The community of Aan Village is celebrating the official opening of their new tourism initiative. The community and eco-tourism project has been led by the community and local leaders and has received funding from the Indonesian government. The Aan Secret Waterfall adventure is open for tourists daily and is set to become one of Bali’s best outdoor experiences.
Aan Secret Waterfall can be found in Semarapura in Klungkung Regency, approximately a 1-hour drive from Denpasar central. The Aan Secret Waterfall is in fact a series of three waterfalls that have been a lifeline for the village for hundreds of years.
Now the community has come together to develop a tourism initiative that they hope will bring about positive economic development for the area. Tourists not only have the opportunity to explore the three waterfalls but also gain insight into the day-to-day life in a rural Balinese village. Tourists will learn about local history, community folklore, and how the land was used to keep the community thriving.
Project leader Nyoman Dira is also a tour guide for the Aan Secret Waterfall experience. He spoke with local reporters about the process of cleaning up the area and making infrastructural improvements that will make the tourism village a success.
He explained how the first step was to clean up the forest area and the river flowing from the waterfalls. The area had become a dump for plastic waste, the area had become polluted and unsightly. Dira and his teams cleaned up the space and got to work improving the walkways from the village center down to the waterfall.
The project was made possible by a ministerial development grant that Dira and the community spent wisely. Dira explained as well as the clean up operation, that funds were used to build a safer walkway including concrete steps to make sure that tourists could access the waterfalls without fear of losing their footing.
Dira said that the opening of the waterfall experience will bring benefits to the whole village. Not only does the initiative incentivize the community to continue to take care of nature, but also promotes entrepreneurialism.
Dira’s wife has opened a shop selling arts and crafts and has created a space for tourists to relax and enjoy the view. His wife is selling traditional Balinese snacks and light meals, as well as offering tourists the chance to learn to make traditional meals themselves.
Dira explained how he hopes that Aan Secret Waterfall will become a must-visit destination for travelers from all around the world. He said ‘Currently, apart from local visitors, there are also international visitors who come to see this waterfall…We really appreciate and thank the visitors who come to this location, especially those who want to participate in maintaining cleanliness by not littering’.
The main feature of the Aan Secret Waterfall project is the Celek-Celek waterfall itself. Found just outside Aan Village in Tukad Bubuh is of great historical value. Traditionally the waterfall was used to access Nyalian Village in Banjarangkan District.
Community members from each village would free climb up the 30m waterfall cliff face and trek through pathways cut through the dense forest to connect with their village neighbors on the other side. Celek-Celek translates to mean gossip, the waterfall was used as a vital communication route for the two villages for centuries. Project leaders have shared how they hope to develop a rock climbing program in the near future to further diversify the experiences that they can offer to tourists.
The project has been in development since 2021, and the community is hopeful that the official opening will mark a fresh start after the hardship of the pandemic. This week the Indonesian Minister for Tourism and Creative Industries Sandiaga Uno confirmed that he would be shifting focus to promoting heritage and historical tourism across Indonesia. The Aan Secret Waterfall initiative is a great example of communities preserving and celebrating their unique heritage within tourism.
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