The usual road to Ijen is from Bondowoso, but it is possible to get to Ijen from Banyuwangi.
We took this road leaving, wanting to proceed to Bali.
Most of the road is in good repair, but a few stretches go through virgin forest and are badly maintained. Going down it is not too difficult to negotiate the steep rocky parts with a sedan car. But coming from Banyuwangi it may be more problematic, especially in the rainy season, and we would recommend a four-wheel-drive.
UPDATE 2013: The road has been resurfaced and is now suitable for sedan cars in both directions.
We took Bus from Surabaya (Purabaya/Bungurasih) to get Bondowoso. We reached Bondowoso at 4 PM, and shocked that the last public transportation to Sempol has been said already departed by 1PM.
We luckily have some locals connections. And he found us a driver to bring us to direcly the Paltuding (not just Sempol, like public transp does). I found Mr. Didit is a young, honest, polite, and experienced driver. His rate is good i must say, if i compare to other.
you may call/text him at (his english is not best)
(+62) 085236101980 or (+62)087859401407 you may tell him, Sukma referring him
How to Get There and Away
The direction of Ijen tourism destination can be accesed via two alternative routes. Either the route from Bondowoso or Banyuwangi. Today, any vehicle could run all the way to Kawah Ijen. Sometimes many travelers choose to go by public transportation or even motorbike. However it depends on your pace of creating enjoyable travel experiences.
It is suggested the easiest start from Bondowoso for any travelers depart from Surabaya and transfer by bus to Bondowoso (180km). No train transport is possible to Bondowoso. (See: Transportation)
Bus (departure; length; fare)*:
Surabaya to: Probolinggo (every 30min; 3hr; Rp.14,000Rp), Bondowoso (hourly; 4-5hr; Rp.25,000), Banyuwangi (every 30min; 5 – 7hr; Rp.45,000); Jember (every 30min; 4-5hr; 25,000Rp); Malang (every 30min;2hr;14,000Rp); Denpasar (hourly; 11-12hr; Rp.90,000).
Jember to: Bondowoso (hourly; 1hr; 7,500Rp), Banyuwangi (every 30min; 3-4hr; 17,000Rp), Malang (via Probolingo; 2hr; 14,000Rp).
* Economy class, Express has double fare.
Car charter (include driver and fuel)*:
Surabaya to: Probolinggo/Bromo (start from 200,000Rp per person; 2.5hr;); Kawah Ijen (start from 400,000Rp per.person);
Probolinggo/Bromo to: Kawah Ijen (start from 200,000Rp per.person);
* hire a car is practical way to go. There is a discounted fare if share with other travelers.
The Distance Between
Bondowoso – Kawah Ijen
Banyuwangi – Kawah Ijen
From Bondowoso bus terminal, you can get public transportation to Sempol (15,000Rp; approx. 3hr), there is only mini-bus transport picked the passengers up to Sempol, the last bus stop and the nearest location to find the homestay – Arabica Homestay and Catimore Homestay. However, you have less convinience to get this transport as its departure and arrival could not be predicted sure. The last mini-bus to go at around 4 p.m. Starting from Bondowoso, the route goes to Gardu Atak which is 12 km long and head up to the eastern directon of Sukosari. If you want to make it faster, from Gardu Atak you can stop here then find several ojek/ motorbike drivers waiting for customer. Ask him to take you up to Paltuding (start from 100,000Rp; 55km; 2-3hr).
The long twisted roads will accomany us to enjoy the fertile plantation of sugar cane field, paddy field and dense tropical forest dominated the landscape. From Sukosari to Sempol it takes 32 km to arrive.