Our journey to Indonesia ended on a relaxing note at Bali‘s less known sister island, Lombok. With significantly fewer tourists and less commercially developed areas, Lombok offers adventurers a far more peaceful travel experience. Many come here for the idyllic white sandy beaches, clear turquoise water, and a trek to the summit of Mt. Rinjani. However, this glorious island has a well-kept secret for outdoor enthusiasts – the majestic Sendang Gile & Tiu Kelep waterfalls near the foot of Mt. Rinjani, that is worth every step of the way!
Getting to the Waterfalls
Tucked away in Senaru village in the very north of Lombok, these two cascades are about 2.5 hours drive from the capital city, Mataram. To get to the waterfalls, it is highly recommended to hire a private car and driver which costs about IDR 400-600k per day. Of course, you can also rent a scooter and travel there by yourself, but the travel time will be much longer (about ~3-4 hours).
At 8 am, our driver picked us up from our hotel in Mangsit, a town just a little bit north of Mataram. From there, we journeyed through the winding mountain roads with beautiful beach scenery along the coast.
Before we knew it, our car had approached the gate, where an admission (IDR 10,000 pp) is required to enter the waterfalls. We were then dropped off at a local tour agency, which offered an experienced local guide (IDR 250,000)to show us the path to the waterfalls.
Pro tip: If you only want to go to the first waterfall, Sendang Gile, it is not necessary to hire a guide. Getting to the second fall, Tiu Kelep is a bit tricky and requires trekking through the streams, so having a guide would be helpful.
Sendang Gile Waterfall
Starting from the tour agency, we followed the guide down the path and through the jungle. On the way, we strolled past the spectacular views of the rice terraces on the lush green slopes of the volcano. In about 15 mins, the thunderous roar of crashing water reached our ears. Instantly, I knew that Sendang Gile waterfall is near!
We sat quietly beside the cascading water as it filled the air with a cool, purifying freshness. The magnificent sight of water plummeting down the 31-m cliff triggered a sense of awe and respect for the mother nature and reminded us of how powerless we are as a human.
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Tiu Kelep Waterfall
After a short break, it was time to be back on track and venture on to Tiu Kelep waterfall. We climbed up a flight of stairs, crossed a bridge, and rejoined the dirt path. The 45-min journey to the second waterfall took us through a lush forest and across running streams. It could get extremely slippery when stepping on the submerged rocks. Luckily, we had the guide who lent us a helping hand as we trekked through the rivers.
Finally, we had arrived. As soon as I saw the awe-inspiring Tiu Kelep waterfall, the exhausted feeling dissipated. The panoramic view of the gushing water cascading 45 meters down the cliff was simply breathtaking. Despite standing 20 meters away from the waterfall, we could still feel the cold blowing mist attacking us.
The water ran fiercely over moss-covered rocks as I slowly made my way towards the splashing waterfall. With each step I took, I could feel the force of the water became stronger. The spray from the fall kissed on my face and dampened my shirt. At the bottom of this powerful waterfall, I felt so small and the world so big, which I found wonderfully liberating. The only thing I regretted was not bringing a swimsuit and a change of clothes!
On the way back, we walked through the pitch-black irrigation water tunnel, which was made to divert the fresh mountain water to the rice paddies further down the slope of the mountain. It was a shortcut; however, only a small section remained safe to walk through. So for the most part, we followed the same path back.
- Wear adequate footwear: a pair of sturdy, durable sandals is your best choice to walk through the rush of streams. Do not wear flip flops as they might get lost down the river!
- Wear a swimsuit underneath your regular clothes. There is no place for you to change at the waterfalls. So if you’d like to take a plunge into the fresh water pool, put on the swimsuit before you begin the hike.
- Bring a change of clothes. You will get wet for sure (even if you don’t swim) so just prepare some dry clothes if you can.
- Bring insect repellent, a raincoat, water bottles, and a waterproof backpack/bag. These are handy items to have to help you trek through the forest. Some guides might prepare raincoats and water bottles for you. If you do hire a guide, don’t forget to tip them!
The trip to the wondrous Sendang Gile & Tiu Kelep waterfalls was a delightful way to explore Lombok. The spectacular falls had brought us closer to nature and with their company, it was a perfect way to end our time in Indonesia!
If you’re staying in Indonesia a little longer, check out Java and consider taking a hike to its most famous and iconic attraction, Mount Bromo!
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