it is difficult to pick just one favorite place to visit on the island as each part of Bali has a different unique aspect. So I have decided to share with you three of my favorite places in the hope that you, our kind readers might have the opportunity to visit one or all three.
Text & Photos by Kartika D. Suardana
It is difficult to pick just one favorite place to visit on the island as each part of Bali has a different unique aspect. So I have decided to share with you three of my favorite places in the hope that you, our kind readers might have the opportunity to visit one or all three.
Bali Barat National Park
The national park is located on the western tip of the island and stretches right up to the northwest corner. It takes almost 4 hours to reach the area when starting from the south, so be sure to factor this timing into your trip. The serenity of the National Park will come as a welcome change to the flashy and busy lifestyle in the south of the island.
What I like most about the national park is the uniqueness of its landscape. The west part of the park is a tropical rainforest; while in the northwest section of the park is a monsoon forest. This time of year is when we experience the torrential downpours, which transforms the monsoon forest from dead and brown back to its green glory. The wet season has come very late this year, and as this article is being written (November) the Monsoon Forest is still brown and the ground cracking. The native deer species the Menjangan are still currently thrilling visitors by coming out of the inner jungle to the waterhole made by the park. This is normally a very rare sight at this time of year as during the wet season the deer have no need to leave the forest for water.
Menjangan Island, a tiny island across the sea from the park is also protected by the National park. No one lives on the island except for one priest who takes care of the island’s temples. The island is surrounded by crystal clear water and is home to a plethora of fishes and other marine life, and as a result Menjagan Island is one of Bali’s most famous dive sites.
It takes only 2 hours drive from Sanur to Tulamben, a village in the east coast of the island that also boasts the superb view of the biggest active volcano in Bali. The village was once washed out by the eruption of Mount Agung and during the eruption; the stones and lava also pushed and trapped a large vessel, the USS Liberty, which had breached in the bay during WWII under water. The USS Liberty was pushed down to the bottom of the sea and has become a stunning home for coral reefs and a huge variety of other marine life and fishes.
As well as the spectacular diving, morning on land in Tulamben is extraordinary, particularly at sunrise, when the sun rises directly in front of you on the beach. There is also some nice accommodation and restaurants around Tulamben for those desiring a well earned rest after a long days diving. For those planning on visiting or staying in Tulamben, I cannot emphasis enough the wonderfully laid back and relaxed atmosphere in Tulamben. Dives can be made anytime during the day and night diving is also possible as the area offers several beach entry dive sites. Sometimes I just grab my snorkel and admire the beauty from the surface; you are not constrained in anyway by how best to view the reefs.
The Twin Lake
When I have had enough of the heat in the south I head up into the hills. I love to breathe the cold fresh air and watch the world go by around the lakes.
My favorite place to go is the Twin Lake Nature Conservation Area, which is home to Lake Tamblingan and Lake Buyan. Camping grounds are available on both sides of both lakes and it is very easy to rent a canoe from one of the locals, let them take you out onto the water and experience the colour and splendid scenery, it truly is like one of Monet’s paintings coming to life in front of your eyes. The view of the lake from the canoe is very colorful and splendid; it’s like Monet’s painting come to reality, the minute you arrive at the Twin Lakes, you feel at one with nature.