Escape the busy tourist areas of Bali and head to Munduk for a breath of fresh air. It’s the perfect place to relax and appreciate the nature around you. You may arrive for a couple of days but end up staying for a week, like we did on our two-month tour of Bali. Read on to discover all the wonderful things to do in Munduk, Bali and why you shouldn’t miss out on this magical place.
Introduction to Munduk, Bali
Located in the island’s central highlands, Munduk is usually overlooked by Bali tourists, but it is a hidden gem. This cool mountain village offers a peaceful retreat from the heat, humidity and bustle of the island’s more popular areas.
Full of jungle trails through the lush green hills, forests and rice paddies you will discover tiny villages, stunning waterfalls and the area’s spice, coffee and cocoa plantations.
As Munduk is close to the centre of Bali, it is relatively easy to reach from most places on the island. However, there is no public transport here so you will need to take a taxi or a scooter.
From Ubud to Munduk it’s a distance of around 40 miles (64 km), which takes about an hour and forty minutes. From the international airport in Denpasar to Munduk the journey takes around two hours, depending on traffic.
You can enjoy sensational views of sunrises and sunsets
The remote village and small roads of Munduk village may look modest, but they hold a secret surprise. Many of the guest houses and restaurants here (see below) are the best places in Bali for watching sensational sunrises on one side and sunsets on the other, over this spectacular highlands scenery. Seriously, you will pinch yourself every day.
You can get lost in Munduk’s gorgeous green landscape
Take a walk away from Munduk’s main road and you’ll quickly find yourself among the calming rice terraces and jungle forests.
On our first day, when we were wondering what to do in Munduk, our guest house owner gave us a rudimentary map and advised us explore the local scenery. We grabbed a couple of long bamboo sticks we found on the forest floor to use as walking sticks, as the paved roads turned into muddy tracks and we headed into the jungle for some Munduk trekking.
Explore this gorgeous green landscape is really the best way to see Munduk and get to know Bali. The best time to start your trek is in the morning, as the afternoons can get cloudy.
Trekking through the trees, you will walk along narrow muddy paths and there are not always signs to point the way. Getting off the beaten track is rewarding, as you lose yourself in the wilderness and then find your way back to familiar territory.
You can relax your tired muscles at a mountain spa
After a day of Munduk trekking, why not rejuvenate your body with a massage at Munduk village’s O’O Massage centre or in the luxurious surroundings of the nearby Munduk Moding Plantation Nature Resort & Spa.
Here, you can choose from a range of body treatments to soothe tired muscles and make sure you’re raring to go again the next morning.
The cool forested hills and slopes of Munduk are the best place on Bali to go waterfall hunting. Here, you will feel like you are really getting to know the island’s natural beauty.
If, like us, your guest house owner gives you a Munduk waterfall map, you can look forward to a day of adventure as you track them down. Even the winding trails on the way are attractive, dotted with exotic plants. They can be steep, so it’s best to wear hiking sandals. Sometimes, if we passed a local person, we would ask them for directions to make sure we were on the correct path, and they were always happy to help.
There are a number of waterfalls in the area, some of which have small entrance fees to enter. The cost is usually around 10,000Rp to 20,000Rp (about a dollar or two) for each person to enter. Once you arrive at each waterfall, you are rewarded with a cool and refreshing stop from the heat of the day.
If you don’t have a map, you can find the waterfall locations marked on Google Maps. Search for Air Terjun Munduk, Laangan Waterfall, Labuhan Kebo Waterfalls, Red Coral waterfall, Melanting waterfall, Golden Valley Waterfalls, Gobleg Waterfall and Munduk Waterfalls Trekking Point.
Hiking through the jungle to explore the waterfalls can be hot and tiring, so make sure you bring water and snacks, though you may find small cafes and shops along the way. It could take two or three hours, so I would advise bringing a backpack with a sarong or long sleeved top and sunscreen. Also, bring an umbrella or waterproofs – at one point, we got caught in a heavy rainstorm and had to quickly find shelter! Once you find each waterfall you can take a dip, so you may want to bring a swimsuit and towel. Sometimes you may have the place almost to yourself.
If you have a car or bike, you can reach Bali waterfalls a bit further afield, such as Gitgit waterfall, Sekumpul falls and Nung Nung waterfall.
You can experience a thrilling off-road Munduk wilderness tour
We’d read great reviews about a Bali adventure tour company called Munduk Wilderness. Their guides take guests on a journey deep into the area’s rough terrain by mountain bike and an unconventional locally-built off-road vehicle called a Fin Komodo. These tours open up the island even more, as you can reach otherwise inaccessible places.
As we kitted up and set off in our Fin Komodo, our guides showed us the region’s clove, cocoa, and coffee plantations and explained how these crops are processed. This was followed by a mountain bike ride along rough roads, deep into the Balinese countryside, which opened up stunning views that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
Along the way, we stopped at the island’s only Buddhist monastery, a natural spa where we rested our weary muscles in the hot springs and even more spectacular views of rolling rice fields.
At the end of the day, back at base camp, we tucked into a delicious meal and a well-earned local Bintang beer.
You can take the most amazing day trips from Munduk
See stunning lakes – and a Bali swing photo opportunity
Within a half hour drive of Munduk, you can find some amazing sights. You’ll pass three scenic lakes –Danau Tambligan, Danau Buyan and Danau Beratan – where there are plenty of wonderful viewpoints including one of the famous Bali swings.
Search for ‘Twin Lake Wanagiri spot’, ‘Pucak swing and agro tourism’ and ‘Hidden Hills Wanagiri’ in Google Maps for photo opportunities to your heart’s content.
The best time to explore Bali’s iconic ‘floating’ temple
Sitting on Lake Beratan, 30 minutes’ drive from Munduk, is one of Bali’s most famous and picturesque temples, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan.
Mirrored in the lake’s still waters, this iconic temple, built in 1633, appears to be floating in front of the mountain backdrop. Here, locals make offerings to the water goddess, Dewi Danu.
You can take a photo of the temple from the lake’s shores or rent a boat to enter and explore its manicured grounds, which costs around 50,000Rp per person (around US$3-4). It’s best to visit in the morning for fewer crowds and clear skies.
Witness the world famous Jatiluwih rice terraces
Just over an hour by car or motorbike from Munduk, halfway to Ubud, are the famous Jatiluwih rice terraces. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has steep, vivid green terraces as far as the eye can see, with trails allowing you to explore the area on foot. The 2,276-metre high Bratan volcano looms in the background providing a truly incredible landscape.
See the Jatiluwih rice terraces and more of Bali’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites on this top-rated tour
Take a perfectly framed photo at these beautiful gates
Half an hour’s drive east of Munduk village, close to Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, is the Handara Golf & Resort Bali. Many people come here who are not remotely interested in playing golf. Why? Because the gates on the road leading up to this golf course are made with beautiful Balinese stone-masonry and they frame the mountain behind perfectly. It’s a popular spot for photos.
These days, to take a shot here costs around 30,000Rp (just over US$2). Try to avoid coming here at midday when the sun is right overhead. The light is most beautiful at sunrise or in the afternoon, after your morning visit to the temples or waterfalls.
The best places to stay in Munduk
If you’re looking for Munduk accommodation, there are several charming guesthouses and hotels, many of which have their own restaurants and are positioned to take advantage of the area’s naturally beautiful scenery. The good news is, many of them are easily affordable for backpackers.
These are the most gorgeous Munduk guesthouses
Munduk’s guesthouses offer incredible value for money. We stayed at Aditya Homestay and we highly recommend it.
The family that runs this Munduk guesthouse are so warm and kind, we ended up staying for longer than planned. We stayed in a corner room with floor to ceiling windows overlooking these magnificent valleys.
Every morning, the staff would serve us a freshly prepared breakfast on our balcony as we sat and took in the surroundings. The rooftop restaurant was ideal for romantic sunset dinners. It was one of the favourite places that we stayed in Bali.
Another great guesthouse option is the One Homestay in Munduk. Visitors rave about the mountain views from all of its rooms, as well as the home-cooked food in the on-site warung. On request, the staff can provide cooking classes and tour packages.
These Munduk hotels will make you feel heavenly
For something more mid-range, try a Munduk eco-hotel such as Puri Lumbung Cottages. Here you can stay in traditional rice barns converted into rustic cottage and villas, each with open-air bathrooms and the irresistible mountain views. There’s also an on-site restaurant, spa and a yoga and meditation centre.
If like me you’re into yoga, try Yoga Village Above The Clouds in Munduk’s neighbouring village of Bedugul. This secluded resort with views of the rice terraces offers free morning yoga classes.
Browse and book all the best places to stay in Munduk here.
If you’re keen to treat yourself to a luxury hotel in Munduk, head straight for the Munduk Moding Plantation Nature Resort & Spa. This resort has an on-site spa, coffee plantation, a hot tub and an infinity pool with one of the best views in Bali. Here, you can truly relax among these incredible mountainous surroundings.
Its suites and villas are furnished with hardwood floors and marble bathrooms, and kitted out with iPod docks and flat-screen TVs. Some villas have their own private pools and even offer butler service.
Now that’s luxurious.
The coolest places to eat and drink in Munduk
This is where to enjoy lunch with a view – and support local farmers
As with all of Bali, eating and drinking is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Munduk. You can tuck into tasty Balinese dishes at casual restaurants and cafes that have unbelievable views across the hills and forests.
Head for the Eco Café Munduk for food with a view, and you will also be the supporting local farmers and coffee producers as part of this restaurant’s commitment to sustainability.
Sip the best coffee in Bali here
Bali is known for its speciality coffees, flavoured with everything from vanilla to ginseng, which are all delicious and definitely worth a try.
There are numerous Munduk coffee plantations on the area’s cool mountain slopes, producing what’s said to be the best coffee in Bali. It’s the perfect excuse to take a pit stop and refuel with a cup of locally produced coffee.
Taste the organic coffee and learn how it’s harvested and roasted at Munduk Moding Plantation Nature Resort & Spa, which also supports the local community and environment.
End your day with the perfect dinner at sunset
In Munduk, you will see stunning sunsets every day. One of the best simple pleasures here is to leisurely eat dinner at a Munduk restaurant, as you watch the oranges and reds pass across the sky.
Try the pork rendang at the laid back Warung Heaven Munduk, or head to Warung Classic for perfect sunset views.
I hope this has helped you to get a taste for Munduk and hopefully you will fall in love with this magical place as much as we did.
Next up, discover more of the island in the most amazing Bali road trip itinerary, here.