The other morning I was picking the brain of a friend about hikes off the beaten path suitable for young kids and completely unrelated, she dropped this gem into the conversation. We had nothing planned that afternoon so I chucked the kids in the car and went to look for it…we found it. We also found ourselves slap bang in the middle of a full moon ceremony! Let me start at the beginning….
Taman Beji Griya is located in Desa Punggul, a little shy of an hours car ride north from Sanur. Google maps took me almost right to it but when I entered the village I saw a sign for Taman Beji Griya Waterfall and promptly parked beside another car on the side of the road. After 20 mins walking with the kids on a paved path above padi fields (and negotiating our way through a bit of jungle on a vaguely there trail to get around the bit of the path that had been swept away!) we arrived at a car park and trail head for the waterfall. Oops. My bad. But the additional walk was spectacular – no regrets!
In Bali, you have to pay a small to fee access a lot of the waterfalls. Its usually pennies, about 20-50k but the villages need the cash and use it to keep the paths clean and in some places, build infrastructure to make access easier and safer for tourists. Some of the lesser known spots are still wild and free but Beji Griya, you have to pay. So anyways, we arrive at the trailhead to the waterfall and there are easily 200 or so Balinese beautifully dressed in their ceremonial sarongs, men in white shirts and ladies in white lace. Shit. I forgot. Its the full moon. In fact, that day it was a super moon lunar eclipse. Maaaaaaaasssssive deal here! We were greeted in Balinese “Om swastiastu” and I sheepishly asked if we could visit the waterfall when the ceremony was done. But the man said I didn’t have to wait, we were welcome to go down into the canyon while everything was in progress. I just had to wear a sarong and pay to enter. I’m not sure how much it was – 20k maybe – I wasn’t paying attention when he slipped my change into my hand. I was too busy hoisting Eia in the hiking carrier further up my shoulders off my hips to make way for the ladies arms that were wrapping a sarong around my sweaty waist 😀
We went down some stone steps and came to an open ceremonial area full of worshippers – some milling about soaking wet, some queuing in waist deep water to pray at the fountain. I felt like we were intruding a bit but the Balinese are so welcoming, ADORE kids (especially when I tell them our kids are part Indonesian) and were super eager to share this with us so we carried on down the steps into the canyon! Where we joined another queue of people adding offerings to a growing pile of offerings beside the river. The really cool thing about this canyon are all the 3D carvings in the canyon walls – snakes, hands, faces, fish. I thought the kids would love it! Arlo was in to the enormous snakes (imagine the Basilisk from Harry Potter and you’d be close) but I think the tortured faces may have traumatised him. Oops. Again, my bad.
Something else that made this waterfall stand out from any other we’ve visited was the screaming. There was a queue of people waiting to walk under the waterfall, fully clothed and scream, shout or laugh. The first couple of shouts I heard I thought the water must just be cold but I asked the lady in front of me (who so happened to be the one who’s arms had been around my waist 20 minutes previously) what was going on and assuming my Indonesian is as good as I think it is , she said they scream the first time to let out emotions maybe anger, sadness etc and scream the second time to let in joy. Arlo has been, shall we say, challenging these last few weeks – this is exactly what I needed.
They asked if I wanted to join in. Uhhhh, hell yeh I did! I had a lot of parenting rage to externalise, they practically had to drag me backwards out of the waterfall 😀 I’m not sure I got round to the joy part 😀 Oh and did I mention, I still had Eia in the hiking carrier and Arlo holding my hand when I went under? I’m not sure how I thought it’d go but I probably shouldn’t have been shocked that it went down like a lead balloon. Eia especially was seriously unimpressed. Especially since the sodding towel was on the back of the carrier. Oops. My bad! Don’t feel to bad for them though – I took them to soft play the next morning to make up for it. They loooooooove soft play. I hate soft play. We’re totally even.
If you’re ever in the area for a visit or wanna put this on your Bali bucket list, here are the logistics:
Name: Taman Beji Griya Waterfall
Location: Jl. Mawar, Punggul, Kec. Abiansemal, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80352
Entry: There’s an entry fee, I wanna say it was maybe 20k per adult? Definitely not more than 50K. Small kids go free.
Access: a stone staircase takes you down in the little canyon. 5 minutes from the parking, tops. Unless you park in the wrong place like I did 😀
Trail Difficulty: None, unless you’re not good with stairs! Though theres not very many.
Suitable for Small Kids: Absolutely! It’s not a long walk down, they can manage it on their own with a hand hold. Just watch out cause the steps and base of the canyon are slippery! Big and little kids will love the carvings!
Swimming Hole: No but you can stand under the waterfall to cool off and de-stress 😉
Bonus Local Info: The walking track is signposted in each direction when you leave the waterfall. I put a photo above. This is the track we walked along after parking in the wrong place! It’s definitely worth a wander, the views over the padi fields are stunning! And its a super easy track for small kids since its paved, assumably for motorbike access for petani (farmers). PS, don’t forget mozzie spray!