Waterfalls and Temple Tour: Bali, Indonesia

After a day to recover from our interrupted sleep schedule of Mount Batur we were lined up to go on a custom tour through Bali’s interior with a fellow traveller. At 8 am we boarded the car of Chandra, a hired driver and slowly made our way out of the Ubud city limits. Our first stop was to Aan Secret waterfall. Nestled deep in the countryside down unmaintained roads lined with rice fields and orange flowering marigolds we met with the property owner. He also just happened to be one of the calmest people I have ever encountered. He first just wanted to chat with us about what we were hoping to see, how our experience would possibly change us and various questions like this. He went on to explain the amount of effort and energy that was involved to open up the waterfall. As of a couple years prior no one had ever been to it. He spent months with the help of volunteers to locate an access point and create a safe way down to the creek below the canyon walls. Countless hours were spend removing all the dead fall, garbage and other debris that had collected over its lifetime. A series of poured concrete steps with wooden or metal handrails led to carved rocks with ropes down to the waters edge.

With the girls in our arms we followed the waterway up stream stepping on rocks, logs and wading through the water. Some areas were dramatically more challenging with log jams and large steps creating major obstacles. At one point we were forced to stop and regroup as the running water level was now over our knees. It was here that I chose to go ahead alone with two walking sticks to scout out the remainder of the trail. After returning a short while later we made the decision that with water levels where they were and two walking sticks required to navigate your foot placement it was unsafe for us to push on with the girls in our arms.

Shannon and the girls chose to turn back while I forged further ahead with the cameras. I was forced to leave my flip flops on the edge of the trail as the 15cm deep mud was far to challenging for the footwear. Once winding a short while further I could see waterfalls cascading down on the right side wall. The green foliage lined the steep rock face on either side of me. I couldn’t help but think what would happen if the skies opened up and drained the traditional rainy season downpour. This narrow slot canyon would drastically fill with a surge of water and I was unsure of the outcome. Only 150 m of walking on my own I turned the final corner and reached the terminus of the canyon, the end of the road. With walls towering 15 m overhead leading up to lush greenery and blue sky the constant stream of clear freshwater made for nothing but a magical experience. There was a staircase leading to a bridge over the water then down into the pool and base of Aan Secret waterfall. You are free to walk around and under the waterfall as you please. While you are here you get this amazing feeling that you are witnessing something that only a small few have ever experienced. The journey is also slightly technical and required a rather hands-on approach which makes the rewarding falls that much more special. After a short while I retraced my steps through the canyon and joined the others on their way back to the road.

Back on the move we made a stop at a restaurant within the rice fields for lunch. This was short lived as the staff promptly changed menus for us with some updated and elevated tourist prices rather than the standard menu. Another 2 minutes on we found a second place with the same tranquility with delicious traditional meals and more realistic prices.

After jostling around the winding interior Bali roads we made it to our next stop at Krisik Waterfalls. This one, although still quiet was set up a little better for public access. We made the gradual 150 m descent down into the river bottom and took a short stroll through the water. The canyon walls were polished from the moving water over the centuries and a recent mud slide had eroded down a section of bamboo forest to my left. Circling the corner and over a rustic makeshift wooden bridge we were presented with the pristine falls from a second creek joining the river. For the adventurous few, you could explore further down the river through the dark and narrowing canyon walls into the unknown, but we were told that this was the end of the line for waterfalls.

Once back at the car we drove on further to the currently renovated Besakih Temple. This is the largest and holiest of Hindu temple in Bali. Located on the slopes of Mount Agung, the tallest peak in Bali, it actually consists of 23 separate temples enclosed in one location and dispersed over six levels and 100 m elevation gain within the walls. Proper dress code is required to enter the temple and a tour guide is included with your entrance fee. The guide was filled with more knowledge that we could take in for the 1.5 hours we spent there. He did mention that 2024 BC was a monumental year for Hindus and the construction surrounding the temple was in preparation for the influx of religious Hindus travelling from all over the world to pray at this particular temple.

One of the perks of climbing all those stairs however is that you are forced to slow down, find a pleasant seat and take a break at times. Here you will enjoy the breathtaking view of Bali in the distance and the thick green jungle intertwined within the rolling hills of this amazing island. The tour looped us around back to the entrance gate where we started before flopping back down into the vehicle and continued to Ubud for the evening.

Private Driver: Rp 500,000

Aan Secret Waterfall: Donation

Krisik Waterfall: Rp 20,000 per adult

Besakih Temple: Rp 60,000 per adult

Duration: 10 hours

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