[BALI] Tegenungan Waterfall, Gianyar - Locals Fall for This

Tegenungan Waterfall.

After a decade full of coming back and forth to the island, with "lots" of consideration in recent years thanks to the rising hype, I finally decided that I'd start visiting waterfalls in Bali.

What took me so long? Well, mainly, because most of Bali's waterfalls are located in the island center, far from my usual Canggu or Seminyak basecamp. It takes time to go north to see this part of nature I wasn't sure yet if I'd enjoy, rather than go south to the obvious cobalt-blue magnificent ocean which I knew I love so much so... no wonder I barely found my willingness to start eh?

This time was different. I'd stay longer in Bali, and I was headquartered a little bit up north too so, I felt like it was about time for me to start a new habit for my Bali visit. And so I opted to visit Tegenungan and Sumampan Waterfalls, both in Gianyar regency, and located only around 3 km from each other which was perfect to be visited in one trip (one long ass trip, to be honest, because it was around 27 km from my lodge). Without knowing which one was better or easier to access, I chose to visit Tegenungan first. With no expectations at all because this was my very first waterfall visit in Bali.

The trip from Canggu was okay, because I left a bit early (around 7). It took an hour or so, passing through Denpasar and entering Gianyar area which was surprisingly pleasant with lots of greeneries and local traditional houses. The journey also brought me back to Sukawati, a district in Gianyar known for its art market, which I haven't seen since 2007. Don't ask me more about the route because I just followed what Google Maps recommended, and reaching the destination, signs and directions of Tegenungan Waterfall started appearing often.

A spacious parking lot was the first one welcoming me, giving me an instant understanding that Tegenungan is one of those more touristy spot. Luckily it was empty, giving me an instant assurance that I wouldn't have to freak out for big crowds at Tegenungan down there (at least for now, because it was still early -- only God knows what would happen later on). After paying the entrance fee at the small post not so far from the parking lot, an entrance full of small restaurants and public toilets would be there to lead you to the first look of Tegenungan Waterfall.

Tegenungan from above. A bit sad that it's getting commercialized...

Just looking at Tegenungan from above, massive and almighty down there, refreshed me already. It was a new greenery touch I never got in Bali (usually it comes from rice paddies) where mostly it's always ocean blue. I myself don't really visit waterfalls that much in general, so looking at this new portrayal of nature somewhat awed me. One thing not so tempting from this view was the fact that there were a construction of something down there, perhaps a lodge or a restaurant, which means that Tegenungan Waterfall is getting more and more popular and will be even more commercialized anytime soon. So it's your sign to visit the falls now!

Instagram spots to attract Tegunungan visitors.
Steps leading to the river.

To reach the falls, you need to go down a set of (hundreds of) stairs. Don't worry about climbing it down, because the view would make you not realize that oh, we're down already!? Along the way down you'd spot some installations and platforms with Tegenungan on the back for photo ops (now you can get a full picture of what type of visitors come here, right?). At the base of the stairs you'd be greeted by the river with some pavilions for they who'd want to rest a bit before proceeding to the giant falls and, this is my favorite part actually, there's also this small fountain cove with rich Hinduism stone walls and architecture.

The small (sacred?) cove pool.

This fountain area looks so inviting, with some showers coming out of several holes, and vibrant blue color (I'm not sure if it's the water itself or the tiles of the pool) contrasting against the antic moss-covered gray blocks. By the time I entered the area no one was inside, whilst the pavilions were fully occupied, making me a bit hesitant to go in. You know, Bali is a sacred place and it's highly possible that the fountain area was also of those sacred elements to the falls people can't just go and mess around in. However, by the time I was done with Tegenungan, on my way back up to the parking lot, the cove was instead full of local kids leaping and diving. But still I was hesitant to go in and join them because, hey, who am I acting as if I was welcomed!? The point is, I didn't go in at all to the fountain pool, and up until this second I still regret that decision for not coming into the pool at the first sight.

Pavilion areas along Tegunungan pathway.

The river as the extension of Tegenungan Waterfall.

Now back to Tegenungan. The walk to the main pool of the fall was not so far from the pavilion area, and every step you took across that riverside path was really, really amazing. The sound of the falling water, the breeze that hits you with soft, refreshing droplets of the falls, the sound of nature completing all those incredible atmosphere -- AMAZING! There was this small wooden platform attached on a tree, again, for photo ops, that I climbed to just sit there for a while, staring at Tegenungan, doing nothing.

But of course you could do more than nothing! Photography is definitely the most favorite thing every visitors would do. If you Google Tegenungan you'd definitely find those Insta-quality pictures from influencers and celebrities. Too bad I don't have skills of that level to produce such aesthetic photo contents but hey, we're not here for that! The beauty of Tegenungan will always be seen in any kind of photo outputs. And if you feel like it doesn't come out from yours, who cares? The main thing is that we've seen it with our own eyes, pure and unflawed by the technology.

Oh this view...

Sightseeing is the next best thing to do, and honestly, this was my favorite part. Because I did that already even before I climbed down the stairs. At the main pool area itself, there are so many spots you could choose to just stand or sit to stare at Tegenungan Waterfall. There are boulders here and there, pavements just by the outer ring of the pool, even actual wooden seats at nearby warung (traditional food stall). If you want to be even up close and personal with the falls, there is this wooden bridge connecting the pathway with the center pebble islet of the pool, where you would only be just, I don't know, perhaps ten meters away from the falls? Yes, crazy amazing.

Tegenungan Waterfall just before everyone arrives...

The bamboo bridge on the outer ring pool connecting the pathway to the area where the warung is.
There's a staircase leading somewhere I don't know where most visitors came from.

Swimming is also doable, and could easily be my favorite part here in Tegenungan if only I could swim about everywhere. By the time I was there, the the falling water of Tegenungan was huge and strong, so obviously, swimming on the main pool was not a wise option. The current of the pool was also harsh, rushing immediately into the river after falling from the cliff above. And there were rocks too, so, in short, it wouldn't be a nice swimming experience. However, luckily to me, the second pool just after the bridges and pathways for walkers was of a decent current (though still strong) so I could at least dip myself in the fresh waters of Tegenungan. Speaking of water, I think it's worth mentioning that Tegenungan does not  have that kind of pristine clear water where you could see what's underneath the surface. So manage your expectation for this one!

Other view of Tegunungan Waterfall.

And then, there's me!

You might want to visit Tegenungan Waterfall really early in the morning, perhaps leave your place just after the sun rises. This is so you could plan to visit multiple waterfalls in Gianyar in just a day. If you really have the time, you could visit up to three falls let's say, Tegenungan, Sumampan, and Kanto Lampo.

Reason number two is because the later you arrive, the bigger your chance to bump into larger crowds. As I mentioned before, this particular waterfall is more touristy and popular to locals as well, given the fact that the access here is really convenient. It happened to me, though! I arrived with only a few people by the fall pool -- the bridge connecting the pathway to the central islet was not even there yet! As the day went by, more and more people, even in groups, came to Tegenungan and to be honest, I kinda lost the "AMAZING" nature feeling I got earlier. So really, come early!


Address: Jl. Ir. Sutami, Kemenuh, Kec. Sukawati, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali
Entrance fee: Rp20.000 ($1.40)