Waterfalls in Indonesia

Travel around the world long enough and you’ll eventually come to the conclusion that few sights can ever be as majestic as a waterfall – of which Indonesia has plenty. These natural waterfalls in Indonesia tend to be hard to reach, often requiring a pretty long drive accompanied by a challenging hike, but the reward is almost always worth the effort.

As a nation blessed with plenty of natural beauty, Indonesia has no shortage of waterfalls to visit. The next time you’re planning a hiking trip, consider putting these 8 stunning waterfalls in Indonesia on your list.

1. Madakaripura Waterfall – a wet walk under falling water

madakaripura waterfalls in Indonesia
Unless you like getting yourself soaked, we recommend wearing a raincoat.
Image credit: @syafirabulan.oke

Getting wet while visiting a waterfall is an unavoidable hazard but in Madakaripura Waterfall, you’ll be drenched even before you can lay eyes on the main waterfall. Reaching the innermost part of the cliff recess requires walking through a narrow path right under a series of smaller waterfalls.

As such, we highly recommend wearing raincoats if not for yourself, at least for your phones and cameras. And you’d really want to bring a proper camera here as the view of the cylinder-shaped cliff from the natural pool area right under the main waterfall is quite a sight to behold.

cylinder cliff madakaripura waterfall
The main waterfall inside the innermost part of the cliff recess
Image credit: @danieelputra

Legends say that Gajah Mada, the prime minister of the ancient Majapahit Empire, used to meditate at the waterfall. Today, a statue bearing his likeness greets visitors at the entrance to the waterfall complex.

natural pool madakaripura waterfall
The pool right under the main waterfall
Image credit: @ivnkaputri

Reaching the waterfall isn’t as simple though, as the nearest city of Probolinggo, roughly 1 hour away by car, can only be reached by train. From the parking lot, it’s another 1-hour walk through easy terrain but there are typically motorcycle taxis, or ojek, willing to take you the rest of the way.

We recommend flying to Surabaya, the capital of East Java, first before continuing on to Probolinggo by train.

Address: Sapih, Branggah, Lumbang, Probolinggo, East Java 67183
Opening Hours: 8AM-4PM, Daily
Admission: Rp. 45,000 (~USD3.07)

2. Coban Pelangi – secret garden with a rainbow-hued waterfall

coban pelangi waterfall Indonesia
Sitting at the rocks by the waterfall
Image credit: @muhonyfahreza

Located on the road to Mount Bromo, Coban Pelangi is one of several waterfalls in Indonesia located within the vicinity of Malang. The city has the more famous and more touristy Coban Rondo but if you don’t mind the tougher hike, this waterfall offers a more natural, unspoilt experience.

In Javanese, Coban Pelangi translates to “rainbow waterfall” and around noon, the sunlight hits and is refracted in such a way that it looks as if the water is rainbow-coloured. Getting close to the 110m waterfall requires walking through a short but steep downhill forest path though, and we recommend taking an extended break at the waterfall before walking back.

coban pelangi rainbow hill
At the Rainbow Hill vantage point with the waterfall in the background
Image credit: @shellylie19

If you’re not too keen on the walk, the Rainbow Hill vantage point by the gate offers a nice view of the waterfall while doubling as a photo spot. Located an hour away from Malang by car, the waterfall is a popular pitstop for hikers going to and from Mount Bromo.

Address: Dusun Ngadas, Ngadas, Poncokusumo, Malang, East Java 65157
Opening Hours: 8AM-4PM, Daily
Admission: Rp. 10,000 (~USD0.68)

3. Banyumala Twin Waterfall – scenic twin waterfall with a pristine natural pool

banyumala twin waterfall Indonesia
Sitting by the pristine natural pool of Banyumala Twin Waterfall
Image credit: @tongos.melali

If you’re looking to get wet and wild in Bali, your options aren’t just limited to the island’s ubiquitous beaches. Head far enough inland and you’ll see that there are more than enough gorgeous waterfalls to keep you occupied, and this includes the Banyumala Twin Waterfalls.

Located in the heart of northern Bali, Banyumala is not as thunderous as other grander waterfalls in Indonesia are, but rather has water gently trickling down the side of the cliff. During the dry season, the cold and pristine water of the natural pool is a great place to escape from the island’s tropical heat while doubling as a photo spot.

natural pool banyumala
Cooling off in the natural pool of Banyumala
Image credit: @kmaladw

Do note that while the forest path leading to the waterfall is quite a scenic route, the 20-minute hike can get pretty steep. Comfortable shoes are a must and be wary of traveling during the wet season as it can get pretty slippery.

The waterfall is about 40 minutes away from the Lovina Beach resort area so make sure to include this place in your itinerary if you’re staying there.

Address: Wanagiri, Sukasada, Buleleng Regency, Bali 81161
Opening Hours: 7AM-6PM, Daily
Admission: Rp. 30,000 (~USD2.05), includes one bottled water

4. Moramo Waterfall – multi-level waterfall hidden in Southeast Sulawesi

fallen log moramo waterfall
Fallen log adding a touch of nature to the waterfall
Image credit: @kevincaddi

While Sulawesi is mostly known for being a diver’s paradise, there are plenty of hidden gems on the island if you know where to look. The unique multi-level Moramo Waterfall definitely ranks as one of the most unique.

moramo waterfall Indonesia
The multi-level Moramo Waterfall
Image credit: @guntur.30

Unlike typical waterfalls that consist simply of one or two huge drops, Moramo instead has dozens of granite ‘steps’ that add up to around 100 meters. While some of the higher steps are impossible to climb, there are plenty of smaller steps to the side and it is actually possible to get to the top of the waterfall just by walking.

steps moramo waterfall
Relaxing by the small steps in the waterfall
Image credit: @masrey_kun

These steps also double as makeshift benches and if you so choose, you can also meditate under the running water too. They’re all quite slippery though, so always watch your step when trying to make your way to the top.

The waterfall is roughly 2 hours away by car from the city of Kendari, the capital of Southeast Sulawesi and there’s a 1.5km-long comfortable hike through the forest path you have to get through first.

Address: Sumber Sari, Moramo, South Konawe Regency, South East Sulawesi 93891
Opening Hours: 8AM-5PM, Daily
Admission: Rp. 10,000 (~USD0.68)

5. Tumpak Sewu – dramatic waterfall straight out of Jurassic Park

tumpak sewu waterfall
View of the dramatic waterfall from the cliff
Image credit: @afued_shomdan

In Javanese, Tumpak Sewu roughly translates to “a thousand waterfalls” and while we’re not sure if there are indeed that many waterfalls here, the intended meaning fits. The sight from the 120m cliff as numerous streams of water come crashing down into this hole in the ground is nothing short of majestic.

tumpak sewu waterfall bottom
Reaching the bottom takes a lot of effort but the rewarding view is priceless
Image credit: @jimmythe_thejimmy

On a clear day, you can even get a glimpse of the nearby Mount Semeru, acting as an imposing backdrop of the waterfall. As hard it is to believe, the view from the bottom is even more spectacular and while climbing down the cliff on rickety bamboo stairs is a bit uncomfortable, it’s very much worth the trouble.

goa tetes waterfall cave
Inside the hidden waterfall cave Goa Tetes
Image credit: @nate_fox_29

If you’ve still got some gas left in the tank, consider making the trip to the Goa Tetes, or water drop cave, located within the area. This natural waterfall cave is an excellent photo spot but reaching the inside of the cave is quite challenging due to the lack of a man-made path.

The waterfall is quite far from the nearest city of Malang roughly 3 hours away by car – but the trip would take you straight to the top of the cliff. The only hike required is if you plan on going to the bottom of the waterfall.

Address: Besukcukit, Sidorenggo, Ampelgading, Malang, East Java 65183
Opening Hours: 6AM-5PM, Daily
Admission: Rp. 10,000 (~USD0.68)

6. Sri Gethuk Waterfall – a boat ride to a riverside waterfall

sri gethuk waterfall Indonesia
There are plenty of makeshift terraces within the waterfall for you to relax on
Image credit: @zakanesia

With Sri Gethuk Waterfall, the fun begins long before you even reach the waterfall. Thanks to its unique location that’s next to the Oyo River in Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta, you can either do the somewhat challenging hike, or hitch a boat ride to the waterfall, or even get to it by a flying fox ride from upstream.

boat ride sri gethuk waterfall
Take a relaxing boat ride to the waterfall
Image credit: @callmeandre

Personally, we prefer the boat ride as it gives you time to marvel at the limestone formation of the surrounding hill. The calm water also makes for a relaxing boat ride and there are even life vests for rent at the surprisingly pristine river if you feel like jumping in.

oyo river sri gethuk waterfall
Relaxing by the calm Oyo River at the front of the waterfall
Image credit: @chan_ikhsan93

The charm of the waterfall lies in the ivory-hued stones scattered around it that serve as makeshift benches where you can relax while having your feet submerged in the cold running water. During the wet seasons, however, visits are discouraged as the water volume in both the waterfall and the river rises up to a quite dangerous level.

As it’s only 90 minutes away by car from Yogyakarta city center, Sri Gethuk is a must-see if you’re in the area. Do note that the cost of the boat and the flying fox ride isn’t included in the admission price.

Address: Mungguran II, Bleberan, Playen, Gunung Kidul Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta
Opening Hours: 8AM-4PM, Daily
Admission: Rp. 10,000 (~USD0.68)

7. Grojogan Sewu – thunderous waterfall in the middle of a macaque-filled forest

grojogan sewu main waterfall
While they’re slippery, the rocks do make for a great photo spot
Image credit: @abang.petualang

Similar in name to Tumpak Sewu, Grojogan Sewu roughly translates to “a thousand showers” in Javanese. The name comes from the plethora of smaller, calmer waterfalls that accompany the main 81m waterfall in the complex, usually more visible during the wet season.

rocks grojogan sewu waterfall
After climbing down the 1,250 steps to the waterfall, the rocks act as the perfect relaxing spot.
Image credit: @putri_tanniapu3

Aside from the fairly dramatic height, the area’s other defining feature is the rocks scattered throughout the shallow river. While you can sit on them to get some rest, they do make getting closer to the waterfall a bit of a challenge, especially after the 1,250 steps hike from the entrance.

macaques grojogan sewu waterfall
You can spot these macaques from as early as the parking lot
Image credit: @trainil38

If you’re feeling famished after the hike, check out rabbit and hedgehog satays which, unconventional as they might be, are considered local delicacies. Do be careful when you’re carrying food though, as the surrounding forest is also home to a population of mischievous long-tailed macaques.

The waterfall is most easily reached from Surakarta, Yogyakarta’s lesser-known twin popularly known as Solo, roughly 90 minutes away by car. Small warning for foreign tourists: The waterfall charges higher prices for foreigners compared to domestic tourists, so don’t be alarmed at the discrepancy.

Address: Jl. Raya Tawangmangu, Beji, Kec. Tawangmangu, Kabupaten Karanganyar, Jawa Tengah 57792
Opening Hours: 8AM-5PM, Daily
Admission: Rp. 110,000 (~USD7.49) for foreign tourists, Rp. 20,000 (~USD1.36) for domestic tourists

8. Curug Cimarinjung – waterfall with magnificent red cliffs

curug cimarinjung red cliffs
The magnificent red cliffs of Curug Cimarinjung
Image credit: @syariffa10

Nestled deep in the heart of Ciletuh Geopark conservation area in Sukabumi, Curug Cimarinjung boasts one of the more unique landscapes compared to other waterfalls in Indonesia. Curug means waterfall in Sundanese and Cimarinjung is named after the nearby village of the same.

darma peak view
Crescent-shaped Ciletuh Bay viewed from Darma Peak.
Image credit: @shiffasalsa00

One of several waterfalls in the Geopark, Curug Cimarinjung is known for its breathtaking red cliffs, quite a rare sight in the country. The waterfall is also strategically located as the water leads directly into the Indian Ocean which you can see directly from the Darma Peak just upstream. 

sunset palangpang beach
Sunset views from the Palangpang Beach
Image credit: @calthaclaresta

From up there, you can see the entirety of the crescent-shaped Ciletuh Bay or wait until the evening to catch the gorgeous sunset. We much prefer driving down to the Palangpang Beach and watch the sun dipping into the horizon from the white sand beach though.

Reaching the waterfall is quite a challenge as the Sukabumi city center is roughly 3 hours away by car. The city itself is best reached by train, either from Bandung or from one of Jakarta’s satellite cities, Bogor.

Address: Desa Ciwaru, Kecamatan Ciemas, Kabupaten Sukabumi, Jawa Barat
Opening Hours: 9AM-5PM, Daily
Admission: Rp. 5,000 (~USD0.34)

Stunning waterfalls in Indonesia

In adventure films, the mention of a waterfall is a sure sign that an epic, dangerous scene is about to follow. Truthfully, real-life waterfalls are all breathtaking for an entirely different reason and if you’re looking to see what the best nature has to offer, these 8 waterfalls in Indonesia will definitely do the trick.

If you’re on the hunt for more natural wonders, check out these stories:

Cover image adapted from @jokjoko and @danieelputra

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