at 4.30 pm. Different condition from the train. I enjoyed it alot because the view was awesome.

Hills, mountains, rice fields, it felt so calm. I felt serenity and peace along the way. Then, we used angkot to Bondowoso, bus again, and we stayed at a cheap hotel, time to rest.

Day 3

10.30 am we used elf and headed to Sempol, continued to Paltuding. Once more the view was so amazing.

The village is very neat, farms of coffee, cabbage, and other vegetables spread along the way.

I would love to stay in this small peaceful village. Paltuding is the gate to climb Ijen Crater. We camped for a night.

Day 4

3.15 am we climbed to the crater. Arrived at the top in 4.45 am. Did you know? The sulfur miners started to work at dawn. It was unique to see the traditional sulfur miners while it’s sad as well seeing them working hard with low payment.

The miners can lifted up to 100 kgs of sulfur. No wonder some of the miners offered themselves as a guide to get extra money.

View was wonderful.

Greenish lake from the top, but if you went down to the lake, there’s reflection of the sulfur hills around. I went down helped by the miners there. I

t was super duper wonderful! Awesome ! The crater was huge, lake was wonderful yet smells sulfur of course I’m to climbed up again, it was very tiring! t

The miners were so powerful ! 12.50 pm we used truck to go to Banyuwangi. Scary ! the path was totally broken ..Then we arrived at Licin, and we chartered jeep car to alas purwo…It’s very quiet and so scary because it’s dark and we’re inside the jungle, and they said that alas purwo still full of mystic things

Day 5-6

We woke up at 5.30 am and 6 am we went to triangulasi beach..Big waves and long beach. Too bad it’s cloudy.

Funny shits happened when the monkey stole our food, should be the most delicious meal we had during our backpacking because most of the time we ate instant noodles.

8.15 we used bicycle 1 day Rp 30,000 to Sadengan. It’s a place where there’s a tower and we can see savanna and bulls. It’s raining again. We waited till 9.45 am and we speed up our bikes to Pancuran.

Plan was going to Plengkung Beach, a hidden beach but has high tides where professional surfers come to try the wave.

Somehow we saw a sign directing us to Istana Cave so we decided to take a look, yet it’s only 2 kms. Why not? The road was damn slippery.

We couldn’t use sandals and it’s all mud with thorns and twigs. A struggling journey to reach the cave. About 2 hours we arrived and saw some shamans.

The cave was dark and we could see bats..we didn’t go further inside becaue it’s very dark and we must go through the small holes.

They said there are hundreds caves there, and some shamans are doing the rituals..The unknown caves can be reached in about 1 day. Scary.

As result, we canceled our plan to Plengkung  because it’s too dark.

Off to Bali, out of the plan. We were so close to Bali that’s why we decided to go to Bali. My first time, and I didn’t bring my ID Card. Had fun in Bali

Traveled in 24 December-3 January 2011

Thanks to: Dirga Saputra, Ayu Pangestuti C.P., Vivi Aprilia



One response to “First Travel Experience: Backpacking to Ijen Crater and Alas Purwo National Park”

  1. ijen crater Avatar

    how much it costs to get to theIjen Crater? thankyou velysia zhang, its very amazing place in the world and i hope i get there someday

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