In my dreams of a paradise, cascades emerged from infinity and fell at different levels. They hid amid emerald bushes and suddenly emerged to plummet on rocky ledges. They hid pretty caverns – possibly treasure troves and cast a misty spell around them. Birds twittered and butterflies added to the glitter. Little did I know that this wasn’t a dream. It was a premonition of a place that I was to see some time in life. It was an image of the Benang Kelambu Waterfalls in Lombok.
I admit that I did not know anything about the Benang Kelambu waterfalls before this Lombok trip. It was only when I saw it on my Lombok itinerary, I did a bit of spying. The internet pictures promised me a tranquil landscape. However, it did not prepare me for the “Deja Vu” that I was going to encounter when I actually reached the waterfalls. As you go along with me on my journey to the Benang Kelambu falls, you will realize why this is an unmissable Lombok attraction.
About Benang Kelambu Waterfalls
Located in Central Lombok, by the foothills of Mount Rinjani (the famous active volcano of Indonesia), the Benang Kelambu falls does not arise from any river. The source of the waterfall is actually a fountain that emerges out of a rocky cliff. The water then falls down the various levels creating a tiered effect. The geological part of these waterfalls is explained at the entrance with the help of the board below.
The way the cascade emerges out, it resembles a curtain hiding the greens behind. Hence, the locals termed the cascades as Kelambu – curtains in the local language. And as I discovered, a very befitting name too!
Welcome to Mount Rinjani Geopark
Mount Rinjani and its surrounding area have been recognized as UNESCO heritage sites. Most people end up visiting this part of Lombok but from the north as a part of their Mount Rinjani Hike. Benang Kelambu Falls also, falls under this geopark but is approached from central Lombok. This was something explained at the entrance to the park. It was here that I realized that besides the Benang Kelambu waterfalls, the park had another significant one called Benang Stokel (Benang Stokal). If we had the time, we could have hiked our way to first see the Benang Stokel falls, head down to the jump spot to plunge into the freshwater and then arrive at the Benang Kelambu falls.
However, as always, we were short of time and thus, had to opt for a two-wheeler ride to the Benang Kelambu waterfalls. And what a ride it was!
A bumpy ride to the Air Terjun Benang Kelambu
Air Terjun means waterfall and naturally, you all now know what the whole term above means. Once the ride option was decided, our guide summoned an army of two-wheelers. Young girls and boys from the village nearby zipped up a muddy path to pick us up. Each one of us got on as a pillion rider and off we zoomed. Up and down and almost round and round a dusty hiking path. There was one steep incline for which my lady rider asked me to hold onto her – lest I fall off the rear end. Precariously balancing my precious camera with one hand, I held onto her as she vrooooomed up the dusty incline.
The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful and before I knew it, we were right at the start of a descend to the Benang Kelambu falls.
Descending to the first sight of the falls
I could hear the gushing sound of water right on the top. The damp hedges hid little streams along the same staircase. Melodious twittering accompanied the tinkle of water. Intent on not missing a step on the slippery stairs, I chose to only enjoy the music rather than attempt to spot the source, until a point where the source stood strong in front of me.
Against the green windows of nature was a translucent sheer of water. The scene seemed familiar. It was straight from my dreams of a paradise.
A dream come true!
Benang Kelambu waterfalls thundered down a rocky ledge. They emerged somewhere on the top, fell down and got hidden by the emeralds of nature only to emerge somewhere again and fall to the bottom. I could see caverns behind some of that water and only if I had been better prepared, I would have explored those covert ledges. Who knows what I would have found – maybe a treasure trail. Or maybe a fairy. Or possibly a secret passage to Eden…I suppose for now I won’t know.
When you talk of paradise and fairylands, there is one more that I will always remember. This one is in India, in the North-East. My journey along the Dawki river showcased this piece of fairyland. You must check it out through this post on Dawki.
While I spend time clicking my misty moments around the waterfall, I noticed the tourist-friendly aspect of the place. One could definitely climb up some of those ledges and take pictures around them. For those who did not want to, there was a bathing pool at the base along with a changing room. And then, there were some like us who could not afford to get wet – they could just wade through the ankle-deep water.
It was time to make the ascend again. However, I kept turning back to see the last of the dreamy falls. I could have spent some more time here, just taking in the way nature played hide and seek with its elements. There was the water doing that with the green flora around the cliffs and the mysterious birds calling out from somewhere around those leaves. Tiny butterflies attempted to settle down on the damp flowers. All the while the melody of water kept the mood vibrant.
Words might not seem enough and pictures definitely do not do justice to this heavenly waterfall. The best way for you is to get down to Lombok and visit the Benang Kelambu Waterfalls.
How to reach Benang Kelambu Waterfalls?
- Lombok has an international airport with flights connecting to cities like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. There are plenty of domestic flights operating in Lombok. They are fairly reasonable in terms of price. Just remember though, you are allowed only 15 kgs on a domestic flight.
- You can reach Lombok by boat from Bali. There are plenty of ferries and fast boats that operate on a regular basis from Bali. You can, in fact, book one of those fast boats through this website link.
- Once in Lombok, you will need to arrange for a cab or a two-wheeler to get to Benang Kelambu Waterfalls.
- Two-wheeler rentals are also, a convenient option to get to Benang Kelambu Waterfalls.
- The waterfalls are located almost 30 km from Mataram. From the airport, the distance would be 40 km. It takes around 1 – 1.5 hours by road to get here. Make sure you have the waterfalls marked on your GPS. Also, ensure you keep checking with the locals when driving to the falls, as there are quite a few smaller roads to traverse – some leading you past very pretty rice fields.
- The entrance fees for a foreign national to the Benang Kelambu Waterfalls or rather Rinjani Geopark with all the waterfalls are IDR 25000 per person. However, this is just the entrance fees. You have to also, pay for the guide to enter the park. The guide charges are IDR 50000. The guide can take upto 7 people in a group.
- If you choose to hike, there are no additional charges. However, if you decide to ride to the waterfalls like how I did, you will have to shell out INR 50000 per bike. In this case, you might not need to pay separately for a guide.
In case you are looking for a conducted tour that takes you straight from your hotel, includes transport and a guide, then you can book one online through this link. You will not be charged anything additional for the same but I get a commission that keeps this website going!
- The Benang Kelambu Waterfalls are open from 7 am to 6 pm. According to me, the best time to visit the Benang Kelambu falls would be in the first half of the day. I would also, recommend finishing the visit before it gets dark as I could not see any artificial lights along the way.
- There are restrooms at the entrance and near the waterfalls.
- Small souvenir shops and cafes are available at the entrance as well as the stairs that descend to the Benang Kelambu falls.
- Carry an extra set of clothes and your bathing suit. Wear a pair of waterproof shoes or the non-slippery kinds to glide over the damp stairs. They will also, help you wade in water over the sharp pebbles.
- Pay heed to your safety first before attempting to climb the rocky ledges of the waterfall.
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Popularly referred to as a Restless Ball of Energy. My Mom refuses to entertain my complaints about my equally restless daughter & assures my husband that I was born with a travel bug.
I am a Post-Graduate in Marketing by qualification and a travel blogger by passion. Besides travel, I enjoy photography and if you don’t find me at my desk, I would be out playing badminton or swimming or just running. I believe in planning for every long weekend through the year. And when I cannot travel physically, I travel virtually through this travel blog. My travel stories have also, got published on various websites and magazines including BBC Travel, Lonely Planet India and Jetwings.