The Only National Park in Bali
Bali Barat National Park (aka West Bali National Park or Taman Nasional Bali Barat) is the only national park on the island of Bali. It includes an area of 190 kilometers inside the official park boundary and 580 square kilometers of protected land. The park accounts for an impressive 10% of all the land area in Bali. It can be found in the northwest of the island and is close to nearby island of Java – it is easy to find on a map because it is the most northern part of Bali. The national park was founded in 1941 with the help of the Dutch who were trying to offer sanctuary to the almost extinct Bali Starling bird and wild banteng. The park is a protected area so that it can be enjoyed by future generations of Balinese and foreign visitors.
Main Attractions at Bali Barat National Park
The main attractions at the West Bali National Park include:
- There are a number of volcanoes in the Bali Barat, but the two most famous of these can be found in the north of the park – Mount Patas (Gunung Patas) and Mount Merbuk (Gunung Merbuk). These are also the highest points in the park with Mount Patas reaching 1,412 meters.
- Menjangan Island is a nearby island that is also part of the park.
- Tegal Blunder Trail is the most popular attraction for birdwatchers. This offers the best opportunity to catch sight of the many species of birds in the park.
- Puri Gili Kencana is a stunning temple that can be found on Menjangan Island.
- Gilimanuk Bay is a good place to go if people are hoping to see some marine life.
Menjangan Island is 5km off the coast but it is still considered part of West Bali National Park – although strictly speaking it falls under the jurisdiction of Java. The word Menjangan is Indonesian for deer so it can be translated as deer island – this refers to wild deer that live here. There is some beautiful coral around the island and this snorkeling is popular. This is also a popular location with scuba divers.
Flora and Fauna
Bali Barat National Park mostly consists of monsoon and mangrove forests. It also includes 3,200 hectares of coastal waters along with coral reef. There are over 300 species of bird (including the endangered Bali starling) and 200 types of plants to be found in the park. Other local wildlife to be found in the park includes:
- Leopard cats
- Wild banteng
- Java Rusa
- Wild boar
- Indian Muntjac
- Bali tiger
- Wild deer
- Wild pigs
- Macaque monkeys
Activities at West Bali National Park
There are a number of activities available in the park including:
- Treking is one of the most popular activities. It is expected that visitors will hire an official guide for their own safety.
- Bird watching
- The best snorkeling in Bali is to be found on Menjangan Island
- Scuba diving near Menjangan Island
Admission to Bali Barat National Park
The entrance to West Bali National Park is found at Cekik. This is also the location of the park headquarters. The admission fee is Rp 25,000 per person. The cost of a guide is separate and people can expect to pay about Rp 50,000 for a half day – they may need to negotiate hard to get this price.
Near to Bali Barat National Park
- Pemuteran beach is located beside a small fishing village. There are a number of resorts here if people are interested in staying near to the park which is only a few kilometers away – it is possible to go to Menjangan Island from here by boat.
- Lovina is a coastal town that has become increasingly popular with tourists in recent years. The local beach is beautiful and the nightlife is bustling for such a small town – there are also some nice cafes that are ideal for those who like to relax with a book.
- Those who wish to travel on to Java will need to go to Gilimanuk in West Bali.
Things to Consider When Visiting West Bali National Park
Visitors to the park should keep in mind that:
- Tourists are required to hire a guide for their trip to the park.
- Guides can be arranged at the park headquarters in the village of Cekik.
- Only a small portion of the park is open to tourists. If people go outside this area their safety may be at risk so it is always advisable to have a guide.
- Once people are inside the park they will not be able to buy water. It is therefore important that they bring plenty of water with them.
- It is possible to arrange boat trips to Menjangan Island from outside the park.
- Scuba diving and snorkeling trips can also be arranged before arriving at the park.
- Boats for Menjangan Island leave from Labuan Lalang.