Trekking & Touring Central Bali
*Note, this is super old (early 2018), but since I wrote it and never posted it, here we go…*
Munduk – I don’t know why, but planning out my time in Bali was one of the harder trips I’ve tried to figure out, which when you think about it, that just doesn’t make sense. Bali is a relatively small island and being so popular, there’s almost an overload of information on the interwebs. It shouldn’t have been that complicated, but I found two major problems: (1) It’s a real pain in the ass to get around because traffic and roads are terrible and (2) there are simply way too many awesome things to do and sights to see to fit into a short amount of time.
I only had three days of exploration and travel (i.e. trekking) to figure out between my time in Singapore and when I started vacation (i.e. infinity pools + fruity cocktails) in Ubud and Jimbaran Bay.
After way too much research and indecisiveness, I finally settled on Gesing Village, just outside Munduk in the highlands of central Bali.
And holy hell… what a hidden gem.
For three days, I stayed in the middle of some beautiful rice terraces, trekked to some of the most breathtaking waterfalls I’ve ever seen, and with my very, very early-morning starts each day, I drank A LOT of delicious local Balinese coffee.
Central Bali was just what I was looking for in Bali.
Ulun Danu Baratan
I had decided on the Munduk area to mainly chase some waterfalls, but I had also wanted to visit Ulun Danu Baratan, a Balanese temple extending into Lake Beratan, the second largest lake in Bali. Built in 1633, it is used for offerings ceremonies to the Balinese water, lake, and river goddess Dewi Danu.
It was pretty and I’m glad I went, but it ended up not even being close to one of my highlights from the trip.
To the east of Munduk, the main road crosses a ridge overlooking the twin lakes of Buyan and Tamblingan. Cafes and shops line one side of the road, while platforms, benches, “birds-nests” and swings line the other – All built to trap bus loads of tourists to take their iconic Bali Instagram shot. For a few bucks, of course.
I know all that sounds super negative, but I was pretty taken-aback by the Disney-like atmosphere, all based around “Instagram Point.” I told my driver he could just keep going when he offered to stop so I “could Instagram” (verb) among the other tourists.
That same driver didn’t seem super thrilled when I informed him of my desired 3 a.m. start the next morning to go shoot my own Instagram Point…
Alone on a mountaintop shooting a beautiful sunrise? That was much, much better.
Rice Terraces Galore
Hands-down, my favorite part about staying in Gesing Village and Munduk was just wandering the rice terraces. Walk along a path until it forked, take a pick, and keep going…
And of course, Waterfalls…
Again, the main reason I chose to travel around that part of the island was to chase some absolutely spectacular waterfalls!
I absolutely loved my time in Munduk and the Central Highlands!