The northwest coast of Bali has a genuine off-the-beaten-track feel. Stunning black lava beaches, small undeveloped villages, along with charming local life, make this an area not to be missed. What’s more, just a 30-minute boat trip from the mainland takes you to the tiny island of Menjangan, whose beautifully preserved coral reef offers some of the best diving and snorkelling in Bali.
Menjangan Island is located around 5-kilometres off the coast of northwest Bali, nestled in the clear blue waters of the Java Sea. Encircled by stunning coral reef, the island is perfect for snorkelling, while experienced divers can enjoy visibility of up to 50-metres, calm conditions, vertical coral walls and a maze of caves and cavities to explore.
We recommend taking a 30-minute boat trip out to the island for a relaxed day exploring the underwater world. If you’re lucky, the journey will be made alongside a pod of dolphins. For those who enjoy snorkelling, the water here is warm and crystal clear, allowing you to fully appreciate the strange and stunning shapes of the coral landscape. Sea snakes and brightly-coloured tropical fish make the whole experience seem other-worldly and surreal. As you drop out of the shallows, the water gets colder and darker with deep drop-offs to almost 60-metres. Competent divers can explore vertical coral walls, as well as one of the best diving walls in Bali, which takes you to a depth of 45-metres.
Menjangan lies within the Bali Barat National Park, sometimes referred to as West Bali National Park and the island, whose name translates as ‘deer,’ takes its name from the wild deer herds that swim to the island every spring. We’d suggest that nature and bird lovers take a one-day guided hike on the island, where along with wild deer, you can also expect to see wild rabbits and chickens, as well as plenty of iguana. There are over 120 recorded species of bird here and Menjangan is the only place to see the rare and endangered Bali Starling.
We think a stay on the northwest coast is a chance to experience authentic Bali, a place of small fishing villages, where each little house has a cow in the garden, where the landscape is dotted with small shrines, where the beaches are deserted and where at the end of the day you can sway in a hammock watching the sky turn to orange, violet and grey.