Where to? Java, Indonesia
Why you’ll love it: Mountaineers may dream of making it to the top of famously difficult peaks such as Everest and Kilamanjaro, but Ijen Crater is an equally spectacular experience that takes quite a bit less effort. Known locally as Kawah Ijen, the Javanese mountain features an Instagram-worthy turquoise sulphur lake that exudes flame — hence the nickname, “Blue Fire.”
Brave a three-hour night hike to see rich blue flames dancing across the lake’s 1-kilometer-wide surface, reaching up to 16 feet high! And yes, in case you’re wondering: the escaping gas does let off a strong sulfur smell and the noxious fumes can be difficult to bear.
The lake of Blue Fire isn’t the only thing to see in the area, as the Ijen volcano complex actually has several small stratovolcanoes within a sprawling 20-kilometer-wide caldera. Hike around the area to peak into local coffee plantations, swim in waterfalls, dip into hot springs and of course, snap photos of insanely dramatic scenery.
Fun fact: Kawah Ijen at Ijen Crater is the world’s largest acidic volcanic lake.
Get there: Cathay flies direct to Surabaya, or fly via Singapore with Jetstar. From there, it’s a six-hour bus to Banyuwangi, the gateway to Ijen. You can go it alone, or arrange itineraries with several boutique travel agencies around town such as Lightfoot Travel or Jacada Travel.
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