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West Bali National Park: Secret Bali spot Aussies are missing

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I didn’t assume I’d be placing roots down in Bali so quickly – I’ve solely been on the bottom for 2 months of my one-year sabbatical, however right here I’m on my knees planting a uncommon sawo kecik tree.

My information Abi tells me these endemic bushes will usually bear fruit in seven to 9 years thereby supplying the native fauna – squirrels, monkeys and dozens of chicken species, with the contemporary sweet-sour spherical pink fruits. (It may also assist hold the monkeys away from the cookie jars within the resort rooms).

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The tree planting train – or Endemic Tree Planting Programme is without doubt one of the ongoing sustainability initiatives run by Plataran Menjangan Resort inside West Bali National Park,  in Bali’s northwest nook. This is Bali’s solely nationwide park, and one of many island’s few remaining forests, so it feels good to contribute just a little piece of nature.  Next to the tree, just a little picket signal with my identify on it and an Australian flag nurtures the concept of returning over time to observe its progress.

Etienne Watson-King – planting a tree – and an Aussie flag – at West Bali National Park

Curiously, as I enterprise across the park throughout my keep, I see loads of flags from across the globe however no different Aussie flags. When I question Abi on their absence, I’m stunned to listen to that only a few Aussies go to this lovely nook of Bali.

For starters, the lodging is outstanding. Plataran is a splendidly comfy eco-resort with conventional Balinese village-style villas which have high quality linen, air-con and  dreamy 4 poster king beds draped in mosquito nets. At neighboring The Menjangan resort, the beach-front villas have that rustic southeast Asian seaside shack vibe however they’re additionally decked-out to go well with discerning vacationers. Both resorts have a swimming pool, spa, and nice eating places, they usually typically share visitor actions and amenities.

This pocket of Bali is an untapped paradise. Picture: Penny Watson

This pocket of Bali is an untapped paradise. Picture: Penny Watson

When I point out the shortage of Australians to Menjangan resort basic supervisor Ingo Graf, he tells me the same story – solely two per cent of friends are Australians. I’m barely perplexed – particularly given our dialogue is happening on a deck jutting into the clear blue waters of a protected space of the Java Sea well-known for its coral, turtles and fish life. Mangroves – the park has 40 totally different species, body a view throughout the water to Menjangan Island, which is closed on account of Covid however is often a drawcard for scuba divers. Beyond I could make out the muted gray volcano silhouettes of Java, solely about 100km away and accessible by a ferry that crosses the horizon most mornings.

Traditional boats near Banyuwedang Temple & Hot Springs, near West Bali National Park

Traditional boats close to Banyuwedang Temple & Hot Springs, close to West Bali National Park

Ingo, who hails from Germany, places it right down to Australians having larger nationwide parks and higher animals – “even your snakes are bigger and more venomous than ours,” he jokes. “It’s also not a surfing destination,” he says. “And Australians love surfing”.

But I’m not shopping for it. Only three hours by automotive from Denpasar, this place ticks the packing containers for precisely the sort of journey my Aussie mates would love. While my household and I’ve been right here we’ve snorkeled off the jetty over coral reefs glimpsing pink-striped fish and mottled blue anemone. We have watched the wild antlered Java deer cooling themselves within the waters on the bay at dawn. We’ve ridden horses alongside a nature path and set eyes on the critically endangered Bali myna, an exotically lovely chicken with white plumage and shiny blue eye mascara. By evening, we’ve been handled to a standard nasi kampung Pejarakan – an area feast of slow-cooked pork curry, mahi mahi fish grilled in banana leaves, and beef satay served with chili sambal.

Traditional Nasi Kampung Pejarakan feast at Menjangan Lifestyle Retreat, West Bali National Park.

Traditional Nasi Kampung Pejarakan feast at Menjangan Lifestyle Retreat, West Bali National Park.

Perhaps essentially the most surprising and intriguing exercise was a kayak journey by the mangrove eco-system of Banjul Bay to Banyuwedang Temple and Hot Springs. The baths themselves had been closed on account of Covid, however we had been capable of bathe just like the locals do beneath spouts of 40-degree mineral waters mentioned to remedy illnesses reminiscent of eczema and hypertension.

A kayak trip to the hot springs. Picture: Penny Watson

A kayak journey to the recent springs. Picture: Penny Watson

Menjangan Lifestyle Retreat's Pankai restaurant has views to Menjangan Island and Java's volcanoes

Menjangan Lifestyle Retreat’s Pankai restaurant has views to Menjangan Island and Java’s volcanoes

I’ll be again to test on my sawo kecik tree and doubtless to plant one other Aussie flag as effectively.

This author travelled courtesy of Wonderful Indonesia and Visit Indonesia Tourism Office, Australia.

See additionally:

–What’s actually occurring in Bali proper now … and how one can assist

–Bali’s little identified wellness retreat

–Bali’s lockdown loophole

–Grim actuality of travelling in Bali proper now

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