My Top 10 Hikes and Places from 2015

My 2015 wasn’t just filled with waterfalls.  I visited Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia (Borneo) in February and Bali in June in addition to dozens of trips around Taiwan.  Some of these places are well-known but some are well off of the beaten path.  They also show just how varied Taiwan and east Asia can be.  I have already mentioned my plans for next year in my waterfall recap but I expect to have an even better year next year.

My Top 10 Hikes and Places from 2015

  1. I usually shrug my shoulders when someone mentions going to see a cave but I was traveling in a group in Sarawak, Malaysia that wanted to go to Niah Caves.  It looked pretty interesting and they also wanted to go to Lambir Hills National Park (with waterfalls) so we teamed up and rented a car.  Niah Caves was incredible.  To say that it is big is an understatement.  You can fit football fields in the cave.  There are 1000’s of bat and swiftlets that live in the caves and they provide two very valuable products for the local population.  Bat guano is used as fertilizer and bird nests are harvested for a popular Chinese soup.  Over-harvesting has led to a big decline in the swiftlet population but they are now setting quotas and times to restore the population (I don’t know the effectiveness though).

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2. In January Mark Roche (Blue Skies Adventures) led a trip to a mostly abandoned aboriginal village in Pingtung County, Taiwan.  In 1979 the village moved out of the mountains to a new village lower in the river valley and was able to connect to roads.  In 2009 Xinhaocha (the new village) was completely buried by rising river silt and rocks during Typhoon Morakot.  Luckily the village had been evacuated prior to the storm and the villagers have moved to Rinari near Sandimen.

Jiuhaocha (the old village) is a beautiful village with slate houses in various condition.  Some haven’t been lived in for decades while others are maintained by villagers that live in both the new and old villages.  It requires a little effort to visit and for most it is best as an overnight hike (stay in a slate house).  It is one of the coolest places that I have visited in Taiwan.  It feels like an authentic aboriginal experience instead of the festivals in the villages.  I have attended and I enjoy the festivals but I really liked seeing what life was like in an original aboriginal village.

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3.Beidawushan is the southernmost 3000 meter peak in Taiwan and a very popular weekend trek.  The hike is challenging right from the start and climbs almost 2000 meters to the summit.  Many hikers do Beidawushan as a 2 day trip but that requires getting up at 2am to summit and return to the car by dark.  If you have an extra day and can do a 3 day trip then I highly recommend it.

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4.  I am possibly the only person to ever plan my entire Bali trip around visiting its waterfalls but you would have to try very hard to avoid visiting Bali’s temples.  There are 1000’s of them on the small island.  Instead of being grand complexes (a few are) each unique temple possesses a lot of character and detail.  I blogged about my 10 favorites from my trip and Tanah Lot (pictured below) is one of the most famous and visited.

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5. One of the best and most unusual festivals in Taiwan is Donggang’s Wang Ye Boat Burning Festival.  Every 3 years they hold the 10 day festival.  All week they shoot off firecrackers and make noise to lure the evil spirits out from hiding with everyone following in the parade.  On the festival’s conclusion the local temples march a giant boat to the ocean.  All night long they prepare the boat for its voyage by piling up a mountain of (fake) paper money.  Finally they light the boat on fire taking the evil spirits with it so the town is prosperous for another 3 years.

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6.  Laomei Reef is one of those rare places that is hard to believe exists until you visit it.  The green algae only blooms for 2-3 months (March and April most likely) every year and you will need to track the ocean tidal charts and visit during low tide.  Unfortunately it will be crowded on the weekend but English teachers that start in evening could do a weekday trip from Taipei and be back in time for class.

View the full guide

7. Brunei is a tiny country on the island of Borneo whose economy is heavily tied to oil.  One side effect of their wealth is that their rainforests are virtually untouched compared to their Malaysian and Indonesian neighbors on the island.  Although small compared to its neighbors the size of their virgin forests is significant.  Brunei’s crown jewel is Ulu Temburong National Park.  99% of the park is set aside for conservation and only researchers are allowed access to those parts.  Tours are available starting with a traditional longboat ride up the Temburong River from Sumbiling Eco Village or even Bandar Seri Begawan from several tour agencies.  Once inside the park the hike leads to a canopy skywalk but unfortunately a hard thunderstorm rolled in and we were unable to go up there.

Our guide with a researcher discovering a new ant species.

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8.  Taiwan only has two short stretches of roadless coastline.  Both of them are located in Pingtung County north of Kenting.  There were serious proposals to build a road along this part of the coast but thankfully that appears to be permanently shelved.  The Qufengbi Coastal Trail leaves from the Jialeshui Scenic Area and is full of interesting sights.  The Jialeshui Scenic Area is the sight of fascinating ocean carved rocks.  There are also shipwrecks (the big one is dismantled), an old army fort and green cliffs that seemingly fall into the ocean.  The Alanyi Trail is a little farther north in the same area.  It is a little shorter and includes great views of the ocean.

The Jialeshui Scenic Area at the beginning of the Qufengbi Trail

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The Alanyi Trail

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9. Gunung Batur is Bali’s most hiked volcano since it can be done in a day (1/2 a day actually).  Gunung Batur is the center cone in one of Bali’s largest craters with an impressive lake in the southern portion.  I was unaware of this when I decided to hike Batur but it has erupted at least a dozen times in the last 150 years.

View the full guide entry

10.  Hehuanshan is Taiwan’s most accessible high mountain area due to the Central Cross Island Highway (new version) passing nearby.  It used to be the site of Taiwan’s only ski hill but the area no longer gets significant snow and the infrastructure is in ruins.  Now Taiwanese flock to Hehuanshan on snowy weekends so they can experience snow likely for the first time.

Overall there are 5 of Taiwan’s Baiyue (top 100 peaks) in the area and several others (Cilai North) that can be accessed via longer trails.  Hehuanshan Main Peak, Hehuanshan East Peak and Shimenshan are short hikes that hikers of most abilities can handle.  Hikers that want a little more challenge can tackle Hehuanshan North Peak or go all the way to Hehuanshan West Peak (a very long dayhike).

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My Top Ten Waterfalls of 2015 (link)

Bali’s Temples

I might be most interested in waterfalls but nobody that goes to Bali can ignore the amazing temples.  Some have claimed that there are 5,000-10,000 temples in Bali while others claim that there are over 1,000,000.  The 1,000,000 number almost surely includes all of the small shrines in homes and outdoors but regardless the density of temples is impressive.  Most of the temples are Hindu but there are also Islamic Mosques, Buddhist Temples and a few modern churches.  Generally temples in Bali are open air temples with an inner and outer courtyard with towers and pavilions.  One of the coolest things about Bali’s temples is that there is so much variety between them.

View my blog post on Bali’s Waterfalls

Most of the very popular temples are okay to visit with long pants but many of the lesser visited temples require a sarong over your pants, a sash (a ribbon around your waist) and possibly even a head wrap.  Usually these are available to borrow for free while you visit but at various times you will be pressured to buy from vendors.  Almost all temples charge an entry fee.  For foreigners it is usually 10,000-20,000 IDR/adult (0.75-1.50 USD).  Children are usually half price.  Sometimes they will offer guides that are donation or negotiable.

Additional information and directions are available on my waterfall website

Getting around in Bali is really easy.  There are decent hotels located all over the island and virtually everywhere is accessible as a daytrip from a decent hotel.  I stayed in Ubud, Kintimani, Lovina and Munduk during my trip.  Ubud is great and many will base their trip here but my favorite was Munduk.  It is located at about 800 meters of elevation just outside of the 3 Lakes Crater.  Transport is also really easy in Bali.  Tourists can hire a car and driver for around $50 USD/day (negotiable) or rent a motorcycle for around $5 USD/day.  Don’t worry about finding either of these.  Your hotel will happily set one up or you can do it yourself easily from the (annoying) touts on the streets.

1.  Pura Uluwatu is actually quite small and unimpressive compared to other temples but it is famous for its location.  The temple extends out on a narrow 70 meter cliff above the amazing turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.  Some tourists also enjoy the thieving monkeys (I hate monkeys).  The inner temple is closed off to tourists but the best thing to do is to take a walk along the cliff path (10+ minutes in each direction).  There are some absolutely spectacular views and railings for those concerned about 70 meter cliffs.

Details on how to get there are available at my waterfall guide

2.  Pura Tanah Lot is another one of Bali’s iconic temples.  It is also located on the southern shore and is unique since the temple is only accessible at low tide.  The temple is closed off to tourists but the best views off to the right of the temple during high tide.  During high tide the temple becomes an island and all of the tourists are forced out of your photo.  The temple was extensively renovated in the 80’s by replacing the rock worn away by centuries of ocean erosion.  They did an excellent job at making the concrete look somewhat natural.  In addition to Pura Tanah Lot there are a few other small ocean side temples like Pura Batu Bolong.

Details on how to get there are available at my waterfall guide

3. Pura Taman Ayun was built in 1634 as the royal temple of the Mengwi Kingdom.  It is surrounded by a moat with impressive watchtowers.  The outer courtyard has more of a park like feel with immaculate grass lawns and pavilions.  The inner courtyard is closed off the tourists but tourists can see over a half wall as they walk around the inner courtyard.

Details on how to get there are available at my waterfall guide

4.  Pura Tirta Empul is one of the coolest temples to visit.  Balinese regularly bathe in the holy water of the temple.  Each fountain serves a special purpose and we observed that nobody (that we saw) used the last few fountains.  It turns out that the last two are used for funerary purposes.  It is okay for tourists to participate in the purification process but they should be very respectful.

The legend is quite interesting – from bali-indonesia.com

It was here that through his magical powers Mayadenawa created a poisoned spring from which Indra’s exhausted troops drank and succumbed. Indra noticed the fall of his men, and soon thrust his staff into the ground where a holy purifying spring spurted out, to cure the troops and to even bring some of them back to life. This escapade became the legendary background to the holy spring of Tirta Empul, as well as the holy days of Galungan and Kuningan celebrated by the Balinese Hindus.

Details on how to get there are available at my waterfall guide

The source pool for Pura Tirta Empul

5.  Pura Gunung Kawi is one of few temples with reliefs (called candi) carved into rock.  It is located near Pura Tirta Empul and also has holy water (in a river) flowing through it.  It was built nearly 1000 years ago.  Historians can only guess as to the origins of why they were carved.  Some have said that each relief for a member of the royal family while others have said they were carved for the favorite royal concubines.  I really don’t know the answer but it is a unique temple and well worth the visit.

Details on how to get there are available at my waterfall guide

6.  Pura Ulun Danu Batur was relocated after the 1917 eruption of Gunung Batur.  During the eruption the lava destroyed much of the town and all of the temple except for the highest shrine.  This was considered a miracle and the villagers chose to rebuild the temple at a much higher point along the crater rim.  The temple is large and physically impressive but I couldn’t find one thing to really make it stand out aside from the great views of Danau (Lake) Batur and Gunung (Mountain) Batur and Agung.

Details on how to get there are available at my waterfall guide

7.  Pura Puncak Penulisan is Bali’s highest temple at 1745 meters above sea level.  There will be a set of infinity stairs to climb (297 stairs) to reach the top.  It is located at the northern end of the enormous Gunung Batur Crater and offers outstanding views of the crater, the lake and the three large mountains.  The most interesting thing about this temple are the large statues (up to 2 meters tall) that have been preserved.

Details on how to get there are available at my waterfall guide

8.  Bali might be a predominantly Hindu island but there are also many other religions represented on the island.  Brahmavihara Arama is the largest Buddhist temple on the island and some have called it a mini Borobudur (click for a good Borobudur blog).  It is located near Lovina along the northern coast.

Details on how to get there are available at my waterfall guide

9.  Pura Ponjok Batu is a lesser visited but physically imposing temple located on Bali’s northern coast.  It is immediately obvious from the road with its towering black volcanic rock walls perched on a small hill.  This temple was a bit more formal than others and I had to wear a head wrap in addition to a sarong and a sash.  I am not sure if it is optional but I had a guide that charged only a donation (I gave 30,000 IDR) that walked me through the temple.  Before entering a priest will sprinkle holy water on your head (a bit excessive in my case) and press rice to your forehead and/or chest.  It is an impressive temple and I was told several times about their big festival in July (on the full moon).

The legend here is also very interesting.  From the Jakarta Post – Bali Daily

The priest helped a fisherman from Lombok island when the fisherman’s boat sank at Ponjok Batu beach. The fisherman found a shining stone, which was then carved into a boat statue and now stands at the southeast side of the temple.

In addition to this legend they found a 5000 year old sarcophagus here during the 1990’s renovations of the temple.  This obviously predates the temple but perhaps this was a spiritual place long before the temple was built 500 years ago.

Details on how to get there are available at my waterfall guide

The boat just off shore from the temple.

10.  Pura Ulun Danu Bratan contains another of Bali’s iconic images.  The temple sits directly on the lakeshore of Lake Bratan in the center of Bali.  Altogether there are 3 lakes within this huge crater and one of Bali’s largest roads go directly through the crater and right past Pura Ulun Danu Bratan.  The temple itself is a large sprawling complex with many interesting things to see but everybody comes to see the small pagoda on the lake.

Details on how to get there are available at my waterfall guide

Great Bloggers and Places – Waterfalls

If anyone follows my blog they will know that I have a thing for waterfalls.  Previously I chose regions for the recurring great bloggers and places topic (Asia Australia/NZ click for links) but this time I chose some of my favorite waterfalls that on my blogger follow list.  This shouldn’t be viewed as a top ten list or even the best waterfall in a particular country.  Instead I picked slightly lesser known but still amazing waterfalls.

I have followed most of these bloggers for awhile but a few of them I recently found because I wanted more blogs from a particular region.  I currently don’t follow hardly any blogs in Africa and South America.  If anyone knows any small time bloggers that I should follow please leave a comment.  I have also included a few waterfall guide writers (The Waterfall Record, World of Waterfalls and Snail-WORKS) that have awesome sites and are something that I aspire to with my own site (Taiwan’s Waterfalls).  These are definitely great resources to use while traveling.

The first waterfall will be one of my new favorite waterfalls.  This summer I took a great trip to Bali and was able to add nearly all of Bali’s waterfalls to my waterfalls guide.  I posted a summary of all of them on my blog (Bali’s Waterfalls) but Sekumpul Waterfall was the most impressive on the island.  It is becoming more well-known but I only saw 5-6 groups of tourists while I was there.

Sekumpul Waterfall

None of the photos below are mine.  I contacted each blogger prior to blogging for permission to use a photo and link to their blog.  I encourage you to visit their sites to see more of their great work.

1.  The Waterfall Record is one of the best single person guides that I have found on the internet.  He is from and currently lives in Michigan.  I spent 10 years of my life living in Michigan but rather embarrassingly I didn’t visit one waterfall while I was there.  The concentration of his waterfalls are in the US but he has taken many great trips all over the world including one of the places at the top of my travel list.

New Zealand has been one of the top places on my wish list for years and this was one of many awesome waterfalls that he visited.  Bridal Veil Falls on the North Island is only one of the impressive waterfalls in New Zealand.

Click to view his waterfall guide

2.  Iceland is another country that is at the top of my travel list.  I have been continuously stunned by the images and waterfalls from this country and so many bloggers that I follow have recently taken trips there.  I would love to go but I am limited to taking several one week trips each year and it is too far from Taiwan and there is too much to see just to take a one week trip.  Justin (Justin Goes Places) is an elementary math and science teacher in Texas and he has started taking full advantage of his winter and summer breaks to travel all over the world.  Iceland is overflowing with great waterfalls and Seljalandsfoss is just one of many great ones.

Click to view this blog at his site

3. Some of the waterfalls picked are next up on my personal travel list (Asian countries) while others are on a long term wish list.  Japan is one of the countries on top of my travel list with a well publicized top 100 list.  Kegon Falls is considered to be one of Japan’s three most beautiful waterfalls and it is relatively easy to get to from Tokyo.  Celia (Celia in Tokyo) is an Australian expat teaching English in Tokyo.  She blogs about an interesting mixture of city, food, culture and nature in Japan.

Click to view this blog at her site

4. Several years ago before moving to Taiwan I toured the American Southwest hiking and camping through all of the National Parks.  I had very little information at the time beyond a road atlas and only went to the most popular areas.   One afternoon I was driving across Utah and randomly picked a campsite from the road atlas.  It was a little early to camp that day but I didn’t really have a schedule.  At the campground I was surprised to find this hiking trail and this remains one of my favorite waterfalls.

I wish I would have been following a blog like Andrew’s (liveandlethike.com) on these trips because I would have found so many more cool places in the American Southwest.  He has done an outstanding job writing up detailed directions and trip reports for so many places in Utah and the surrounding states.  Recently he moved to the east coast and his blogs changed from hues of orange and red to lush green but they are still outstanding.

Click to view this blog on his site

5. This year for Chinese New Year I am planning to travel to Sumatra (90% sure).  This will be my second trip to Indonesia and one of the highlights of the trip will be visiting Sipisopiso Waterfall.  Happy (that is her name) is an Indonesian blogger from Jakarta that has been able to travel to many places in Indonesia and abroad.  Follow her blog at happyanggraeni.wordpress.com

Click to view this blog on her site

6. Jonny is a professional travel blogger (dontstopliving.net) from Northern Ireland that has been traveling the world for over a decade.  Recently he visited his 100th country and he isn’t slowing down.  Not only does he have all kinds of great travel content but he has some great articles on how to become a better blogger.

This is Kaieteur Falls in Guyana.  It is supposed to be the tallest single drop waterfall in the world at 226 meters.  There are several lookout points and Jonny also has photos of himself standing right at the edge next to the falls.  It is very impressive.

Click to view this blog on his site

7.  Eagle Creek Tunnel Falls is one of the iconic Pacific Crest Trail (2660 miles long) places.  I didn’t complete the Pacific Crest Trail in 2007 when I hiked it so I just missed this but PCT will always be a special place for me.  Sirena (desertsirena.wordpress.com) is an avid hiker and backpacker living in Tucson, Arizona.

Earlier this year she was a presenter at an International Trails Symposium in Portland for her work with Warrior Hike.  Warrior Hike is an program that gives assistance to veterans allowing them to thru hike as a means of therapy after their deployment.  After the symposium Sirena did a multi-day trip back to Eagle Creek Tunnel Falls and several other waterfalls.

Click to view this blog on her site

8.  World of Waterfalls is another great waterfall guide that has a really impressive list of waterfalls visited.  They are a married couple with a child that have visited hundreds (possibly >1000) of waterfalls all over the world including most of the famous ones.  As a matter of fact I think they have visited all but three of waterfalls listed in this blog (Eagle Creek Tunnel Falls (Oregon, USA), Sipisopiso Waterfall (Sumatra, Indonesia) and Gasadalur Waterfall (Faroe Islands)).  Their site is really impressive if you love waterfalls and you should check it out.

Click to view their waterfall guide

9.  The Faroe Islands are a small group of self-governed islands in between Norway, England and Iceland (population 50,000).  Due to the surrounding ocean the islands are never warm (average summer high = 13C (55F)) and never very cold (average winter low = 1C (34F)) despite being so far north (62 deg north).  But the islands are always wet.  This creates the dramatic landscape that is shown in the photo.

Amanda is a Swedish blogger who is taking dramatic photos all over Europe on small trips.  Follow her blog at amandasaybass.wordpress.com

Click to view this blog on her site

10. Snail-WORKS is a great site focused on Malaysia’s waterfalls.  She has visited waterfalls all over Malaysia and a few neighboring countries (nearly 200 overall).  Recently she even traveled to Taiwan and used my site to visit a couple of waterfalls.  Hopefully I will be using her site sometime to visit some great waterfalls in Malaysia sometime.  This is Puteri Mandi Waterfall that requires an overnight camping trip (or a long dayhike).  Sounds perfect.

Click to view her waterfall guide

This is one really cool graphic that Snail-WORKS uses on the site.  This would be one big improvement that I could do on my site but it requires more time to put together the guide and I already don’t have enough for everything that I want to do.

  • A = the trekking difficulty.  This one is a pretty hard hike.
  • B = the trekking time.
  • C = the leech factor.  Ick.
  • D = vehicle accessibility.
  • E = WOW factor.

Does anyone know of any great waterfall or travel bloggers that I should check out?  Do you have any suggestions for improvements to my waterfall guide?

 

Hiking Bali’s Waterfalls

People have been going to Bali for many years for many reasons.  Bali’s tourism has exploded over the last couple of decades due to its wonderful weather, amazing beaches, cultural heritage and great nightlife.  But Bali has been a popular destination for a century.  A Dutch steamship began bringing tourists there in the 1920’s.  It became an artist enclave and was a vacation for the rich and famous including Charlie Chaplin.  Tourism has had obstacles like WWII, political instability and more recently two bombings (2002 and 2006) to overcome but it remains one of the top southeast Asian getaways.

Check out my blog post on North Sumatra’s waterfall – even better than Bali

There are many reasons why Bali is such a popular destination.  Individually there isn’t a temple complex that compares to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Bagan in Myanmar or Borobudur in Java but there are 1000’s of amazing temples that each have their own individual charm (another blog post).  Bali is also able to boast many world class beaches all over the island.  Art has continued to be a central part of Balinese culture with Ubud as the heart.  The people are friendly and the island is stunningly beautiful.

Pura Ulun Beraten

Check out my blog post on Bali’s Temples

For my June vacation this year I jumped at Air Asia’s special offer (<$250) on their new (direct) Taipei to Bali route (possibly getting discontinued this fall).  Of course staying on the beach or relaxing in Ubud is popular but my online research found Bali to be an underrated hiking paradise.  The main hiking attractions are volcanoes and almost two dozen waterfall hikes that are located on a small island.  The great thing about Bali is that the tourist infrastructure extends far past the main tourist areas and all of the hikes can be done as daytrips from the comfort of a great guesthouse that meets all of the wants of a foreign tourist.  I stayed on the beach in Lovina for most of my trip but there are many other great places to stay.  One of my favorites was an overnight stay in Munduk.

I stayed in varying levels of guesthouses (cheap to expensive) but everyone of them had great views.  This is from my patio in Munduk.

I am not going to suggest that anyone should travel to Bali for the waterfalls but they are an excellent excuse to go for a long drive through the countryside.  Bali is in the midst of a struggle to maintain their cultural traditions with ever advancing modernization but so far the rural areas have retained their charm.  It seems that someone could almost randomly pick a rural road in Bali to explore and find terraced fields of rice in varying shade of green and yellow depending on the season, hidden temples that see relatively few visitors, quaint small villages, views of volcanoes and perhaps even a waterfall.

Just another rice field.

For the most part the waterfall hikes in Bali are short and well trodden.  Many have a small entrance fee (plus parking) and a well maintained (usually concrete) path to the waterfall.  Some have guides that will oversell the difficulty of finding the waterfall and be hard negotiators.  Some have many vendors that may or may not be bothersome.  Some are just perfect and there even a couple that have no signs, no vendors and no tickets prices.  If you are able to shrug off the commercialization by the local village you will find that all of the waterfalls are pretty awesome.

 1)  Aling Aling Waterfall (northern Bali) is far enough off of the tourist trail that you will likely only see a handful of tourists.  This is one of the nicest waterfall hiking trails and it is the best waterfall to swim at in Bali.  You descend down into the valley where there is not one but four beautiful waterfalls.  The main waterfall is quite impressive but swimming is best done upstream in a narrow gorge or downstream at the smaller waterfalls (Kroya, Kembar and Pucuk).

Aling Aling Waterfall

Kroya Waterfall

Kembar Waterfall

Pucuk Waterfall

Click for directions to Aling Aling Waterfall and the 3 smaller ones

2) Banyumala Waterfall (northern Bali) is a spectacular hidden waterfall.  There is very little information on the internet about this one and I knew nothing about it.  I was riding a scooter on the crater rim next to Lake Buyan when I saw a waterfall sign.  I had no idea what to expect but I took a chance.  I hired a local farmer to be a guide after he stopped me on the road.  Most of the time local guides are completely unnecessary but I never would have found this waterfall without a guide.  The hike isn’t long but this is the most remote waterfall that I visited.  There is great swimming and a really cool wall of cascading water just past the waterfall.

Click for directions to Banyumala Waterfall

3. Blehmantung Waterfall was another spectacular hidden waterfall.  There was a lot of info on the Internet but all that remains is a faded sign that has fallen down next to the highway.  I followed the two track road down to an abandoned house at the end of the road.  Unlike all of the waterfalls in Bali (except Banyumala) there weren’t ticket takers, local guides, vendors or even other tourists here.  For the first time in Bali I was all by myself for a waterfall hike and it was wonderful.  The hike is easy and short but the waterfall is a perfect place to relax in solitude.

Click for directions to Blehmantung Waterfall

4. Git Git Waterfall is by far the most famous waterfall in Bali.  If you say the word waterfall in Bali you will immediately get a response of Git Git.  The waterfall is one of the easiest waterfall to get to and it is spectacular.  But temper your expectations, it is a short concrete path past many vendors to get to the waterfall.

Click here for directions to Git Git Waterfall

5. Git Git Twin Waterfall (aka Campuhan) is just a little upstream from Git Git Waterfall.  It is also famous, touristy with a concrete path trail back to the falls.  The Balinese name, Campuhan, means twin waterfall.  It isn’t a physically impressive waterfall but it is unique with the twin streams of water.

Click here for directions to Git Git Twin Waterfall

5b. Mekalongan Waterfall is 50m’s downstream of Git Git Twin Waterfall.  In some ways it is a more beautiful waterfall.

5c. Bertingkat Waterfall (aka Terraced Waterfall) is another 200 m’s downstream from Mekalongan.  It is a little difficult to walk to but I have directions on my waterfall guide or you can drive to the other trailhead.  This is the best and possibly the only choice for swimming out of these three waterfalls.  It is also less visited so you might have a little privacy for your group.

6. Jembong Waterfall is completely different than every other waterfall I visited.  Many waterfalls discharge a large volume of water but Jembong Waterfall cascades thunderously down the rocks.  It isn’t a long hike but it is unique.  Some were very impressed and thought it was a top 5 Bali waterfall but I was underwhelmed.  It is really close to Aling Aling Waterfall so both can be combined into one daytrip.

Click here for directions to Jembong Waterfall

7. Lemukih Waterfall is the other waterfall at Sekumpul village.  Visitors will see the amazing Sekumpul Waterfall from a viewpoint but there is a 2nd smaller waterfall in the distance.  In fact that smaller waterfall is actually part of  three large waterfalls that surround you at the end of the gorge in addition to other small ones along the way.   If Sekumpul Waterfall wasn’t so incredible then this would be a destination by itself.

The right waterfall could be seen from the viewpoint.  The 3rd waterfall is almost directly behind you with a lot of mist coming off.  I need to practice my panorama (using stitching) skills to really give you the idea of how incredible this place was.

Click here for directions to Lemukih Waterfall

8. Les Waterfall is one of the most remote waterfalls in Bali located on the northern ocean road between Amed and Singaraja.  The roads are actually in good shape until the last 1/2 km and the trail is very easy to hike.  This village has the best tourism practices.  There are no annoying guides pressuring you to hire them but there is a price list with guides available.  There are two drink/snack shops along the trail and a really nice guesthouse.  More motivated hikers can take a longer trail that will take you to 5 waterfalls but you will need a guide.

Click here for directions to Les Waterfall

9 and 10. Melanting Waterfall and Munduk Waterfall are closely linked and you can’t talk about one without talking about the other.  Munduk and Melanting are beautiful villages east of the 3 lakes at 600-700m’s of elevation.  There are many great guesthouses and restaurants at all price levels that look out over a valley towards Batu Karu (one of Bali’s holiest mountains).  But there is some confusion regarding the waterfall names.  There is a mixture of village names, English names and Balinese names resulting in 7 names for 3 waterfalls.  It is explained more in the guide entries.

The local village has landscaped a beautiful trail down to Melanting Waterfall.  Melanting Waterfall looks very similar in size and shape Git Git Waterfall.  It isn’t great for taking photos (covered in water) but there is a wonderful mist that sprays off of the waterfall.

Click here for directions to Melanting Waterfall

Munduk and Melanting villages are very tourist friendly.  I didn’t see any local guides hassling tourists at trailheads but local guides are available through your guesthouse.  There also weren’t any souvenir shops on the trail. There were 3-4 drink/snack/small meal shops along the trail.  They did sell spices but they weren’t pushy.  Overall this was the best waterfall hike that I did.

Click here for directions to Munduk Waterfall

11. Nungnung Waterfall is a lesser known waterfall that is easily accessible as a daytrip from southern Bali.  The drive takes you through an amazing rural area where there are large no development areas with just rice fields.  Nungnung village is quite small and there are usually only a handful of hikers on the trail.  Many hikes in Bali are down a seemingly endless staircase but this was the longest with 486 stairs.  Not only that but some of the stairs are huge.  If it isn’t too late in the dry season there is also a second smaller waterfall beside the trail.

 

Click for directions to Nungnung Waterfall

12. Sekumpul Waterfall is the most impressive waterfall in Bali and it is one of the top waterfalls in all of Indonesia.  As an added bonus visitors can also visit Lemukih Waterfall which is a unique experience.  There are claims that the right branches are spring fed while the left branch is river fed and turns brown during heavy rain.  I could not find any pictures on the internet to verify this observation.  You can swim at both waterfalls and on sunny days you have a good chance at seeing a rainbow in the waterfall mist.

Click here for directions to Sekumpul Waterfall

13. Tegenungan Waterfall is the easiest to access from southern Bali and probably the most visited waterfall in Bali.  You will have to put up with people there but it is an incredible waterfall.

Click here for directions to Tegenungan Waterfall

More waterfalls that I didn’t visit, couldn’t access or were dry when I visited.  Hopefully on my next trip I will be able to visit many of these in addition to hiking Gunung Agung or Batu Karu.

1. Colek Pamor Waterfall – This is located just upstream from Git Git Waterfall.  There is a separate trailhead but it can be accessed from the same parking area.

2. Cemara Waterfall – This is located near Aling Aling but I am not sure if it is upstream or downstream

3. Dusun Kuning Waterfall – This is a lesser known waterfall in southern Bali.

4. Carat Waterfall – I found this but it was completely inaccessible from my entry point.  There has to be a better way to the bottom of the waterfall.

5. Peguyangan, Sebuluh and Temeling Waterfall – These 3 waterfalls are on Nusa Penida island and are seasonal according to various internet sources.

6. Juwuk Manis Waterfall – This appears to be somewhere on the southwest coast

7. Singsing Waterfall – This waterfall is convenient for those staying in Lovina but it is definitely dry during the dry season.

8. Golden Waterfall – This is located near Munduk Waterfall

9. Git-Git Waterfall – Another Git-Git Waterfall but this one is near Blehmantung Waterfall.

10. Melasti Waterfall – falls onto the beach near Tanah Lot.

Are there any more waterfalls that I am missing in Bali?  What are your favorites?

Photo of the week #55 – northern Bali

One of the many rice fields that you pass in Bali.  Bali is at a crossroads in a way as the massive tourist service industry competes with the more traditional Balinese life.  So far things remain in balance with an endless number of small villages living a traditional lifestyle but how long will that last?  Will the younger generation(s) continue to pursue work in the more profitable tourist industry?

I have now completed 6 of the 14 waterfall guide entries.  You can view them at Taiwan’s Waterfalls – Bali.  I will be taking advantage of Taiwan’s rainy weather this week to finish up several more and hopefully start working on an article about all of Bali’s waterfalls since I visited all of the major ones.

Photo of the week #54 – family

It is taking a long time to post photos and blog about an awesome 10 days of travel in Bali.  I took the red eye flight and hit the ground running right away in the morning.  My sister was working in Jakarta at the same time so she met me for the weekend.  Bali has an extraordinary travel option for mid budget travelers.  Car rentals come with a personal driver and it includes gas for 50 USD/day.  That is an awesome amount of convenience for a very reasonable price.  Later in the week I had plans to explore the less seen parts of Bali so I visited some of the popular tourist spots with my sister.

In two days we visited 5 of the best temples in Bali.  This is Uluwatu at the very southern tip of Bali.  The temple itself isn’t very interesting but the location on top of a 50+ meter cliff is amazing.

We also visited one of the best waterfalls in southern Bali and this was the beginning of a 14 waterfall trip for me.  This was an excruciating photo to take.  For 30 minutes 2 girls stood directly in front of my tripod taking dozens of photos and then videos of each other taking photos before moving to a different spot to take more photos.  I have no idea what they do with several hundred photos with themselves in front of the same waterfalls.  My sister had to leave after the weekend but she will be working in Indonesia for several years so there will be other opportunities for weekend meetups.

Currently northern Sumatra has taken a commanding lead in possible Chinese New Year destinations.  The best part is that Air Asia flies direct from Kaohsiung to Kuala Lumpur (no trip to Taoyuan) and then it is a short flight to Medan.  Here is one blog that has fueled my Sumatran desire Scarlet Scribbles – 8 great places in northern Sumatra.

My first waterfall guide entry has been posted on my waterfall site. I started with the best Bali waterfall.