The Secret Garden of Sambangan (As a Solo Traveler)

by tanlinesandtempeh

About the Secret Garden of Sambangan

The Secret Garden of Sambangan is a jungle-like garden with a group of four waterfalls located in the north of Bali. The most famous one is Aling Aling waterfall, so you will oftentimes hear people refer to the Secret Garden as Aling Aling waterfall. But it’s so much more than that!

How to Get to the Secret Garden of Sambangan

I went to Aling Aling and the other waterfalls when I was staying in Lovina. From there, it is about a 20-minute ride on a scooter. Beware, that it might be hard to find a GRAB/GOJEK in Lovina if you – like me – don’t have a scooter. I saw dozens of GRAB drivers the day prior, so I didn’t think it would be a problem. When I tried to order one in the morning though, it only found one driver who kept asking me to cancel.

I ended up just asking someone to take me. You shouldn’t pay more than IDR 50k (about 2,85€ at the time of writing this blog post; and even that’s expensive) for one way even if they’ll try to charge IDR 200-400k (11-22€) – at least in my experience.

If you’re coming from Ubud, you should probably plan to drive for three hours to get to the Secret Garden of Sambangan, from Canggu even longer. If you don’t have a scooter, you can also (apart from hiring a driver, obviously) join a tour. There are plenty of companies that offer different packages. I wouldn’t recommend that though unless it is a really good deal including the drive there. Let me tell you why.

What to Pay at the Secret Garden of Sambangan

There is the possibility to pay IDR 10k (0,57€) for just walking inside and taking pictures at the Secret Garden. You’re not allowed to go into the water of the waterfalls with that option, though. If you’d like to swim/jump/slide (which I highly recommend!), you have to get a guide. This is not a rip off situation, as you really need one to know where it is safe to jump and what to pay attention to.

As I already mentioned, there are lots of tours offered to explore the Secret Garden of Sambangan. They usually start at around IDR 300k (17€) and you can choose between different lengths. However, most of the times, there have to be at least 2 people doing the tour. In addition, you don’t have to pay that much to explore the Secret Garden of Sambangan.

If you go to the Secret Garden of Sambangan directly, you’ll find prices as shown in the picture below. This is obviously much cheaper compared to taking a tour. If you’re a solo traveler like me, this is still annoying as you have to pay 200k (11€) instead of 125k (7€) for the shortest trek. That’s why I decided to just wait at the entrance to tag along with someone else.

Prices at Sambangan

After ten minutes of waiting, they offered me to go inside alone for the same price. I just had to take a junior guide who wasn’t as experienced and was still learning to speak English. Obviously, I was more than okay with that and my guide ended up being super nice, very helpful and considerate, and his English skills were more than enough.

I don’t know if that’s guaranteed to happen or if I was just lucky (after all, I had a really nice conversation with the locals at the entrance while waiting). But it’s definitely worth the shot to just ask for a junior guide if you’re by yourself and don’t want to pay the extra 60%.

When to Come to the Secret Garden of Sambangan

The Secret Garden opens at 8:00 am and originally, I wanted to be there right at that time in order to arrive before all of the organized tours. Because of some trouble getting there (that is, not finding a driver), I didn’t arrive until 8:40 am. However, I was still their very first guest of the day.

Most tours start their hikes at around 9:00 am, so I’d definitely recommend arriving at the Secret Garden sooner. I had the whole place to myself (well, apart from my guide) for the first half hour and it made the already incredible experience even more special.

The Waterfalls and What to Do at the Secret Garden of Sambangan

Aling Aling waterfall

From the entrance of the Secret Garden of Sambangan, you’ll walk around 10-15 minutes to the first waterfall, which is Aling Aling Waterfall. It is very impressive and you can get down to a viewpoint to take awesome pictures.

However, because it is holy, it is not allowed to swim in Aling Aling waterfall. That’s too bad because it really looks nice and the water is so clear. But don’t you worry – there is so much more fun to come!

Activities: None

Aling Aling Waterfall

Kroya Waterfall

After a very short walk, you’ll arrive at the next waterfall. The other three waterfalls are all within seconds of each other. Kroya is the first one.

Kroya waterfall also makes for a nice photo spot as they put some inspirational quotes next to a platform you can also jump from. Then, it’s time to get real. You can leave your bag in a box (not locked) and hang your clothes on a pole as it is about to go down.

Quotes at Kroya Waterfall

Activity: 5m jump

The picture spot opposite of Kroya Waterfall is also your first jump of the day. With just 5m this serves as a warm-up. Before getting to the Secret Garden of Sambangan, I had never jumped from higher than 3m. So this was already a challenge for me and I thought it would be my biggest one of the day. Oh boy, little did I know…

Activity: 12m slide

Some people do this right after doing the 5m jump opposite of Kroya waterfall. Me and my guide went to Kembar and Pucuk waterfall first. It worked out perfectly because when we got back, there was another couple with their guide. So after jumping down the 5m again, my guide went to the top of Kroya waterfall with us, while their guide videotaped the whole thing from the platform.

The walk to the top is just about 2 minutes. If you haven’t already, you’ll put on your life jacket there. Your guide will then hold you, while you sit down in the water and cross your arms in front of your chest. He will then give you a little push and let go – and off you go!

Sliding Down Kroya Waterfall

This slide was so much fun but also scary because there is a drop at the end. You can go as many times as you want (well, at some point your guide will probably stop you).

Kembar Twin Waterfalls

After jumping (and maybe also sliding) at Kroya waterfall, it is time to make your way to the Kembar twin waterfalls. On your way there, you can slide down a baby slide which is nothing compared to the one at Kroya waterfall but still fun.

Baby Slide Action

Activity: 10m jump

You can jump down from 10m right in between the two waterfalls. I honestly didn’t think I would do it. But I stepped outside of my comfort zone and jumped all the way down. Watch me freaking out before jumping below. Also, take a look at my feet! My guide laughed at me and told me I looked like a dog.

Video 10m Jump Kembar Waterfall 
Disclaimer: The Video has to be loaded all the way before it can be played

The feeling after bringing myself to jump was amazing. I’m glad I was wearing a life jacket though, as I still plunged quite deep underwater.

Made It!

Pucuk Waterfall

This one is the last of the four waterfalls at the Secret Garden of Sambangan. I didn’t get a good view at the waterfall as we were standing on top of it, but it’s also a nice waterfall.

Pucuk Waterfall

Activity: 15m jump

There’s a spot very close to Pucuk waterfall where you can jump down 15m. I decided not to do it because 10m was already enough for me. In addition, you have to jump out two to three meters because there are rocks at the bottom. And I didn’t dare to do it. But if you have more courage than me, this looks like an awesome spot.

Good to Know About the Secret Garden of Sambangan

I would totally recommend going to the Secret Garden of Sambangan for a day trip, as you might have picked up on. Here are some things that might be useful to know before you go:

  • Changing Room: There is a changing room right when you get to Kroya waterfall. I totally forgot to bring any dry clothes so I can’t tell you what it looks like on the inside but I guess it does its job. I was fine though, by the way, I had plenty of time to dry in the sun before making my way back to Lovina.
  • Going back to your hostel: I don’t know if this applies to every guide and it probably depends on your location (I doubt they would bring you to Ubud for instance). But my guide offered to drive me back to my guesthouse in Lovina for a price that was “up to me”.
  • Menstruation: For all you ladies traveling Bali, or Indonesia in general, this is something you probably heard of before. While you’re on your period, you’re not allowed inside any of the temples. Apparently, the same goes for the waterfalls.
    There were no signs indicating that you shouldn’t swim in the waterfalls while being on your period, but my guide told me about it. Not until after I finished all the activities, though. Obviously, they don’t check (thank god!), but if you want to respect their culture, you might want to consider coming back at another time.

My visit to the Secret Garden of Sambangan is one of my favorite activities in Bali so far. So if you have a chance, definitely check it out!

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