Nearby Points of Interest
PLACES TO VISIT
West Bali National Park
Established in 1984, the Taman Nasional Bali Barat (West Bali National Park) is the wild side of Bali. The park encompasses 10% of the island's total land area with 777 square kilometres of monsoon forested mountains, mangrove forest, lowland rain forest, savannah grasslands, coasts, sandy beaches and offshore reefs, all of which are the last remaining pristine areas on the island. The gentle slopes of Mt Prapat Agung, at 375 metres above sea level, anchor the western tip of Bali and the national park. A trail of 24km goes partway around the foot of the mountain. The park is home to 175 species of flora, including endangered species such as sandalwood trees, and ‘sonokeling' trees or black rosewood, which take 200 years to grow large, as well as 150 species of fauna including Javan rusa deer, mouse deer, barking deer, long-tailed macaques, civet cats, black monkeys, wild boars, and the last of the island’s wild banteng from which the deer-like Balinese cattle are descended.
A guided trek through the national park is a special back-to-nature adventure. Experienced national park guides will take you on an easy journey through the areas where the wildlife can be seen in their natural habitat.
The Park's profuse and beautiful bird life boasts over 250 different species and is only place where the Bali Starling can be found in its natural habitat. Extremely rare, this is the only surviving bird endemic to Bali, and is one of the world's most endangered species. It is a striking snow-white in colour, featuring black wingtips and tail, silky feathers, and brilliant blue rings around its eyes. It is possible to see the birds at the Bali Starling Pre-Release Centre, where birds that have been bred in captivity are acquainted with the food sources of the natural environment and encouraged to nest in native trees before being released around the National Park.
Within the marine reserve of the national Park, Menjangan Island (a 30 - 40 minute boat journey from the Resort) has some of Bali’s best coral reefs, wall-diving and snorkelling sites, teeming with a spectacular marine life and famous for its lack of currents and the great visibility, which extends to 50 metres at particular times of the year. Here you can view some of the best soft corals, sponges, and Bali’s greatest diversity of gorgonian fans – which attract huge numbers of small reef fish including brightly coloured parrot fish, yellow back fusiliers, powder-blue surgeon fish, damsel fish, puffer fish, unicorn fish, barracuda and silvery jacks. The walls plummet deep into the ocean floor so there is always plenty to look at. Even large pelagics are sometimes seen at Menjangan, and there have been occasionally sightings of whales, whale sharks and manta rays. The sandy, gradual slope of Menjangan's north coast is the final resting place for Bali's oldest diveable shipwreck, known as the Anker Wreck.
Atlas Pearl Farm
A visit to the Atlas pearl farm at Penyabangan Village (20km) is a must. Along the northern shores of Bali, the natural environment has all the properties necessary for the culture of some of the best quality south sea pearls in the world. If you partake in a guided tour, you will learn all about the oyster-breeding programme and the cultivation cycle, including a demonstration of pearl seeding and harvesting. Pearls are the only precious gems created by living creatures and they are often referred to as “nature’s most precious gift”. They come in three different natural colours: gold, silver and white, and Atlas is renowned for its silver pearls with hints of blue and a lustrous finish of the finest quality. The pearls are made into fine pieces of jewellery and exported worldwide; they can be purchased directly from the farm, and the café here has a gorgeous panoramic view. The farm has been visited by a number of celebrities including Bill and Melissa Gates.
Located high up a steep hillside with lovely views is 'Makam Jayaprana' (11km), the gravesite of a 17th-century local folk hero called Jayaprana. The handsome orphan Jayaprana, who was raised by the King of Kalianget, near Banjar, had wed the beautiful Layonsari. The King became jealous and desired Layonsari for himself, so after hatching a ruse to lure Jayaprana to a distant bay, he had him murdered. In despair, Layonsari committed suicide rather than submit to the treacherous king, and was reunited with Jayaprana in heaven. The shrine has a glass case which contains images of the ill-fated couple. Women pray here for divine assistance in matters of love.
In the fishing village of Pejarakan (4km), the local farmers grow corn during the rainy season and cultivate grapes during the dry season, both for eating and making wine. The village has a daily traditional market, which gets busy between 5am and 9am.
Hatten Wines Vineyards
The vineyards of Hatten Wines cover 35 hectares of land along Bali’s north coast. At the winery’s main vineyards, in the village of Sanggalangit (23km), the winemakers offer a vineyards tour, which includes a quick walking tour of the vineyard, where visitors can see the evergreen vines on overhead pergola trellises, loaded with bunches of the local black grapes – the Alphonse Lavallée French table grapes and white grape varieties (Belgia and Chasselas Loulou). These varieties do not need dormant periods, thus enabling Hatten Wines to produce wines all the year round. At the winery, there will be the opportunity to crush some grapes, visit the laboratory, and witness the different stages of creation, followed by a visit to the vineyard’s souvenir boutique. The final stage of the tour is, of course, wine tasting at the Welcome Centre and Observation Deck.
At Pemuteran village (11km), a scenic, dark-sand beach leads to a superb dive site with great drop-offs just one kilometre offshore. The reefs, known as Pura Tembok, Close Encounter and Napoleon, are dominated by soft corals, sponges and sea fans, with numerous fish including silver fusiliers, blue dancers, damsel fish, and occasional manta rays. In the 1990s the coast suffered environmental degradation from destructive fishing using bombs and cyanide, and in 1998 the House Reef at Pemuteran was devastated by El Niño. This prompted the highly successful Karang Lestari Coral Restoration Project, using Biorock technology, in which large holding domes are sunk with live coral samples. The reef receives electronic stimulus from the shore and responds with remarkable growth rates. Furthermore, the local community has declared the reefs as protected no-fishing zones, for eco-tourism use only, with the village retaining rights to all snorkelling income from tourists. This serves to reinforce the basic understanding that each fish has more value in the sea than in a net or on the end of a fishing line. Even the dolphins have returned.
A similar reef regrowth programme is underway next to Menjangan Dynasty Resort in Banyuwedang Bay.
Turtle Conservation Project
Pemuteran (11km) is the home of a turtle conservation programme, aimed at saving new turtle nests from predators, including poachers hoping to sell the eggs in the markets. The hatchlings – from three different species of sea turtle: Green Turtle, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill – are protected and kept in a holding tank where they are fed and cared for until they are bigger and have a greater chance of survival in the open sea. If you visit the turtle sanctuary you can pay a small donation and release a baby turtle into the sea. The donations are used to fund the project.
Brahma Arama Vihara
This striking Thai-style Theravada Buddhist temple (47km), with its bright orange roof and colourful statues of Buddha and other figures, is the biggest Buddhist temple in Bali. It was founded in 1958 by a Balinese monk and rebuilt in 1971. The views down to the coast are stunning, and visitors are welcome as long as they dress modestly, lower their voices and walk barefoot.
‘Air Panas’ Hot Springs at Banjar
Just three kilometres from Brahma Arama Vihara is Air Panas Banjar (50km), a natural spring and water shrine, with hot sulfurous water gushing out from the mouths of carved ‘naga’ (dragons) into three pools. There are eight carved stone dragons spouting water into the first pool (at 38 degrees C, this is the hottest pool), five more at the second pool (cooler then the first pool), and one 3-metre-high dragon serving the third pool. The water cascading from this high spout onto your back at perhaps 200 kilos per minute, is the ultimate massage. Traditional belief holds that this hot spring can cure illness, eliminate the feeling of stress and provide relaxation.
Banyuwedang Hot Springs
The sulphurous hot springs of Banyuwedang (1.6km) are located right beside the beach. This is a popular bathing spot for local villagers with water temperatures of around 40 degrees C. A concrete structure has been created contain the spring-water to form a hot water pool but it’s a bit scruffy here. The neighbouring Mimpi Resort (1.3km) also offers hot spring-water pools. Be sure to remove your silver jewellery as the sulphur in the water will turn it black.
Pura Pulaki (18km), in the village of Pulaki near Pemuteran, is built against a backdrop of towering cliffs, hills and jungle, and home to a troop of monkeys. The temple commemorates the arrival, in the early 16th century, of the Javanese high priest Danghyang Nirartha, who came here to escape from the rise of Islam in Java and teach Hinduism to the people of Bali. Legend has it that when Nirartha entered the forest of Pulaki he was escorted by monkeys, so the monkeys are now the guardians of the temple.
Pura Melanting (16km), meaning the ‘temple of the trader’, is the abode of the Goddess of Prosperity. This is where traders and business men come to pray for success, prosperity and good fortune. Two huge statues of dragons decorate the main gate and from below the stairway the temple looks particularly majestic.
Part of the Pura Pulaki complex is Pura Pabean (14km), is strikingly perched on a hill overlooking the coast. Unusually blending both Chinese and Balinese architecture, this is where fishermen come to pray for a safe passage.
Puncak Manik Temple
Behind the Melanting temple is Pura Puncak Manik (17km), a small temple built around a sacred spring, high up in the hills. You have to climb hundreds of steps, but when you reach the top, you will be rewarded with a marvellous view.
The Bali Tower
Within the outer zone of the national Park is The Menjangan Resort, where you can see an extraordinary feat of engineering known as the Bali Tower. Twenty-seven metres in height and constructed entirely from wood, the structure has five floors and tapers to a peak like a church spire with an ‘alang alang’ grass roof. Massive ironwood tree trunks are the pillars that support the structure; each one had to be carefully selected for its length and its straight regular shape. If the weather is clear, the climb is definitely worth it, especially at sunset, and you can have a drink at the top, and enjoy a panoramic vista of the monsoon forested terrain to the south, and the mountains of Java to the east. To the north you can see Menjangan Island, in perfect alignment with Java’s Mount Baluran. To the east is the landscape of Bali laid out like a map, nothing but trees, sky, sea and nature.
Sea salt panning is a notable industry practiced by the Madurese community of the village of Pejarakan (4km), using a processing technique that goes back hundreds of years, in which the farmers channel seawater into salt ponds to allow for natural evaporation under the hot sun. Production takes place during the dry season from June to September. Laboratory tests have revealed that the sea-salt from this area is one of the best quality sea-salts in Indonesia. This is because the absence of any refining process has allowed it to retain important minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, calcium and iodine.
Bali has a wonderful selection of waterfalls, especially in the central-northern highlands, offering the opportunity for both gentle and challenging nature treks through jungle and mountain forests to hidden cascades where you will be rewarded with gorgeous scenery and a cooling dip.
The best-known and most visited waterfall in Bali is Gitgit (71km), comprising twin falls, which are easily accessible from the main Bedugul to Singaraja road. Getting there is a comfortable trek through a shady ravine with a wooden boardwalk over a small gorge and narrow streams. Upon reaching the base, you will be delighted by the spectacle of the 40-metre-high double cascades tumbling into a cool rocky pool guarded by a small shrine. If you wish, you can trek a little bit further to the nearby falls of Mekalongan, which are a continuation of Gitgit’s watercourse. Gitgit flows all the year round, with clearer waters during the dry season.
Close to Lake Tamblingan, set between orange groves, coffee plantations, blue hydrangea fields and hedges of pink bougainvillea, is the pretty village of Munduk (64km) and two more of Bali’s enticing waterfalls. From the road, a short, 300-metre track lined with sweet scented clove trees leads to the 15-metre-high Munduk Waterfall. This is an alluring place where you can bathe in a rocky pool and absorb the invigorating vitality of the rushing water. Melanting Waterfall, a short trek to the north, has similar features, complete with a bridge that traverses the fall’s peak.