East Java’s Waterfalls

I have been to about twenty countries and most of Southeast Asia but Indonesia is one country that has completely blown me away. Indonesia is made up of 13,000-18,000 islands (no agreement apparently) and stretches over an area that is nearly as big as the continental US. Indonesia’s numerous volcanoes (many over 2000 meters), heavy rainfall and tropical temperatures result in a lush landscape with 1000’s of incredible waterfalls. I have just started exploring this amazing country.

Check out my trip to Bali’s Waterfalls in June 2015

Indonesia has impressed me so much that I have visited three times in less than two years and I am already planning my next trip (Lombok). My trip to East Java was a spur of the moment decision and planned less than two days. In September a big typhoon was headed to Taiwan on a Wednesday and in addition both Thursday and Friday were holidays that would have been ruined by bad weather so I took advantage of the time off and left Taiwan just before the typhoon hit. Luckily I had done a fair amount of research on Indonesia and had a good idea where I wanted to go. I still missed many great waterfalls that I have learned about through Instagram through many of the Indonesians that I follow. Follow me on Instagram

I started my trip by staying in a hostel in Malang and renting a motorcycle to explore the first 4 waterfalls in 2 days. After that I hired a private car to take me to Madakaripura Waterfall and then to meet my sister in Surabaya. I had completely underestimated how long it would take to travel between places and I should have limited my trip to the Malang and Probolinggo regions but I really wanted to see Grojogan Sewu Waterfall (#8 below) so my sister and I ended up riding long distances in hired cars. After meeting my sister we hired a second driver and stayed in Madiun and Yogyakarta before flying to our respective Asian homes (Taiwan for me and Jakarta for her).

Check out my trip to North Sumatra’s Waterfall (February 2016)

Indonesia is always hot so you can’t time your trip for cooler weather but there are distinct wet and dry seasons. Java and eastward tends to be rainy from December to March and then dryer the rest of the year. The best time to see waterfalls would be March to May but many of these big waterfalls should flow year round.

What waterfall recommendations do you have for me in East Java and the rest of Indonesia? I want to visit everywhere in this beautiful country.

  1. I started my trip with Pelangi Waterfall on the slopes of Mt Bromo. Pelangi Waterfall is one of the waterfalls that can be combined a Mt. Bromo sunrise tour (from Malang). It is a short hike into a deep lush valley. I was very impressed by the effort given by the locals to keep it clean (mostly clean).

                    

Click for directions to Pelangi Waterfall

2. Rondo Waterfall is one of the best known waterfalls in the Batu area. There isn’t much of a hike but the waterfall is quite impressive. There were other waterfalls in this region that are more remote that I will explore on my next trip.

Click for directions to Rondo Waterfall

3. Talun Waterfall isn’t located too far away from Rondo Waterfall but it only gets a fraction of the visitors. The short hike goes through a varied landscape before a steep downhill to the waterfall. It isn’t as tall as most of the waterfalls on this list but it is one of my favorites.

Click for directions to Talun Waterfall

4. Watu Ondo Waterfall was one of my favorites on the trip. It was a little off of the beaten path so it wasn’t too crowded (on a weekday) and the trail down to the waterfall provided perfect viewpoints the entire way down. As an added bonus there was a second smaller waterfall across from Watu Ondo Waterfall.

Click for directions to Watu Ondo Waterfall

5. Madakaripura Waterfall instantly became my favorite and the most impressive waterfall that I have ever visited. The stream isn’t particularly large but it is one of Indonesia’s tallest at 200 meters. But the most impressive part was walking into the 200 meter tall cylindrical tube with the green cliff walls towering above you. As an added bonus there is a smaller curtain waterfall that visitors will have to walk through before entering the green tube.

Click for directions to Madakaripura Waterfall

6. Sedudo Waterfall is one of East Java’s most famous and tallest waterfalls. It is fairly spectacular at 105 meters tall but the downfall of this popularity is a lack of nature. There were signs for two other waterfalls on the road to Sedudo Waterfall and these could have been the nice hike that I was looking for.

Click for directions to Sedudo Waterfall

7. Seweru Waterfall isn’t very big but it is located in an amazing gorge in a rarely traveled place. It takes the most effort to get there out of any on this list but it still isn’t very hard. Climbing over rocks and walking through the stream might be exciting for some. I loved the remoteness and the beauty of this waterfall.

Click for directions to Seweru Waterfall

8. I had such high expectations for Grojogan Sewu Waterfall and went way out of my way to get there. Because of these expectations, it was also the only disappointment of the trip. The waterfall itself is incredible but the area is overdeveloped, crowded and they use a significant two tiered pricing policy for foreigners. On weekends tickets cost 160,000 IDR (12 USD) compared to about 15,000 IDR for a local. Every other waterfall that I have visited so far in Indonesia was less than 25,000 IDR. I don’t mind paying 50% more or even double but 10x seemed ridiculous.

Click for directions to Grojogan Sewu Waterfall

Other waterfalls to check out next time. The links go to various blogs written in Indonesia Bahasa.

  1. Kapas Biru Waterfall
  2. Tumpak Sewu Waterfall
  3. Kakek Bodo Waterfall
  4. Jahe Waterfall
  5. Dolo Waterfall
  6. Canggu Waterfall
  7. Rais Waterfall
  8. Singkoromo Waterfall (near Sedudo Waterfall)
  9. Telaga Warna Waterfall

Taiwan’s Ten Most Famous Waterfalls

Long-time travelers tend to prefer the off the beaten path places while focusing on the downsides of famous places. Typically it sounds like the following: Machu Picchu was incredible except for the lines and crowds. I loved Akgkor Wat except for all of the tourists and vendors. The beaches were beautiful it was too hard to get a photo that didn’t include someone with a selfie stick. I am not innocent in this. My favorite places are those with longer hikes or a little off of the beaten path but I have also been to Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat and they are incredible places and I loved my time there.

The most famous waterfalls in Taiwan obviously pale in comparison to Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat but they get dismissed in the same way. For example, only one of these waterfalls will be in My Favorite Waterfalls of Taiwan list (more focus on the hike or swimming possible) published later this year but there is no denying that the famous ones are spectacular.

Ten Easy Waterfall Hikes in Taiwan

This list is part of a 5 year project that I have been working on. During that time I have visited and added over 170 waterfalls in Taiwan to my waterfall guide. Earlier this year I posted a list of Ten Easy Waterfall Hikes in Taiwan. This list is similar to that since most of the roads and hikes to all ten of these waterfalls are in good condition and anyone is able to visit them. They are mostly located in northern and central Taiwan. There are several great waterfalls in southern Taiwan but they aren’t as well known and some of them are very isolated.

My Favorite Waterfall Swimming Holes in Taiwan

Some other waterfalls that were considered. Lover’s Gorge Waterfall is one of my favorites but it doesn’t seem as well known throughout Taiwan. Liangshan Waterfall is probably the most visited waterfall in southern Taiwan but it lacks the raw size and beauty of those on this list. Sandiaoling Waterfall Trail is very popular among hikers but it doesn’t seem to be as well known overall. Manyueyuan was a consideration for the list but I haven’t been there yet and the waterfalls themselves don’t seem to be as famous.

Can you think of any that should be on the list? How many have you been to?

Visit my waterfall guide to see over 170 waterfalls in Taiwan

 

  1. Wufengqi Waterfall (五峰旗瀑布) falls in three separate tiers near Jiaoshi, Taiwan. The bottom two tiers are nice but the highest tier is the special one. The highest tier falls in three streams (if there is enough water) in a lush green bowl. Unfortunately they often close the trail to the highest tier for safety reasons.

Click for directions to Wufengqi Waterfall

2. Xiao Wulai Waterfall (小烏來瀑布) is my pick for the most physically impressive waterfall in Taiwan. The photos don’t really do it justice but it is really big with a high flow. Xiao Wulai is easy to get to but the facilities (like parking) struggle to match the popularity of the place. Xiao Wulai can be viewed from across the gorge, from near the base after a short hike or visitors can go out on a skywalk above the falls. To give you some idea of the scale of the waterfall the skywalk is in photo with 20+ people just above the falls.

Click for directions to Xiao Wulai Waterfall

3. Shanlinshi (horrifically romanized as Sunlinksea in English) boasts two waterfalls on this list. Chinglong (Green Dragon) Waterfall (青龍瀑布) falls over 100 meters into a beautiful turquoise pool. Unfortunately the trail doesn’t go all the way to the bottom of the waterfall but it is a beautiful waterfall.

Click for directions to Chinglong Waterfall

4. Songlong (Pine Dragon) Rock Waterfall (松瀧岩瀑布) is just 5 km away at Shanlinshi but it is a completely different waterfall. This waterfall isn’t nearly as tall but visitors first see an idyllic pond before walking through a large cave next to the waterfall. In addition to the waterfalls there are several nice hiking trails, a botanical garden and a 5m penis totem (link).

Click for directions to Songlong Rock Waterfall

5. Huangjin Waterfall (黃金瀑布) is much smaller than all of these waterfalls but its unique rust color and its proximity to Jiufen make it a very popular destination. Debate continues as to whether or not the color is the result of mining upstream or naturally occurring due to the high mineral content of the area but there is no debate that the water is toxic.

Click for directions to Huangjin Waterfall

6. Shifen Waterfall (十分瀑布) is Taiwan’s most famous waterfall and its most picturesque. You will be surrounded by crowds and concrete but the many little cascades are a stunning sight. In addition to this you can take the train to 4 other great waterfalls along the Pingxi Rail Line. The best is the Sandiaoling Waterfall Trail (三貂嶺瀑布) with three beautiful waterfalls.

Click for directions to Shifen Waterfall

7. Wulai Waterfall (烏來瀑布) is the highest (80m) in northern Taiwan and it was the first waterfall that I took photos of for the waterfall guide. It is located immediately across the Tonghou River from Wulai Village. In addition to hot springs you can also ride a cable car to the top of Wulai Waterfall, rivertrace or go to Neidong Waterfall.

Click for directions to Wulai Waterfall

8. Neidong Waterfall (內洞瀑布) competes with Shifen Waterfall for the most beautiful waterfall in Taiwan. It is also located a few km away from Wulai Waterfall and can easily be combined as a daytrip from Taipei. Unfortunately Typhoon Soudelor devastated the Wulai region and Neidong is closed until they can rebuild the trails and roads.

Click for directions to Neidong Waterfall

9. Taoshan Waterfall (桃山瀑布) is not as convenient to reach as many of the others on this list but it is a very popular hike at Wuling Farm in Sheipa National Park. Not only does the trail lead through a beautiful forest at the base of several 3000+ meter peaks but it is also wheelchair accessible. There is also a chance that hikers will see a Swinhoe Pheasant (photo link) along the trail.

Click for directions to Taoshan Waterfall

10. Taroko Gorge is Taiwan’s most famous national park and Baiyang Waterfall (白楊瀑布) is one of its most hiked trails. Originally the trail was a road for large hydroelectric project but thankfully the idea was abandoned. The hike starts in several hundred meter long tunnel and passes through 7 more tunnels before ending at Water Curtain Cave. Water Curtain Cave is actually another tunnel but it is unique since they hit an underground spring when constructing the tunnel and water pours from the ceiling uncontrollably.

Click for directions to Baiyang Waterfall