See a different side of Indonesia as you journey from Denpasar in Bali on a 2-day private excursion to Java with guide, stopping at a local village and the magnificent natural wonder of Ijen Crater. It's the perfect chance to experience the daily life and sublime natural beauty that give this island nation its unique charm and character.
Start your exploration of Java at 9am, departing your Denpasar hotel for a 2.5-hour trip heading to the seaport of Gilimanuk on Bali's west coast. Along the way you'll pass the beautiful Bali Barat National Park, a sprawling 73 square mile (190 sq km) preserve of endangered plants and birds, and stop for a few photo opportunities among the brilliant-green rice paddies majestic coastline. Reach Gilimanuk and hop aboard your ferry for a 30 minute ride to Java. Arriving in Java, spend the afternoon exploring the town of Banyuwangi, where you'll explore its traditional market and Hoo Tong Bio, one of the island's oldest Chinese temples. Finish your day at your 4-star hotel accommodations to relax, have dinner and rest up for day two.
During your second day you'll head by 4WD vehicle to explore the beautiful Ijen Crater. Drive up the slope of Mount Ijen, which last erupted in 1999, continuing by foot for another one to two hours to reach the crater. Upon reaching the crater, take time to admire the brilliant colors of the mineral rich water, painted in eye-popping turquoise and brilliant yellow. Then continue with your guide for the return to your Bali hotel. For a full itinerary, please read the description below.
Day 1: Denpasar -- Banyuwangi (L, D)
Meet your friendly local guide in your hotel lobby in Denpasar, Bali, for your morning departure by private minivan, and embark on a 2.5-hour drive along Bali's scenic west coast toward Gilimanuk, a seaport just west of Bali Barat National Park.
The national park encompasses 73 square miles (190 square km) of land and sea, including savanna, mangroves and mixed-monsoon forests that protect endangered flora and bird species. Your private guide will stop en route for fantastic photo opportunities amid terraced rice fields, rustic villages and beautiful beaches where you can watch the surging surf.
From Gilimanuk, catch a ferry with your guide for the half-hour crossing to Java. When you disembark, enjoy lunch in a local restaurant, followed by a privately guided tour of Banyuwangi, a kampong (village) located at the easternmost tip of Java.
With your guide, hop in a bechak (pedicab) and ride throughout the small town, stopping at a traditional market to see the everyday life of the locals. You'll also visit Hoo Tong Bio, one of Indonesia's oldest Chinese temples, before completing your tour.
Your guide will drive you to your accommodation in the afternoon, where you can relax at leisure until dinner onsite.
Overnight: Ijen Resort and Villas in Banyuwangi
Day 2: Banyuwangi -- Denpasar (B, L)
After an early wake-up call and breakfast at the resort, your guide will take you by 4-wheel-drive vehicle to see Ijen Crater. Heading west from Banyuwangi, pass coffee plantations as well as giant ferns and huge trees in one of Java's last remaining rainforests. Then, drive up to the slope of nearby Mount Ijen, a volcano that last erupted in 1999.
At the park ranger station, get out for a one- to two-hour hike uphill, heading further up the slope of Ijen Crater with your guide. Ascend to the rim of the volcanic crater along a shady path and enjoy amazing views of Ijen Plateau from a 9,450-foot (2,880-meter) elevation.
When you reach the top, take a break on the edge of the crater and look out at the steaming turquoise water of the sulfuric lake -- an interesting contrast to the yellow crystalline deposits of the surrounding walls.
From here, your guide will point out the labor-intensive sulfur mining operation and the men who hand-carry their heavy loads from the crater floor. Watch as they descend into the crater and climb back up along the dangerous rim, lifting up to 177 pounds (80 kilos) in sulfur-laden baskets slung across their backs.
After some time spent observing the crater and its activities, hike back down with your guide, who will return you by 4-wheel-drive to the hotel for lunch and an afternoon departure back to your Bali hotel.