Tamz Explores

Bali Diaries : Mesmerizing Munduk

“What are you thinking?”, she asked me as I stared at the roaring waterfall in the midst of the lush green forest while the clouds above moved around with glee. I just smiled at her, hugged her and said, “Nothing”, but my mind and heart felt something entirely different as I was in awe of this kaleidoscopic canvas that was on display.  When was the last time you felt a sense of euphoria and were at a loss of words? How often has a place with magnificent landscapes and tranquil nature made everything else around you seem inconsequential? Munduk, a scenic hillside village in Bali made me ask to myself, “Is This For Real?”.

On my seventh visit to Bali, I was on a quest to get away from the sea and sand for a few days, and be somewhere I’ve never been before. So after three days of island time at Gili Trawangan and three tiring hours of a taxi ride from Amed, we reached the quiet little village of Munduk. As we meandered along the curves along the hill, we were welcomed by the fresh mountain air, mild scent of cardamom and coffee, cloud covered valleys and some drizzle. We were quite amazed to find a place that was a stark contrast to where we had been in Bali till then. I guess this is kind of diversity that made me fall in love with Indonesia’s most popular destination in the first place.

Munduk

Located along the hills in Northern Bali, Munduk is a charming little village which boasts of stunning natural landscapes. Often overlooked by visitors to this Indonesian island, Munduk appeals to you the moment you reach here. With a very laid back and rustic countryside, you can’t help but be amazed as the simplicity of this place grows on you with every passing minute. For the party-goers and late night revelers, this place might seem like a downer as there are no pubs or nightclubs here. It is devoid of the vibrant chaos of Kuta and Legian, or the colorful art markets of Ubud. Convenience stores close as “early” as 8-9 PM and swanky restaurants have absolutely no presence here. Instead, you are treated to the sights of some magnificent sunrise and sunsets, the lush green forests along the slopes of those mighty mountains and the sound of water streams flowing downhill through the thick canopy of trees.

rice fields along the slopes of Munduk

Here, the cool air is fresh enough to cleanse your body and soul, the clouds kiss the slopes of the hills and the mountain mist surrounds you as if to connect with you. Coffee and spice plantations are plenty here and you can smell the mild aroma of cardamom, cloves and coffee beans as you explore this beautiful place. A single main road runs through the mountains with the village settlements on either side along the slopes. Venture out on a scooter along the highway or go trekking on foot to explore the surroundings and you will discover some astonishing sights ranging from lush green rice fields, spice plantations and beautiful waterfalls.

view of lake Tamblingan

The famous twin lakes of Buyan and Tamblingan are a 15 minute ride away from the centre of Munduk and this is one attraction that is not to be missed. Take a trek down to the lakes from the trekking point if you want to explore through the jungles or just marvel at the stunning view of the two lakes perched at the base of the mountains. Enjoy a cup of hot local coffee while you let your senses take in the phenomenal dance of the rain clouds above the two lakes. A good thirty minutes drive will take you to the famous and beautiful Ulun Danu Beratan temple. Although this scenic temple is outside Munduk, it is quite accessible if you have a vehicle. The backdrop of Lake Beratan gives this entire place a magical look.

Twin Falls at Banyumala

The Munduk waterfall is a short simple trek down the main road and is the closest and most visited one by visitors to this place. Beware of the force with which the gallons of water come rushing down to the base and keep a safe distance. Tiny is what you feel standing infront of this waterfall. The roar of the water feels music to the ears with the tall bamboo trees and green ferns swaying at the wind from the waterfall. A further fifteen minutes away from Munduk, lies the twin falls of Banyumala which we stumbled upon just out of pure good luck as we almost missed the signboard for this waterfall. A treacherous scooter ride and a short trek later, we stumbled upon this gem. Swim or take a dip in the pool at the base or lounge around on one of the many rocks while admiring this hidden treasure. As for me, I walked into the pool and stood there looking up to the waterfall. That was the place and time when I had one moment of being moulded in this serene wilderness.

Munduk Waterfall

Munduk feels too good to be true but yet it is. The nature is unspoilt, the people are real and the food is authentic. When you talk to people here, you can feel the sense of earnestness behind every word they speak. The warmth that exudes from their smiles compliments the honesty in the twinkle of their eyes. You feel all that love while staying at the homestays and eating at the local Warungs. The coffee smells like pure bliss and the food will take to a journey to the roots of Indonesian cuisine. The freshness of each and everything you eat/drink here is pure.

Delicious plate of Nasi Campur at Warung Classic

During the course of a nomad life, there are times when you get stuck or momentarily lose sight of your motivations. That moment under the waterfall was something I needed to realise the worth of my self-made journey. Munduk is off-beat if you have been to other popular areas in Bali, but off-beat is what makes this place so special. Yes it takes a good 3 hours from the airport or the eastern/western coasts of Bali but a place like this is worth the taxi ride. This place is not about letting go off your inhibitions and pushing your boundaries. Instead, it bonds you with your very own self. Travel does turn you into a storyteller but places like these are way beyond the realms of just words. Bali just got more special for me, thanks to Mesmerizing Munduk!!

34 thoughts on “Bali Diaries : Mesmerizing Munduk

  1. Viola

    Great photos! I’ve only been to Bali once but I’d love to visit again. Just seeing that picture of your food made me crave the delicious Indonesian food we were living on last year…
    Viola xo | A Piece of Viola

  2. Ana Ojha

    I always get mesmerized by the beauty of Bali whenever I see its pictures. I haven’t yet explored that part of the world but hope to visit soon!

  3. Blair villanueva

    Bali is another place I am dying to visit. Yes Philippines have many beaches and falls but it isn’t bad to explore other places. Is water in the twin falls too deep?

  4. Lorraine

    This is the second time I’ve read about Bali this weekend. The first time it was a post on Facebook saying it’s a must visit destination. It was actually perfect because you were very detailed and the pictures are awesome.

  5. Elena

    You are very lucky to have been to Bali even 7 times. I would like to go one day but it is so far. I love your photos and your detail oriented writing.

  6. Erin Creeks

    Bali keeps coming up on IG and on blogs as a must see destination, and yet the images I see all seem to show a different side to Bali. I’m falling more in love with this place.

  7. Jenny

    This sounds like my kind of place! Much more so than the touristy towns and beaches. Bookmarking it for whenever I might get myself to Bali!

  8. Thelittlelai: Beyond limits

    Wow, gazing at the innate beauty of nature is always something that amaze me. I like how you share your beautiful experiences with us. The photos are just so stunning and the waterfalls is so inviting. I would love to get myself closer to the waterfalls. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  9. Wendy

    Gorgeous Photos! You have me wanting to go to Bali. I love places less traveled, and will save this for when we have the opportunity to go to Bali.

  10. Ola

    There are some places in the world that I’m pretty sure I won’t get to visit, which is why I’m so grateful for travel bloggers. This place is like a paradise! That plate of food looks so scrumptious!

  11. Alberto C.

    Bali is one of my top destinations to visit, I can’t believe that you’ve been there 7 times now! Can’t blame you though, looks like such a stunning place! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  12. My Travelogue by Bhushavali

    Everytime I stand atop a mountain or hill after a tiring trek, I feel that sense of Euphoria! 7 visits to Bali? OMG! That’s some fascination… Munduk looks gorgeous! The views from atop is just beautiful. Its surprising that even though its a simple trek, its still unspoilt!

  13. Lyf&Spice

    I’m planning a trip to Bali soon, but I had no idea of Munduk. The falls look so beautiful and refreshing. I would love to trek to the lakes, and then treat myself to that delicious platter by the end.

  14. Judson L Moore

    Wow 7 trips to Bali! That is quite a lot! Your writing is very Hemingway-esque.. the attention to details make me feel like I can close my eyes and be transported to Munduk. The plate of Nasi Campur reminds me of the best meal I ever had, which was prepared by desert nomads in the Rajasthani desert. Authenticity and purity make a difference that those of us growing up in Western cultures often times have a difficult time recognizing!

  15. Tatum

    Isn’t Bali so amazing. Wow, I cannot believe you have been 7 times already!! I have only been once but dying to go back for more!! I love how you explored off the beaten path places such as Munduk! Those waterfalls look incredible! Glad you had an amazing time with some great Balinese food too! I always went back for seconds.

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