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.

Travel better, travel smarter

Save money, receive our latest updates and get the most out of your travels.


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 ... Travelfish members only (Around 500 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

Don’t miss the boat!

Please subscribe to to read the rest of this article, or log in here.

Subscribing to Travelfish costs A$35 per year and it gets you access to more than 200 downloadable guides to specific destinations, fabulous discount coupons and 50% off our personalised travel planning service. Sign up here.


Location map for Biantal waterfall

Popular attractions in Alor

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Alor.

Best places to stay in Alor

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Alor.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Alor.
 Read up on where to eat on Alor.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Alor.
 Read up on how to get to Alor.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Alor? Please read this.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.

See below for more sights and activities in Alor that are listed on

Top of page

Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Alor? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Indonesia.

Top of page