West Bali

West Bali consists mainly of a series of passive volcanoes within the Taman Nasional Bali Barat Park, which covers 19,000 hectares on the western tail of the island. (Have you noticed yet that Bali appears like a giant fish in the ocean?)  It also includes 7,000 hectares of coral reef and coastal water. The coast road skirts south of the Prapat Agung Peninsula - from which it seems one could almost touch the island of Java. Gilimanuk is the port for Java-bound ferries, which depart almost every half-hour. 

A stay-over within the park is recommended for nature lovers. Enjoy a visual feast of some 175 species of native plants, 300 species of Balinese birds (including the rare Bali starling – also known as Rothschild's mynah -  white, not black), barking deer, wild boar, black monkeys, leaf monkeys, squirrels, water monitors, flying foxes, buffalo, green snakes, sambar, Java deer, iguanas and pythons.

The volcanoes in the park are Gunung Prapat on the Prapat Agung Peninsula (310m), Kelakatan (698m), Banyuwedang (430m), Merbuk (1388), Musi (1224m), Sangtang (1004m), Mesehe (1344m) and Patas (1412m).

There are several unspoiled coral reefs off Menjangan Island, which is just north of the park's mainland. Local dive shops organise scuba and snorkelling trips.

There is a network of fairly level trails around the park's edges. You can arrange guided treks at the park office in Cekik, 6 km (4 mi) west of the park entrance at Labuan Lalang. Permits are required for travel within the park.

A most unusual sight, deer often swim in the sea off Menjangan Island.

Negara and the Buffalo Races
Negara is the capital town of West Bali, and best known for the wild and exciting buffalo races (Makepung), part of the harvest festivities which run between July and October. If you are on the island during this period, be sure to see the races, which usually run on Sunday mornings. They are held on a 2-km course, with each rider's cart pulled by two water buffalos. The races are very exciting and present a riotous spectacle, with the buffalos colourfully decorated  and the competitors cheered on loudly by the crowd. 

For something tamer but just as colourful, Negara is also known for the Joged dance, performed by a girl in a variation of the Legong costume. This dance is considered erotic by the Balinese, because the girl entices men from the audience during the performance.
Between Medewi and Mendoyo, visit Pura Rambut Siwi - a coastal temple perched high on a cliff. It was built in the 16th century by a Hindu priest from Java, named Dang Hyang Nirartha; it is a sister temple to Tanah Lot down the coast. Also nearby is Pura Gede Perancak. There is good surfing at Medewi, but the beach is stoney.

Blahmantung Waterfall (Near Pupuan)
Falling more than 100 metres into ice-cold pools, this waterfall is especially spectacular during the rainy season (November to March). Be prepared for a tough trek up a steep, rough, track to get there. Pupuan is located on the road north from Antosari to Seririt, and is a  place of awesome landscapes and friendly local farmers.

West Bali is mainly in the Regency of Jembrana.


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