Four Days in Ubud: Day 3- Waterfalls and Elephant Cave
Day three in Ubud started just as early as day two. I always try to get to popular places before the tourists arrive. That means getting up early. I can say it was much easier to do that in my bungalow, at Dragonfly Village, thanks to the roosters and ducks.
Today was the day for waterfalls, and just like snorkeling, I couldn’t wait to get going! While there are plenty of waterfalls around Bali, we chose two of the smaller, lesser visited spots for this trip.
We spent the day exploring more than the waterfalls, but I decided to only mention my top three stops (and where we ate).
Stop 1: Tukad Cepung waterfall
It took us about an hour to get to Tukad Cepung waterfall from Ubud center. Our driver was able to avoid lots of morning traffic and get us places quicker by using back roads. This gave us a better look at everyday life in Ubud and see all the adorable kids going to school!
We arrived at Tukad Cepung just before 7 am. We planned to just walk down to the falls and pay on our way out, but there was somebody waiting at the booth to take our 10,000 IDR entrance fee.
There are a lot of steep steps going down to the cave where the falls is located, so I suggest wearing shoes with a grip. Especially if it has been raining because the steps are slippery. Of course, I was in flip flops. If I could walk around barefoot all day, I would. What can I say… I’m country. It’s a pretty long walk, but it’s beautiful and there are signs along the way for assurance.
When you get down to the cave there is some maneuvering to get to the actual waterfall. This is the point when I almost gave up on my flip flops because they were getting stuck in the mud while wading through ankle deep water. But they survived, and so did I, crouching under the last boulder blocking the way to Tukad Cepung.
No need to worry about what you are going to do with the items you bring along because there is a large rack right by the falls to store your things. This was my favorite stop of the day. I love how secluded and intimate this spot is and have already planned my next trip, which includes someone to take pictures of me there.
Just a heads up. The walk back up to the road is no easier than the walk down was.
Stop 2: Tibumana Waterfall
Just a quick forty minute ride away, Timbumana Waterfall was an easier waterfall to access than Tukad Cepung. After paying the 10,000 IDR entrance fee, we followed the path along a small stream. The entrance here is much easier and more open, with great spots along the way to stop and admire.
Just before you get to the main fall is a bridge with a smaller waterfall on the left-hand side. Keep walking it gets better!
I was 9 o’clock when we arrived and there were two people there who were already packing up to leave. During our time there, only two more people showed up. This is one of the perks of getting up early. I sat and watched a couple of men cleaning up the pool beneath the falls and finally set up my camera and tripod. Man taking pictures solo is so hard!
Stop 3: Goa Gajah
Our last stop of the morning was Goa Gajah, or Elephant Cave, on the way back to Ubud.
In order to enter the temple, you must wear a sarong. I always keep a wrap skirt in my back for temple trips so that it’s less of a hassle, but if you don’t have one with you no worries. You can buy your own from one of the multiple people selling them right outside, or borrow one at the temple entrance.
This was my second favorite stop of the day. I feel like I said this multiple times during my trip to Ubud, but I would have looked around this area all day. As you walk down to the entrance steps, you get a view of the temple layout and the well-known Elephant Cave.
One important note about Elephant cave: There are no Elephants. Sorry. I’m letting you know now so you aren’t disappointed later.
Luckily we were still able to arrive just before the large wave of tourists and only had to wait for one large group before going into the cave itself.
As soon as you leave Elephant cave and follow the path straight ahead, you will find another set of steps leading down to a different section of the temple. I just had to stop on the steps and stare. It was so beautiful. Moss covering everything! This may be one of my favorite temples I’ve been to. For people who love the outdoors like me, the openness, and size, of this space provides multiple places for individual communion with nature.
I was really going to skip Goa Gajah on this trip to Ubud and I am so happy I didn’t. Just seeing the canang sari laying around with burning incense sticks took my breath away. I could see why this is a noteworthy place of meditation.
If you are in Bali there is no possible way you will miss the canang sari being placed outside in the mornings. Watching the presentation of these daily offerings by local Hindus was another of my favorite moments in Ubud. In the midst of all the bustle, this was a reminder for me that there is ALWAYS time to give thanks.
Stop 4: Lunch at Warung Dewa Malen
Our driver dropped us off for lunch at Warung Dewa excited that we were able to beat the lunch rush and telling us, “Try the duck and sit on the right side overlooking the rice fields.” And I did just that.
Upon being seated, the hostess tucks you in your chair, lays your napkin across your lap, and puts a flower behind your ear. You sit overlooking a great view and soak up some fresh air. (Maybe living in China makes me super excited about that last part.)
As a wise man once said, “No good trip is complete without food.”
Or was that me?
See the rest of this Ubud adventure: