Munduk: Out on a Ridge
We had no plan after Ubud, and yet another week in Bali. As our week neared an end, it dawned on us we'd have to make a move. We wanted to go north, but didn't quite know what that meant. Lovina was an option, but we were keen on straying from the tourist loop. When we asked around, Lovina was the only suggestion, given that we could swim with dolphins. This didn't speak to us. After a quick search, we found another couple's blog who wrote a post on "An Off-The-Beaten-Track Bali Road Trip." We loosely followed their itinerary, starting in Munduk.
Although only 40 miles from Ubud, it's a solid two and a half hour drive north. Fortunately, it's stunning.
Our airbnb host helped us arrange a driver to take us north through our airbnb in Ubud. Turned out, it was our airbnb host. As soon as you get out of Ubud, the landscape opens up and you're driving through rice paddies, up and down mountains. Our ears continued to pop as we drove straight up the ridge. We literally drive through clouds.
Munduk is often overlooked by tourists, likely due to it's distance, but it shouldn't be. The humble village has a single main road, surrounded by dramatic mountains. It's a prime place to watch sunrises and sunsets, but moreover, ideal for basking in Bali's untouched beauty.
The first thing we noticed was the extreme temperature drop. It was chilly! Excellent for trekking through trails to waterfalls, coming across hidden villages.
We stayed at Adila Homestay, a family run accommodation with a restaurant attached. We ate literally every meal at Adila--it was that good. The family was so kind. Although the main road was only a 15 minute walk, there was not too much of a need to venture out.
However, the glory of Adila was that quiet trails to local villages and the waterfalls were literally at our doorstep.
It's no exaggeration to say that the trail passes by the back of Adila.
After our first venture out, I got into the daily habit of taking sunset walks, solely due to the proximity.
But that first day, it was all new to us, and we were ready to explore.
The first waterfall was a mere ten minute walk for Adila.
As soon as we got near, you could hear the roaring water. We were the only one's on the trail.
The mere force was awe-inspiring. The mist was invigorating.
It started to rain, which made the hike up slightly questionable.
The handmade walkway was slick. A trademark of Bali is it's verdant, lush landscape. And this felt like the epitome.
We probably should have turned back, as it took seemingly hours to walk down a couple steps. The moss was quite slippery.
We ascertained it the waterfalls were fuller and likely even more stunning right after the rain. We carried on. It was worth it.
On a far sunnier day, we walked to the rice paddies nearby.
It felt significantly more remote than many of the paddies we traversed in Ubud.
Other than school children walking through to go home for lunch and a few women delivering offerings, it felt almost secretive.
The small farming village was surrounded by massive mountains.
The Balinese have been dependent on agriculture, specially rice production, for thousands of years. Majority of the infamous terraced rice fields were carved by hand.
We did come across one cafe, in which we stopped for a cool drink. The scenary was breathtaking.
We were fortunate to have several days in Munduk and appreciated the seclusion. To change up our daily routine, we'd go for a run on the narrow trail.
We soon learned that it rained (read: poured) every afternoon, so exploring was best done in the mornings.
Which was fine, as we made a serious dent in our books, wrote, and Will finally surpassed me in Gin Rummy 500.
Munduk was exactly what I yearned for after staying in the popular Ubud. It was quiet, remote, and quite literally in the mountains. Other than a multitiude of roosters waking us up at 5 a.m., it felt silent.
Munduk is located in the highlands and genuinely feels like it has yet to be discovered by tourists. Randomly, it's a popular destination for the French. In fact, I do believe most everyone else staying in Adila at the time were from France.
There are so many places that I feel like saying, go now before people discover it! Munduk embodies this sentiment. The unspoiled, picturesque villages are on a ridge among mountainsides with waterfalls and rice paddies. There was a mystic ambiance to Munduk. The clouds moved so rapidly that we felt like we were living in the clouds. There would be no visibility and seconds later it would be a perfectly clear day. Above all, I loved the access to being outside. Our mountain retreat was everything I was looking for in Bali. The people, the air, the mood. As we continued to head north, all I could feel was fulfilled.