North Lombok Waterfall Adventure
We decided to leave the kids at home and head off on a grown up adventure trip to North Lombok to see what all the fuss was about. If you go direct, the
journey from Kuta to the Sendang Gile and Yiu Kelep Waterfalls tales about 3 hours. With slightly over enthusiastic photographers constantly
asking the driver (me) to stop, it took about 5. But every minute was worth it. As the designated driver it was amazing meandering through such
beauty and being able to keep a slow pace so that I could stop and enjoy it too. We headed first through the town of Praya and up through
some of Lombok’s most beautiful landscapes. Being the end of dry season I thought most of the vegetation would be a bit brown so was very pleasantly
surprised to find so much greenery. We could still see areas with lush green rice fields, endless coconut fields, lots of big green tobacco fields
and beautiful fertile valleys with cows, goats and chickens running around.
We weaved through the winding roads up to the crest of the hill overlooking the village of Sembalun. Of course we stopped for photos and had a giggle at
a monkey properly posing for us in a tree, we were expecting him to ask us for some money for his magnificent profile!
The valley below is stunning, a wonderful patchwork of strawberry fields, spring onion, and its famous black garlic all surrounded by undulating green
Some of the buildings are epic, amazing colours and quaint little Dutch style wooden and bamboo houses.
We got excited every time we passed a small stall selling strawberries or garlic, the car slowly filling with the fresh smells of fruit and vegetables.
The locals tending to their crops, sorting through strawberries or simply chilling on the side of the road all offered big smiles and friendly waves
as we kept stopping and jumping out to take endless photos, with the obligatory instagram shot of us in the giant strawberry.
We were getting quite peckish by this point (well I was!) so I gently encouraged everyone to stay in the car (by clicking the child lock so no one could
get out) and got a shifty on towards the waterfalls. The drive just kept getting better, the roads were flanked by a plethora of trees, cute little
cashew trees, teak, mahogany, mango, avocado, clove trees, beautiful ferns all creating a shaded tunnel on the roads. Monkeys were everywhere
and they all looked very healthy and happy munching on all the goodness around them.
The journey up there would be a pretty satisfying trip in itself but for us, it was just the start, we still had the waterfall to go! We finally arrived
and decided to enjoy a yummy lunch at the restaurant just by the entrance to give us the energy for the big trek. The views from the restaurant were
mind blowing, 360 degrees of sheer beauty, all the best bits of nature rolled into one view, waterfalls, forests, green hills, valleys, and in the
distance, the blueness of the ocean. Sigh.
With full tummies and feeling slightly rested, we were ready for our waterfall adventure. We were pleasantly surprised by how affordable the entrance fee
was (only 10,000 Rp each) and even more pleasantly surprised when we saw the well-built steps that were pretty easy to climb down.
From the advice of our friend, we skipped the first waterfall and went straight to the big boy, cutting right onto the path before we got to Sendang Gile.
The trek was awesome weaving through the jungle pathways listening to the sounds of nature and running water. The air felt fresh and the atmosphere
As we neared the waterfall, we had to venture across the rocks to the other side of the river. It wasn’t deep but some of the rocks were a bit slippy so
we looked like old grandma's helping each other across. This all added to the fun and the coolness of the running water on our feet certainly kept
us away and feeling fresh! It was during one of these moments, clambering across rocks that I looked up and saw the Yiu Kelep waterfall for the first
time, and boy did it take my breath away! Magnificent! The air feels so cool and fresh and the mist from the cascading water floats through the air
gives it a real magical feel.
With one of our group forgetting her swimmers we spent a few minutes working out logistics of which of us had the right type of underwear that could pull
off as being swimmers (I got the short straw). Luckily hardly anyone was around as the three of us clambered (un)gracefully towards the base of the
waterfall. Never in my life have I seen so close up the exhilarating power of Mother Nature, the force of the water falling from such a great height
(45 metres) was immense. We all kind of half screamed / half laughed as we braved the cold water and then turned towards the powerful cascades. After
a few selfies we started to get chilly and headed back towards the rocks to get changed, we got dry and just sat there for a few minutes soaking in
the magic of such special moments. We had plenty of energy to trek back up to the car and all agreed that this is, without a doubt, a trip well worth
Some top tips:
- Enjoy the drive up and take lots of pics!
- Spend some time in the village of Sembalun if you can, strawberry picking looked like fun!
- Take your swimmers!
- Flip flops are OK to use but you would probably be more comfortable with reef boots or slip proof and waterproof shoes
- A guide is useful but not essential
- Avoid dusk because that is when the mosquitos come out
- It is very doable as a day trip from Kuta but if you don’t want a long day it is easy to stay the night near the waterfall