Nungnung Waterfall definitely ranks in Bali’s top ten in this writer’s humble opinion. It’s probably only due to its relatively “middle of nowhere” location 35kms north of Ubud that’s it’s not more widely known.
Situated in a deep ravine, the trek to the base of the falls is a bit of a workout starting with 509 stairs before crossing a bridge over the river then tracing the watercourse along a slippery and sometimes muddy track. The stairs are quite steep in sections with high steps so even holding on to the handrail (only part of the way) it can be jarring on the knees going down and thigh-burning, lung-busting on the way back up. Definitely only one for those of at least moderate fitness. There is a nice view of the falls from the top of the ridge before you head down into the ravine so you can always opt out here.
As you reach the bottom of the ravine, you’ll hear the thundering roar of Nungnung’s 100m cascade and feel the cool misty air seeping up the ravine long before you set eyes on this impressive waterfall. Surprisingly for such a big waterfall, the plunge pool isn’t particularly deep but you can certainly enjoy a nice refreshing swim before you tackle to climb out, although the force of the water immediately after the wet season may be too powerful. Conversely, late in the dry season the cascade can slow to a trickle.
Nungnung Waterfall is located, surprisingly, just outside Nungnung village in the Plaga district, north central Bali. From Ubud head west then north, following Jl. I.GST. NGR Rai and Jl. Raya Pura Pucak Mangu north to Plaga village. At the 34km mark, about 8km south of Plaga, you’ll reach Nungnung village. Keep an eye out for the sign posted turnoff the Nungnung Waterfall. The sign is on the left but you need to turn right. From there is only 700m to the carpark. You’ll need to pay 10.000Rp admission fee but there’s definitely no need for a guide. Leave the flip flops at home – you’ll need footwear with more grip for this one.