Bali’s Waterfall Trek
Bali’s Waterfall Trek
a Jungle Hiking Experience
Follow the Pacific Ocean to where it meets the Indian Ocean and you will find the island of Bali. The island isn’t that large, in fact who can drive from one end to the other in just a few hours. You can transition for its beautiful coast line to the tropical rain forest in shortly over an hour. Here, in the mountain region, you’ll find several creeks and rivers that feed the many waterfalls. It’s a great place to hike the rain forest and be rewarded by waterfalls. It’s an experience I couldn’t pass up so I booked a solo guided tour.
We had an early start to avoid traffic on the one-lane highways and our destination was further into the highlands to Munduk. After a two hour drive from my Ubud hotel we reached our first destination, the Floating Temple.
The complex is not very large and there is not much to see other than the temple. It is aptly name since it appears to be floating in the clear lake water.
We then continued on, higher into the mountains. After another 30 minutes, we stopped at a stand alongside the road where we picked up our local guide. Just a few minutes more, we stopped at a turnout on the side of the road. This was the trailhead marked by a sign somewhat hidden by trees and could be easily missed if you didn’t know it was there. This was a steep portion, what looked like a side of a cliff from the road above. The trail was rocky and somewhat muddy, and always moist, I would assume since it is a rain forest. We slowly made our way down to a small river which eventually became the first waterfall.
Minutes after crossing the river, the trail made its way down to Coral Falls. I viewed the waterfall from a cliff, not hiking down to the bottom as I knew there would be two more to come. Two more beautiful waterfalls is what I was told. We pressed on through the jungle admiring all the exotic fruits growing wild along the trail: mangos, guavas, jack fruits and everyone’s favorite fruit the durian. I love guavas and it is convenient to eat while we’re walking so the guide grabbed two for us to taste.
The trail continued along the river and we continually had to cross it, sometimes over a bamboo bridge. The only alternative was jumping into the fast moving river. It was the end of the rainy season so the river was full with a high rate of speed.
We arrived at the second fall and the trail took us directly to the base of Munduk Falls. My guide was correct, this was more beautiful than the first with green foliage along high cliffs. The sound of the fall was so soothing and the mist cooled us off from the long hike. After several photos, it was time to head down to the third and largest fall. We continued along the river until it came to a road where we followed this narrow pavement. A small village came into view and we quickly walked through it. I don’t think this village would have been visible from above since it was covered by the jungle. This road came to a side of a hill that was only accessible through stone steps. This wasn’t for anyone who wasn’t in good physical shape. It was a long way down and the steps were steep. At the bottom of these steps was the biggest of the three falls, Melangting Falls, and one I had planned on swimming under.
We finally made it to the bottom and I made my way to the base of the falls hoping to find a beautiful pool. As I got closer, I could feel the wind swirling all around and the fall showered me with its mist.
Within seconds, I was drenched. The waterfall seemed to have created its own weather pattern. The abundance of water had created a fast flowing current and made the falls that much more powerful. It was obvious that I wouldn’t be able to swim today, even though I had carried a large towel throughout the hike. Soaked and disappointed, it was time to leave. We hiked for another 30 minutes to a small town where our driver was waiting for us. I was thankful for the guide company for starting at the higher elevation and not at the lower waterfall to the top. Most of the hikers had started at the lower fall and I can only imaging climbing those steps, along with the rest of the trail going uphill. The total hike time was about 2.5 hours for the downhill hike.
Can you believe we did all this before lunch? On the way back to Ubud we stopped at a roadside restaurant where I sat cliffside overlooking the twin lakes. This is the water source for the rice fields in the area.
This expedition was a waterfall-chasers dream. A wonderful hike through the rain forest highlighted by three water falls. This trail doesn’t seem to be as well-known as the others in Bali and I had the first and third falls all to myself. Bali’s waterfall trek is definitely another reason why Bali exceeded my lofty expectation.
Do you chase waterfalls… and where?