I have visited Bali a few times in the past and I have often driven through the small Balinese village of Munduk. Sitting astride a ridge that runs up to the northwestern rim of the Bedugul caldera, this area has always fascinated me, so I decided to make an Internet search. The most interesting data I found is that Munduk has a series of jungle trails that lead to a selection of powerful waterfalls. A trek to Munduk waterfall… this is a great adventure to have in Bali! – I immediately thought.
I then found out about Bali Jungle Trekking, a company based in North Bali and specializing in top trekking and hiking experiences off the beaten track on the island. I was a bit concerned since it had been raining for over 3 days; Bali experiences its main rainy season in January and February. I called them up, explained my concerns, and they immediately told me that, if I was willing to wake up early, they expected the weather to be nice and within half a day I would be able to easily visit the three most accessible Munduk waterfalls, if not in the sun, at least without the rain.
So I woke up early, had a great breakfast at my hotel, the Munduk Moding Plantation, and headed to the reception, where Bali Jungle Trekking driver Molek was waiting for me. The drive was amazing and allowed clear views of the surrounding mountains, then of the ocean and of the Java volcanoes in the distance. We picked up my young guide Made along the way, and continued to the drop point, where Molek waved us goodbye.
Made is a nice guy from a local village, and he has a great knowledge of the nature surrounding these lush hills. We followed a big sign for Eco Cafe, a simple eatery that also serves as the ticket counter for the first of the three waterfalls, the Golden Valley waterfall – which locals call Langan waterfall, or the hiding place. The path then zigzagged downhill, a steep descent that put my legs to the first test. We passed huge trees with giant lianas; banana, cloves and coffee plantations; and I marveled at the miracle of nature: huge spiders moving along their sticky webs, squirrels running fast on top of tall branches, and birds eating local berries and avocados.
The path, mostly paved up by the local community, was slippery and steep, and we could hear the water falling in the distance as we walked on. I was lucky, the weather was perfect for a trek: fresh air, not too hot, not rainy. Down at the Golden Valley waterfall we took a rest and I shot some pictures. The fall about 15 meters in height, with clean and clear water ending in a round-shaped pool where swimming is possible and safe.
We then headed back to the junction and followed a shaded trail to reach Tanah Barak waterfall. An eagle flew freely above our heads, while an infinity of different birds played a concert that accompanied our hike. The lovely valley was kissed by the sun, and we caught sight of Munduk Central village. It actually got warmer and warmer as we walked downhill. Down at the Tanah Barak waterfall – also called Red Coral waterfall – I was amazed at the incredible force of the roaring water that crushed on a shallow pool before rushing downstream. The spray from this violent fall made keeping the camera dry somewhat of a challenge. Made informed me that this water is channeled by local farmers for watering the fields. He was nice and talkative, and told me stories of village life, of how the local people appreciate life in simple lodgings and live in peace and harmony with nature.
We finally backed up and followed the lower trail, which was extremely slippery. We continued walking through forests dotted with durian and cocoa trees and reached a terraced area cultivated in galanga, ginger and turmeric. All around the vegetation was so thick. Made took a trailhead and the path eventually narrowed and turned to mud, and finally, around a bend, we started hearing the roar of the magnificent and immense Melanting waterfall. Seeing this fall in January means it is just about at its most powerful. We took shelter behind a stone outcrop but the water came down with such force that it was like spray exploding back up into the air. My camera got wet quite quickly. I soaked up the atmosphere (literally) for a while, then pressed on.
The steep set of stairs back allowed for great views into the waterfall pit. We slowly left the waterfall behind and followed a small trail of well-manicured steps that took us up to the outskirts of Munduk village, and eventually to Munduk Central, where the sky was menacingly dark. My driver Molek was there waiting for us, of course, and so surprised to see us so early. We had done it in three hours, quite an achievement. During the drive back to the hotel, I relaxed and checked on the hundreds of pictures taken, which do not give justice to the unforgettable adventure of a trek to Munduk waterfalls.
This tour package is designed for those who would like to explore Munduk nature and waterfalls. It is an experience that helps you escape from the crowds, and a unique tour that is exclusive to Bali Jungle Trekking.
The trek is a easy one and is not so challenging. Reasonably fit people would do all the above in about four hours, but you are well advised to set aside six hours or more and take it at a comfortable pace.
The best approach to this trek is as we did it: start at Golden Valley, then Tanah Barak, then Melanting, then backtrack out to the main road. The trail is clearer and safer, and you will see the smallest waterfall first and the largest last. I would not advise taking the trail head at Munduk village.
There are more waterfalls to be seen along this valley; if you so wish, talk about it with Bali Jungle Trekking, who can ensure your guide takes you there too.
You can also combine this trek with lunch at the Twin Lakes View Restaurant and continue to a visit to Ulun Danu Beratan Temple.
Trek duration is 3 to 4 hours, priced at USD$49 per person with minimum 2 persons. The price includes a private guide, return transfer to/from your hotel in air conditioned car or minivan, local fruit and water during the trek, and entrance fee to the three waterfalls visited.
Make sure you have shoes with a good grip, definitely NO flip flops; trainers are ok but pay attention. Don’t forget to pack extra water, and take your swimming trunks with you in case you’d like to swim in the cool mountain water.
URL of the tour: https://balijungletrekking.com/bali-jungle-hiking/
Asian Itinerary stay was kindly sponsored by Munduk Moding Plantation Nature Resort & Spa