A GUIDE TO WATERFALLS IN UBUD
Often, when people reach out to me for recommendations on what to do and where to stay in Bali, I suggest they split their time in Ubud and another destination, like Uluwatu or Munduk.
Usually, I suggest spending the majority of their time in Ubud, and using it as a base to explore other parts of the island.
Sure, you could argue I’m partial to Ubud over other parts of Bali since I live here. But, I live here for a reason.
For me, it’s the community.
I felt like I belonged from day one.
Everyone is friendly, wants to share and help.
There’s so much more I could say, but I actually feel sad for people who come here to visit and don’t experience some of the things I’ve been a part of. It feels like the ‘real’ Ubud (and by extension, Bali).
Yes, I’ve been to see waterfalls, temples, Instagram cafes, and the rice terraces, while living here, but there’s so much more to learn, see and experience.
And, I’ll admit, I love the jungle vibes Ubud brings.
One of the best parts about Ubud, in my opinion, if you’re holidaying here, is that it’s easy to plan a few half day trips, where you spend the morning sightseeing and avoiding the crowd rush. Then, in the afternoon, you can meander town or relax at your hotel, poolside with infinity views, or soaking in a flower bath.
The options are truly endless.
One of my favorite half day explorations? A morning spent visiting some of the beautiful waterfalls located near Ubud- Tegenungan, Kanto Lampo, and Tibuman.
I’ve driven myself to all three on a scooter, and can vouch the roads are in good condition- a few potholes here and there, but nothing major. They’re also not too windy- a few hills, but nothing as extreme as Munduk or East Bali.
For these reasons, if you’re comfortable on a scooter, I’d self drive.
And, if you’re not, then I’d try to negotiate two half days of utilising a driver. Often, they prefer to book in full days, but you may be able to find one with the help of your host who’ll agree to half-day conditions.
I prefer to explore this way because I find it more relaxing- I’m a morning person, so it’s easier for me to get up, do things and then spend the rest of the day chilling. Than, say, sightseeing all day.
And, when you’re up and out early, you’ll beat the crowds.
Tourism traffic in Bali, especially in and around Ubud, is a real problem. The roads become backlogged, and if you’re in a car, it can take hours to navigate. Say nothing for how crowded some of the sights will be.
If you can’t find a driver whose open to half day trips, then I’d couple this half day trip with another half day of exploring from Ubud.
These waterfalls are some of the most beautiful in Bali, and totally different vibes to the ones I visited in Munduk- more jungle, more lush greenery.
When I visited these three, I did so early enough that I was the first person at two of them. It’s my belief there are few better ways to start a day than meditating next to a waterfall.
A Guide to Waterfalls in Ubud: Three To See on a Day Trip
Depending on where you’re staying in Ubud, this’ll likely be a 15-30 minute drive early morning. The route is easy- main roads for most of it, and the entrance is well marked. I felt this was the easiest of the three to find- although, none were necessarily difficult.
This waterfall becomes very busy as the day goes on, it’s a favorite with tour companies. As such, there are quite a few warungs and stalls at the entrance to the path down to the falls. These’ll be closed early morning, so bring your own water and/or snacks.
Once you pay to enter, you’ll walk down a set of ~160 steps (can’t recall the exact amount) to the base of the river. From there, you’ll follow the path for another minute or two, and then find yourself standing in front of gushing falls.
Some people complain about the steps down and up, but I didn’t mind them. They’re not steep, and easy to climb. Heading down, it took less than 5 minutes. Coming back up, just over 10, but with a few stops.
It’s magnificent to take in.
You can also hike above the falls a bit, but the trail isn’t maintained, so it’s at your own risk.
Walking back up to the main lot, you’ll notice a second set of smaller falls to your right. Worth stopping here for a few minutes to take in the beauty of nature as well.
At the top, don’t miss the viewpoint overlooking the falls and surrounding valley, it’s incredible.
Parking cost for scooters: Free
Parking cost for cars: 5k IDR
Entrance cost per person: 15k IDR
Hours: 6:30 am – 6:30 pm
After Tegenungan, my next recommendation would be to head to Tibuman. Because of how the falls are structured, I think these are better to enjoy with fewer people than Kanto Lampo, where it doesn’t really matter as much.
From Tegenungan, it should take you about a half hour to reach Tibuman via scooter.
The journey is on roads that are well maintained, but you’ll need to make a few turns, so be sure to find safe spots to pull over and check directions if you’re driving. Usually, if I think I’m coming up on a turn, I signal to pull over at a gas station or warung, pull off the road fully and then take my phone out with my back to the road to prevent anyone zipping by from grabbing it.
The entrance to the falls is well marked with a giant sign- you can’t miss it.
Palm trees line the road to the falls, it’s beautiful and worthy of a stop in its own right.
Once you’ve parked and paid the entrance fee, it’s an easy walk down to the falls. This is one of the waterfalls in Bali that’s recommended for visiting with children, which should speak volumes for how easygoing it is.
Once you reach the jungle floor, you’ll pass a set of smaller falls, which are beautiful. Up ahead though, you’ll hear the thundering roar of Tibuman.
Coming out of the clearing, it’s a sight so beautiful, it’ll take your breath away. Waterfalls centered in an alcove covered in lush vegetation- it almost seems too beautiful to be true.
You can swim at Tibuman, but be careful to not go too close to the falls- they’re quite powerful, especially in the rainy season.
Parking cost for scooters: Free
Entrance cost per person: 10k IDR
Hours: 6:00 am – 6:00 pm
Last, but not least, Kanto Lampo is an easy 15 minute drive from Tibuman and about 30-40 minutes from the centre of Ubud (all via scooter).
As with the other falls, after you park and pay the entrance fee, you’ll hike down to the falls.
Here, the path is also well maintained- only a series of short steps, the shortest of any falls you’ll visit this morning.
Before you head down, there are lockers which you can rent to hold your things. Why may you need this service?
Kanto Lampo is unlike the other falls you’ll visit on this morning, and really most other ones in Bali.
At the bottom, to reach the falls, you’ll need to scale rocks, which lead directly into a deep pool for swimming. There isn’t really anywhere to set a bag down, or keep your things safe while you swim or take photos.
Because of this, I’d also recommend wearing shoes with good traction or going barefoot, as the rocks can be quite slippery. I left my trainers on a high rock and then climbed down into the pool at the bottom.
These falls are best admired from the side, or front, both of which require getting a bit wet (if not full-on swimming). Be careful if you decide to climb any of the rocks that are actually part of the waterfall.
You’ll also likely notice a few chairs set up in part of the river that surrounds the falls- that’s the work of locals who come here to relax and watch people swim. An excellent idea, if you ask me.
Coming up from the falls, if you’re feeling hungry or thirsty, there are a few good warungs with cold coconuts, or Indonesian food to refuel.
Parking cost for scooters: Free
Entrance cost per person: 20k IDR
Hours: Open 24 Hours
A Guide to Waterfalls in Ubud: Extra Bits to Know
At all of these falls you’ll find toilet facilities, and warungs or stalls selling refreshments once they open (usually, 8 or 9 am).
Bring sunscreen, bug repellent, a swimsuit, change of clothes, towel and any waterproof gear you need for your camera.
There are plenty of restaurants along the way to stop at if you’re hungry, so no need to pack snacks.
Finally, plan on paying parking and admission fees in cash. Withdraw money beforehand so you’re not left searching for an ATM near the waterfalls.
As true with any attraction, as the day goes on, these falls become more crowded so I’d try to time your visit for early in the day, and on a weekday, if possible. Locals love to visit some of these falls, especially Kanto Lampo, if they aren’t working on the weekends.
Have you ever been to Bali and visited waterfalls? Which ones did you find the most wondrous? Would you add any to this guide to waterfalls in Ubud?
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