Notes from the road - edition 9: Exploring Bali – from waterfalls to tropical islands

Another week of absolutely epic adventures with The Common Wanderer

The North

I simply had no idea how beautiful the North of Bali would be. We booked our Airbnb thinking it would be a simple affair – just a place to store our things and lay our heads at the end of the day. Instead, it turned out to be this beautiful garden oasis overlooking the rice and flower fields. We were treated with an infinity pool, beautifully appointed rooms, and fantastic hospitality from our hosts.

Lafyu resort village Bali.jpg
Bali rice fields.jpg

Aling Aling waterfall trek

Our accommodation was just down the road from Aling Aling Waterfall, so naturally it was first on our list.

Aling Aling is actually just one waterfall in a series of cascades that wend their way through a lush jungle valley. In order, it goes Aling Aling, Kroya, Kembar, and Pucuk waterfalls. You can continue the trek further to more waterfalls and swimming holes, but in the interests of time we didn’t get to these.

With the exception of Aling Aling itself, each of the falls features a cliff jump; a five metre jump at Kroya, a ten metre at Kembar, and a fifteen metre drop at Pucuk. Kroya fall also has a small waterfall slide which is heaps of fun.

 
Our two tour guides, Kadek and Kadek

Our two tour guides, Kadek and Kadek

 

Aling Aling Waterfall

Aling Aling waterfall Bali.jpg
Aling Aling waterfall Bali.jpg
Aling Aling waterfall Bali.jpg

Kroya Waterfall

Kroya Waterfall slide.jpg
Kroya Waterfall Bali.jpg
Kroya Waterfall cliff jump backflip.jpg

This was my first ever successful backflip. I decided I wanted to do it, I walked up and did it. No time to overthink and talk yourself out of it if you act immediately!  

Kembar Waterfall

Kembar Waterfall cliff jump Bali.jpg
Kembar Waterfall Bali.jpg
Kembar Waterfall Bali.jpg

Pucuk Waterfall

Pucuk Waterfall Bali.jpg
Pucuk Waterfall cliff jump Bali.jpg
Pucuk Waterfall The Common Wanderer.jpg
Pucuk Waterfall Bali.jpg

Sekumpul

The tallest waterfall in Bali was just as epic the second time as it was the first. We drove through incredibly thick fog, twisting and turning with the road as it made its winding way up the mountain. Heaps of fun to drive and very beautiful.

I was stoked to have the drone this time around, as I got to witness these majestic and epic cascades from a whole new perspective. It also meant that I could fly around Fiji waterfall which is close by to Sekumpul and is supposedly Bali’s only triple waterfall.

Hidden Waterfall Bali.jpg
Hidden Waterfall Bali The Common Wanderer.jpg
Sekumpul Waterfall tour Bali.jpg
Bali's tallest waterfall.jpg
Fiji Waterfall Bali.jpg
Fiji Waterfall Bali.jpg

Our guide also turned out to be a total champ. We started to fill up our adventure bag at the base of Sekumpul and he immediately started helping out. He spoke to us about how he and his friends regularly clean the area, but that more rubbish always makes its way to the falls, often from further up river. He tries to educate his family and friends on the evils of plastic pollution, but he said the change in mindset will still take a huge amount of work and further education. I’m stoked to see some of the locals taking positive steps forward in the war on waste.

Adventure bag.jpg
Adventure bag.jpg
The Common Wanderer Adventure bag.jpg

We stayed another night at our beautiful Airbnb and drove all the way back to Canggu the next morning.

Nusa Pendia

No rest for the wicked though, one night in Canggu was all the down time we were afforded before setting off on our next adventure mission, the stunning Nusa Penida.

I went there last year and got to glimpse its beauty, so I was super keen to explore even more of it this time around and create some more epic content. Two days here is simply not enough. We managed to see a few of the major spots, but we didn’t get to see anything of Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Ceningan. I could easily spend two weeks exploring just these islands and I feel like I would only just start to scratch the surface.  

Day one

We landed on Penida, found our accommodation and jumped straight back on the scooters to the other side of the island. We stopped at a warung along the way to fuel up on some food and much to Mim’s amusement I managed to spill my milkshake all over myself before we had even started adventuring. It was a very hot day, and now I was covered in milk and smelt like cookies and cream. A great start to the day haha. After a bit of a wash under the tap I was ready to get going.

Thousand Island viewpoint, Diamond Beach, and Atuh Beach are all situated right next to each other and so that’s where we went.

 Thousand Island Viewpoint

Thousand Island viewpoint.jpg
Thousand Island Viewpoint Bali.jpg
Thousand Island viewpoint Nusa Penida.jpg
Rumah Pohon Bali.jpg
Thousand Island view.jpg
Thousand Island viewpoint Nusa Pendia.jpg

Diamond Beach

Diamond Beach cliff.jpg
Diamond Beach The Common Wanderer.jpg
Diamond Beach Nusa Penida.jpg
Diamond Beach Bali.jpg
Diamond Beach Nusa Penida.jpg
Diamond Beach cliff Nusa Pendia.jpg
Diamond Beach lookout.jpg

Atuh Beach

Atuh Beach Nusa Penida.jpg
Atuh Beach Bali.jpg

Plastic and Pollution

One thing about Bali needs to be made clear. Yes, it is the tropical island paradise that Instagram makes it out to be. It’s beaches, jungles, mountains, and island paradises are so incredibly beautiful. HOWEVER, the plastic pollution problem here is simply catastrophic.

Atuh Beach, a blue water cove with its own cliff jump spot (if you’re willing to swim out to it) is ideal for lazy days by the beach or for more adventurous types. But it was simply covered in plastic and trash pollution. We spent 45 minutes to an hour in the water and on the sand picking up trash of all kinds and we barely made a dent in the amount of rubbish on the beach.

There are a few factors that contribute to this.

1.     It’s still partly wet season, so the rains and tides conspire to bring trash to the beaches. During dry season, the beaches are supposedly much cleaner, but that doesn’t mean the trash doesn’t exist elsewhere.

2.     Despite Bali banning single use plastic in 2019, there is still not the infrastructure in place to deal with the amount of plastic and pollution being produced.

3.     A general lack of the care factor by tourists and locals alike about the impact of single use plastic and general waste.

We found it incredibly odd that people were so willing to swim amongst the trash. Some people even lay their towels down on top of it as if it didn’t exist. I understand that everyone has different values and a different approach to life, but how you could be so unaware of the problem and unwilling to do anything about it is simply baffling.

Bali plastic pollution.jpg
Bali plastic pollution.jpg
Bali plastic pollution.jpg
 
Without proper infrastructure in place to deal with the amount of trash produced, most locals resort to this, burning plastic and other waste. Yes, it ‘gets rid of it’, but the harmful chemicals produced in burning plastic are then released into the air we breath, creating more health and environmental issues.

Without proper infrastructure in place to deal with the amount of trash produced, most locals resort to this, burning plastic and other waste. Yes, it ‘gets rid of it’, but the harmful chemicals produced in burning plastic are then released into the air we breath, creating more health and environmental issues.

 

Day two

After a poor night of sleep, we were up before the sun and on our way to the famous Kelingking Beach. This dinosaur shaped piece of land that juts out from the island provided all kinds of goods for our shutter-happy fingers that morning. Again, having the drone this time around made the experience just so surreal, to be able to witness the sun rising over such a beautiful location from the sky is just so awesome.

Mark and I made the descent down, closely followed by a pack of monkeys, and went for a quick swim before making our way back up again

Kelingking Beach

Kelingking Beach Nusa Penida.jpg
Kelingking Beach Bali.jpg
Kelingking Cliff Nusa Penida.jpg
Kelingking Beach Bali.jpg
Kelingking Nusa Penida.jpg
Kelingking stairway Bali.jpg
Kelingking stairway Nusa Penida The Common Wanderer.jpg

Angels Billabong and Broken Beach

We barely glanced twice at Angels Billabong. By the time we got there the carpark was already full and there was still a steady flow of cars coming in. There were simply too many other people to even attempt to get photos.

Broken beach was much the same, but I sent the drone up to grab some quick fly through footage and some overhead shots.

Broken Beach Bali.jpg
Broken Beach Nusa Penida.jpg
Broken Beach Nusa Penida.jpg

Back to Canggu

It was only a week, but what a week. With all that we packed in, it felt like we were out and about non-stop adventuring for a month. 

After being on the road for what felt like so long, I was actually very excited to get stuck into some work and Canggu’s café scene is perfect for just that.

Mum arrives tomorrow for a few days, so I’ll get to enjoy some family time for what will likely be the last time in a long time.

Until next week,

Happy voyaging!