Despite being one of the most overrun tourist destinations in Asia, Bali can seem pretty quiet if you venture out from the popular places. Munduk, a small village on a ridge surrounded by hills, could never be described as overcrowded. Recently I went on a hike to three waterfalls in Munduk and also explored the town a bit during my three days there, so keep reading to find out the best things to do in Munduk as well as where to stay and how to get there.
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Munduk Waterfall (AKA Red Coral Falls)
It seems like there are many places to start the Munduk waterfall trail (not the official name) and most guesthouses will give their own hand drawn map. I lost my map and am now really confused about the names of the waterfalls and people seem to constantly mistake them on Tripadvisor! Anyway, I started the hike at Melanting Cottages and soon found the short forest trail which leads to a bridge. Munduk Waterfall (pretty sure that’s what it’s called) is to the right and Melanting Waterfall is towards the left (down a big hill). Munduk Waterfall is pretty impressive but it was also by far the busiest of the three waterfalls in Munduk I visited. I guess some people can only be bothered walking to the easiest one! The whole trail is nice and green and is lined with all sorts of exotic crops.
From Munduk Waterfall I ventured all the way downhill to Melanting Waterfall. The trail down to the base of the falls gets steep in parts and is pretty tiring to walk back up (it’s definitely manageable though). Melanting Waterfall was my favourite of the three and you can see it from a few different angles. There is also another trail which follows the river and apparently you can walk back to the main road from there.
The Middle Falls
While travelling I tend do things without thinking too much about the details and then research later to fill in the gaps. It has worked so far (I’m over 400 posts into my blogging career!) but these Munduk waterfalls are really confusing. I’m not even sure I have Munduk / Melanting falls labelled correctly. Anyway, there is a third waterfall located between the two main ones and I almost missed it. I saw the ticket booth on the way back up from Melanting Waterfall and was soon walking along a forest path lined with colourful plants. I can’t find this one on any maps but I’m sure it has a name. It seemed like a good place to swim and for the “third best waterfall” within a kilometre or so it’s pretty good. The mother and daughter who collect the tickets at the top were also really friendly and you can stop there for a rest after tackling the hill.
Waterfalls in Munduk FAQs
- How long does it take? It’ll take you a few hours (depending on how long you stop) to see these waterfalls in Munduk. There’s also another waterfall up the hill from Munduk Waterfall (Golden Valley Waterfall) which wasn’t even on my map. You could also start at the top (maybe get a driver to take you) and then walk down to Melanting Waterfall and walk back to the main road from there.
- Do you need a guide? Not really – I remember it being fairly easy to find the waterfalls with the hand-drawn map, although I did meet some people who were a bit lost. I’ve read articles that make this walk seem way harder than what I experienced, so I guess a guide isn’t a terrible idea.
- Can you buy food and drink along the way? Yes. There are a few basic restaurants on the Munduk waterfall trail. Hiking between the waterfalls is hot work so you’ll at least want to stop for a drink at some point.
- Are there entrance fees? You’ll have to pay a small fee at each waterfall (a dollar or two from memory, so not a big deal at all).
Other Things to Do in Munduk
Watch the sunset
One of the best things to do in Munduk is watch the sunset from one of the restaurants. Most restaurants have great views but not all are perfect for sunset. I went to Warung Classic and that place, as well as others nearby, has great sunset views (the food was good too).
See villages and rice fields
Escape the main road in Munduk and you’ll see rice fields, villages, waving locals and barking dogs. It makes for a relaxing walk (the dogs seemed harmless) but there is quite a bit of uphill hiking involved. I walked down Jl. Batugalih and up to the rice fields on the other side — it took a couple of hours and I highly recommend it.
See the lakes
Lakes Beratan, Buyan and Tamblingan are close to Munduk and you’ll drive past them on the way to town. There are some swings and places to eat / drink / admire the views above the lake. Lake Beratan is home to Pura Bratan, one of the most famous temples in Bali, and there is apparently some good hiking to be had around Lake Buyan.
Do a day trip
Central Bali is full of fascinating things to see, including rice terraces, temples, volcanoes and waterfalls. I did a day trip from Munduk which included Sekumpul and Gitgit waterfalls as well as the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces. The best way to do a day trip from Munduk is to rent a car / driver. It cost me RP 500,000 ($40 USD) which is good value, especially if you join up with some other travellers. My driver was awesome and is now my Facebook friend, so let me know if you’re looking for a driver in the comments below and I’ll hook you up.
FURTHER READING: Where Are the Best Rice Terraces in Bali? Tegalalang VS Jatiluwih
Where to stay in Munduk
There are heaps of guesthouses and hotels in Munduk and most have great views and attached restaurants. I stayed at Geriya Siena (I wasn’t hosted) and it was excellent value. It’s also very close to the start of the waterfall walk which is another bonus (the waterfall map they gave me was also really helpful). If you’re looking for something a little more upmarket check out Munduk Moding Plantation Nature Resort and Spa — it’s very popular with the influencer crowd due to it’s awesome views and infinity pool.
Getting to Munduk
Public transport in Bali is a bit of a mess (and it’s not exactly public). From Kuta I ended up catching a Perama bus to Bedugul and then a taxi to Munduk. There are bemos between Bedugul and Munduk but the one I saw tried to grossly overcharge me. All up the trip cost around RP 250,000 ($17 USD) and took a few hours. The Perama bus stops at a dodgy travel agent who will try to rip you off, so keep walking down the hill and bemos / drivers will stop and try and negotiate with you (if you do this too close to the travel agent he’ll get a cut making it more expensive).
Are you planning a trip to Munduk? Which places are you most excited about visiting in Bali? Let me know in the comments below!