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Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
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Chasing waterfalls in Buleleng, Bali

  • Novani Nugrahani

    The Jakarta Post

Bali | Tue, January 26, 2016 | 10:32 am
Chasing waterfalls in Buleleng, Bali Two tourists stand in front of the Banyumala waterfalls in Wanagiri district, Buleleng, Bali. The waterfalls form a small clear lagoon, allowing visitors to take a dip in the freshwater. (thejakartapost.com/Novani Nugrahani)" border="0" height="426" width="639">Two tourists stand in front of the Banyumala waterfalls in Wanagiri district, Buleleng, Bali. The waterfalls form a small clear lagoon, allowing visitors to take a dip in the freshwater. (thejakartapost.com/Novani Nugrahani)

Visitors seeking to explore selfie-worthy beach clubs and sleepless party scenes usually flock to the southern part of Bali.

The northern part of the island usually attracts adrenaline and tranquil retreat-seeking tourists venturing deeper into Bali's mountainous and forested interior.

My recent trip to north Bali included the latter and almost none of the former.

The boutique resort where I stayed, the Munduk Moding Plantation Nature Resort and Spa (MMP), is tucked up high in the mountainous part of Buleleng regency, surrounded by a 5-hectare coffee plantation and organic garden. Its 17 Balinese-styled villas conveniently serve as a peaceful, verdant hideaway from the bustling life of Kuta and Seminyak.

My adventurous soul squeaked silently with delight when informed that the activity of the day would be a three-hour horse riding excursion to twin waterfalls called Banyumala.

Gading, a seven-year old yellowish brown stallion and Putu, a friendly horseman-cum-guide from MMP, were my companies for that day's journey to the waterfalls. Putu showed me to how get on the saddle without upsetting Gading.

Gading, the Bali pony I rode to Banyumala waterfalls, rests in her stable at Munduk Moding Plantation. (thejakartapost.com/Novani Nugrahani)Gading, the Bali pony I rode to Banyumala waterfalls, rests in her stable at Munduk Moding Plantation. (thejakartapost.com/Novani Nugrahani)

“Gading has been tamed so you don't have to hesitate or get panicked when riding on her back,” Putu said to calm me down.

Three hours turned out to be a long time on the back of a horse for an inexperienced horseback rider such as myself. But Putu calmed me again by telling me that the most important thing in horseback riding was to always keep your balance and just let your body follow the horse's natural looping movement.

The ride from the resort included a ride through a coffee plantation and marigold gardens with hypnotic mountain vistas serving as the trip's backdrop. There were some points on the journey where I had to get down from the horse's back because the terrain, which was covered in mud and moss, was slippery.

The slippery spots not only had me worried, but also got Gading a bit panicked.

The horse-ride was then followed by a 20-minute trek down to the waterfalls. The wet trail down to the Banyumala waterfalls was slippery, but, boy, the trip was totally worth the agony once I arrived.

According to Putu, the spot is one of the lesser known waterfalls in Bali, at least compared to the Gitgit waterfall, also in Buleleng. The sight of the waterfall was breathtaking, mostly because the water that trickles against the dark-colored and steep rock wall contrasts beautifully in color with the lush surroundings.

The sight of the waterfall is breathtaking, mostly because the water that trickles against the dark colored and steep rock wall contrasts beautifully in color with the lush surroundings. (thejakartapost.com/Novani Nugrahani)

Two tourists stand in front of the Banyumala waterfalls in Wanagiri district, Buleleng, Bali. The waterfalls form a small clear lagoon, allowing visitors to take a dip in the freshwater. (thejakartapost.com/Novani Nugrahani)

Visitors seeking to explore selfie-worthy beach clubs and sleepless party scenes usually flock to the southern part of Bali.

The northern part of the island usually attracts adrenaline and tranquil retreat-seeking tourists venturing deeper into Bali's mountainous and forested interior.

My recent trip to north Bali included the latter and almost none of the former.

The boutique resort where I stayed, the Munduk Moding Plantation Nature Resort and Spa (MMP), is tucked up high in the mountainous part of Buleleng regency, surrounded by a 5-hectare coffee plantation and organic garden. Its 17 Balinese-styled villas conveniently serve as a peaceful, verdant hideaway from the bustling life of Kuta and Seminyak.

My adventurous soul squeaked silently with delight when informed that the activity of the day would be a three-hour horse riding excursion to twin waterfalls called Banyumala.

Gading, a seven-year old yellowish brown stallion and Putu, a friendly horseman-cum-guide from MMP, were my companies for that day's journey to the waterfalls. Putu showed me to how get on the saddle without upsetting Gading.

Gading, the Bali pony I rode to Banyumala waterfalls, rests in her stable at Munduk Moding Plantation. (thejakartapost.com/Novani Nugrahani)Gading, the Bali pony I rode to Banyumala waterfalls, rests in her stable at Munduk Moding Plantation. (thejakartapost.com/Novani Nugrahani)

'€œGading has been tamed so you don't have to hesitate or get panicked when riding on her back,'€ Putu said to calm me down.

Three hours turned out to be a long time on the back of a horse for an inexperienced horseback rider such as myself. But Putu calmed me again by telling me that the most important thing in horseback riding was to always keep your balance and just let your body follow the horse's natural looping movement.

The ride from the resort included a ride through a coffee plantation and marigold gardens with hypnotic mountain vistas serving as the trip's backdrop. There were some points on the journey where I had to get down from the horse's back because the terrain, which was covered in mud and moss, was slippery.

The slippery spots not only had me worried, but also got Gading a bit panicked.

The horse-ride was then followed by a 20-minute trek down to the waterfalls. The wet trail down to the Banyumala waterfalls was slippery, but, boy, the trip was totally worth the agony once I arrived.

According to Putu, the spot is one of the lesser known waterfalls in Bali, at least compared to the Gitgit waterfall, also in Buleleng. The sight of the waterfall was breathtaking, mostly because the water that trickles against the dark-colored and steep rock wall contrasts beautifully in color with the lush surroundings.

The sight of the waterfall is breathtaking, mostly because the water that trickles against the dark colored and steep rock wall contrasts beautifully in color with the lush surroundings. (thejakartapost.com/Novani Nugrahani)The sight of the waterfall is breathtaking, mostly because the water that trickles against the dark colored and steep rock wall contrasts beautifully in color with the lush surroundings. (thejakartapost.com/Novani Nugrahani)

The waterfalls formed a small clear lagoon, allowing visitors to take a dip in its freshwater. They are also low enough to enable tourists to experience a natural relaxing spa under its cascading water.

I opened my lunchbox while sitting on a big rock. A hotel shuttle picked me up at the top of the waterfall's path to drive me back to the MMP property after I had finished my lunch.

Banyumala is situated in Wanagiri district on the northeastern side of Lake Buyan. Visitors going down to the waterfalls will be charged Rp 15,000 (US$1) per person. (kes)

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