Ah Bali. Paradise island. Sometimes all we want to do is lounge around in the shade of the swaying palm trees while sipping on our pina coladas (or kombuchas), but then nature calls. Not like that. We mean the other kind of calling, the one that makes you jump out of your bones yearning for wild adventures and the deafening silence of the jungle trees. One of our favorite things to do in Bali is to go chasing waterfalls. Because why stick to the rivers and the lakes that we're used to...when these (sometimes secret, always spectacular) waterfalls await?
Tukad Cepung is a waterfall tucked inside a cave. If that doesn't intrigue you, we're not sure what will! Still a hidden treasure within the Bangli regency, entering the embrace of this waterfall flowing down from a circular cliff requires a bit of a steep hike down some crumbling rock steps. When you arrive at the bottom, you'll be greeted with two giant stones seemingly protecting the waterfall. A small opening can be found just next to the stones and entering it might feel a bit like going inside the cave. But then – talk about a grand entrance – lo and behold, you'll be greeted by glittering cascades of water.
The unique landscape gives you a sense of balance and crisp tranquility, perfect for solo-travellers and lovebirds. A secret tip: check out your feet and you might find a shimmering rainbow circling your ankle! What's not to love!
If a quiet and contemplative trek into the heart of a forest followed by a serene dip under a peaceful waterfall makes you think, "Damn, I should've just stayed home and Netflix'd," then you're probably going to love Aling Aling – Bali's own natural adrenaline-pumping waterpark. Here, there are three points from which you can jump off, slide down, or just soak in the sights: there's a 12-meter natural slide, a 10-meter jump, and another 15-meter cliff jump.
At the entrance, it might be wise to ask for a local guide and some lifejackets, just in case.
If you're still left with energy after the falls, you can keep trekking deeper still, which will lead you to more waterfalls. Aling Aling is located within the Sambangan Waterfalls complex, which houses seven waterfalls in different spots. Your local tour guides will happily lead the way and may even share mystical secrets and stories as you visit the different cascades.
Kanto Lampo was said to be discovered by local kids in 2015. And when you see this wide, cascading waterfall, we bet you'll just want to hop in, climb the rocks, and let the kid in you out!
The story of the falls is enough to get us excited – though the rocks had been there for many years, the water began to mysteriously stream down after a big prayer in the area. It gave life to the rocks, and the local villagers benefited from it becoming a tourist attraction.
Once you're done frolicking in the falls, you can also take a short walk to find a batcave or a nook favorited as a fishing spot among the locals.
Spend a day's hike and set up a picnic, this one is perfect for families. Kanto Lampo is easily accessible from the main road and asks only a small donation fee.
(If you're wondering what 'kanto lampo' means, it's the local name of trees that grow round orange fruit in the area!)
If you're due North and craving a meditative swim in natural pools in the verdant jungle, then Gitgit is your go-to. Despite its easy access, and with a slightly more touristy entrance, it's no less spectacular than the others. Your short trip down some safe, well-constructed stairs will be accompanied by a soundtrack of thunderous water, crashing 40 meters to the ground. Talk about anticipation.
As you enter the area, whip out the bathing suit and get ready for a crisp swim and natural deep tissue massage at the hands of Mama Nature.
The hike to Sekumpul is more of an adventure and demands a bit of commitment, but doesn't that often come with the promise of a spectacular reward at the end? Begin your trek among tantalizing durian, coffee, and juicy rambutan fruit trees. Then make your way down the hundreds of slippery steps into the lush jungle. (Take care!) At the bottom, you'll be greeted by streams of water that you'll need to cross. Hold on to the rocks if you feel like the streams are overpowering you!
End your journey at the three majestic waterfalls towering down from 80 meters above you. Have a swim in the translucent turquoise pool, take a soul-cleansing shower, or just sprawl under the lush green canopy, crying your eyes out at the thought of how overwhelmingly grand life is, juxtaposed by how minuscule you are, and yet how big and overpowering the energy of your gratitude is, as infinite love bursts from your chest, tearing apart your insides like you're giving birth to The Revelation, and enveloping everything around you with a warm glow. Uh-huh. We've all been there before, no biggie.
There are seven waterfalls in the area, each located off the beaten track, and requiring more trekking and planning, so we highly recommend hiring local knowledge to lead your way through the super complex.