The villages of Munduk and Melanting have transformed into a popular mountain retreat that is far enough away from southern Bali to not be overrun by tourists. There are beautiful views southward towards several volcanoes including Batu Karu. There are a large number of great guesthouses in all price ranges. It is a little cooler since it is at 800 meters of elevation. The best part though is a nice hiking trail that connects two spectacular waterfalls. There is also a third waterfall and possibly a few smaller ones that I missed in the below confusion.
This is where things get a little strange. I did a lot of research online before I went and the more I read the more confused I got. Things didn’t get better when I was in Munduk. The homestay had a hand drawn map with Red Coral Waterfall and Laangan Waterfall on it. I hiked to the Red Coral Waterfall and asked a guide (not mine) if this was Red Coral Waterfall and he said ‘Munduk Waterfall.’ Then I hiked downstream to Laangan Waterfall and asked the ticket taker if Laangan Waterfall was close and she shook her head and said ‘Melanting Waterfall’. And then I pointed to where I had just been and asked about Munduk Waterfall and she said ‘Red Coral Waterfall’.
Almost every account only uses one name in any combination with other names. Many waterfalls in Bali are named after the nearest village but in Munduk the waterfalls also have English and/or Balinese (or Indonesian Bahasa) names. One theory that I had was that each village specifically referred to their waterfall with their village name and the other by a local name as a means to elevate their village status. I have no idea if this is true but it seemed logical to a local Balinese worker that wasn’t from Munduk/Melanting but familiar with the many names of the waterfalls.
I believe the following are the different names for the 3 large waterfalls
Munduk Waterfall = Red Coral Waterfall = Air Terjun Tanah Barak
Melanting Waterfall = Air Terjun Laangan
Golden Valley Waterfall = Air Terjun Empelan? – I missed this one
And you will also find a few other names (probably smaller waterfalls in the area) if you search hard enough.
Rating and length – easy – 1 km round trip to Munduk Waterfall
– moderate – 4-5kms and 3 hours to hike from Munduk Waterfall to Melanting Waterfall to Taman Ayu
How to get there – Recommendation: start at Munduk Waterfall since the trail is easier to follow in this direction and it goes downhill. The Munduk Waterfall trail head is at a sharp bend in the road with a sign for parking about 2 kms east of the main homestay area. Taman Ayu is in the middle of the homestays in Munduk. If you don’t have a driver then it might be easiest to arrange transportation to the trailhead with your homestay. If you have a driver then start at Munduk and arrange to meet your driver at Taman Ayu Homestay.
The hike – The hike starts on a downhill concrete path. This starts out as a shared path with local farm motorcycles but they aren’t able to go too far down the trail. There is a junction to the left (goes to Melanting Waterfall) but Munduk Waterfall is straight ahead. It’s only about 5 minutes after the Munduk village ticket booth (5000 IDR).
To go to Melanting Waterfall there is a small trail near the river so you don’t have to climb the hill again and go past the ticket booth to the junction that you previously passed. In about 15 minutes you will reach a bridge. Turning left takes you back up the hill to the homestay village and turning right takes you to Melanting Waterfall. There will be 3 drink stands in the next 30 minutes including one that might have basic meals available. The trail takes you past several beautifully landscaped small homes/farms before arriving at the Melanting village ticket booth (10,000 IDR). The waterfall isn’t much farther and offers an elevated view from the trail and it also allows you to get up close. I have read many accounts of a strong spray coming off of the waterfall as you come close to it and my trip was no different. Expect to get wet if you go near the waterfall.
At this point you can either retrace your steps back to the Munduk Waterfall parking area or try to find the path up to Taman Ayu Homestay. Go downstream a short distance and cross the bridge. The trail becomes rougher at this point. Turn left at the first intersection (maybe 1/2 km). Shortly after that turn right up some concrete steps. At the top of the steps turn right at a nicely landscaped house. It will take another 30 minutes to reach Taman Ayu on a mostly flat path.
Entrance cost – 5,000 IDR to Munduk Waterfall – 10,000 IDR to Melanting Waterfall – 2,000 IDR scooter parking at Munduk Waterfall
GPS – Munduk Parking S8.260466 E115.068325 – Taman Ayu Homestay S8.265978 E115.056485 – Munduk Waterfall S8.257464 E115.070164 – Melanting Waterfall S8.260615 E115.060759
Date visited – 6/20/2015