After leaving Ubud, we drove ourselves over to the Jatiluwih rice terraces. Before leaving home, I downloaded the free Openstreet maps for Garmin and loaded them on to our Garmin Nuvi GPS. These are great little maps and can be used for turn by turn navigation. They have most streets on them and those that weren't on were mostly too small for a car anyway. It was really great to just select where we wanted to go to on the GPS and just say take us there and be able to just enjoy the scenery without having to worry about where we were going. This day was great to be out and about driving as well as it was Kuningan, the last day of the festival of the ancestors or something like that. A bit like Christmas with everyone dressed up in their finest and multitudes of extra special offerings everywhere.
Approaching the rice fields area, we almost drove through a toll area without paying, only noticing them at the last minute. Then out to the main viewing area where we stopped at one of the cafes and sipped down one of the nicest iced coffees we have had in Bali while enjoying the views and logging a geocache.
From there, it was on to Munduk. Again we were extremely pleased with our GPS. We had been on back roads for a while and it had been light traffic. When we finally joined up with the main North South road we certainly noticed the busy traffic then. After passing the scenic lake climbing higher still, we reached the turn off to Munduk and followed out along the ridge line, then back down the hill to Munduk village. We had made reservations for 3 nights here at the Karang Sari guest house. Seeing what was on offer on arrival however, we decided to reduce our stay to 2 nights which was much better.
The actual 'town' of Munduk (the 'u' soounds in Munduk are pronounced like the oo sound in wood) isn't really much at all. The usual small little town but with quite a few guesthouses. It is basically strung along the narrow road through town and sloping quite a bit. What makes this town different from most others is that it is on a ridgeline and so has great views down either side. And of course, there are the walks through the hills to the waterfalls.
The Karang Sari was very quaint and had some nice views out the back over the valley. The rooms are very basic and had open slats to the outside although the beds did have mossie nets. Didn't see any mossies while we were there. The have wifi, but this was a bit hit and miss, a bit like the water which sometimes just stopped. The breakfast included was toast and jam and a some fruits, tea and coffee (you could pay for more if you wished). We had lunch here which we found quite average, then went for a walk to the waterfalls. We had been given a map, but the details were still a bit lacking on it.
To get to the lower falls, you turn of the main road in town onto a concrete track that is about 15-20m up the hill on the left from the statue of the soldier in his helmet also holding a Hoe. You follow this around for a ways before you find a track that branches off to the left with a half to one meter bit of concrete curving around. THis IS NOT THE PATH YOU TAKE. Continue on to the next main track to the left with concrete that you take. As this track goes down the hill a bit, you will come to a track to the right that has 2 or 3 tall stone shrines just down the hill on the left. This track will then take you to the lower falls that are pretty cool. After this we decided to just return to the guest house as we were a bit pooped. All up, that was a 4.5km walk. We had another ordinary meal at Karang Sari before calling it a night. For such a small little place, the traffic was much busier than we had expected.
The next day we back tracked around to the Botanical Gardens as we wanted to have a go at the Tree tops adventure course that is in there. On the way we were forced to drive through a pot hole by an oncoming car (they don't like staying on their own side of the road on bends in Bali) and popped our tyre so had to change that out.
We couldn't have planned a worse day for this though. It was a Sunday and the gardens were absolutely packed with locals including some large muslim event. It took a while to find parking. Luckily, the tree tops part was fairly empty so off we went. This is a fun course where you traverse a number of obstacles of increasing complexity and fun strung out along the tree tops. You do a training run first at ground level. You are harnessed up and have two carabeenas and pulley like carabeena. You practice climbing and attaching the safety carrabeenas as directed as well as the pulley for flying foxes. After successfully completing this, we hit the main circuit area. They have 5 or 6 or so circuits from kiddy through to complex. Each circuit had about 8 or so activities (the flying foxes were best). You have 2.5 hours to do what you like there. After only 2 of the circuits, our ams were bushed so we called it quits. Great fun though.
We went to one of the temples in the park (with monkeys scampering around the road up to it), then went on the Tropical Jungle walk, a short but beautiful walking track. Leaving was another major traffic jam and took at least 20 minutes to get back to the main road. We stopped at a stawberry cafe on the way back for a yummy strawberry shake and pancakes, then back towards Munduk. We stopped at the parking area for the upper falls at Munduk and walked to them from there. This was only about a 25 minute round trip from there and not too taxing. The falls were great again and a very nice walk in. Unlike the other falls, these are extremely easy to find. We saw a couple paying a local guide as we started to walk in. They must have been kicking themselves as it is straightforward and well signposted here and a guide is not needed. You do howere need some cash as you have to pay on the path down there (only a small amount 7000-15000 perhaps, can't remember). We then returned to Munduk. For dinner, we tried one of the other guest houses, this time the Gura Ratna Homestay. This is on a bend in the road and has an elevated restaurant area that looks back down the main road and out over the valleys. The view were superb. We also saw that some of the rooms had balconies with even better views that looked fantastic. The food here was also pretty good so if we returned we might like to try for a room here.
We will forever associate the smell of cloves with Munduk. Nearly all the trees you see on the hillsides here are clove trees. They were harvesting the twiggy tips and drying them out along the roadsides while we were there.
Apart from walking to the waterfalls, if you go down the other side of the hill, there are walking trails through rice paddies and up to an old Banyan Tree.
2 nights were definitely enough for us at this time and so the next day we left for our next port of call, Pemuteran.