People tend to equate tourism in the northern part of Bali to a visit to Lovina Beach. However, in addition to the dolphin shows found in Lovina, there are other, attractive, tourist attractions, such as waterfalls. Buleleng may be called a paradise for waterfalls.
The deep inlets of the forests within this District, which covers an area of 1,300 square kilometres, are littered with waterfalls. Some of these sites attract many visitors, while others remain untouched because they are difficult to reach.
On my way to the village of Sekumpul, on a bend in the road, I caught a glimpse of a waterfall in the distance. A woman carrying firewood, who happened to be passing by, told me its name—Lemukih Waterfall. I parked my motorbike on the side of the street and walked 200 metres along a footpath that wound its way along beside a river. The pretty little waterfall has three streams. The one on the right was about four metres high while the other two were so short that they looked more like rapids. What was unique was that the waters of these two streams trace back to a spring in a cave and not the river. At the foot of Lemukih was a big wide pool that would entice anyone to plunge in.
Lemukih is an example of a waterfall that seldom sees visitors because of a lack of publicity and supporting facilities. There weren’t any signs to guide visitors. When I was there, it was deserted and quiet even though it was Saturday, the day when visitors flock the tourist attractions in Bali. I continued on my journey to find the waterfall in Sekumpul village. I have wanted to see it for a long time. Pictures of this waterfall, one of the main tourist attractions in Buleleng, Some people call it the most gorgeous waterfall in Bali.
After driving for about another two kilometers, I found a signpost that said “Welcome to Sekumpul Waterfall” at the mouth of a dirt road. I followed it for what seemed like forever, only to realize that the sign had been a fake in the end. Fortunately, I met several kind women who showed me the way to the waterfall. It is definitely more helpful to ask locals than relying on street signs or brochures when you are trying to find specific locations in remote areas.
I turned back and found another sign that said “Waterfall” at the roadside. This time it was the right one. I drove along an undulating village lane that twisted and turned for about one kilometer and, finally, arrived at the parking lot near Sekumpul Waterfall. The price of admission was IDR 2,000 per person (IDR 5,000 for foreign visitors). I continued my expedition on foot along a slippery cement path that was overgrown with green moss.
Then, I had to descend hundreds of steps hemmed in by many shady trees before crossing a river with brown coloured water. After a while, the cemented road was replaced by a dirt road. A bale bengong (gazebo) standing on the roadside served as a vantage point that offers amazing views of the waterfall from a distance. It turned out there was more than one waterfall, each separated by a series of dense jungle. This phenomenon inspired the name Sekumpul Waterfall (“Group of Waterfalls”).
I was mesmerized. Now I understood why people considered this to be the most beautiful waterfall in Bali. Out of the seven waterfalls here, I only had time to visit two. They were close to each other but each had different water sources. The waterfall on the left came from a spring, while the one on the right, which was higher up, came from the river. This is why the one on the right turns dirty brown while its neighbor remains clear during the rainy season.
In order to reach Sekumpul waterfall, I had to descend hundreds of steps down a steep slope. Then, I had to cross a river whose water was thigh high. Shorts and mountain sandals are the wise choice of outfit for a challenge like this. When I eventually arrived at the foot of the waterfall, it felt like every drop of sweat was paid back in full. In front of me, the majestic waterfall tumbled 80 meters, tirelessly pouring countless gallons of water every second.
It crashed down violently onto the rocks with a rumbling sound that subverted the serenity of the green forest. Sitting in front of such grandeur of nature make humans seem small and meaningless. A group of people seemed to be enjoying the cool water at the foot of the waterfall. Although located deep in the interior, Sekumpul is fairly well known. On weekends and during holidays its plunge pool turns into a public swimming pool.
We should commend the efforts of the local community and the visitors to keep the beauty of this place intact. Moreover, there were no buildings or litter in the vicinity of the waterfall. I was fascinated by the glory of Sekumpul. Although the water plummets in the same way without pause, a waterfall is never boring to behold. It felt like watching a favorite movie, over and over. A pleasing repetition.