Bali - Munduk (You'll never leave)

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October 18th 2016
Published: October 18th 2016
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Suzanne here...


Our Bali trip so far had been fine. I don't think we gave Kuta a fair chance, but unless you are in a posh resort I think it can get a bit much, and we'd never planned to stick around. Ubud was better, if still very touristy. But the paddy field walk and cafe were a joy. Still, David was getting a bit weary of the heat, so we decided to escape to the hills of Munduk for cooler climes.

We couldn't find much info online about transport so had planned to get a bus to Bendegul. Then at the last minute David spotted a door to door trip for IDR 160k (£10) each. Possibly a tad more expensive but much easier. So we booked it and the next morning hopped into an air-conditioned van, with a few other folk all going to Lovina. The journey took about two hours, getting higher and higher which pleased David.

A few minutes before we arrived in Munduk it started to rain. We pulled up in front of our accomodation just as it was bucketing it down. Cue a mad dash inside with staff rushing to meet us with umbrellas. It was cooler though! We'd picked the Taman Ayu Homestay, which proved an excellent choice. Friendly, and a decent room and large balcony with stunning views. Sitting on our balcony watching the rain was actually very pleasant, especially as a nice man brought us some coffee.

Once the rain had stopped we decided to explore the town. We passed a handful of warung's (small family owned resturants) and shops on the way and kept on walking... and walking. Nothing. Ah, the handful of warung's and shops WERE the town! Oh well, we knew it was quiet. Plus the advantage here is the total lack of touts hard-selling. Not one single offer of a massage or taxi. On the way back we grabbed a couple of Bintang's and enjoyed our lovely, and cool, balcony.

Dinner that night was at the tiny Warung Classic. Basically a wooden viewing platform (more amazing views) with six tables and a tiny kitchen were two ladies do the cooking. We were the only customers and had lovely home-cooked Balinese meal. I was especially pleased to see the bats flying around us (I love bats). More relaxing on our balcony followed. It's still hot here if you exert yourself at all but you don't break into a sweat just sitting still, which is a welcome change.

Over a nice breakfast on the homestay terrace (have I mentioned the views?) the next day David decided he'd like us to extend our stay from two nights to three. It's relaxing and cool with no hassle whatsoever. After a busy start so far I could see the attraction too. We informed the staff who agreed, although I wasn't convinced we'd sucessfully got the message across.

The main thing to do in Munduk is to trek to the waterfall, so that is what we did. The hotel map was rubbish and the directions I found on Travelfish annoyingly written and totally useless in practice. My advice is this, take the trail begining at Taman Ayu and just stick to whatever seems like the most walked path. Sometimes it will go uphill, sometimes down. Sometimes it will be paved other times dirt. Sometimes a less trodden path looks a more logical route, but just persevere with the main track (I say main, it sometimes gets very thin but it still always the more obvious) and you'll get there.

Actually we did go wrong right at the start and ended up in a random forest area. Realising our mistake we were heading back up when David suddenly whipped down his trousers. This took me somewhat by suprise I'll admit. He's generally pretty good about keeping his trousers on in public. All became clear when I saw a huge red ant on his leg which was obviously chomping away. Ouch.

Anyway, we finally reached the waterfall (had to pay IDR 10k each) and decended the massive amount of steps, all the while thinking that we'd have to climb back up them. Worth it though. The waterfall was lovely and we lingered for a while enjoying it, and the coolness it created. It was time to head back. I wanted to know how many (huge) steps there were but was too lazy to count them, so David did it for me (I know, I don't deserve this guy). There were 448 in total. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't have to stop for a breather now and then. We made it, feeling hot. Good excuse for another balcony beer!

Back at our homestay it became clear that the message about staying on the following day had been lost in translation, and there was another booking for our room. They did offer us an alternative room though, which we decided to take

Now to a slight problem with Munduk. Having little in the way of tourists and touts is great, but the trade-off is the lack of facilities. There is no bus station, and no practical way of moving on (save hitchhiking or a single rumoured 6am bemo) other than taxi. We felt a bit stranded, although of course we weren't really. We wanted to go to Amed, which would cost IDR 600 (£38). We are not on a two week holiday, and our savings do have to last the year. The nearest major place (bar Bedugul) is Lovina, which we'd more or less decided to skip. The main reason for going is to join dozens of other boats to chase dolphins around, which seems a bit mean. We knew there was an Ubud-Lovina service via Munduk as we'd caught it in, but we had no way of contacting them. Google maps claimed it was five hour walk. Could we.....? We've often done much longer walks at home. Then again, it's not 30+ degrees at home. Stupid idea. A taxi there would cost IDR 250k (£16). We decided to have dinner and mull it over.

That night we ate at Warung Heaven. Same set up as the previous night, with one guy doing the cooking. He gives you a pack of cards as it is just him, cooking to order. A great idea which kept us busy. We also tried an arak cocktail, pretty tasty. The food was nice, but Classic were deemed the winners by us both.

On our final day we had a bit of a lie-in and a leisurely breakfast. The whole point of the extra day was as a relaxing day, so it was all rather lazy. As we'd been warned we did have to move rooms. The new room itself was good but if I was going to be fussy I'd say the balcony was slightly narrower, the chairs not quite as comfortable, and the view not quite as stunning. I am nitpicking a bit, and it was totally fine. We popped out to pick up some soft drinks and snacks. We also booked the taxi to Lovina. Although we realise that a taxi to Lovina and then onward transport from Lovina to Amed is going to cost the same in the end as just forking out for a taxi straight to Amed, at least we're seeing another place. It's door to door and we could choose the time. As Lovina was not high on my must see list (and is allegedly very touty) I spent an extra few quid on booking what looks like a nice room, with a patio. The hotel has a pool too. Fingers crossed it's a wise choice.

Our lazy day seemed to pass very quickly and it was soon dinner time. We headed for Warung Panorama on the main road, first passing by a few meters further down the road to a tree by a streetlight where lots of bats were swooping around and landing in the tree. It was great to see them so close. Back to Panorama which was empty but began to fill up almost as soon as we sat down. As the last two warung's had been empty you'd think this was a good sign but I guess it was just due to the main road location as the food was in fact very poor. Disapointing. Oh well, we consoled ourselves with a couple of balcony beers and some heavy metal!

We were sad to leave Munduk. We had one last chance to enjoy the stunning view over breakfast then it was time to pack up and our taxi arrived.

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