Bali: Hidden Gems
“Life keeps leading us on journeys we would never go on if it were up to us.”
No matter where you are now, do this. Close your eyes and imagine sitting on top of a rock surrounded by lush greenery, listening to the pounding of a fierce waterfall only inches away from you and soaking in the water-laden breeze.
This is what dreams are made of.
And life took us there. No, actually Hari did. Life just played along.
On Day 2 of our Bali trip, we realized that this island is way more than beaches and brew. So, we chased a waterfall instead.
Turns out, in the heart of Bali, lies a raw, breathing jungle. And nowhere is this more evident than in the island’s magical waterfalls.
Bali waterfalls are best experienced during the wet season. And we were just in time. The mid of January receives approximately 90 mm of rainfall but it’s pretty much sunny for a good part of the day.
So, on a sunny morning like this, we hopped on to the backseat of Hari’s car and travelled almost 80 kilometres to one of the hidden gems of Bali – Gitgit waterfall.
Not so hidden anymore, but the place and time were ideal enough for us to have the waterfall to ourselves in its entirety for the time we stayed there. How? I’ll break that down for you.
Gitgit is a 3-tier waterfall. First, is the more popular Twin Falls which comprises two adjoining waterfalls. The second is the continuation of the Twin waterfall and is steeper. The water comes from the Twin-Falls watershed. And the third is called Waterfall Story. It is located under a bridge and is covered by trees making it inaccessible.
Hari, being the expert guide that he is, took us to the second one since it’s less crowded and more virgin and beautiful than the popular Twin Falls. The second waterfall is a 10-minute hike from the parking spot and the trail winds over small gorges, streams, rocks, boardwalks and forests with the exquisite view of mountains, lush greenery and beautiful flowers growing around you.
We were mesmerized by the trail and kept taking pictures along the way. And suddenly, there she was! Like a dream – wild and free, splashing and roaring. Bold and powerful like the song of the hills, she stood tall in a white cloak of pride – Gitgit welcomed us to revel in her beauty with open arms.
I looked up in awe. A rainforest has grown around her with a tranquility that whispers through their roots and leaves. Big rocks surrounding her has grown rugs of moss over them. There are caves about her that are filled to the brim with silent mysteries. All you can hear here is the roar of the waterfall. She is the water from the Gods that have blessed Bali and you’ve got to respect her.
This place would fill your heart with strength and courage. It would sing to you heroic tales of the time gone by. It would beckon you close till you give in. As I sat on the big rock, I could taste the waterfall breeze. I could feel my heart racing at her might. I didn’t realize that it had started raining. I sat there and absorbed it all in – soaking in the spirit and the grit. I’ve never felt more awake before.
A quick swim in the water can cleanse your soul of all that is futile and energize your mind and body. Pure like the sun, Gitgit will have you leave feeling refreshed and inspired.
Just like Gitgit, Bali gifted us another extraordinary experience that had us reeling with joy. Let me present to you the second secret gem with a bit of preface.
We are constantly seeking quiet, undiscovered places that calm our souls even on our trips abroad. And we do our homework well before going on any trip. On one such research, Tathagata came across the Green Bowl beach in Bali that we planned to squeeze into our itinerary. So, we asked Hari about this beach and surprisingly the answer came, “Where is that?” That’s when we flashed our evil smile at each other: “We did well!”
Turns out, Green Bowl is one of the most secluded beaches in the southern coastline of Bali. This pristine beach sits at the base of a verdant cliff next to a small village, Ungasan. This sparkling, isolated gem is veiled by a hill and tall trees and can be accessed by climbing down a steep staircase of well over 300 steps.
The hike down this densely forested descent was a bit daunting. But soon we saw why it was worth it. Green Bowl is a small splotch of glistening white sand, not more than 50 metres long and waves and waves of crystal clear deep turquoise water as far as your eyes can see. It was uncrowded with only a handful of surfers and sunbathers here and there. The beach is home to some massive naturally-formed limestone caves which enclose small rock shrines.
We looked at this tiny slice of heaven in disbelief! Bali has so many secrets up its sleeve. All you need to do is look carefully and this paradise would reward you with unforgettable memories to take home.
Green Bowl has to be one of the best beaches in Bali. The sand is crisp, the water is incredibly clear and the isolation adds to its serenity. It’s a secret worth keeping. And Bali knows how to veil its best kept secrets. Come high tide in the evening, and this beach gets flooded up to the cliff’s rock face and even the caves.
As we sat there, we watched the sun journeying to its descent and the water level rising slowly. We lingered a while on the rocks for some time when the waves came crashing signalling us to leave. It was time. We had to respect that and we slowly made our way up to the parking area.
The ascent was pretty demanding and had us stop to catch our breath every now and then. But the view from the top more than made up for it. We watched the sunset while sipping on sweet coconut water.
Bali had cast a spell on us. Paradise-like beaches, a jaw-dropping waterfall, sunshine and rain, palm trees, temples on the sea, stretches of lush greens, stories of the people, the captivating art and culture, getting lost in bewitching paintings and gorging on mouth-watering local delicacies – Bali has a magic word for everybody. It is in this island that I realized that the world will always make way for you. You just have to open your mind to it.
“Because when you stop and look around, life is pretty amazing.”
More on Bali here – Bali: Culinary Ecstasy
CARMEN | Wellington World Travels
This is truly a gem. Even I was mesmerized by your pictures. The views are breathtaking. I have been to Bali, but never been to this area. You guys are lucky to be able to experience this.
Bali has been an experience of a lifetime. This paradise of an island has so much to offer if you are willing to look for it. I’m sure your experience of Bali has been delightful too.
waterfall, cave, beaches and what not!! Bali is surely a paradise and I want to visit.
Bali really is an amazing place. Plan a trip to this paradise and you wouldn’t want to return.
Oh.so happy to find your article. I m.going to bali this may with my brother. Thank you for inspiration. I can feel your love reading this text
Wow! I’m so excited that you are going to Bali. I can only imagine the fun you are going to be have there! Can’t wait to learn about your experiences. Happy travel!
Nice reading about Bali and your experience. I never get tired about reading this place with so many new things I learn each time from each traveller.
No matter how much I say about Bali, it isn’t enough. You’d be amazed at the marvels that this island is home to. I’m sure you’ll love it if you plan to travel there one day.
I think the more you visit a place the more you’ll find different spots that you didn’t discover the first time. My first time visiting Bali was okay-ish, but revisiting Bali after 5 years made me choose different, more remote locations. That said: Gitgit was not on my Bucketlist these times… But reading this post – Well, maybe on the 3rd visit? Who knows?
You’re so right Mario. I have a few places in mind that I would add to my itinerary the next time I visit Bali. If you do plan that third trip to Bali, I’m sure you’re going to love Gitgit.