A different Bali. Located on the northwest of the island and close to Singaranja, it’s probably one of the most peaceful national parks. I had to see it, so after a five-hour drive over the main mountain range of Bali we reached the area. Lush green planes and a wild but peaceful coast make up the Barat National Park.

The Bali Barat National Park boasts a high level of bio-diversity with no fewer than 175 plant species and a wide variety of animals such as wild boar, deer, monkeys and macaques, the Flying Fox and the amazing Water Monitor.Although not our style, it’s the stunning birdlife that draws most nature lovers here.   The park is home to more than 160 species, including eagles, owls, sunbirds, kingfishers and swifts. Many are on the endangered species list, such as the rare Rothschild’s Myna (or Bali Starling) with its dramatic white feathers and head plume.As for the reason we went up there, that’s easy to guess, the underwater world.

Guided by the Blue Season Bali dive store, we did three dives with the excellent staff of the resort. Our main target was the coastal area just off-shore and possibly the best diving opportunity in Bali. Magnificent coral gardens and dramatic reef walls are home to a vast range of marine life: everything from sea fans, pygmy seahorses and vivid gorgonians to hawksbill turtles, schools of snapper and reef sharks. A marine survey recorded an amazing 110 species of coral.

We managed to stay at the Menjangan Hotel that’s actually based in the park. Due to its location, in the heart of the Bali Barat National Park and on 382 hectares, the Menjangan offers a wide selection of activities and programs that a few only places can match on the island. The forest that surrounds the eco friendly hotel is not dense tropical rainforest but more open savannah-like vegetation which is easy to explore and is bursting with nature.

With little time on our hands, we quickly explored the nearby island and the area of the park before we headed home to Karma Kandara. Another day off in Bali that’s worth mentioning.

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