I never thought I’d say this but you can have your fill of beaches. I’m sure those of you reading this at work, in somewhat of a less tropical environment than me, might just be about ready to punch me. But hear me out.
Beaches are great. In fact I love beaches. The sand between your toes, dips in the ocean and watching the sunset with a cocktail in hand are moments of utter bliss. But five months into my travels and some beaches just don’t seem as appealing anymore. I mean there is only so much sunbathing a girl can do. I know, I know, how first world problems for me.
So eager to venture off my sunbed and see another side to Bali we headed for the remote town of Munduk in the north of Bali. The town, which is set on a ridge running down from the northwestern rim of the Bedugul Caldera is located approximately 800 meters above sea level, giving it a slightly cooler and less humid feel than other parts of Bali, meaning a much welcome break for the blazing sun. And with its magnificent views of the steep valleys leading to rolling distant paddy and spice plantations, Munduk is a truly spectacular scene.
Munduk might be a quiet town, void of bars and beaches but its amazing views of the surrounding landscape and trekking tours more than make up for it. Most of the guesthouses here are able to arrange treks within the local area offering you a personal guided for the day. We opted for the trek that included visits to the Tanah Barak and Melanting waterfalls, which are excellent and really beautiful. The trek is easily accessible for persons of all levels of fitness and can be completed as quickly, or as leisurely as you please. Just spend the day getting back to nature; taking in the sights and sounds of Bali’s countryside, witness coffee plantations and local farmers picking fresh fruit and vegetables along your way. Break a sweat and keep an eye out for creepy crawlies as you listen to the sounds of forest as its comes to life around you.
After a day of exercise your bound to be hungry, but don’t expect to find familiar western fare here, you’re not in Kansas anymore. Eating options in Munduk are mostly confined to what your guesthouse has to offer or the local warungs on the side of the street, making this the perfect place to immerse yourself in the Balinese cuisine. For a plentiful and delicious meal head to Classic Wrung, this tiny family run restaurant overlooking rice fields and the trekking routes, offers up some of the best food in town. The barbequed Balinese chicken and watermelon shake were just what we needed after a hard days trekking.
Munduk is a world away from the bustling seaside towns of Seminyak and Kuta and even tranquil Ubud, but if you’re looking to escape the tourists and get back to nature this is the place for you.
By Sophie Maguire