Contrary to popular belief, Bali is not just about its beaches. Its water bodies are also equally spectacular. Its rivers have produced a number of beautiful and worth visiting waterfalls. Speaking about waterfall, the first place pops up in most of people’s agenda would be the usual touristy Gitgit Waterfall. But there are so many scenic waterfalls around this island, and Aling Aling Waterfall is one of them.
Located in northern Bali, Aling-Aling Waterfall is 11 kilometres from Singaraja with less than 20 minutes’ drive, while getting from Denpasar will take up to 3 hours. The official location of the waterfall is in Sambangan Village, Buleleng regency. Arriving from Denpasar requires the use of the main highway towards Singaraja. At the junction towards the entrance of Singaraja, turn left to head to Sukasada terminal. Continue along the path to reach Sambangan Village. Signposts (with waterfall banners) will guide you for the remaining approximately 3 kilometres drive to the parking area of Aling Aling Waterfall. As the waterfall is seldom frequented by tourists, it is advisable to seek the help of locals or hire an experienced driver who knows how to get there.
Aling-Aling Waterfall can be visited by all, but young children and the elderly are advised against participating in the water activities and cliff jumping for their own safety. Those intending to participate in the water activities should bring a change of attire and/or swimsuit. Also, you may need to prepare yourself for a tiring walk down hundreds of stone steps about 400 metres to reach the waterfall.
While the descent down the many steps was tiring, but it was definitely well worth the effort. I was greeted with a magnificent view of the waterfall, 35 metres high falling from a steep cliff and surrounded by lush greenery as well as rice fields. The water emanating from the falls was crystal clear, while at the same time the air was cool and refreshing, with a hint of the scent of the surrounding mountain fog.
However, what probably stands out most about Aling Aling Waterfall is that visitors will notice how the falls are separated into two adjacent cascading falls at the top, with the right falls having a much larger discharge and speed than the one on the left. As a result of the greater velocity and volume of water, the thunderous sound of the right falls crashing into the basin fills your ears, creating an impressive juxtaposition with the surrounding serenity of nature that is amplified by the lack of visitors. Interestingly, for budding photographers or those with good photography skills, the waterfall is also a good photo opportunity precisely because its separation into two separate falls with varying speeds can produce stunning photographs using the correct camera settings.
The fun does not stop with the spectacular view of the fall and its surroundings. Adventure junkies will enjoy the water activities, including jumping off of a cliff at a height of 5, 10 or 15 metres. The adrenaline rush that you will attain from the jump is nothing short of what you had expected. However, for those who are afraid of heights can also opt to slide down a natural water slide created by the natural process of erosion. It promises much fun, and yet is not as unnerving as jumping off a cliff. Other water activities include swimming and bathing in the waterfall basin at the base of the 4-metre-deep waterfall. Don’t feel like immersing your entire body in water? Just put your hands in the water and have fun playing and splashing with the fresh and cool water. However, be wary of the slippery rocks surrounding you to prevent any injuries.
If you are not exhausted from the walk and the activities, continue to explore the whole area. Aling Aling Waterfall is only one of the seven waterfalls in the area, with it being the highest. The other waterfalls all within walking distance from Aling Aling are Pucuk, Kembar, Kroya, Canging, Dedari and Cemara Waterfalls. I highly recommend incorporating the visit to Aling Aling with an organised trek as I did, because you get to explore the surrounding area which gives you an insight into quintessential Bali villagers’ life. A long trek would take you to all the waterfalls.
During the hike, I was afforded sweeping views of the surrounding landscape of rice fields and cocoa, coffee and clove plantations. Besides, I had the chance to interact with friendly local people and farmers, allowing me to get a glimpse into the traditional lifestyle that they lead. In fact, so beautiful is the place that many call it “the secret garden of Sambangan”.
All in all, Aling Aling Waterfall is an oasis of unspoiled nature, one that will take your breath away. Moreover, you will be pleased to note that you are supporting the locals who work hard to maintain the pristine beauty of Sambangan Village with your eco-tourism efforts. A waterfall is, to many people, a spectacular product of the fury of nature. Therefore, schedule your next holiday destination to visit a place that will bring peace to your soul.
Aling Aling Waterfall
Sambangan Village, Buleleng Regency
This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine