About Munduk Waterfalls (Golden Valley Waterfall and Red Coral Waterfall)
The Munduk Waterfalls are a series of waterfalls within a steep west-facing valley probably draining the Lake Tamblingan (one of the twin lakes with Danau Buyan being the other).
There are four main waterfalls in this ensemble, and they are:
- Golden Valley Waterfall
- Red Coral Waterfall
- Labuhan Kebo Waterfall
- Melanting Waterfall
There’s a saying in engineering that “there are many ways to skin a cat”, which is a non-politically-correct way of saying that you can solve a problem with a variety of methods (i.e. there’s no one solution).
Well, as far as the Munduk Waterfalls are concerned, there are many ways to experience some or all of these waterfalls.
It really depends on how many of the waterfalls you want to experience, how much time and energy you have, how well the weather is cooperating, and how creative you are in solving the logistics of this hike.
In my particular experience, Mom and I managed to do two of the four waterfalls (i.e. the Golden Valley Waterfall and Red Coral Waterfall in that order).
We did have options to include the remaining two waterfalls, but we were short on time and opted to think out of the box a bit to figure out how to do this hike in a one-way downhill shuttle hike.
So for the rest of this write-up, I’ll explain how we managed to do it this way to give you a better idea of the logistics that are involved (regardless of whether you’re more or less ambitious than what we wound up doing)…
Trail Description – The Golden Valley Waterfall
Once I got a feeling for the topography of the Munduk Valley, I realized that it was probably best to start closest to the uppermost waterfall, which was the Golden Valley Waterfall.
There was actually a car park right across from a series of steps leading down to a yoga retreat, where a trail ultimately followed the stream downhill towards the Golden Valley Waterfall.
However, we started even closer than that car park, where there was a warung situated a few paces downhill from a narrow and steep scooter path descending almost directly to a bridge just upstream of the brink of the Golden Valley Waterfall.
Once we crossed that bridge, we found ourselves on an established footpath leading to the Golden Valley Eco Cafe (i.e. a warung serving up foods and local coffee) situated within view of the Golden Valley Waterfall itself.
From the cafe, there was a spur trail descending right to the base of the waterfall, which in my estimation was 16m tall.
We were looking against the late morning sun when we did this hike so it made photographing it tricky.
However, the path ultimately continued down a somewhat rocky and muddy path leading right down to the plunge pool beneath the falls, where some foreign visitors took advantage of the refreshing spray to cool off from the heat and humidity.
All told, we hiked roughly 500m, and we’d have to get back this distance as well as the 60m of elevation loss in order to regain the car.
That said, Mom and I opted to continue with the hike to pursue the next one downhill, which according to my GPS app indicated that we were looking at an additional 1km hike with even more downhill.
That meant that if we opted to go back up from the next waterfall, we’d have an even longer, sweatier, and tiring hike back up to the warung where we started.
Trail Description – The Red Coral Waterfall
Of the Munduk Waterfalls, I was under the impression that the Red Coral Waterfall was the most impressive of them all.
I saw this because Mom and I noticed that the locals collected money for this particular waterfall when they didn’t for the Golden Valley Waterfall.
We basically continued further downstream from the Golden Valley Eco Cafe, where the trail briefly kept along the northern banks of the stream before going down steps and across a bridge next to some Luwak Coffee signs.
The sign made it apparent that the luwak cats were being inhumanely treated as coffee bean factories.
This was something I’m sure most people don’t think about when they consume the luwak coffee (you know the coffee where these cats poop out the coffee beans).
In any case, after 1.1km of walking downhill along the south side of the creek, we eventually reached a trail junction.
From there, we veered right and followed the track downhill past some small scale farms before reaching the entrance booth for the Red Coral Waterfall.
Beyond the ticket booth and toilets, the path eventually leveled out at another trail junction where a lower trail joined in from the left (and it also had someone there collecting payment).
Nearby this trail junction was some kind of self see-sawing bamboo contraption fed by a side stream that would dump its load and make knocking sounds when the bamboo was sufficient filled.
Just a few more paces beyond this contraption, we then walked up past a man-modified cascade before finally reaching the base of the tall Red Coral Waterfall.
Like with the Golden Valley Waterfall, it was a bit tricky to get a good photo of the falls given the harsh lighting (as we were looking somewhat against the midday sun).
This was the spot where most of the visitors to the Munduk Waterfalls were at, and quite frankly, I don’t blame them!
By my estimation, this waterfall was about 20-25m tall, and we ultimately walked about 2km to get here from the warung we started at (or 1.5km beyond the Golden Valley Waterfall).
After having our fill of this waterfall, we had our choice to continue further downstream towards more waterfalls or go back up beyond the ticket kiosk towards the trail junction where we deviated from the trail going back to the main road earlier on.
About 20 minutes after leaving the Red Coral Waterfall (or 400m from the trail junction we had deviated from earlier), we then walked about 600m going through what seemed to be a local residence with some tombstones.
By 12:30pm, we got back to the main road, where we went to a neighboring warung not certain if the people there were willing to give at least one of us a ride back to the warung we started at to regain our driver who was waiting up there.
Indeed, we weren’t sure if this scooter option was at all available, but we were glad that one lady indulged us, which saved us a lot of time plus having to do a difficult steep hike over 2km back up to the warung.
The lady was gracious enough to give us this ride for free after buying a couple of drinks from them.
Trail Description – Extending The Excursion
All told, Mom and I only spent about 1.5 hours from the start of the hike, but it could easily take double that had we chosen to walk all the way back up.
That said, we could have also doubled our overall shuttle hike distance and duration by going down all the way to the Munduk Village or Melanting Village, where we would have encountered both the Labuhan Kebo Waterfall and the Melanting Waterfall.
I don’t know when we’ll have a chance to do something like that to complete the experience in the future, but I’m aware that some trip reports ststed that the entire hike would take between 4-6 hours.
That said, I’m also pretty sure that there’s more businesses and people willing to give scooter rides to go back to trailhead.
The Munduk Waterfalls reside in the Buleleng Regency near Bedugul or Lovina in Bali Province, Indonesia. It may be administered by the Buleleng Regency Government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting this website.
The Munduk Waterfalls are located about 32km south of the city of Singaraja.
Since we were driven to the trailhead for the Munduk Waterfalls from Lovina (to the west of Singaraja), I won’t bother with giving driving directions, but you can look at the embedded map above for your trip planning needs.
Our drive took nearly 2 hours though I’d imagine a solid half-hour was wasted trying to figure out how best to start the Munduk Waterfalls hike.
According to GoogleMaps, there were shorter roads cutting the distance to 28km, but you don’t really know how sketchy the mountain roads are for such a shortcut route.
The way we did our excursion, we started from a warung closest to the Golden Valley Waterfall Eco Cafe (we placed a point-of-interest in the embedded map above).
However, we did notice a wider car park further up the hill near some kind of Yoga Retreat Trailhead around 350m to the east, which would extend the overall walk another 200-300m I’d imagine.
Coming in the other direction from Tamansari, the drive was said to be 23km (or roughly 40 minutes drive) to the southeast.
For geographical context, Singaraja is about 10km (less than 30 minutes drive) east of Lovina, about 30km (an hour drive) north of Bedugul, 73km (over 2 hours drive) north of Ubud, about 88km (about 3 hours drive) north of Kuta, about 78km (about 2.5 hours drive) north of Canggu, and about 83km (over 2.5 hours drive) north of Seminyak.
Note that you’ll want to take the drive times with a grain of salt mostly because the traffic situation (especially in Southern Bali) is pretty bad and unpredictable.
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