A Beautiful Balinese Adventure Booked With TripAdvisor
Having spent some time on the pristine beaches of the west coast of Bali in upmarket Seminyak and Kuta we were longing for some adventure a little more off the beaten path. Our next stop was Ubud in central Bali…adventure time had arrived! We headed over to the TripAdvisor website and clicked on things to do and searched for Bali, this brought up a page Top Things To Do In Bali…perfect! There was so much to choose from…island day trips, the sacred monkey forest, water parks, diving trips, canyoning, quad bikes, cycling….then I saw Sekumpul Waterfalls along with a picture of an amazing waterfall. We had seen pictures of some of the spectacular falls in Bali before we had set off on our trip and we had wanted to explore places in the less ventured north of the island….this fit the bill.
Click here for the tour we took.
We picked a private tour so it would be a little more special, just the two of us, we were picked up from our accommodation in Ubud, Bali Dream Resort, at 7 am and were whisked away in a comfortable four wheel drive north. If you are heading to Bali, you have to make time to explore some of the island away from the tourist hot spots, we found some of the most beautiful scenery in the north and east of the island, away from crowds, really special experiences. As we travelled further north and the views opened up there were some real “Wow” moments, and it was cool being on a private tour our driver was more than happy to pull over and stop and show us some of the best vantage points for views.
Views of the active volcanoes Agung, the highest point in Bali at 3031 metres, and Mount Batur (which we would later climb for sunrise!) at 1717 metres. So Bali isn’t all just about the beaches! Our first stop on the tour…a stop which seemed to be included in just about every tour you book in Bali…was at a coffee plantation. A plantation where the most expensive coffee in the world is produced, Luwak coffee. This is coffee where the beans used have been eaten by a Civet cat first, there’s no polite way to put this, they then poo the beans which can’t be digested, and then they go through the roasting process. They love the “Cat-poo-cino” joke ere! It’s an interesting stop for coffee lovers and provides a chance to try this coffee…which was actually really nice, along with a whole host of other teas and coffees, my favourite was ginseng coffee…only to be told how it is really good for… errr… how shall I put it….. male vitality! It was another incredibly picturesque stop, probably the best view I have had drinking a cup of coffee I think of…
Caffeinated we continued to the starting point of our trek, we met our two local guides who would be leading us through the forest for the rest of the day, they were really helpful and friendly….even carrying our bags for us during the more strenuous parts of the walk. We were told that the locals had just opened up a natural water slide which we could go and try if we wanted to as part of our trip? Hell Yeah!
We set off along the path through the thick forest, our guides pointing out plants and trees of interest, cocoa trees, different fruit trees. The view soon opened up to amazing lush green rice terrace valleys with palm trees dotted along the horizon.
We actually walked through the rice terraces on the ledges in between where the rice was being grown, I’d never been anywhere like this, it really was stunning, it was one of those moments when every now and again we would stop and one of us would say “Just look at where we are!”. One of our guides turned and looked at me, I guess sensing I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should be to where I was stepping and said “Don’t fall in” pointing down to the muddy water the rice grass was growing from. Of course two steps later I fell straight in, my right foot sinking into the mud with water going halfway up to my knee…brilliant!
It was more funny than anything though, especially for the guides and my fiancee Katalin…nothing could spoil the mood in a place like this! Just our guides and us for as far as we could see, nobody else, this was the adventure we needed!
We carried on to a small plantation for a break and were given young coconuts to drink from and the sweetest bananas I’ve ever tasted! Little did we know it but we would be so glad for this energy boost later on!! It was such a beautiful spot, I couldn’t get over how vibrant the colours were.
They had built a little bamboo shelter here to escape the sun, picnic benches, and strategically built bamboo selfie towers! The entrepreneurial spirit of these people was clear for everyone to see here, great ideas. After being reassured that the towers would easily take my 100 kg (and the rest!) we gingerly made our way to the top to take in the view! This was awesome!
The tower came through it’s biggest test I reckon it’s ever been through without a hitch! I was pretty glad to be back on solid ground though. We thanked the owner of the plantation who had come to greet us and tried to get across to him with the aid of our guides how beautiful we thought his place was. The Balinese are proud of their little island and they ave every right to be.
We pushed onto our next stop, the natural water slide! This was great fun…it was a clear bright, hot sunny day, and sliding down into this fresh cool water was awesome! I was a big kid again…sliding down, getting out running back to the top and sliding down again. You sit on a tyre and slide down the rock channel made smooth over the years by the water rushing down, so much fun!
A really cool unexpected addition to our day and a burst of adrenaline to keep me going for the hardest part of the trek which was still to come! When it was time to adult again I dragged myself out of the cool clear water and we set off on our way again.
It had been an incredible day so far but the real highlights were still to come. We continued our trek going deeper and deeper into the forest, every now and again we could catch glimpses of the valley down below us…a long way down below us…400 metres down below us! Then we saw our first waterfall through the trees! We were in Jurassic Park!!!
We were standing on top of one waterfall looking across this huge, deep alley at another waterfall cascading down the side opposite. It was also the moment when the excitement really began to kick in and the reality of what we were going to be doing hit. “We’re heading down there to the bottom of those waterfalls? Lets go!”
The trek went on and we made our way down some concrete steps (700 odd I was told!) and I couldn’t help but think “Hang on a minute am I going to have to drag myself all the way back up these?” the answer was yet…but oh how it was worth it!
We could hear the falls as we approached and when we got to the bottom of the stairs, I was so excited! I had a Brit abroad moment where I took my walking sandles off and stepped on a sharp rock and instantly lost my balance causing me to run for about 10 yards trying to regain my balance, nearly knocking my fiancee over in the process in front of all the cool kids sitting getting their Instagram pictures in front of the water falls! Not my finest moment! Once I had regained my composure I looked up to see the most beautiful waterfalls I had ever set my eyes on…
Breathtaking, everybody was staring in awe at this incredible sight, I’ve said it before there are some places you go to in the world where everybody feels the need to speak in hushed tones, almost as if they are inside an art gallery or museum, or watching a brilliant piece of theatre or some other kind of performance. This was one of those places.
When we got into the water the power of the place really hit us…there was no more speaking in hushed tones, it was all we could do to make each other heard to one another above the roar of the water falling. It was a magnificent experience! The water was cold but so clear, so refreshing and revitalising, this time it wasn’t just me who had turned into a big kid, everyone was loving it, everyone was excited.
Just as we were really enjoying ourselves our guide called over to us “So this isn’t the waterfall you are going swimming under, there’s another one!” What?? There’s another one? We quickly go ourselves together, I borrowed one of the guides pair of sandles to walk over the rocks back to where we had left our stuff and we moved onto another…incredible waterfall.
We jumped into another pool underneath falls around 80 metres high. The power was just unbelievable, it wasn’t possible to stay under the falls for long at all, it was too painful! But swimming around and behind them the falls, in this ravine like valley deep in the forest, spectacular.
When it was eventually time to leave we set back off up the stairs, it seemed a lot steeper on the way back up and I had to take a couple of breaks but it had all been so worth it. We had food at the Fiji Warung, chicken and rice, overlooking the rice terraces, it was a really cool!
But our day still hadn’t ended…we jumped on the back of some scooters and were given rides back up to the parking area and met back up with our driver. We began our journey back south towards Ubud but on our way we stopped at the Pura Ulun Danu Buyan. A temple set on lake Buyan, somewhere which has a special atmosphere.
The clouds came down as we got here and everywhere became a little misty, it only added to the atmosphere and the mystique of the place. It was a special way to end and unforgettable day.
TripAdvisor had come up with the goods for us again and had provided us with an experience which was a real highlight of our time in Bali. The Sekumpul Waterfalls were not mentioned in any Bali guidebook we had read, we would of missed out if it hadn’t of been for searching on TripAdvisor and having a look at the things to do section. It really has paid off for us on several occasions, plus there are also reviews of the activities you can book on there just like the with the hotels. Definitely worth checking out.
My Travel Mission received support from TripAdvisor for this trip…but as always all opinions are my own…This actually was incredible!