One of the number one things to do when visiting Lombok is to visit two of their most infamous waterfalls, Sindang Gila and Tiu Kelep, on the remote north coast near Mount Rinjani. A lot of people tend to spend too much money on tour guides and taxis to get to the falls, but Stacy and I were determined to get there and back on the cheap. Well, we succeeded and I’m here to tell you the secret on how to do it!
First off, we researched the falls and directions to get there thoroughly beforehand. Luckily, the directions are very simple- you stay on one road the entire way there except for one turn about 15 minutes from the destination. There is some signage directing you along the way as well, and we took screen shots of the Google maps directions as well as bought two different maps with us for reference. We decided against getting a taxi or driver for the ride there, and instead rented a scooter from our Airbnb host. You can rent a scooter most places for between $3-5 per day, and filling up with gas is cheap too. Scooters are pretty easy to ride, and Stacy and I shared one which made it easier to talk along the way and saved a bit of money! We had about half a tank to start so about an hour into the trip we stopped and filled up- we had to ask the shop owner how to do it, but it ended up being very simple and only cost us 20,000 rupiah, or about $1.50.
The route to the falls takes you northeast along Lombok’s coast, with stunning ocean views, rice fields, and Mount Rinjani in the background. About a half hour before the destination, the road turns into the interior of the island, and after about 15 minutes, you make the one and only right hand turn towards the village of Bayan (there is a sign directing you). Another 15 minutes and you’ve reached you destination. There will be men everywhere directing you where to park, and once you get of your scooter, attempting to sell you their “guide” services. This is another area where I’m glad we did our research beforehand because people tend to assume they have to have a guide (they will tell you it’s “the law,” it’s not) and will pay ridiculous amounts of money for one. IF you decide you definitely want a guide, NEVER pay more then 100,000 rupiah for one. I read a review about a man and his wife who paid over one million rupiah thinking they were getting a good deal, and tipped the guy on top of that! That’s almost $100 US dollars! Stacy and I both hike pretty frequently and have a good sense of direction so we decided against a guide althogether. When the man told us it was the law to have a guide to the second falls, we simply said we were only planning to go to the first falls and were on our way.
Once we crossed the street and reached the entrance gate, we were charged 10,000 rupiah or $0.75 per person to get in. The first falls is down a few hundred stairs that get a little slippery, so be careful. Sindang Gila falls is comprised of two waterfalls, one above the other, cascading down into a small stream. Apparently you can sit underneath and have the water massage your shoulders, but we decided to wait until the second waterfall to get in the water. We stayed for about 10 minutes getting some photos and then were on our way. Now, right before we reached the first waterfall, we took note of a bumpy stone trail heading off to the right. That is the trail to the second waterfall, Tiu Kelep, or the largest waterfall in Lombok. It was actually a very simple trail to follow for about thirty minutes, with two river crossings. This was the only portion where you might benefit from a guide, because it can be a little difficult, you will get wet, and a guide will show you the easiest spots to cross. Luckily, we were following a group of guys who had a guide, so we just hung back and watched them before crossing ourselves.
Once we reached Tiu Kelep falls, we were beyond amazed. It was so huge and beautiful, and the only downside was that it had started down- pouring rain about 10 minutes out. We were completely drenched but it was so worth it. We put our bags under a rock and went right in with our clothes on! The water was a little chilly but refreshing, and we spent some time taking photos and swimming around the waterfall. Unfortunately, our GoPros had water droplets all over the lens, so our photos and video are a little blurry but we got a few good shots! Then we headed back down the trail to the entrance, which was getting a little flooded due to all the rain. The river was rushing a lot quicker on the way back so we literally were holding onto each other to keep from being knocked down by the current. We made it through fine, and walked the rest of the way back to the top to get our scooter, and gave the guy 50,000 rupiah for watching it while we were gone.
The ride back seemed a lot quicker than on the way there, but took 2-2.5 hours each way overall. Our scooter rental for the day was 70,000 rupiah, or just over $5, bringing our grand total for the entire day to 160,000 rupiah, or about $12 US!! It was worth it to do a little extra planning in order to save what could end up being a lot of money spent on a great all day excursion. If you are in Lombok, it’s a must-see, check it out!