Out of all the waterfalls we’ve seen on the long-term trip we’re currently on, Bali had the biggest and best ones (sorry Hawaii, Australia, and New Zealand!) We really think these waterfalls in Bali ruined all other waterfalls for us because we’re not even making the trip out to see some famous ones in Da Lat, Vietnam, which is where we’re currently exploring. Therefore I’m writing up this guide to show you Bali’s top 3 waterfalls you must see yourself!
How do I get there?
If you want to see the island’s best waterfalls, its best to see them while you’re staying in Ubud. The waterfalls are closer inland where there are mountain ranges and valleys. The major city of Kuta in the south of the island where the airport is isn’t near any waterfalls, not even the 3 I’m about to show you. It is however definitely possible to see them from Kuta, but you will need to hire a driver for at least 6 hours to see just one of them.
The best part about this guide is that 2 of the 3 waterfalls aren’t even that popular according to our driver – he hadn’t even ever seen the 3rd one! This is great news for you because you’ll finally get to have a beautiful picture without pesky tourists in them!
Tegenungan is what I thought would be the biggest waterfall we would see, but I was very wrong (you’ll see why soon). It was a short motorbike ride from our hotel in Ubud, about 20 minutes south. When you arrive there is a cute little village with vendors and restaurants. I will note that the vendors here sell different things from all the other vendors on the island, it was really cool to realize! They had different styles of flare/Thai pants and they had a ton of pretty maxi dresses. I didn’t see any of these styles anywhere in Ubud – not in the market, not on the streets, not in any of the other villages. I didn’t see these styles anywhere else in all of Bali for that matter. So if you see something you like and want to buy, buy it here and now because you won’t find it anywhere else. Trust me, I looked.
We ate at a restaurant overlooking the jungle and I tried Luwak coffee – the coffee that is fermented in asian cat’s poop! It was bold and slightly creamy? though I didn’t put any cream in it. A bit gritty too.. thinking back I only paid $3 for that so it might not have even been the real thing!
Entrance to Tegenungan is 10,000rp ($1 CAD/$1 AUD/ $0.71 USD) per person. To get to the actual falls you will need to walk down a ton of steps. It took us maybe 5 minutes of constantly walking down the stairs until we reached the water. It rained heavily the day before we got here so the falls were super strong and the water wasn’t a clear blue as it usually is. Still, the falls were gorgeous and the biggest tropical jungle falls we’ve seen. The water is safe to swim in too!
A pro tip is to get here between 8am and 10am. Get here any later and you will be sharing the falls and the swimming area with hundreds of other people. In addition if you get here before 10am, even though the sun has risen already, it hasn’t risen above the ridge where the falls cascade over so you’ll get some beautiful shots!
Nungnung waterfall is hid really deep within the mountains and valleys of Bali. It took us an hour to get here from Ubud center. You’ll get the chance to see The Real Bali on your way to Nungnung. Winding dirt roads, hut houses, rice terraces, and two 7 year olds speeding on a motorbike past us were some of the untouched things we got to see.
To our surprise, Nungnung waterfall was huge!!! Like so big we couldn’t even fit the entire falls into one photo huge! The water was coming down so hard it was blasting me away as we tried to take pictures. You can also swim underneath these waterfalls but I think the day we went it was stronger than normal and didn’t look safe to swim in. The currents were splashing upon the rocks really hard so that was a good indication for us not to go in. We did however get soaked anyway from all the water getting splashed in the air! There were 6 other people around when we get there at 1pm, but no one was in our way at all.
Like the first falls we saw, entrance was 10,000rp and it was an extremely long way down. Getting down isn’t hard except for the fact I kept saying “oh my gosh, we have to get back up all these steps?!” Getting back up was disgustingly hot and exhausting. I don’t know why, but the Balinese like to make their steps super steep and high. One of their steps is like 2 North American steps! You’ve really got to lift your legs to get to the next step up and the stairs are on a really steep angle. We took 3 long breaks because I couldn’t breathe!
Was 30 minutes of hiking up the stairway to hell worth it to spend 10 minutes taking pictures of the Nungnung waterfall? Definitely.
Tibumana waterfall is a 30 minute drive from Ubud center. Though closer to Ubud than Nungnung waterfall is, it is hidden deeper in the jungle. There weren’t even any large signs when we went! Our driver had never visited these falls before so that’s pretty indicative of how off-the-map it is. He had to stop and ask for directions 3 times, and it felt like we were driving up a one-way mountain. You can tell how little visitors come here as the entrance is beside a rice field, and a sweet old grandpa was collecting the entrance fee of 10,000rp.
Getting down to Tibumana waterfall was a shorter hike than Nungnung waterfall and they made the walkways and hike really nice with a plethora of coloured flowers. I kept chasing butterflies like the child I am until we crossed a small bridge that led to the falls.
TIbumana is much smaller, quieter, and calmer than the other two falls. The great thing about this area is its under the jungle canopy so all the pictures you take come out with a cool dreamy tone. There’s also a rock right in the middle of the water pool which serves as a great platform to take photos on! There were a handful of tourists and a family of locals at the time we were there at 11am. I don’t think its necessary to get to Tibumana early because it doesn’t get much visitors on the daily. A great place to just relax and take in the jungle air and swim around the falls!
So there is my list of the top 3 waterfalls in Bali that you must see. Make sure you star these on your map and venture out to see them!
Did I miss any other beautiful falls on this island?
Let us know in the comments below 🙂