Anyone staying in the sleepy town of Munduk in Bali has plans to visit Melanting Waterfall. One of the four main falls in the area, Melanting is a popular starting point for hikers. More so than the other falls, we saw many people on the trail, both tourists and locals going about their business.
The hike to Melanting Waterfall begins on the main road, Jalan Kayu Putih – Munduk. There is an offshoot road, Jalan Ke Taman, next to Warung Taman Ayu and across the street from a school. Look for the signs on the wall pointing to Warung Arta Cooking Class, another popular Munduk attraction.
The road slopes down but immediately incline again. The concrete can get quite slippery with all the rain and general dampness of Munduk. Taking the stairs next to the road is safer all around to avoid falling and also any motorbikes.
Warung Arta Snack Shop & Cafe
It should take about five minutes to arrive at Warung Arta and the Arta Shop. There are many packaged snacks for sale here and even a small cafe. The woman who owns this place (presumably, Arta) is very friendly and gave us directions to the waterfall. She made such an impression on us that we stopped here for drinks after our hike. She even served us a Dadar Gulung, on the house, from her cooking class and was apologetic that she didn’t have more food to offer us.
Continuing along, the road is flat with a slight downward slope. You’ll arrive at two parallel trails in the forest. The path on the right with the dilapidated shed goes nowhere, so take the left road.
After another five minutes, there should be a quirky souvenir stall in the middle of nowhere. No one was tending it when we stopped, but it didn’t take long for a woman to materialise. There’s an assortment of typical Indonesian souvenirs: dried spices, Luwak coffee, and coconut husk bowls. Even though this shop is out here, it’s still tourist crap, so remember to barter if you want to buy anything!
Small Unnamed Waterfall
After the souvenir shop, it’s proper jungle trekking. Once you cross over a bamboo bridge, watch for a faded stone slab on the ground. You may see several possible paths at this point, but the correct one is ahead and slightly to the right.
You will know you’re on the proper trail if you spot a small waterfall. This waterfall is not Melanting Waterfall. On Google, it’s amusingly pinned as “Small Waterfall (Not Melanting).” There’s a way off to the right where you can go down and get a closer look.
It’s about a ten-minute upward climb on a lightly overgrown trail. At the top, there is a paved path and a crossroad. The Melanting Waterfall sign points to the left.
Melanting Waterfall Ticket Booth
There are a lot of stairs down to get to the Melanting Waterfall ticket booth. The ticket booth is at the halfway point to the waterfall. Ticket prices for Melanting Waterfall are Rp. 10,000 per adult and Rp. 5,000 for children.
There is a toilet at the Melanting Waterfall ticket booth, but it’s understandably very rustic. There was a squat toilet inside, a large resident spider and no toilet paper. The only other thing in the shed was a big bucket of water with a smaller bucket floating in it for hand washing and “flushing” the toilet. If you can hold it for that long, there are better toilets at Red Coral Waterfall.
The journey down starts with a precarious sloped road. This path is concrete and incredibly slippery if it has rained recently. Then it’s endless stairs down until you get the first peek at Melanting Waterfall. There are more views of it as you go further down, including some small bamboo bridges you can stand on for a picture. It does mean you’ll have to hike back up, though. It’s possible to get to the base of the waterfall, but we didn’t bother as the way looked rocky and it was raining heavily at this point.
Most tourists continue to Labuhan Kebo Waterfall and the other falls further east. If you’re doing this, there’s no escaping the long climb back up all those stairs you descended to get back to the Melanting Waterfall sign at the crossroad.
Since it was pouring, we decided to head back to our homestay and wait it out. There is a way back to the main road without having to backtrack the same stair-filled route. I’ll do my best to explain and guide the way. It is confusing, and the trail is messy at times, though. Trying to take this route just to avoid all the stairs is not worth getting lost.
Exiting Trail to Jalan Kayu Putih – Munduk
Start by taking the final stairs down to get to the waterfall base. There is a small rest shed here. Follow the path in the opposite direction away from the waterfall. The trail is, thankfully, flat, and you will pass an old ticket booth on your left.
Shortly afterwards, cross over the river via a bamboo bridge. The trail will have a lot of debris, and you might come upon a fork. Turn right. You’ll know you’re on the correct path if you walk past a stone slab bridge on the right within one minute.
There are two parallel paths with a cluster of bamboo in the middle. Take the right path.
The trail is obvious for roughly ten minutes until there’s a hill with one lower track and one that goes uphill. Take the uphill route on the right.
The next turnoff can be tricky as it might be overgrown. There should be a footpath on your right side that you want to take. If you can’t find the path, look for a small bungalow on the hill. This house is what you want to head toward.
Once at the house, go around to the side. There is a narrow path on the right of the covered porch. You want to take this as it curves up and to the left.
In a couple of minutes, the trail becomes paved concrete again. This junction might look familiar. There was a closed shed that looked like another souvenir booth on the left. There is a road directly ahead and a third narrower road. Take the narrow road that heads off to the right.
You might start to recognise the roads as the same ones you took on the way to Melanting Waterfall. In about ten minutes, you’ll pass by Warung Arta again. By now, it’s obvious what the route is and you probably recognise the landmarks. It’s less than a ten-minute walk to Jalan Kayu Putih where you started the hike.
If you can follow the last part of this guide backwards, it’s a much better idea to arrive at Melanting Waterfall at the base. From there, you can continue to the other waterfalls without having to backtrack. Not only does this save you from doing all those stairs twice, but the ticket booth at the base of Melanting is unmanned.
Another good idea is to have Melanting be the last waterfall you visit. If you can handle the long, tiring day, start at Golden Valley Waterfalls. The entry point for that trail is much more obvious. Journey along to Red Coral Waterfall, then Labuhan Kebo Waterfall. Finish the hike at Melanting and take the route I’ve described above to return to the main road. By doing this, you can see all four waterfalls with the minimal retracing of routes.