By Justin Calderón
Aug 25, 2021
INDONESIA WATERFALLS ARE truly a spectacle of the senses, producing sights, sounds and smells so distinctly part of the symphony of Mother Nature.
Nestled in thick oxygen-rich rainforests (so pure that you can feel the fresh air in your lungs) and often surrounded by colossal limestone-pillar backdrops, Indonesia waterfalls are wonders to behold and certainly worth the trek required to reach some of them.
T+L Tip: Going off the beaten track to visit some of these majestic beauties offers the added opportunity to stay at eco-resorts close by, making for an even more immersed experience in all the natural tranquility that Indonesia has to offer.
1. Tumpak Sewu (A Thousand Waterfalls), East Java
Upon viewing the magnificent Tumpak Sewu, which means “A Thousand Waterfalls” in Bahasa Indonesia, it’s easy to understand how it got its name. From a jungle in East Java, multiple 120-meter (393 feet) high streams splash down in a symphony of torrents from the thick verdant forests of Indonesia’s largest island.
The phenomenon of this tiered waterfall creates a natural circular formation that falls into the basin below, where visitors can go in for a swim and be mesmerized at the way the water spills down from far above.
We recommend you start your journey to Tumpak Sewu by driving from Malang in East Java to reach the village of Sidomulyo. Once there, you will find multiple signs that read Tumpak Sewu/Coban Sewu, which will begin your on-foot trek to the waterfall. Your adventure there will have you cross multiple streams, pass through bamboo stairs, and over slippery rocks, so make sure you wear durable and gripped footwear and other appropriate hiking gear.
2. Ponot Waterfall, North Sumatra (The Tallest Of Indonesia Waterfalls)
I saw the tallest waterfall in Indonesia, is what you can tell your friends and family once you encounter the glorious 250-meter (820 feet) tall Ponot Waterfall.
At Ponot in North Sumatra, water flows from the Asahan River and falls down a giant craggy rocky pillar into thickets of trees, producing a sound similar to the soothing tapping of rain.
The cascading steps at the base of Ponot make for pleasant pitter-patter, but it’s the sight of emerald green moss surrounding the limestone that’ll truly transport you into the Indonesian wild.
The Ponot Waterfall is located in Halado village, in the Pintu Pohan Meanti district of Toba Samosir, North Sumatra. It will take you about two to three hours by car from the city of Kisaran to reach the Ponot Waterfall.
3. Sekumpul Waterfall, North Bali
You’ll hear this waterfall before you see it.
Sekumpul’s unique symphonic roar, powered by several gushing cascades, falls high from 80 meters (262 feet) and comes crashing down upon the jutted rocks below. The air here permeates thick vaporous mists, which further immerses visitors in the dense beauty of Bali’s green jungles.
Driving from the tourist hubs of Canggu, Seminyak, Kuta or Ubud, it will take anywhere from 1 to 2½ hours to head toward the northern mountains of Bali to get to the Sekumpul Waterfall. You can either hire a driver for the day (more expensive) or take a scooter (significantly less expensive and more scenic) by yourself.
4. Gitgit Waterfall, North Bali
High up in the mountains of northern Bali at the end of a river stream splashes the 35-meter tall Gitgit. This waterfall is noted for having a small nearby pagoda, where you can get the chance to relax in your swimsuit after having a splash in the falls.
The Balinese jungle in between is now a hub of shops, restrooms and changing facilities, so the visit to this falls is quite convenient compared to the other more remote Indonesian waterfalls on this list.
Your destination is the inland village of Gitgit, located in the Sukasada District. It’s 83 kilometers (52 miles) away from Denpasara’s Ngurah Rai International Airport. Perhaps base yourself in Ubud at a tented luxury resort where hiking is built into the stay experience, and then you can hitch a ride that’ll take under two hours. Once you’re there, a paved footpath and numerous signs will allow you to easily hike for around 10 minutes until you reach the Gitgit Waterfall.
5. Dua Warna, North Sumatra
The legendary Dua Warna Waterfall is located deep in the misty jungles of North Sumatra, through which visitors have to hike to find their mystical destination. “Dua Warna” means two (dua) colors (warna), which the 75-meter (foot) Indonesia waterfall vividly displays through its vibrant cool blue hues and sparkling white/grey streams.
This spectacular effect is created by the mixture of phosphorus and sulphur in the water. Between the two main streams are several mini streams surrounded by a patchwork of green moss that flow into the natural pool formation below.
As far as an Indonesia waterfalls go, this one takes some work to get to. You’ll first need to go to Medan City and then travel by car for about an hour on Pertahanan Patumbak Street. You’ll then arrive at Deli Serdang and head to Bandar Baru Village in the sub-district of Sibolangit, where you’ll begin trekking through the mists of the North Sumatra jungle. The hike begins on a small road that turns into a concrete trail full of scattered rocks and roots. You’ll arrive at two river crossings just before you see Dua Wanra.
6. Nglirip Waterfall, East Java
Nglirip Waterfall drops from coral reefs that are said to be more than a million years old. The limestone colors created from these ancient reefs give off a show of white, light brown, and green that sparkle in the sunset.
According to legend, Nglirip is the name of a princess whose spirit lives in the cave inside the wall of the waterfall; it is said that whoever bathes in this waterfall will find their soulmate soon.
The Nglirip Waterfall is in the small village of Mulyoagung, just south of the city of Tuban in East Java. Tuban is about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Surabaya. Once you’re in Tuban, you’ll head to the small village of Mulyoagung, which is about 36 kilometers (22 miles) away.
7. Curug Citambur Waterfall, West Java
Bursting out of the West Java jungle, the 130-meter-high (426.5 feet) Curug Citambur Waterfall has not one, but three different steps of waterfalls that trail through the misty green landscape.
The first step is 12 meters (39 feet) high, the second is 116 meters (380 feet) high, and the last step is about two meters (6.5 feet) high. This enchanting Indonesia waterfall is especially renowned for its crashing rumbles of cold surging water, which produces a constant thin hazy mist that permeates around the steep cliffs that surround it.
The Curug Citambur Waterfall is located in the south of Cianjur district in West Java. In order to get there, you’ll need to go from Bandung to Soreang, which will take about 35 minutes by car or 1 hour and 25 minutes by bus. From Soreang, you can take a car that will take two hours to get to the parking area of the waterfall. If you need to unwind after a long commute, you can stay over at the FAIZ lodge to unwind, as well as go shopping at the local markets down the road.
8. Kabut Pelangi Waterfall, East Java
Visiting the Kabut Pelangi Waterfall is like having your own personal amphitheater shrouded in the luscious green moss plants of East Java. This 100-meter-high (328 feet) Indonesia waterfall crashes into the pool below, producing a deep acoustic echo by bouncing its thunderous falls off of the various rocks at the base surrounding it.
If you’re lucky, the atmosphere will form a ‘Kabut Pelangi,’ which roughly translates to “waterfall rainbow mist.”
This Indonesia waterfall is about a two-hour drive from Malang in East Java. At the parking lot area of Kabut Pelangi, you’ll then trek on foot for about 25 minutes until you reach the falls.
9. Mursala Waterfall, North Sumatra
Alerting all movie buffs: the Mursala Waterfall was part of the filming location for Peter Jackson’s 2005 film King Kong.
Hollywood has a good eye for identifying the most stunning displays of nature on Earth, and Jackson’s decision to shoot at one of the most unique Indonesia waterfalls — the one that drips from the top of the Mursala island directly into the Indian Ocean proved this.
White-sand beaches also surround this area, giving visitors the chance to explore the island further, chill on the beach, and sink their feet into the sand.
From Medan, the capital of North Sumatra, you’ll head west toward the town of Sibolga which will take eight hours by car. From Sibolga, you’ll head either to Pandan Beach or Bosur Beach and then need to hire a speed boat that will take about one hour.
10. Banyumala Waterfall, North Bali
Deep in the mountains of Bali and framed by a scenic jungle backdrop, the Banyumala Waterfall is famed for its multiple streams, which drizzle into a natural pool below that visitors can swim in.
Banyumala is probably the most calming waterfall on this list, yet it’s equally as beautiful, evoking more of a serene and relaxed feeling. It’s often overlooked by tourists, so if you visit, you may get the chance to experience it in complete solitude.
The Banyumala Waterfall is possibly one of the easiest Indonesia waterfalls to get to. Starting in wellness capital Ubud or surf-haven Canggu, you’ll travel two hours by car. Then you’ll venture on the road from Bedugul, passing the otherworldly Handara Gate Bali and Wanagiri Hidden Hills, which has a famous Instagrammable swing. Once parked, you’ll walk 20 minutes down a trail of various bamboo stairs and be navigated by clear signs.