Munduk is truly Bali’s best-kept secret. The central highlands of Bali are filled with lush jungle, an array of flowing waterfalls, and rice fields. The Munduk region is often overlooked by tourists who usually flock to the beaches and resort towns, but Bali has so much more to offer.
Add Munduk to your list of places to visit on your next trip to Bali, not just as a day trip – there are numerous things to see and do in Munduk. You’ll find the most astonishing selection of waterfalls in this area of the island with accompanying landscapes that do not disappoint.
This guide includes the best things to do in Munduk in 2020, including the most unforgettable views, leading Instagram spots, and the tastiest coffee.
Also, make sure you check out our in-depth guide to Indonesia to help you plan an epic trip.
1. Chase the Munduk Waterfalls
There are four waterfalls located in the heart of Munduk Town. They’re all accessible by foot which can be organised on a half-day trek. We did the trek without a guide in around four to five hours, but bear in mind it is quite difficult to find the paths – there are areas that are not well sign-posted. We only saw one or two people over the course of half a day which made for an unforgettable experience trekking through these natural attractions.
Start at either the Eco Cafe (Golden Waterfall end) or the Melanting Cottages (Labuhan Kebo end).
Golden Valley Waterfall
Golden Valley is the most well-known of the waterfalls. There is a cafe, Eco Cafe, that looks out over the waterfall. The walk to the waterfall is around 10 minutes with minimal stairs.
Entrance fee is 10,000 IDR per person.
Melanting is our favourite of the four Munduk waterfalls. The waterfall is powerful, with a height of around 20 metres. The trek down is a little more difficult than the rest, consisting of steep stairs. It should take you ten to fifteen minutes to reach the bottom, where you’ll be greeted by bamboo bridges and red flora.
Entrance fee is 10,000 IDR per person.
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Red Coral Waterfall
Red Coral is picturesque. The walk is quite easy, like Golden Valley, with few stairs and a slight incline. There’s a bamboo bridge at the bottom, as well as lush greenery and plants.
Entrance fee is 20,000 IDR per person.
Labuhan Kebo Waterfall
Labuhan Kebo is the most impressive of the Munduk Waterfalls. To get to the waterfall, it’s about five minutes worth of stairs descending from Red Coral. This is the only suitable waterfall to swim in (or rather, wade) during the hike as the water level isn’t as shallow as the others.
Entrance fee is 10,000 IDR per person.
2. Tour the Munduk Temple, Pura Ulun Danu Beratan
Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is one of the most famous temples in Bali, along with Tanah Lot Temple, one of the most popular things to do in Canggu. The floating temple built in the 17th century attracts photographers from around the globe. Ulun Danu Beratan Temple overlooks the majestic mountain ranges of Bedugul and Bratan Lake.
The entrance fee is 50,000 IDR per person.
3. Photograph the Handara Golf Gates
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past year or so, you’ll have seen pictures of the Handara Gates. These iconic stone pillars are actually the entranceway to a golf course and resort.
The gates have become a popular place to take Instagram photos, and visitors have been known to wait hours in line to get their shot. To beat the queue, many choose to travel to the gates at sunrise, which is also when the lighting is favourable.
4. Ride the Munduk Swing at Wanagiri Hidden Hills
One of the best places to get those classic Instagram shots is at Wanagiri Hidden Hills. There are props to take pictures in, including swings, nests, and a boat.
Wanagiri Hidden Hills is only fifteen minutes away from Munduk Village. They’re open from 6:30 am to 7 pm. We’d recommend visiting right when they open to catch the sunrise and good lighting, and also so you don’t have to wait in a line for your photos.
Entry costs 100,000 IDR per person. Entry is more expensive here than a lot of other places in Bali, like waterfalls and temples. If you’re an avid Instagrammer or photographer, then this will definitely be worth it for you to get some cool shots. Otherwise, you may prefer to skip this one.
Check out this Instagram tour of Northern Bali to get all the best shots at Wanagiri and the neighbouring waterfalls.
5. Swim at Banyumala Waterfall
Bali is home to many, many waterfalls, but this definitely takes the top spot. Banyumala Twin Waterfalls are a must-visit on your next trip to Bali.
This hidden gem is just 25 minutes away from Munduk. Visit early, (before 10 am) and you may be lucky enough to have the whole falls to yourself. An early swim is refreshing and definitely wakes you up!
Like many of the Munduk waterfalls in Bali, Banyumala has an entry fee of 20,000 IDR per person.
6. Walk Around Munduk Rice Terraces
Indonesia is the world’s third-largest rice grower. Rice production is not only important for Indonesia’s consumption but also the country’s economy through exports.
This means there are many rice fields on the island, even though the only rice fields that are well-known by tourists is Tegallalang, which has become somewhat of a tourist attraction with a swing park, speciality coffee, and props for Instagram opportunities.
Munduk Rice Terraces are very different from Tegallalang. The best part about visiting these rice fields is that there is next to no tourism traffic. You can walk through the rice fields without coming into contact with many other visitors, which is a pleasant surprise for the touristic island of Bali.
You can walk to Munduk Rice Terraces from the village, at only one kilometre away. The best way to explore the Munduk rice terraces is with a driver or part of a tour. Tours such as this on Get Your Guide offer customised day tours with a private driver.
7. Visit Munduk Village
Bali has a population of over four million people, with 6000 of those living in Munduk. This small, remote town has such a serene atmosphere.
Along the main street and neighbouring side streets, there is a selection of guesthouses, cafes, and convenience stores. Take a stroll down to the village for a traditional Balinese meal.
8. Sample Coffee at Munduk Moding Plantation
Whether or not you’re a coffee-lover, paying a visit to Munduk Moding Plantation Nature Resort & Spa will be worth your while. It’s the only resort in Bali situated within a working coffee plantation. The organic coffee has now received international recognition, and the plantation and resort itself benefit the local community through vocation.
The famous Luwak coffee is made here, and unlike many coffee plantations in Bali, their beans are ethically-sourced from wild Luwak, rather than caged.
The most spectacular part about the resort is their award-winning infinity pool that looks over the mountain ranges and blends seamlessly with the surrounding nature.
If staying at Munduk Moding Plantation is out of your price range, you can instead purchase a day pass. The 900,000 IDR pass will cover a drink, two-course lunch, and access to the infinity pool and jacuzzi.
9. Go Trekking in Munduk
Munduk is one of the best places to go trekking in Bali. Not only will you come across dense, uninhabited jungle that has not been (and hopefully will never become) spoiled by tourism, you’ll also find a multitude of waterfalls, lakes, and plantations.
There are tour companies that can provide customisable treks that cover waterfalls, jungles, and a variety of plantations. This is recommended when trekking through the jungle amongst some of the lesser-known waterfalls (such as Empelan, Belong, and Laangan Waterfalls) as paths may be poorly marked.
10. Day Trip to Hike Mt Batur
Climbing Mt Batur to watch the sunrise was hands down the highlight of our one-month trip to Bali. Sure, the climb was a little tough being so early in the morning, but the views are breathtaking. If you’re lucky enough to climb on a clear morning, you’ll be able to see Mt Rinjani from Lombok, Bali’s neighbouring island.
It takes up to two hours to climb to the summit. We managed to make it up in less than an hour and a half – we just happened to be in a shared group with an ultramarathon runner who definitely kept us on our feet!
The tours include return transport – beware, it will be a super early morning. The pickup time will vary depending on your location, but will usually be between 1 am and 2:30 am.
Bear in mind that Munduk is just shy of two and a half hours away from Mt Batur. If you want to save an hour of transport in the morning (to catch some extra sleep), consider going from Ubud, which is less than 90 minutes away from Mt Batur.
Another option is to stay in Kintamani the night before your trek. Kintamani is another tranquil town in Bali that is not heavily touristed. One benefit of staying here the night before is that you won’t have to get up as early the night beforehand.
Tours will cost anything from 500,000 IDR to 1 million IDR per person for return transport, a guide, and a simple breakfast at the summit. Popular add ons to the tours include visiting the natural hot springs and white water rafting.
Best Mount Batur Sunrise Tours
11. Jump into Aling-Aling, Sekumpul and Gitgit Waterfalls
Aling-Aling and Sekumpul are incredibly popular waterfalls to visit for adrenaline junkies. These waterfalls are one hour away from Munduk, or two hours away from Ubud.
Aling-Aling is the name of a waterfall that is a part of a series of seven. It is recommended to spend at least half a day at the complex, or allow for a couple of hours if you are just looking to experience the main waterfall. Kroya Waterfall has a 5-metre drop, or if you’re into cliff jumping and an adrenaline rush, Aling-Aling Waterfalls also feature a 15 and 35-metre drop.
Aling-Aling will cost you 20,000 IDR for entry.
Sekumpul is another series of waterfalls, featuring the tallest in Bali. You will also need a half-day to explore the falls. There are a few options for cliff jumping, like Aling-Aling, and rock sliding.
Sekumpul Waterfall will also cost 20,000 IDR for entry.
Gitgit is a series of lesser-known waterfalls in the Northern Bali region but has gained some recognition in the past few years. There are smaller jumps at Gitgit, up to four metres high.
Gitgit Waterfall is located 45 minutes away from Munduk, or one hour and forty-five minutes away from Ubud. The entrance fee is 20,000 IDR per person.
At all waterfalls, guides will be available at an extra cost. It is recommended to bring a guide with you, as they are knowledgeable about the safe places to jump, and how to get from waterfall to waterfall. However, many visitors opt to find their way themselves. It depends on your budget and adventurousness.
Alternatively, the waterfalls of Northern Bali are commonly visited on a one-day tour.
These waterfalls can be difficult to get to due and hard to find. If you’re confident on a motorbike and up for the adventure, then this is the best way to explore. For everyone else, booking one of these tours is the safest and most convenient option.
12. Hike to Bali Twin Lakes Viewpoint
The lakes of Buyan and Tamblingan make up the Bali Twin Lakes. Many years ago, the lakes were one, until a landslide caused a divide in the 19th century.
Half-day, four-hour tours are available, which can be completed with a guide to explain the significance and history of the area. There are tours available, or you could also do the trek on your own.
If walking isn’t your thing, there is a fantastic viewpoint near the road. Just Google search “Bali Twin Lake Trekking Point”.
13. Make a Trip to Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
While tourists congregate at Tegallalang Rice Terrace in Ubud, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces remains an underrated attraction in Bali. Being one of the three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bali, the sheer size of the rice terraces (600 hectares) is breathtaking – the rice fields extend as far as the eye can see. The fields are backdropped by Mt Batukaru.
To get to the rice terraces, it’ll be a one-hour drive away from Munduk. The drive from Ubud is around one hour and fifteen minutes, so most people choose to visit Jatiluwih on the way to Munduk.
14. Eat at Eco Cafe
Our meals at Eco Cafe were amongst our favourites in Bali. There are two Eco Cafes in Munduk.
Eco Cafe 1 is located at Golden Valley Waterfall. The view from the restaurant is like no other – it is situated 25 metres away from the waterfalls. Eco Cafe 1 is open daily from 8:30 am to 5 pm.
Eco Cafe 2 is located in Munduk Town overlooking jungle far and wide. You’ll find the owner and chef, Budi, at this branch. He is incredibly welcoming and passionate about fair trade. Eco Cafe 2 is open daily from 8 am to 10 pm.
Prices are very reasonable for restaurant-quality food. We recommend the Kedel Kentang for 60,000 IDR. This dish includes potato croquettes topped with a sauce made from tomatoes, peanuts, and coffee. Their other dishes range from 40,000 IDR to 60,000 IDR.
15. Visit the Giant Banyan Tree
Banyan trees are unique in the fact that their seeds germinate on a host tree or building, usually in a crevice. Older Banyan trees grow aerial roots, giving them their characteristic appearance.
Munduk is home to a giant Banyan tree over 700 years old. It is believed to be a protector of the land with Krishna, the Hindu god, resting upon its leaves. The tree is so huge that the roots have formed a network or maze across the ground that proved helpful as a hiding spot for village people during the invasion of the Dutch in the late 19th century.
The tree is located in Gesing Village, less than four kilometres from the centre of Munduk.
How to Get to Munduk
To get to Munduk, travel two hours north from Ubud or two and a half hours north from Denpasar Airport. You will either need to hire a car and driver or rent a scooter to get there.
Renting a scooter is a very cost-effective way to get to Munduk, and gives you the freedom to stop when and where you want. A scooter should cost around 50,000 IDR per day to rent.
Although you do not need to present your licence to be able to rent a scooter in Bali, you should still have an International Driver’s Licence, as well as your country’s licence covering you for scooters over 100cc. Check your licence before you arrive in Bali, as some countries will only cover you up to and including 50cc. Ultimately, it’s up to your whether you follow the rules. Just be sure you’re a confident driver, as the roads around Munduk are quite windy, and slippering during the rainy season.
Alternatively, hire a private driver or take a taxi or ride-share to Munduk.
How to Get Around Munduk
Renting a scooter in Bali is the cheapest form of transport around the island. If you haven’t already rented a scooter before heading to Munduk, there are a few (albeit limited) places to hire scooters in the town.
If you’re a budget traveller without an International Driver’s Licence, many attractions within Munduk Town are accessible by foot. Four of the waterfalls in Munduk, the rice terraces, village, and giant banyan tree are all within walking distance. We’d suggest hiring a private driver or taking a tour to and from Munduk, stopping off at the other attractions that are further away.
The most convenient way to get around Munduk would be to hire a private driver. It is more cost-effective to hire a driver for a full day, rather than for multiple, shorter trips. Prices start at around 550,000 IDR for a full day (10 hours). For stress-free planning, taking a tour is another great option too. Tours are also a great idea for those limited on time, as they’ll tick off many of the main attractions in a single day.
Where to Stay in Munduk
Despite being such a small town, there is a decent selection of Munduk hotels and guesthouses. Where you choose to stay in Munduk will depend on your transport options during your stay there.
If you are intending on getting around Munduk by foot or taking short taxi or Gojek trips around the town, stay near Munduk Village. There are many guesthouse options on the main and neighbouring roads.
If you have your own form of transport, staying anywhere in Munduk would be adequate. Stay around the main town for a wider selection of places to eat, or stay further out in the wilderness for a few days of enjoying total serenity.
Budget travellers have numerous options for guesthouses and homestays around the 250,000 IDR ($16 USD) per night mark. Umah De Madya is our top recommendation for those on a budget. Nothing beats the view for the price you pay. The room includes a balcony that looks over the lush countryside. Enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast each morning at the top storey of the guesthouse that provides even more impressive views. The location is superb, being within walking distance to the waterfalls around Munduk and the village.
Puri Lumbung Cottages is a great choice for mid-range travellers. The separate, detached cottages are charming, including a balcony complete with views over Munduk. The accommodation also hosts a variety of activities – my favourite being the Indonesian cooking class!
As mentioned earlier in the article, there is no better luxury place to stay in Munduk than Munduk Moding Plantation Nature Resort & Spa. This pick is definitely a great one for coffee lovers. Even if you’re not a coffee fan, you’ll be won over by the outdoor infinity pool overlooking the impressive views. Sample the famous and ethically-sourced Luwak coffee at their restaurant, as well as delectable Balinese cuisine.