If you’ve ever searched #Bali on Instagram, then you would probably have seen the images of skinny, tanned girls basking in the spray of tumbling waterfalls. But in reality, are you ever going to get the perfect shot of yourself there without anyone else in the background? The reality is that if you go on an organised tour, you will be there with at least 50 other people, all encroaching on each other’s photos. We found this with the first waterfall we went to on the organised tour we went on. Don’t get me wrong, it was lovely there, but the commercialisation and exploitation of the waterfall was evident. There were bars and restaurants being built and, of course, one of those bloody swings that you pay to have your photo taken on, which kind of spoils the experience of going there, but that’s tourism for you.
We hired a private driver for the day and he recommended taking us to a waterfall called Banyumala just north of Lake Buyan – one of Bali’s lesser-known waterfalls.
He drove us right out into the jungle and there was a faded sign pointing down a small rural road.
Once we were there we had to walk down a dirt track past fields of blue and pink Hydrangeas. The dirt track turned into the steepest steps I had ever encountered. The steps were wet and covered in mud and we were sliding around in our flip-flops as they got wet.
The climb down is so worth it though, as when you arrive you are greeted by the most beautiful waterfall trickling down a wall of luscious green into the deepest blue lagoon. The water here is cold, which is a welcome refreshment from the humid Balinese climate. Our guide explained that the water here is cold because it comes from the mountains, whereas the other waterfall that we visited in Ubud, gets its water from the rice fields, which is why it is warm and not very clear.
It was peaceful at this waterfall and not thronged by hoardes of people like the other waterfall we went to. Although you can see the signs of commercialisation coming as you pay to see the waterfall and they have cleared a path down to the waterfall, whereas before you would have to walk through bushes and find the way yourself.
If you are looking for something off the beaten track with Bali and something which has remained relatively untouched (although how long for remains to be seen), then I would recommend coming here as it is peaceful and quiet. I would recommend that you bring trainers to climb down the stairs and rocks in though as wet flip flops are unsteady and dangerous when they get wet! Swimming shoes may also be a good idea, but not essential. There is also a little changing room down by the waterfall if you would like to get changed there.