Unveiling the curtains of nature at Benang Kelambu Waterfalls in Lombok

posted in: Asia, Indonesia, Nature | 20

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.

Air Terjun Benang Kelambu Waterfalls in Lombok, Indonesia
Air Terjun Benang Kelambu Waterfalls in Lombok, Indonesia

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 board at the entrance of the Rinjani Geo Park explaining Benang Kelambu falls
The board at the entrance of the Rinjani Geo Park explaining Benang Kelambu falls

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.

Our power-packed riders who took us to Benang Kelambu falls
Our power-packed riders who took us to 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 stairway to my paradise
The stairway to my paradise

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.

My first glimpse of the Benang Kelambu Waterfalls
My first glimpse of the Benang Kelambu Waterfalls

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.

Ledges that can be explored behind the veil of water
Ledges that can be explored behind the veil of water

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.

Curtains of water that veil the greens
Curtains of water that veil the greens

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.

Wading through Benang Kelambu waters
Wading through Benang Kelambu waters   Pic Courtesy: Shrinidhi Hande

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.
Paddy fields of Lombok along the way
Paddy fields of Lombok along the way

Travel Tips

  • 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.

P.S: I was invited to visit #Wonderful Indonesia by the Indonesia Tourism Board and Malindo Air.


Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, I will receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. Thank you for supporting me with this


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20 Responses

  1. Pashmina Binwani

    I have been to Lombok to climb Mount Rinjani but I am really surprised by how I overlooked visiting the Benang Kelambu waterfalls. You have a knack for writing and described the waterfalls perfectly like melodious twittering and a tinkle of water! It reminds me of why people need to step out and visit real waterfalls rather than indoor ones, and your post and pictures are the reason why people should develop a strong affinity with the natural world! I can’t wait to revisit Lombok again, visit this place and see it through your perspective!

    • Ami

      Thanks Pashmina for stopping by. This is not very close to the trekking path of the Mountain. Hence, not surprised that you missed it. However, since you know if it now, am sure you will make your way to it the next time.

  2. Linda (LD Holland)

    We love the variety of sites offered as UNESCO Heritage Sites. Certainly the lovely Benang Kelambu Waterfalls are one we would not want to miss. I am sure the ride on a two wheeler was quite an experience. Part of the fun! The waterfalls looks stunning, almost hidden in the foliage. I don’t think I have ever seen a waterfall like this. Or one quite so interesting. Definitely worth a trip to visit.

    • Ami

      Oh you will be stunned with the way the whole landscape is. Hope you get to it when you get to Lombok. Thanks for the lovely comment.

  3. Lisa

    What a beautiful post Ami! It’s been a few years now since I was last in Indonesia, but I definitely didn’t get to visit this wonderful waterfall. The way the water cascades is incredible, I can totally understand why it resembles a curtain. It’s also good to know that visitors can climb parts of the falls, or simply bathe if they wish. Definitely a hidden treasure here!

    • Ami

      I am sure you will love these waterfalls – how can you not, with all that greenery. Hope you can make it to this part of the world. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Danik

    I would so totally make the effort of reaching the waterfalls. A lot of people say the bigger the waterfall the better to see but it looks like as this is quite small waterfall, it is stunning to see and the shape of it blends in well with the greenery. Can see why it looks like a curtain 😀

    • Ami

      It’s a big waterfall but not in terms of its height. More the expanse of the falls. I am sure you will love it when you see it. Thanks for stopping by. P.S: Maybe you can run to the falls 😉

  5. Debra Schroeder

    I love visiting cities with waterfalls especially unique ones like Kelambu Waterfalls The foliage makes it more remarkable and different from others. In the one photo the falls almost look like a face. Adding to my list of places to visit.

  6. Manjulika Pramod

    I can see how much you loved the waterfalls, the way you have described them in the first paragraph. It is definitely a hidden treasure of Lombok. I had not read about it before and was happy to see it cascade and fall amidst the greenery. The power packed female riders were amazing. I loved the thrilling ride to the top to see the falls.

  7. sherianne

    This is gorgeous, it absolutely looks like a fairyland. The bike ride even sounds fun. I could spend hours photographing and swimming here, too bad you weren’t able to jump in.

    • Ami

      I so wish I was better prepared to make the jump into the water. But well! Hope you can do it on my behalf. Thanks for stopping by, Sherianne.

  8. Agnes

    We love to photograph waterfalls, so your article attracted our attention. It looks like from fairytale. Lush greenery and water, it’s a photographic paradise, especially that we also like observe and photograph birds. We add the waterfalls to our list, especially that Indonesia with Lombok Island is high on our list must-see places. We want to go there for a few weeks. So we will use your recommendation in future, for sure.

    • Ami

      Am sure you will love it in this weather. Will wait to hear from you once you have visited the place.

  9. daniel

    Great post!! I love visiting the picturesque waterfall, and the length you need to take in order to reach the waterfalls is so adventurous, that it would totally be worthy. I have visited Indonesia a few years and I would definitely add it to my list for 2020 and visit it again.

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