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Taman Nasional Bali Barat, a multifaceted park that protects various natural environments and endangered animal species, lies in the western part of Bali. Bali Barat is accessible on foot and boasts mangroves, swamps, reefs and many plant and animal species.
Taman Nasional Bali Barat lies in the most north-western part of Bali. With 770 square kilometres, the park covers approximately 10 percent of the total surface area of Bali. Bali Barat was designated a nature reserve many years ago, but only became an official National Park in 1941. The park offers great diversity, including rainforest, dry savannah, acacias and dense mangroves.
Bali Barat offers several unique diving locations, such as the small island of Pulau Menjangan. This is a true diving paradise: a gentle current flows by the Coral Gardens, an amazing 40-metre wall of coral. In addition to the beautiful coral, the waters are home to octopus, seahorses and rare colourful Mandarin fish. Local skippers know the area inside out and take you to the best diving spots. Night diving fans will also have plenty to explore here.
Only 10 percent of the park is accessible to visitors. You may choose from a variety of routes, but the visitor’s centre highly recommends going out with an experienced guide. Adventurers may opt for the Gunung Klatakan Trail, a 5-hour hike through the impressive Balinese rainforest, the most rugged area in the park. Other recommended hikes include tours to the mangroves in Teluk Terima and to the mountains near Makam Jayaprana. Those who prefer rest and spirituality may choose a walk on the island of Menjangan, which is home to 16 monks and a small number of deer.
Within the boundaries of Bali Barat there are up to 175 different species of plants, 14 of which are endangered. Most wildlife in Bali Barat live in the forest. You may encounter leopards, deer, wild buffalos, monkeys and geckos. One of the reasons the park was founded was to protect the Bali tiger, a separate tiger species that was killed and last seen in the wild in 1937. The park is also home to turtles; local hiking guides will know where to look for these animals.
Taman Nasional Bali Barat is especially known for its great variety of bird species. There are more than 160 different shore and sea birds, such as the brown gander and small frigate bird. Bali Barat is also one of the few spots in Bali where you may see the island’s mascot: the endangered Bali starling. According to estimates there are only 6(!) of these birds left in the park, so be sure to bring a pair of binoculars. The best time to visit the park is at the start of the rainy season, from August until the end of December.