I have been obsessed with waterfalls for as long as I can remember. I could stare at pictures and videos of them for hours, they really are one of my favourite things in nature. Yet, I have to admit, I had never actually visited a proper one! Therefore, this was something which I knew I had to change imminently.
Nathan and I came to the conclusion that we wanted to visit Tegenungan Waterfall as it looked particularly stunning, and- as it is in a fairly isolated part of Bali- we decided to hire a driver for a day trip. After speaking to a few street vendors for quotes, we met one man who we both entirely clicked with right away- he was funny, charismatic and native to Ubud so highly knowledgable. He recommended that we also included a trip to the Rice Fields (which we were planning on visiting anyway) and to The Holy Spring Water Temple which is a Hindu Temple, known to the Balinese as Tirta Empul.
The next day he picked us up nice and early and we headed for the much-anticipated waterfall, which was about a 20 minute car journey from central Ubud. On the way, our driver (Wayun) told us such fascinating stories about how different, in his opinion, Bali is to the rest of Indonesia and how strong and independent it is in its laws and its predominantly Hindu ways. He could not have been a more riveting storyteller, and although his English was not fluent, we were both enthralled.
When we arrived, we paid less than £2 each in Indonesian Rupiah to enter a small village with a few local-run shops. We walked through the village and at the other end were greeted with a billion steps. We walked down them for an eternity, but when we reached the bottom it was entirely worthwhile- the waterfall was more pretty than I had even anticipated. Tegenungan Waterfall is particularly great as it is full of clear fresh water and you are able to swim right in it. As we stripped down to our swimming stuff (well-prepared as always) we waded into the water and I literally felt like I was in some sort of perfect Disney film scene.
I must have stood for about ten minutes just gawping at it in awe. When Nathan could finally drag my eyes away for 5 seconds, we decided to climb the (smallish) cliff to see it from the top. The views from up there were stunning and as the sun beat down on us, I honestly felt that I was living in the most perfect moment.
I could have stayed for days, but after a little while we trudged back up the billion stairs and headed back to the car to journey to the Rice Fields- an iconic Ubud attraction.
After about forty minutes of more hilarious and fascinating stories from Wayun, we were left to explore the Rice Fields. By this point, I felt like my eyes were completely overwhelmed with incredible sights and yet there was even more to come. The Rice Fields are absolutely stunning and so very different to anything else I have ever seen. We did some exploring and the only thing that could have made the scene more perfect was if I hadn’t have accidentally stepped into a rice paddy in my favourite new trainers.
After a minor tantrum about my trainers from me we returned to the car ready for our final destination- The Holy Spring Water Temple (or Tirta Empul).
We were very lucky that our visit coincided with the three day Hindu festival of Galungan- a celebration to mark the time when the ancestral spirits visit the earth and the triumph of good over evil. Therefore, not only was the temple a work of absolutely beautiful architecture, but there was an ongoing ceremony taking place and- as our driver pointed it- we really got to experience the true spirit of the Balinese. The temple is renowned in Bali for having natural spring water, which is believed by the Hindu’s to be Holy. Hundreds of people were joyfully walking through the water to spiritually cleanse themselves and it was lovely to see and walk alongside the locals at such an exciting and happy time for them.
As we drove away from the temple, our car was stopped to allow a procession on their way to the temple to pass. As the procession marched along- playing their traditional Balinese music- we watched in amazement and felt so grateful to our driver for letting us witness such incredible sights and telling us such fascinating stories about life in Bali.
By the end of the day- we were both exhausted but even more enamoured with Bali than before. All three of these places were incredible and unmissable if you are around Ubud. I would also definitely recommend hiring a private driver as their rates are very cheap compared to the UK and having a local guide to show you around is priceless as our driver proved with his vast knowledge and brilliant anecdotes about his own life, his wife, and his family.