Away From The Beach – Bali’s Secret Waterfalls (part 1)
Written By: Diana A, Bali Plus Magazine
Bali’s perfection comes in many dimensions and although the island is well-known for its trendy beachclubs and shopping hubs, do keep in mind that real Bali is waiting for you right around the corner.
Away from the traffic, loud, pumping music and fashionable towns glistening with beautiful people, cafes and boutiques, there is a treasure trove of natural wonders waiting to be explored and appreciated. So yes, while Bali is famous the world over for its sandy white beaches, breathtaking underwater worlds and terraced rice fields, today we would like to invite you to take a hike through lush, green jungles of paradise for that thrilling moment when you come upon magnificent sights of cool, clear water cascading hundreds of feet onto rocks below.
So take a day or two away from the mainstream, and take a thrilling journey off the beaten path and live your wildest exotic island dreams. Ditch the car, live a little and rent a motorbike. In this issue, we highlight three waterfalls and one canyon within the state of Gianyar, located about one hour away by car or bike from Kuta.
1. Tegenungan Waterfall
Photo by www.tegenunganwaterfall.com
?This one’s not as hidden as the other waterfalls featured here, and it is relatively easy to get to. It’s family-friendly as well, with a carpark and steps built into the hillside for easy access.
Once you reach Gianyar’s Sukawati Art Market, you’ll be able to find the waterfall’s location quite easily. Friendly locals will give you directions, and there are some small signages around to help you get to your destination.
Due to strong interests and escalating popularity, there are lots of stores and local vendors peddling their wares and warungs selling the usual local fares and drinks. To get to the waterfall and the delicious cool pool below, you’ll have to climb down a few hundred steps built into the hillside before arriving at the bottom. The area surrounding the waterfall is quite large, and you can explore little pools and step safely over large stones to relax and swim in deeper pools nearby. A small wooden bridge is an ideal backdrop to a picturesque setting. There are also lifeguards around, keeping an eye out for swimmers.
Right before you descent the steps, you’ll get your first glimpse of the waterfall from a distance. Trust us when we say that this is the perfect Instagram spot. Nothing beats a backdrop of nature’s wonderful creations!
2. Kanto Lampo
This is one of our favourites – it’s slowly gaining popularity to those seeking to uncover hidden treasures and the more adventurous, however it isn’t as popular with mainstream tourists due to difficult access and challenging treks required to get to the waterfall, which to a certain extent, is a good thing.
It’s best to go there on motorbike. And remember that you’ll be hiking through nature so we recommend some good rubber sandals that won’t slip on wet stones.
To climb down to the waterfall, you literally have to slide down towards the pool below; there are no steps, only handrails made of bamboo and good old-fashioned soil underneath your feet. When you reach the shallow pool below, you’ll be enveloped in a splendid cooling mist and the delightful sounds of the pounding waterfall.
The air is cool and calm, jungle vegetation above filters out direct sunlight, giving this place a magical, ethereal feel. The water cascades gently down jagged rocks in thousands of white rivulets, and there are plenty of Instagram-worthy spots with the waterfall as your backdrop. To your right, you’ll find a canyon of sorts going deeper into the jungle, perfect for those who want to even wetter or sate their thirst for a jungle adventure.
3. Goa Rang Reng
This waterfall has a mystical quality attached to it as it is also a holy site for the locals with many ceremonies and prayers held throughout. Again this waterfall is best to get to with a motorbike as the road leading towards its makeshift carpark is small and slightly bumpy – which adds to its appeal and sense of adventure. You may have to ask some friendly locals for directions when nearby, as this waterfall is still relatively unknown to many mainstream tourists.
Upon arriving, you’re required to make a small donation. There are two parts to this adventure – the waterfall and the cave where prayers and ceremonies are held. You can explore the cave but you would have to hire any one of the local guides who are on standby in the area. They will give you a little history, background and cultural significance of the area for your reference.
For those who wish to do so, you can purchase Canang Sari and incense sticks from a friendly lady who sells prayer paraphernalia on site. The path forks to the left and right, the waterfall through steps cut out between rocks on the left and the cave to the right. After a short climb down, you’ll reach the cool recess of the gently cascading waterfall. The waters surrounding it are shallow and cool, and you can explore nearby without getting too far away into the jungle. This waterfall is relatively low, but at its top is a cool little pool in which you can sit or swim in and relax.
4. Hidden Canyon Beji Guwang
This is not so much a waterfall than it is a hidden canyon and what a breathtaking wonder it is. Let us warn you beforehand, this is no place for the faint hearted! The canyon is about 2km long and takes some tough trekking through knee-deep, running water. Be prepared to climb over giant rocks, grab on to the canyon ledge, make huge leaps and clamber across to get to the next accessible spot. Once you get started, you can’t go back up where you came from due to challenging pass and rough footholds. We recommend strong hiking sandals as there are plenty of sharp pebbles about and regular sandals just won’t cut it.
This canyon is steps away from a large field and a beautiful temple which you will have to pass to get to the parking area. Pay a small donation, and you will be assigned a guide to take you through your canyon adventure. You will not be allowed in without a guide, and once you’re down there, you will understand why.
However, this canyon is a thing of unbeatable beauty and wonder. While you may struggle to get to the next foothold, local kids may pass by you singing, laughing and skipping easily over the giant rocks. For the inexperienced, it is best to stick to your guide’s directions and remain close to him. He will guide you through all the tough spots, help you take your Instagram shots and give you encouragement when you feel like giving up. A definite must-try to cross off the bucket list! Exits take you through a dry canyon – another fantastic photo opportunity – and a refreshing walk through an expansive, green rice field where you can even interact with local farmers.