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Bali Community Develops Eco-Tourism Initiative At Village Waterfall

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The local government in Aan Village in Semarapura in Klungkung regency has been working together to develop a community-based tourism initiative. The project is centered around the village’s three waterfalls that have huge historical, cultural, and environmental value. The community has been working on cleaning up the area for a few months and is almost ready to welcome tourists on a daily basis. 

The Celek-Celek waterfall that can be 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.

Neighbors from each village would scale the cliff face of the 30-meter waterfall and cross through pathways cut through the dense forest to connect with community members 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. 

The Head of Aan Village I Wayan Wira Adnyana described how people are no longer using the waterfall for the purpose of gossip but that there is huge potential for the site to be used as a tourist attraction. He explained how the waterfall is perfect for rock climbing and that this would be a viable tourism niche for the village to pursue. He said ‘We can develop it later, so that in addition to enjoying the scenery, we can also climb cliffs, at this time we are still exploring [our options]’.

The Celek-Celek waterfall had been a feature of tourism programs since 2021, when the site was integrated with the Sukanta Wahyu Museum, in Banjar Sengkiding. When tourists visit the museum they are offered a tour of the neighboring waterfall, and many take guides up on the offer.

This was partly what sparked the community’s ideas about making the waterfall a more formalized tourism destination. It is thought that other community tourism initiatives will be offered alongside visits to the waterfall.

Adynana told local reporters ‘To reach the location of the waterfall from the Sukanta Wahyu Museum, it is only 200 meters away, and down about 50 stairs, besides that it can also be reached from the access road west of the Banjar Sengkiding Hall’.

The community has been working to improve access for vehicles and to make sure the pathway is safe for an increased amount of foot traffic. Construction teams from the village have reinforced the 50-steps to the waterfall and secured a fence and handrail to make it easier to walk the path. Adynana explained how there are plans to improve the infrastructure of the surrounding village roads too. 

There are three waterfalls in and around Aan Village, with Celek-Celek being the most impressive. The Aan Secret Waterfall and Petapan Waterfall are all undergoing access improvements so that tourists can explore all the natural wonders the village has to share.

Adnyana explained that the community received assistance from the Ministry of Villages, Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration, last year. In addition to the work done so far, funds will be used to build a 400m long footpath path to Aan Secret Waterfall, a bridge under the waterfall, and a shala for tourism information. The community was awarded IDR 600 million to develop the three waterfall destinations. 

The community is almost ready to receive visitors on a daily basis, though improvements will remain ongoing for the next year. Adnyana said that so far anyone who wants to visit can make a donation since the sites are still undergoing some construction. He said ‘The plan is for the entrance ticket for each object we meet, the tariff is only IDR 10,000 per person’.

Many communities in Bali are coming together to develop community-based tourism initiatives utilizing the natural beauty and cultural wonders they have to offer. In June Temesi Village in Gianyar Regency announced that they are opening their secret waterfall to the public.

The community worked together to clean up the area and the idea has largely been driven by the younger generation who have been inspired by the impact social media can have on supporting small tourism initiatives across the island.

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Saturday 6th of August 2022

From google reviews it appears that water is also used for irrigation, i.e. visitors may at times find no water flowing.

Whatever they do to develop this waterfall they should learn a lesson or two from the highly commercialized Tegenungan waterfall set up with a day club blaring loud music...