Wild deer, snorkelling, thermal pools, wineries and secret luxury resorts. And did we mention – no crowds? Menjangan is the secret spot Bali fans need to know.
To get to Menjangan you will need to travel to the north-west corner of Bali. The biggest attraction in Menjangan is the West Bali National Park. This is Bali like you have never seen it before. Away from the crowds, away from the bars and the nightclubs you’ll find a sanctuary for plant and animal life.
This Bali secret spot has long stretches of protected beaches which give way to fringing coral reefs. As you move inland the land changes from mangrove swamps to rainforest, dry savannah, acacia scrub, and montane forests. This dense bushland is home to deer, monkeys, pheasants and the endangered Bali Starling. This bird is the emblem of Bali. But sadly, it’s habitat has been shrinking.
In 2001, Indonesian authorities estimated as few as six starlings were thought to survive in the wild. All of them were in this park. Intense work has been done to rebreed the species. In June 2011 they released 60 starlings into the park. Spotting one has to be a highlight of any trip.
Take a day trip out to Menjangan Island and you will be rewarded with private white sand beaches, incredible coral reefs and stunning blue water. And not a crowd in sight. This island is named after the rare Javan rusa deer, and you will find loads of them both on the beaches and in the interior. To get to the island you will need a park guide and a permit. Most hotels can arrange this for you. Hire a luxurious phinisi schooner and enjoy a day on the water.
Menjangan island also has a large collection of shrines, including Segara Giri Dharma Kencana Temple with its towering seaward-facing Ganesh statue.
From Menjangan families can join a free Atlas pearl farm tour and learn how pearls are made.
Menjangan is home to one of the few Balinese wineries. Yes, wine is made in Bali. We told you this was a Bali secret spot you would love.
Hatten Wines Welcome Centre occupies 45 hectares of vineyard in the village of Sanggalangit. Hatten Wines owns and manages the vineyard, in partnership with local landowners. It is open to visitors for wine tasting and vineyard tours all year round.
Families should also consider a short day trip to Singaraja – the old Dutch colonial capital of Bali. Singaraja means “lion king”. This is the second largest city in Bali. Explore the Singaraja Chinese Temple, wander along the tree-lined streets and admire the old Dutch colonial buildings.
In nearby Banjar, you can relax at a water temple with rejuvenating hot springs.
If you are staying for a week, you should take the ferry over to Banjuwangi, West Java and climb Mt Ijen – famous for its blue fire and crater lake.
Plataran Menjangan Resort and Spa is a stunning beachfront eco-resort in West Bali National Park. This hotel was named one of the world’s Top 100 Sustainable Destinations on World Tourism Day and Global Green Destination Day, in Europe. It has a private beach, water sports centre, 360-degree ocean observation deck, free Wifi and laundry services. The kid will love the heated infinity pool. If you get there early you will see herds of deer trotting through the mangroves in the morning. Adults will love the pool’s sunken bar and ocean facing spa service. In the afternoon free afternoon tea is service on the Wantilan deck which overhangs the water.
This resort only has 17 stunning villas. The best room for families is the two bedroom villa. If you stay here make sure you pack binoculars. You will use them for spotting animals all day long.
Double rooms average around $380 per night.
The Mimpi Resort is known for its natural hot spring water which is said to be great for the skin. It is nestled in a secluded lagoon surrounded by mangroves. This family-owned Bali eco-resort resort is a complete escape. Choose from patio rooms, stunning courtyard villas and courtyard villas with a private pool.
Manjangan Dynasty Resort has African style glamping on a peaceful white sand peninsula. This light, minimalistic resort has 180-degree ocean views. Families can try snorkelling and diving, trekking, mountain biking, kayaking, bird-watching and horse-riding or quite simply lounging on the beach.
Dinner: Octagon Restaurant at Plataran Menjangan for great Indonesian food.
Best sunset drinks: The Menjangan Hotel: Top floor of the Bali Tower, cosy, romantic, (it’s four floors high)
Menjangan is a three to five-hour drive from Kuta Bali. Stop at coffee plantations and other sights along the way. Families can hire a car and driver to take you there.
Entrance fee to West Bali National Park: Rp 250,000/ day.