Misty, moody and mountainous, Munduk in northern Bali is the perfect place to retreat from the modern world and soak up the local culture. With a cooler climate, those who enjoy hiking and trekking will love the chance to get out and about in this incredible scenery of bright green jungle, tumbling waterfalls, glistening rice fields and spice-scented plantations.
There is a timeless feel to Munduk, where village life seems to carry on as it has for generations. Sitting high up in the mountains, the village can be found running along an escarpment adjacent to the northwestern rim of the Bedugul caldera, on the road between Bedugul and Seririt on Bali’s north coast. The ridge falls dramatically into the valleys on either side of the village creating magnificent views of the rice fields and spice plantations below.
This altitude gives Munduk a cool and misty vibe and the village was a popular place for Dutch colonists to escape the heat of their capital city, Singaraja. During the early years of the 20th century, they built guest houses here and you can still see remnants of this colonial architecture throughout the region. Some have been converted into guesthouses and make a charming base from which to explore the spectacular scenery. The Dutch also created many of the clove, vanilla, cocoa and coffee plantations which still cover the hillsides, gently perfuming the air.
We think the cooler air here makes trekking and cycling a real pleasure. There’s lots to see as you trek through rice fields, mountain streams, small villages, shrines, fruit trees and plantations, while discovering the waterfalls that this area is famed for. Guided treks are readily available, although it is possible to trek independently too. We’d recommend a visit to the thunderous Munduk Waterfall which has a 20-metre drop of tumbling water, nestled amid the clove and cocoa trees, along with a visit to the famous 17th century temple complex, Pura Ulun Danu on the shores of Lake Beratan. This iconic temple was built on a piece of protruding rock over the water, so when the water level is high during the rainy season, it appears to be floating on the lake.
Munduk is a great choice for living like a local. You will wake to the sounds of the roosters and dogs, impatient for the day to begin. Trek early or late for the best of the weather, hang out in the village watching the men harvesting coconuts up in the trees, play football with the local kids, eat from the local warungs, drink excellent fresh coffee and take in those incredible views.