Visiting Munduk in Bali: The Land of Waterfalls
This peaceful village cradled high up in the Bali mountains is a paradise for nature lovers and waterfall chasers. You will be enchanted by the landscape and tranquility – here is my guide to traveling to Munduk in Bali.
Munduk in northern Bali is a hidden gem that still remains somewhat off-the-beaten-path and free of the tourist masses that flock to the Island of the Gods.
It is surrounded by dozens of dreamy waterfalls and is a stone’s throw from one of the holiest Hindu temple complexes in Bali – Pura Ulun Danu Beratan.
Traveling to Munduk is a refreshing change of pace from the often crowded beach destinations, and offers a glimpse into Bali’s different faces beyond the obvious. Planning some time in the mountains of Bali? Read on for my quick Munduk travel guide if you only have a few days in the region.
Where is Munduk in Bali?
Munduk is located in north central Bali approximately 80 kilometres or two hours by car from Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar. Munduk is close to the twin lakes, Lake Tamblingan and Lake Buyan, and is a stone’s throw from Wanagiri and Bedugul.
Because of its distance from the airport, it’s not often the first or final destination for anyone planning a 2 week Bali itinerary, nor is it particularly well-suited as a day trip location.
Instead, most people visit Munduk for a few days on their way to Lovina along the northern coast of Bali or before/after traveling to Ubud, which is about two hours from Munduk and Bedugul.
Visiting Munduk before or after Canggu? Get in touch with Gede who is based near Canggu – he organized the majority of our long-distance transfers in Bali. We found that his rates were extremely fair, his vehicles are clean and he also provides a car/booster seat if you are traveling to Bali with children. The best way to contact Gede is via Whatsapp at +62 812 3689 2841. The car ride from Canggu to Munduk will cost approximately 500,000 IDR and take approximately 2 hours.
You may also enjoy this Bali travel guide: 10 Things to Do in Canggu in Bali (Including Tips for First-Time Visitors)
Travel tips for visiting Munduk in Bali
First time to Bali? Here are a few quick tips to get your prepared for your trip!
The main airport in Bali is Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar. Many airlines fly direct to Bali, and a 30-day tourist visa-on-arrival is available for passport holders from more than 80 countries. The Bali visa fee is US$35 or 500,000 IDR, and can be paid by credit card. As of November 2022, you can also apply for an electronic visa ahead of your trip here.
The currency is the Indonesian rupiah and the exchange rate is approximately US$1/1 Euro: 15,000 IDR or AUD$1: 10,000 IDR. Cash is king in Bali, and there are ATMs in the airport where you can withdraw a small amount to get you started. You can then head to a currency exchange shop to top up when you need more cash. The majority of hotels, tourist restaurants and supermarkets accept credit card payments, though you will still need cash to pay drivers and for tips. Munduk is a very small town and you will be hard-pressed to find any ATMs or money exchange places (your hotel may not even offer this as a service) – your next best bet would be to look in Bedugul.
Psst: You pretty much never have to pay full price for admissions tickets in Bali as most tour operators, car charters, spas and major attractions are listed on Klook. Just click here and search for places you want to go, and book online for discounted entry or head on over here to read more about how to use Klook to book travel experiences.
Buy a local Indonesian SIM card. The easiest way to do that is via Klook – you can get a 35 GB (US$12) or 51 GB (US$13) data-only SIM card and pick it up from the airport on arrival. You will need to provide certain information including your passport copy. Buy your local Bali SIM card here. Everyone in Bali including hotels, taxi drivers, spas and equipment rental companies use Whatsapp to communicate, so make sure you have stable internet access throughout your Bali trip.
The best time to visit Bali is typically considered to be during the summer months between July to early September, which means this is the peak travel season in Bali and the island receives the highest volume of tourists during these months – many hotels are fully booked and the atmosphere is buzzing. This is the dry season and Bali receives lower rainfall during the summer months. The rainy season in Bali usually runs during the winter months from December to February.
While the coastal areas of Bali are warm during this season, the temperature can fluctuate significantly over the course of just a couple of hours when you are high up in the mountains of Munduk, so make sure you bring some warm clothes. It is not uncommon for the temperature to drop to 15 or 16 degrees Celsius (approximately 60 Fahrenheit) in the early mornings and evenings!
What to wear in Bali: The majority of the population on the island are Hindu, and the dress code in Bali is typically fairly relaxed. Vacation wear is the norm, so go ahead and pack your dresses, shorts and crop tops. There is, however, an exception – if you plan on visiting any temple (such as Pura Ulun Danu Beratan in Bedugul) you should dress conservatively and blend in by ensuring that your shoulders and legs are covered. Most temples will offer a sarong to wrap around your waist, and you can also bring a light shawl or scarf for your shoulders.
How many days to spend in Munduk: I recommend spending at least 2 full days in Munduk, this will give you plenty of time to visit a handful of waterfalls, explore the grounds of the Ulun Danu Beratan Temple and stop at a few Munduk viewpoints.
Flying a drone in Munduk: You can fly a small drone in Bali for recreational, non-commercial purposes without a license as long as you follow a few important guidelines. I would not recommend flying a drone over a temple in Bali.
You may also find this guide helpful: Important Things You Should Know Before Visiting Southeast Asia
Safety in Bali
The vast majority of visits to Bali are trouble free, and tourism is a (if not, the) major source of revenue for the island. Violent crime against foreigners occurs infrequently, but petty crime including bag and phone snatching is not uncommon, especially in tourist-heavy areas. There are a number of common scams in Bali: if an offer seems “too good to be true” or overly convenient, it could very well be part of a scam.
A common scam in Munduk is overcharging for entry to a waterfall; as many waterfalls have local “guardians” who manage the upkeep of the area, most charge a small entry fee. Anything between 30,000-50,000 IDR per person is fairly standard. If you’re not sure, ask your guide or driver to check on your behalf. If you’re not happy to pay the fee, simply go to another waterfall without kicking up a fuss – there are plenty of Munduk waterfalls to choose from!
I also recommend taking certain precautions such as booking a reliable driver in Munduk to take you sightseeing – chartering a car for 6 hours will cost approximately 500,000-600,000 IDR (under US$40 or AU$60). This way, you have more flexibility in your itinerary and don’t have to worry about how to get around Munduk! I highly recommend contacting Gede (not the same person as Canggu Gede mentioned above!), a local driver in Munduk, via Whatsapp at +62 838 4718 9532. He was always punctual, helpful and is a very safe and patient driver.
In general, you should also keep in touch with friends and family and let them know your travel plans and hotel contact information. Read more about safety in Indonesia and Bali by clicking here and here. Here is more information about local laws and customs in Indonesia.
How to get around Munduk in Bali
The best way to get around Munduk is by local taxi service or, if you are an experienced scooter driver with the necessary qualifications, you can also rent a scooter. The roads in and around Munduk are winding and unpaved in areas, so this is not the place to practice your scooter driving.
Munduk is fairly remote so you will not be able to easily hail a Grab or GoJek on the side of the road – you will need to ask your hotel to call a local taxi for you or plan in advance by contacting Gede or another local Munduk driver.
It is also possible to hire a car if you are planning to self-drive in Bali, but it is not recommended unless you have experience driving in countries where road rules are somewhat flexible, and where there are winding roads with lots of overtaking or the occasional animal crossing.
Your international driving permit may require further endorsement by the local authorities, and you should double check that your travel insurance covers any motor vehicle accidents overseas. Looking for the best prices for rental car companies around the world? Click here to book your rental car ahead of your Bali trip. Bookings can be cancelled or amended if your plans change.
Where to stay in Munduk in Bali
Looking for the best accommodation in Munduk? There are a handful of highly-rated Munduk hotels that most people choose to stay at. I spent hours upon hours researching hotels for our 2 week Bali trip and can personally recommend Giriwood Hotel & Villa.
Giriwood is a small, 20-room boutique hotel in North Bali, located about mid-way between Munduk and Bedugul. Its location makes it perfect for chasing waterfalls in Munduk, or visiting the famous water temple in Bedugul. We loved the view of the mountains and Wanagiri valley from the hotel’s infinity pool, and the lush jungle views from the bedrooms were a huge bonus.
You should know that the rooms are not air-conditioned but you will find that you won’t need the A/C as the temperature plummets in the evenings and early mornings. The hotel is extremely reasonably priced (we found that hotels in northern Bali tended to be less expensive than the south in general), and it was the perfect place to stay for 3 days in Munduk.
Booking tip: The rooms at Giriwood are located down the mountain below the restaurant and reception. You will need to walk down stairs – if you have any mobility issues or prefer a room closer to the restaurant then request this at time of booking!
Giriwood’s staff are a real asset. Incredibly kind and helpful, and while there are no nannying services at the hotel or in the area the staff were always happy to keep an eye on our baby while we ate our meals. Just so you know, Giriwood does not provide cribs or additional beds – you will need to provide your own.
The food at the on-site restaurant was fresh and delicious, and the breakfast spread was plentiful offering both western and Indonesian options. The climate makes it a perfect coffee growing region, so it’s no surprise that the coffee at Giriwood was *chef’s kiss* delicious. Click here to check availability and rates at Giriwood in North Bali.
Other accommodation options in Munduk that we considered include the famous Munduk Moding Plantation (which is often fully booked), Sanak Retreat and Munduk Cabins. If you are interested in glamping you can try the bubble tents at Moondock Luxury Camp or the glamping tents at Alam Kita Glamping Plantation by Madhava. We mostly used Booking.com for this 2 weeks in Bali itinerary as the cancellation policies tend to be a little more flexible. Check out rates and availability at other Munduk hotels here!
Some additional tips for choosing accommodation in Munduk, Bali:
- Book early, especially when visiting Bali in the peak season! You’ll be surprised how quickly the options run out.
- There are few restaurants open in Munduk and unlike places like Canggu you probably won’t be walking to restaurants and cafes down the street, so be sure to book a hotel with an on-site restaurant.
- Communicate any additional questions or requests with your hotel via Whatsapp ahead of your stay. You can request a high chair or baby crib, airport and intercity transfers or convey dietary restrictions for a smooth trip.
The best things to do in Munduk in Bali
Munduk in the Bali mountains is a wonderful destination for anyone looking to experience a different side to the island. Make sure you pack your swimsuit, a light beach towel, some warm clothes for the cool mornings and evenings and sunscreen. There are no major supermarkets near Munduk so bring what you need. Here are some of the top things to do in Munduk that you won’t want to miss!
1. Chase all the waterfalls
This region is known for dozens upon dozens of waterfalls and crystal clear pools. If you only have 3 days in Munduk there are a few Munduk waterfalls that you should definitely visit!
I loved the powerful Banyumala waterfall (Air Terjun Nanyumala) in Munduk, it is also known as the Banyumala twin waterfalls as it features a dual rushing stream that plummets from high above. By the time the water makes it way down to the pool it is still and makes for a great dipping pool.
The downhill walk to the Bayumala twin waterfall will take 20 minutes if you walk fairly quickly, and costs 30,000 IDR for your entry ticket. The walk back up takes longer, but you can cut this short by hopping on a scooter at the ticket booth – the scooter lift will cost you 25,000 IDR but saves you a pretty intense hike back to the main entrance.
You should know that getting to most of these waterfalls includes at least 20-30 minutes of walking (at the very minimum, more if you are doing the Munduk waterfall hike) so bring proper walking shoes.
The paths to these waterfalls are often very uneven with makeshift, sometimes rickety, wooden or concrete steps. Take your time and watch where you step as certain sections can be very slippery.
Another Munduk waterfall trek not to skip is the Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfalls near Giriwood Hotel. If you only have 2 or 3 days in Munduk you will get to visit four waterfalls all in one go: this cluster of four waterfalls is simply ethereal, each of them framed by the surrounding lush jungle.
When we visited there was not another soul in sight, probably because either the waterfalls only have shallow pools which means that you cannot really swim there, or because the vast majority of tourists head to one of the more well-known Munduk waterfalls.
Entry to the Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfalls costs 30,000 IDR, and you can hire a local guide to take you down and back up on a scooter as well as show you the routes to the waterfalls for 50,000 IDR. If you are planning to check out these waterfalls, set aside at least 2 hours during your Munduk itinerary to immerse yourself in the peaceful setting.
Other popular Munduk waterfalls include Gitgit Waterfall which is located further north of Wanagiri, Sekumpul Waterfall which is about an hour away from Munduk by car, the Golden Valley Waterfall, Red Coral Waterfall (also sometimes referred to as “Munduk Waterfall”) and Aling-Aling Waterfall.
If you are headed to Ubud before or after Munduk you can also stop at Leke Leke Waterfall which is about mid-way between the two towns.
2. Admire the Ulun Danu Beratan Temple complex
Ulun Danu Beratan Temple or Pura Ulun Danu Beratan is one of the most religiously significant water temples for Balinese Hindus.
The most recognizable shrine duo, the Meru Tumpang Solas Temple & Lingga Petak Temple, sits immersed on the edge of the peaceful Lake Beratan in Bedugul, a 10-minute drive from Munduk.
Visitors to Bali travel from all across the island for a glimpse at the spectacular temple framed by the jewel-toned lake and magnificent mountains in the backdrop.
Take an hour or so to explore the grounds which includes a Buddhist stupa representing religious harmony, as well as a traditional Balinese gate which leads towards the lake.
Entry costs 75,000 IDR for each adult, and there is a small nominal sum to be paid for parking as well. My best tip for visiting Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is to head there in the morning before the day trip tourist buses arrive around lunchtime.
Drones are not allowed at Pura Ulun Danu Beratan.
3. Pick your own strawberries
Aside from the famed Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, Bedugul is also well known as a huge strawberry-producing region. The cooler mountainous climate helps strawberry farms grow the deliciously plump berries for consumption across the island.
You don’t have to look too hard either to find a strawberry farm in Bedugul, as they line either side of the main thoroughfare through town – Jalan Raya Bedugul. Most of these Bedugul strawberry farms welcome visitors and will let you pick your own strawberries to take home. The best time to visit these strawberry farms tends to be in the peak tourism season between June and September.
Ready to explore Munduk? I recommend staying at Giriwood Hotel & Villa, a boutique hotel nestled in the mountains and within walking distance from Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfall. Make sure you book a room with a balcony so you can enjoy the jungle views! Click here to check availability and rates at Giriwood Hotel or check out rates and availability at other highly-rated Munduk hotels here!
4. Taste locally-grown coffee
The Bali mountains climate is also perfect for coffee plantations, with this area being one of the top coffee growing regions on the island. You can learn about how coffee is grown and prepared at a number of small plantations in Munduk.
I headed to the family-run Wanagiri Coffee Plantation for a coffee tasting session, where the owner lovingly prepared several cups of his homegrown coffee including natural, honey and peaberry varieties, and introduced each of their characteristics and tasting notes.
He can also take you for a walking tour around his coffee plantation – the tasting alone costs 50,000 IDR and the tour costs an additional 50,000 IDR per person.
One of the most important reasons why I chose to visit Wanagiri Coffee Plantation is because unlike many other Bali coffee plantations that cage animals (in particular, the Luwak coffee that has been digested by civets which are similar to mongooses), the owner does not keep any animals in captivity. He simply collects the droppings from civets, squirrels and other animals for his animal and luwak coffee.
5. Take in the view at the Twin Lake Viewpoint in Munduk
The roadside Twin Lake Viewpoint is a rest stop that surprisingly offers the best views in Munduk. There is a (somewhat questionable) elevated concrete platform and some dodgy-looking wooden stairs that lead up to the viewing deck, but it is absolutely free to visit.
From here you can get a 180-degree view of the twin lakes on a clear day: Lake Tamblingan and Lake Buyan. There is no fee to visit this viewpoint.
Down the road is the Instagram-famous Hidden Hills Wanagiri which offers swings, boats and human-sized bird’s nests for photos. These days, the ticket price seems to vary between 50,000-100,000 IDR, and on occasion (like when we stopped by) it was closed, though we were told that access was still possible for a “donation”.
6. Snap a photo at Handara Gate
Like Hidden Hills Wanagiri, every single person who has traveled to Bali seems to also have taken a photo in front of Handara Gate. The traditional Balinese gate itself is located at the entrance of Handara Golf & Resort Bali. It is not a centuries-old entrance to a temple, as you may be led to believe just by looking at photos!
Nevertheless, the sheer size of the gate is something to be marveled at, and it truly is a beautiful sight in and of itself. Personally, I wasn’t particularly keen on a 30 minute wait to take a photo in front of the gate (I was rushing to get back to my napping baby at the hotel). If you are interested in taking a photo at the Handara Gate, tickets are available from the guard station for 30,000 IDR.
7. Explore the Jatiluwih rice terraces
The picturesque Jatiluwih rice terraces were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a part of Bali’s Cultural Landscape in 2012.
Like the Ubud rice terraces, the verdant paddies cascade down the mountainside but features far fewer visitors than the Tegallalang rice terraces – perfect for a crowd-free tourist experience in Bali. The Jatiluwih rice terraces are just over an hour away from Munduk by car.
You may also like: The Best Things to Do in Ubud in Bali (Plus Tips for Avoiding the Crowds)
Travel tips for visiting Munduk with children
Is Munduk worth visiting? 100% yes! The mountains of Bali are quiet and peaceful, and the landscape is simply breathtaking. I’ll never forget watching the rolling clouds that danced across the sky as we sipped on flat whites at Giriwood Hotel – bliss!
The waterfalls in and around Munduk are unlike any you’ll see in tourist-heavy places like Ubud, where you’ll never in a million years get a waterfall like this all to yourself without another soul around.
That being said, traveling with children and babies to Munduk is somewhat challenging and requires more preparation than traveling to somewhere like Canggu with kids.
You won’t find any kids clubs or playgrounds here, nor are there a whole slew of child-friendly restaurants left, right and center for you to pick from. While Giriwood welcomed children of all ages, they were unable to provide a baby cot so we rented a travel cot in Canggu from Bali Baby Hire and brought it with us on our 2 weeks in Bali.
The hotel pool was simply dreamy, but the climate in Munduk and Bedugul is far cooler than the beach (naturally), which means that the water temperature is very chilly and you may not be tempted to stay long in the pool.
We were also unable to find a nanny, and our wonderful nanny who joined us in Canggu, Ubud and Uluwatu was unable to drive up to Munduk during our stay – it is too long of a commute for most nannies who are based around Denpasar. Instead, my husband and I took turns heading out to go sightseeing.
While my husband and I would have loved to take our 1-year-old to one of the waterfalls, the waterfall treks are fairly long and the paths are extremely uneven, so it wasn’t suitable for infants learning to walk or very young children – you won’t be able to visit any of the Munduk waterfalls with a stroller. It’s not impossible to travel to the waterfalls of Munduk with a baby, but you’ll need a hiking carrier (which you can also rent) and pray that they’re happy and content after a nap and a feed or else a 2-3 hour-long excursion may simply be too much.
In my opinion, Munduk is more suitable for independent travelers, couples and families with older children.
You can read more tips for traveling to Bali with children here.
Where to go after Munduk in Bali
Munduk to Canggu: Canggu is a perfect fly-and-flop beach destination, and just a stone’s throw from one of the most famous Hindu temples in Bali: Tanah Lot. We begun our Bali 2 week itinerary in Canggu before heading to Munduk, but you might want to do it the other way around. Munduk is 70 kilometres or two hours by car from Canggu.
Munduk to Ubud: Ubud in central Bali is one of the top tourist destinations in Bali and widely considered to be the “cultural capital” of the island. It is famous for its lush cascading rice terraces in Tegallalang, Hindu shrines, jungle waterfalls and yoga retreats aplenty. Ubud is approximately 60 kilometres or two hours by car from Munduk. Read my Ubud travel guide here.
Munduk to Seminyak: Seminyak is probably the most popular tourist city in Bali. It offers a huge range of swanky beachside resorts and world-class restaurants. As it is very close to the international airport many people begin or end their Bali trip in Seminyak. Seminyak is 70 kilometres or 2.5 hours away by car from Munduk.
Munduk to Lovina: Last but not least, if you have more time in Bali you can consider venturing to the northern resort town of Lovina. Lovina is quieter than its beach town counterparts in south Bali and a good option if you want a beach getaway away from the crowds. It is also popular launch point for dolphin watching cruises in Bali.
Wondering where to stay in Munduk? Hotels in Munduk can fill up quickly, so make sure you book ahead to ensure that you can stay at your preferred accommodation.
We enjoyed our 3 days in Munduk at Giriwood Hotel & Villa in the neighboring area of Wanagiri, a 5-minute drive from Munduk and a 10-minute drive from Bedugul. Its location makes it the perfect place to stay if you want to venture into Bedugul to explore Ulun Danu Beratan Temple or if you want to wander through the waterfall treks of Munduk and its surroundings. Click here to check availability and rates at Giriwood Hotel or check out rates and availability at other highly-rated Munduk hotels here!
I hope this guide to Munduk helps you to plan your adventure in the mountains of Bali!
You may also enjoy these reads:
- First time to Bali and not sure where to start? This 2 week Bali itinerary is a good resource to kick off your trip planning
- Headed to Canggu in Bali? Here are some incredible things to do in Bali’s hippest beach town
- Ubud is one of the top tourist destinations on the island – here is my guide to spending your time in Bali’s cultural capital
- Venturing to the Bukit Peninsula? Read my guide on the best things to do in Uluwatu
- Southeast Asia is one of the most exciting regions, but there are many common misconceptions about this part of the world. Read this before you travel to Southeast Asia!
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