Break away from the usual Seminyak-Ubud-Canggu tourist route and add an island escape to Menjangan’s National Park to your Bali bucket list.
Whilst we could wine, dine and party ‘til dawn in Seminyak and Canggu until the deer come home, we also love to explore greater Bali and its island neighbours – after all, Indonesia is made up of over 17,000 islands, so we’d better get cracking.
One island that isn’t too far from home is Menjangan – a small atoll just 5 miles from north-west Bali’s mainland, surrounded by world-class scuba diving and the natural wonders of the Bali Barat National Park.
And one of the best things about Menjangan? You can actually stay within the National Park, at the magical 382-hectares The Menjangan resort. Nestled deep amongst the lush forest alongside wild deer (“Menjangan” actually means “deer” in Bahasa Indonesia) expect utmost nature and all of the five-star comforts you’d expect from a luxury resort…
1. Day trip to Menjangan Island and find Nemo
As one of the main attractions in the Bali Barat National Park, a day trip to Menjangan Island should be at the top of your bucket list. The Menjangan resort can arrange the entire excursion for you, including a gourmet lunch box, snorkelling and diving equipment, a fast boat to and from the island, and your own personal guide. And since Menjangan Island really is one of the best diving spots in Bali (get your thrills at the breathtaking coral wall to find Nemo!) you’ll definitely want to jump in.
2. Ride on horseback through the National Park
Explore the National Park’s mystical forest and you’ll come across The Menjangan’s stable of faithful Australian horses. These beautiful creatures know the woods almost better than the locals, so saddle up and take in the views of jungle and beach via horseback, guided by the resort’s trained staff who’ll tailor your trek to suit your riding ability. Top tip: go early in the morning or late in the afternoon when it’s cooler – you’ll also catch an epic sunrise or sunset.
3. Ocean gaze from your bedside
The Menjangan features 3 types of back-to-nature accommodation options: The Monsoon Lodges hidden in the jungle, an ultra-luxe three-bedroom estate called The Residence, and a collection of gorgeous Beach Villas – the latter of which feature palatial bedrooms that look directly onto the beach and the calm waters out yonder. Breakfast in bed has never been so paradisal!
4. Watch the sunset from the treetop lookout
Right at the heart of the resort, you’ll find The Bali Tower. In fact, you’ll struggle to miss it: it’s a remarkable, towering structure made from five huge logs, each 33 metres long and 80cm in diameter! It teeters high above the treetops, five storeys high, with incredible 360 degree views over the National Park and out to the ocean. Make this your nightly sunset spot – happy hour cocktails included.
5. Kayak across the calm waters
You don’t have to go all the way to Menjangan Island to enjoy pristine ocean perfection. Right on The Menjangan’s doorstep you’ll find crystal clear and totally calm waters that are ideal for kayaking. Explore your way through the mangrove maze and out to the bay in a single or double kayak (either on your own or with a guide) and finish up just in time for sunset to see the candy-coloured reflections on the water.
6. Dine beachfront with the deer or deep in the forest
If gourmet cuisine served up in a magical setting tickles your fancy, you’ll want to take note. The Menjangan is home to two very different dining destinations that look like they’ve come straight out of a fairytale. We’re talking a forest-hugging restaurant overlooking jungle and mountains serving mediterranean and Indonesian cuisine, and a beachfront deck that specialises in fresh seafood, regularly frequented by wild deer. By night, this spot transforms into a sultry lounge with bean bags, candles and after-dark chill-out music. Heaven!
7. Dive bomb off the jetty
Tucked away on the quieter side of The Menjangan’s bay is a stunning wooden jetty that stretches far out across the water. With rolling mountains as a backdrop and pond-like ocean all around, this tranquil slice of the National Park is as Instagrammable as it gets. And you’ll definitely want to Boomerang a dive bomb off the end of the jetty to really capture the moment…
8. Spot wildlife in the safari car
Ok, so it’s not technically a safari car, but trust us, it feels like it! The car we’re talking about is the resort’s transportation vehicle (the grounds are spread over 382 hectares, so it’s an essential) and this open air, two-storey vehicle traverses through the bumpy jungle paths giving you some of the best views of the natural wildlife. Bring your binoculars and have your cameras at the ready, and see how many tropical birds, wild deer, Junglefowl and enormous monitor lizards you can spot!
9. Bliss out above the water at Mangrove Spa
Simple, peaceful, and discreetly set within the mangroves on Sentigi Beach, Mangrove Spa is a spa unlike any other. It consists of three open-air gazebos – all of which face out over the ocean – and inside you can bliss out with professional spa treatments, including traditional massages that use natural products from the surrounding area and promote the traditional art of healing.
10. Become an eco-warrior
The Menjangan resort works tirelessly to ensure the National Park remains exactly that – a preserved piece of natural beauty. And as part of the resort’s facilities, you can play part in the ecological and environmental protection. Make use of all of the resort’s stainless steel straws and refillable water bottles (no plastic here!) and be sure to chat to the friendly staff who’ll be happy to tell you more ways you can help in keeping the National Park clean.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a pair of binoculars, pack your bikini, and we’ll see you in the jungle!
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