Photo: Spectacular setting.

Biantal waterfall

Our rating:

Four hours into a two-hour bike ride, as our guide literally hacked a trail through the jungle with a machete, we thought, “What the hell are we doing here?” Five minutes later we passed a rise, saw Biantal Waterfall and realised that we were here for a very good reason.





Set in the southern reaches of Mataru district, it would be unfair on the surrounding villages to describe Biantal as being in the middle of nowhere, but when you approach it from Kalabahi, it certainly seems to be in the middle of nowhere. The district is home to at least seven waterfalls of note, with Biantal being apparently the largest.

Looking north towards the airport. Photo taken in or around Biantal waterfall, Alor, Indonesia by Stuart McDonald.

Looking north towards the airport. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Our guide suggested it would be a two-hour motorbike ride from Biantal but in practice it was an almost four-hour ride over some particularly ordinary sections of road. Once you reach the closest village to the falls, it is then a 30-minute walk down a mix of concrete steps and then a dirt trail. From there it took us another 30 minutes to machete our way through the jungle to reach the lower falls, which you then cross a couple of times and then climb over some boulders to reach the main falls.

The primary falls at Biantal are perhaps 50 metres tall, jetting off and tumbling down a jet-black stone edifice and pounding into a small pool. The power of the falls generates a swirling breeze which guarantees your camera lens will get wet within about 30 seconds.

A touch of Australiana. Photo taken in or around Biantal waterfall, Alor, Indonesia by Stuart McDonald.

A touch of Australiana. Photo: Stuart McDonald

The setting is pure jungle, with an enormous tree to the right and a stone overhang and shelter to the left. We visited after heavy rain, so the waters were quite muddy, but the village guide said in dry season the waters are clear and the lower falls (there are four primary sets in all) form popular swimming holes for weekend visitors.

It is a spectacular setting and a very impressive site. We were very glad we didn’t turn back, as we almost did three hours in. Coming from Kalabahi, a visit to Biantal will take the best part of a full day and while there are some stretches of new road, much of the road is in appalling shape. The sections that are new are cheap roads that will not wear the wet seasons well. Long story short: Be ready for a bumpy ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Location map for Biantal waterfall

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