This two-day trip with a private local guide includes transport by air-conditioned minivan, an overnight stay in a 4-star resort hotel plus meals, ferryboat and pedicab ride. With all of your itinerary details taken care of by your guide, this overnight trip is a great way to explore Indonesia's culture and natural wonders like Ijen Crater.
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.