Munduk: a review of the most charming Balinese village

Alexis
Modified on January 21, 2024

Munduk is a charming village in the center of Bali surrounded by nature. Here is a review and what you should know before you go.

Where is Munduk in Bali?

Munduk is located in the mountains of northern Bali, west of Lake Danau Buyan and the traditional village of Bedugul.

When you're in Munduk, you're truly in the heart of Bali, in a slightly elevated area, far from any city or beach resort.

To give you an idea of distances, Munduk is about a 2 to 3-hour drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport, and the nearest major city is Singaraja, the capital of North Bali, which is still about an hour away.

The history of Munduk in Bali tourism

Munduk remained off the beaten path for a long time, and it still is. After all, you have to want to find yourself in such an isolated part of Bali that is not on the path of any regularly traveled road.

It was once a popular destination for Dutch colonists due to its cool climate at its altitude (over 1000m). It was also already known at the time for its picturesque environment.

Only in recent years, with the desire of some travelers to rediscover an "authentic" Bali, did the destination truly enter the itineraries of the most adventurous visitors, especially those in search of peace and nature.

What does Munduk look like today?

Munduk is a traditional mountain village like many in this region. It is primarily a rural destination with a lifestyle associated with nature.

Munduk is famous for its green landscapes, terraced rice fields, spectacular waterfalls, proximity to the lakes of Bedugul, its (extinct) volcanoes, and its coffee plantations.

In other words, Munduk closely resembles the idyllic image that travelers imagine when they think of the Balinese countryside. And in this case, it's a fantasy that fits quite well with reality!

munduk bali

The highlights of Munduk

Munduk has many highlights that make it a place in travelers' itineraries. Here are the main ones.

Accommodations surrounded by nature: Munduk's big advantage

Munduk is truly one of the best natural destinations in Bali. It's challenging to get more isolated and find accommodation in hotels, guesthouses, and villas surrounded by nature. It's peaceful, allows you to disconnect from the world, and, in general, the establishments are much more spacious and open than those in South Bali.

In short, if you're looking for a place to disconnect from everything but still maintain a minimum level of comfort in the middle of nature, it's probably here.

Booking.com

Munduk is an authentic area of Balinese countryside

Munduk is a very traditional area of Bali, where time seems to have stopped. It's the countryside, the real one.

If I usually don't like the term "authentic Bali" that really means nothing, as not all Balinese people are peasants living in the middle of rice fields, let's say that Munduk remains in this spirit with a simple and old-fashioned countryside way of life.

You are clearly far from the quasi-metropolitan life of Denpasar, far from the beach clubs of Seminyak and Canggu, and far from the popularity of Ubud. It's cultural and nature tourism on a limited scale.

Munduk is at an altitude and is cooler than the rest of Bali

Being situated at an altitude of over 1000 meters, Munduk is one of the coolest (inhabited) areas of Bali.

It is in this region and more generally around Bedugul that many of Bali's fruits and vegetables come from, which would wither a bit too quickly if they were lower. I'm thinking especially of strawberries and grapes, but also chili peppers.

Many hiking trails are available around Munduk

Munduk offers a multitude of hiking trails through rice fields, tropical forests, and hills, which are actually old volcanoes.

If you like the mountains like the Alps, imagine something similar but tropical, with rice fields and jungle instead of the forest. Of course, these areas are very green (and rainy at certain times of the year), and the terrain is very conducive to waterfalls, which are plentiful around Munduk.

The negative sides of Munduk

I won't lie to you; it's quite challenging to find negative points about Munduk. Almost everyone I recommended to go there came back delighted. But still, there are a few details to keep in mind.

Munduk is a village far from everything in Bali

The low crowds of Munduk is not accidental: it's far from everything. It's far from the south of the island, far from the center like Ubud, but it's also far from the cities and beach resorts in the north like Amed.

As a direct consequence, it can be complicated to get there because you won't necessarily find a Gojek in a minute. But it's still manageable.

As a mountainous area, the road is also winding and dangerous. I do not recommend novices to drive there by themselves on a scooter.

It rains more in Munduk than in the South of Bali

Being a mountain destination, at least on the Balinese scale, the weather in Munduk can be more unpredictable than in lower areas.

In the rainy season, it may rain a lot, and even in the dry season, you are a bit less protected from the rain than in the south of the island.

The temperature can also be surprising chilling, especially in the morning or evening. Take a light sweater or more if you are used to the almost permanent humid heat of the south.

munduk region bali

Who usually visits Munduk?

Munduk attracts a relatively homogeneous type of travellers.

Almost all Munduk travellers are nature lovers

Without much surprise, the travellers you'll meet in Munduk are probably like you, meaning they are people looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the beach resorts in South Bali and who aspire to stay in Bali surrounded by nature.

After all, if someone came to Munduk hoping to find a mall or go to a nightclub, they would likely leave disappointed.

Hiking enthusiasts often stop in Munduk

Munduk offers excellent hiking opportunities through beautiful landscapes, so it's logical to find hikers or trekkers there.

Munduk attracts many Europeans

You won't encounter many tourists in Munduk, but those you meet are very likely to be Europeans!

It's logical, Munduk is a destination for nature and hiking, and it's mainly Europeans in general who engage in these activities during their vacations.

What to do in Munduk?

Munduk primarily offers activities in nature, but the surroundings of Munduk, especially around Bedugul, can also be an opportunity to discover Balinese culture.

Here are some suggestions for what you can do when you're based in Munduk.

Hike in the rice fields, volcanoes, and jungles around Munduk

As I mentioned, hiking in nature is truly superb around Munduk, and few return without being enchanted.

There are many picturesque hiking trails around Munduk, including the Munduk loop, which offers spectacular views of the rice fields and mountains.

Not far from Munduk, it's also possible to climb some volcanoes like Gunung Sanghyang, Batukaru, or Mount Bratan.

Discover the waterfalls around Munduk

As it rains a lot in Munduk and there is relief, there are really many waterfalls in Munduk itself and in the surroundings.

Most of them require a minimum of walking, but it's an exploration worth the detour, in addition to being highly Instagrammable! One of the big advantages of the waterfalls around Munduk is that the region's isolation (and their number!) means they are much less crowded than the waterfalls further south on the island or near tourist cities.

Visit the temples in the Bedugul region

There are many temples around Munduk and more generally in the Bedugul region.

The most famous is, of course, Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, and it's not very far from Munduk.

Visit the coffee plantations in Munduk

Bali produces a lot of coffee, and most plantations are at altitude, so some are naturally present in Munduk.

If you're a coffee lover and want to discover the Balinese coffee production process, you can visit local coffee plantations and taste different varieties.

Take a stroll at the traditional Bedugul market

The traditional Bedugul market is a good way to discover how local markets operate and familiarize yourself with the foods used in Balinese cuisine.

As there are many farmers in this region, it's one of the best markets to see freshly harvested fruits, vegetables, and spices.

Do nothing: a very good activity in Munduk

Munduk is also a very good destination for those who want to stay in their accommodation and relax, simply.

After all, Munduk is a destination where you are rarely in a hurry or stressed. If you have a desire to do nothing in the middle of nature, it's the right place.

Who do I recommend Munduk the most?

I recommend Munduk to all travelers, especially Europeans, who sometimes have an image of Bali that is a bit too fantasised. At least in Munduk, the fantasy matches reality.

Here are, however, those to whom I recommend most to make a stop of a few days and more if they like in Munduk or in the Bedugul region in general.

Munduk is THE hiking destination in Bali

If you love hiking, Munduk is truly the (countryside) destination in Bali.

I sincerely think it's one of the best places for this activity, if not the best. There are several trails that really allow visitors to see everything one can hope to see in Bali: rice fields, volcanoes, waterfalls, jungle, and small villages that sometimes seem a bit timeless.

Munduk is perfect for nature lovers

If you want greenery with few tourists around, Munduk is made for you. You are really in the heart of Bali, where few Balinese live, and where there are very few villages simply adapted to receive tourists.

So if you love quiet areas where the population density tends towards 0, you are in the right place.

Munduk is one of the best destinations in Bali for those who can't stand the heat

The heat in Bali can be particularly hard to bear when you're not used to it, and many tend to underestimate this factor when planning their itinerary.

The shoulder season, that is the months when it doesn't rain but the temperature and humidity are at their highest (Spring and Autumn in the northern hemisphere), can be particularly tough.

Planning a few days in Munduk, or more, can be a welcome break when you're tired of being beaten by the sun and humidity in the lower areas of Bali.

Munduk is very quiet, perfect for a honeymoon

The calm of Munduk and its picturesque, even bucolic, character make it an excellent destination for a honeymoon in nature.

So, while it's not often the ultra-luxurious honeymoon of some other places in Bali like Nusa Dua, it's a simpler and down-to-earth atmosphere that is not lacking in charm or romance.

If you're two lovebirds who are fans of wide-open spaces and greenery, it's clearly a destination to include in your honeymoon itinerary because the accommodations and their views are impressive.

Conclusion

Munduk offers a peaceful retreat in the Balinese mountains, with an abundance of natural beauty to explore.

Whether you're a passionate hiker, a confirmed recluse, or a nature lover, almost everyone has an interest in including Munduk in their Bali itinerary. I haven't met anyone who left disappointed.

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