During my first week in Indonesia I met some guys who were planning to do a daytrip to the Blue fire volcano “Iljen”. Although never heard from it myself, it seemed to be a must do in Java.

The blue fire is a direct result of the incredible amount of sulfur around this vulcano. When coming into contact with hot air, you can see the amazing blue flames. I met these guys again in Ubud(Bali) and we decided to do this daytrip all together. It would be a 24hr trip since Iljen was located on the island of Java, and we were still in Bali.

Blue flames

We decided to book with a company called blueflames. Their tripadvisor was really good and they didn’t dissapoint.., They organised all transport (4h cab + ferry +1h cab) spotless. The trip itself consisted of different parts. First we needed to hike up the volcano. This 3.3km hike seemed not too much, but considering the steep level, it was quite intensive. Next, we had to descend 900m into the mine to see the blue flames., Finally, we had to go up again and await the sunrise on the top. As a bonus there was a waterfall stop on the way back.

The hike up and descending into the mine

The hike started around 1am in the morning. We were given a gasmask (for the sulfur gasses) and a flashlight.

Me and my buddies ready at the start

Although the way up was pretty intense, it was very nice and we managed to get there quite quickly. But only then the tricky part began..

To descend into the mine itself, a guide is absolutely mandatory. Basically there are signs all over ” do not enter here”, but local guides take you anyway. Our guide was constantly checking the gass in the air. And indeed, those gasses turned out to be a very annoying factor… Our gasmask was not covering our eyes and the burn of a concentrated gas clous was very irritating. Unfortunately there was not much more you could do then “close your  eyes” and wait till the wind brought fresh air again. On the way down we crossed some miners, who’s job was to bring up 70/90 kg of pure sulfur while whitstanding all the sulfur gasses and smells.. (And you thought your job was hard… ) It was difficult to take a picture of this miners  due to all the gasses. To give an idea:

Miners go up and down the 900m path with up to carrying 90kg of sulfur

The blue flames and back up

When finally arriving down, there was a bit of an anticlimax. A huge amount of gasses prevented a clear view on the blue flames. For a moment though we saw the natural phenomenon where we came for, altough smaller then we expected.

Blue flames due to burning sulfur

The way up again was a disaster for me. The gasses were trapped to the sides of the mine and I was coughing all the way up. Meanwhile you had to climb with a gasmask on while also crossing people coming down. The only thing you want to do is rest and breathe fresh air, but you know that the gasses only will dissapear once you are back up. Meaning you had to keep going… So I was very glad when finally we got back out. This is for sure not an activity for atsma patients, and our guide told us afterwards(!) that several people already died during this visits.

Awaiting the sunrise

After seeing the blue flames and getting out of the sulfur hell , we climbed up the mountain to get a good spot for the upcoming sunrise. The view was just outstanding and I think I liked this part of the trip the most. The pictures speak for themselve.


After enjoying a beautiful sunrise and an amazing lake view, we went down again. As an extra we passed by a waterfall and I happily jumped in to take a waterfall shower in order to get rid of the sulfer.

Showering at the waterfalls

Overall I think this was a very great experience!

Link www.blueflametour.com

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