Located in the north of Bali, 15 minutes from Singaraja city, Sambangan Secret Garden is a magical destination that’s home to some of Bali’s most beautiful waterfalls. Hidden high in the mountains, in the depths of the jungle, the garden is surrounded by picturesque rice paddies, a local village and only a couple of hotels. A dazzling blue river runs through the ravine with several majestic waterfalls and a hidden blue lagoon dotted along its route.
Sambangan Secret Garden: Waterfalls and The Blue Lagoon
With a pool of strikingly blue water enveloped by high rock faces, the Blue Lagoon is a wonderfully picturesque swimming spot that’s reminiscent of a scene from a fairy tale. The surrounding rock faces are covered in lush jungle foliage, and hanging vines and giant boulders complete the mythical backdrop. At the centre of the lagoon is a small waterfall that’s fed by a river hiding in the cavern behind, which is also home to a larger, more powerful waterfall. The Blue Lagoon is difficult to find without a guide and you need to walk through private land to access it, so I recommend that you book onto one of the trekking tours in order to see it. Read more about how to find the Blue Lagoon here.
Aling Aling Waterfall is perhaps the most famous of all the waterfalls found within Sambangan Secret Garden and, standing at 35 metres, it is also the tallest. Sitting at the end of the ravine, the waterfall is enclosed by imposing rock faces covered in thick vegetation, making for a striking first impression. A powerful gush of water plummets down the rocks, landing in a bright blue pool below, and the resulting spray creates a dramatic mist effect against the lush foliage. The locals believe the waterfall is sacred so you cannot swim at this spot. Read more about Aling Aling Waterfall here.
This is where the real fun begins. Arguably the prettiest of all the waterfalls in the Secret Garden, Kroya Waterfall is also a natural water park. Upon arrival, you can get your adrenaline going by leaping five metres into a deep pool of water before then braving a natural waterslide. Kroya Waterfall is unique because the water pours down a smooth crevice, allowing visitors to slide directly down the 12-metre waterfall. It’s an exhilarating experience that’s not to be missed. Read more about Kroya Waterfall here.
Kembar Waterfall and Pucuk Waterfall
Kembar Waterfall actually means Double Falls and sure enough two streams of water cascade down a ten-metre rock face. Here you can jump into the water before braving the fifteen-metre jump at Pucuk Waterfall.
Sambangan Secret Garden: Tickets and Trekking Tours
In order to visit Sambangan Secret Garden, you will need to buy either a trekking ticket or a visitor ticket. The latter costs just 20,000 rupiah and means you can enter without a guide, but the locals try to discourage this and it also means you can’t swim in, slide down or jump into any of the waterfalls. In order to do that, you have to book one of the three treks detailed below, which all include a local guide. You can either book this at the entrance when you arrive or in advance through a tour operator, which should also include a transfer to Sambangan Secret Garden.
This trek costs 125,000 rupiah per person and includes a stop at Aling Aling Waterfall, Kroya Waterfall, Kembar Waterfall and Pucuk Waterfall. You’ll be able to jump into the pool at Kroya waterfall and then slide down the waterfall itself as well as another small waterfall located nearby. You can then tackle 10-metre jump down Kembar Waterfall and, if you’re brave enough, a 15-metre jump at Pucuk Waterfall. They suggest allowing between one and two hours for this trek.
The medium trek costs 250,000 rupiah per person and takes between three and four hours. The trek begins with a walk through the beautiful rice paddies that surround Sambangan Secret Garden, stopping at a local’s house for a fresh coconut drink and some cacao beans along the way. You’ll then make your way to the Blue Lagoon, where you can go for a swim and venture inside the cavern, where another hidden waterfall can be found. After this you’ll be able to see Aling Aling Waterfall from the top before venturing down to experience everything that’s included in the short trek.
The long trek costs 500,000 rupiah per person and includes everything mentioned above as well as three more waterfalls: Cemara Waterfall, Dedari Waterfall and Canging Waterfall. I did not do this trek so I’m unable to provide any further information or photos on these waterfalls. They recommend five to six hours for this trek.
Sambangan Secret Garden: Where to stay
If you stay near the Sambangan Secret Garden rather than travelling from Ubud, Canggu or Seminyak it means that you can arrive when the garden opens at 8am and be the first ones in, ensuring you’ll have the place all to yourself.
I highly recommend staying at Shanti Natural Panorama Hotel, which is located just a five-minute walk down the road. Sitting high in the mountains, the hotel boasts amazing views from the rooms, swimming pool and the restaurant. The rooms are in fact more like mini jungle houses with the bedroom on the first floor and an al fresco lounge area on the ground floor, creating the perfect spot for an evening tipple or two. A beautiful infinity swimming pool overlooks the jungle and the restaurant serves an incredibly generous breakfast and a tasty menu of local dishes – the chicken satay is a highlight.
Staying at Shanti Natural Panorama Hotel means that you can visit the Sambangan Secret Garden more than once and it also ensures you’re well-placed to drive to the other famous waterfalls located in the north of Bali, notably Sekumpul Waterfall, Banyumala Twin Waterfall and Gitgit Waterfall, which is just a 20-minute drive from the hotel.
Sambangan Secret Garden: How to get there
If you aren’t staying at the Shanti Natural Panorama Hotel, you can either book onto a tour to visit the Sambangan Secret Garden, which will include a transfer from your accommodation, or you can hire a scooter. These are available from most hotels and cost between 70,000 and 100,000 rupiah a day.
The entrance to Sambangan Secret Garden is marked as Aling Aling Waterfall on Google Maps – see the marked point on the map below. There is also a fairly big car park where you can park your scooter for a small extra free.