Mount Ijen, Indonesia: Hiking, blue fire and gorgeous crater lake

I am always struck when I come across an image of some place I have never seen before.  I have spent so much time researching nearly every location imaginable, but the Earth is so big, there is always more to be discovered.  Such was the case when I came across the below image of Mount Ijen from Tanya Van Dijk.

Mount Ijen

The image of Mount Ijen struck me because of the beautiful tones, the still aqua waters of the craters and the smoke or fog creeping into the crater.

THe story behind the image

There is a reason this location is not well known, it sounds like quite the ordeal to witness this scene, including a midnight hike and gas masks.  Here is the story as told by Tanya:

”The trip to Mount Ijen was definitely one of my toughest but most worthy experiences of my life. During our month traveling in Indonesia we decided to visit the two most popular volcanoes of this country, Mount Bromo and Ijen. Mount Ijen is a special one, because it is way less touristic than Bromo. Besides that, it takes a hike of about three hours (so you have to be fit and prepared!) and that all in the middle of the night. Because when you book the night trip (I recommend!) you are able to see the unique blue fire. You leave at the hotel around midnight and start hiking. Do not forget to bring some warm clothes, because it can be chilly out there! Mount Ijen is famous because of the already mentioned blue fire. The burning sulfur at the bottom of the crater causes the effect of a blue fire. You have to where a gas mask during the last one hour hike to the bottom of the crater, because of the sulfur. Once it is becoming lighter you have to be quick and get back up out of the crater as fast as possible. When you are on the top, you get your reward… the most amazing sunrise of the world including the futuristic look of mount Ijen. When the fire is extinguished, the amazing view disappears behind a curtain of fog. It is an intense and exhausting trip, take good care of yourself and bring a lot of drinks and snacks. Oh! And do not forget.. it takes only a half day trip from Mount Ijen to get to one of the amazing beaches of Bali with a good Indonesian beer in your hand!”

tanya with her gas mask

the blue fires

gear used

Tanya shot the above images with a Canon EOS 10D (newest model is the 80D).  Tanya did the hike in Nikes, but she recommends using a good pair of hiking shoes.  Garmont makes my favorite hiking shoes.  Tanya also says you will want to dress in layers with a warm sweater.  You will obviously need a gas mask, but you should be able to obtain that there.

Tanya van dijk

Tanya is active on Instagram so be sure to check her out, @tnyvd, to see beautiful images from her travels all over the world.  Tanya has also graciously offered to share her advice about this location in more detail to any that are interested.  So, if Mount Ijen is in your future, contact Tanya for more advice, either on Instagram or email at

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