A Castaway Escape To North West Bali

April 04, 2016

labuan-lalang-harbour

 

 

A trip to West Bali had never crossed my mind, until I received an invitation from Nusa Bay Menjangan by WHM for a night’s stay at the resort, the only resort located within the West Bali National Park. I was immediately intrigued and said yes. Not knowing what to expect, friends told me it would be a wonderful experience, an opportunity to be at one with nature and a great escape away from the chaos in South Bali. I jumped at the chance, packed an overnighter and drove 4-hours west to Labuan Lalang harbor.

The drive West was breathtaking, an experience in itself especially for someone who has never ventured further than Ubud (a sin, I know!). Bedugul, Munduk and Tamblingan really captured my heart and I made a vow to come back at least a few more times for stays. After a long drive, we reached Labuan Lalang harbor, which hosts a few warungs and a small jetty. I glimpsed some fishermen boats out at sea; there are no mega yachts or sailboats here, much to my relief. As I enjoyed my simple yet delicious lunch of Nasi Goreng, I spotted plenty of locals wearing traditional Balinese outfits waiting for their boats; and learned thatthey were headed to Menjangan Island, home to 10 Hindu temples, for prayers.

 

public-boat-to-menjangan-island

 

It was almost time to board, and I was keen to get going. I headed to big signboard for NusaBay Menjangan by WHM when I received a call from I Kadek Susastrawan, also known as Pak Dede, the Operations Manager who helpfully informed us the wheres and hows while we wait for the boat. A friendly hotel staff found us and explained a little bit about the resort. We were happy to learn that aside to being the only resort within West Bali National Park; the resort is also home to families of deer, black monkeys and an incredible marine life. He also told us that the resort is not exactly on Menjangan Island itself, but sits on the extreme tip of North West Bali, facing Menjangan Island. Thereis no road access to the resort to minimize environmental impacts, which is why we were all headed there by boat.

 

trip-to-menjangan-bali

 

The boat ride was soothing, and we watched in awe as the water turned bluer and clearer the closer we got to our destination. After 20 minutes, I spotted a small jetty that seemed to lead into a jungle so thick and dense, I was sure there couldn’t be a resort there. But I was wrong. We disembarked, gasping in amazement at the unbelievably crystal clear and turquoise blue of the water. You can glimpse a few feet below into the sandy bottom and watch fishes, starfishes and other marine life going about their day. Excited, we headed down the jetty where Pak Dede himself greeted us. Professional, friendly, kind and accommodating, Pak Dede truly made us feel so welcomed. The resort’s entrance is unique in its own right - the grand entrance from the jetty is a beautiful archway of trees leading into a sandy alcove with a simple signboard to indicate that we are now at NusaBayMenjangan by WHM. We met Ben, the dive and snorkel master who also ran Blue Corner Dive – a 5 star PADI dive company, an on-site diving school and snorkeling facility, who greeted us and took us through a briefing on the services that they offer.

 

turquoise-blue-water-beach

 

I had never dived anywhere myself, so afraid of being submerged underwater, but I learned that the waters around here are famous among advanced divers. Blue Corner Dive brings divers out to the open waters for diving and snorkeling via a fast boat for a few hours every day. They also provide all the equipment that you would need. I opted instead for a snorkeling activity off the jetty later on in the afternoon, which is much closer to shore. Armed with a life jacket, flippers and snorkeling masks, the entire snorkeling experience was safe and amazing, I must have seen a hundred different types of tropical fishes and marine life down there and all within my fingertips.

We continued further into the resort and saw that it was built for minimal intrusion to the environment. All buildings were strategically placed to allow for the growth of theindigenous flora and fauna while dry landscaping prompts for minimal use of fresh water. I am also happy to report that there are no mega-sized structures here, nothing that would proof to be an eyesore or distract from the natural beauty that is the West Bali National Park. There are no loud sounds, no traffic, and no music from bars, clubs or even TVs - just the beautiful and perfect sounds of nature that will truly soothe and rejuvenate your soul. The welcome lobby, beachside restaurant, library and spa were built in a semi circle, all facing the deliciously blue and cool stone swimming pool that sits under groves of trees and decorated with sunbeds. A small path leads back into the jungle where guests can opt for trekking or cyclingor view wild animals roaming free in their homes with the assistance of a professional trekking guide.

 

lagoon-swimming-pool-at-nusa-bay-resort

 

We headed to our room, one of the 14 Lanai Cottages built and decorated in true safari-style, with tall stilts, wooden steps, straw roof, a wooden balcony with sunbeds and a massive four poster bed with mosquito netting, metal trunks and a rocking chair that honestly just adds to the romanticism of it all. The bathroom itself is modern and equipped with hot and cold shower, fresh white towels and cinnamon-smelling soaps. My view led out to both the sea in front and the jungle at the back and at night, the pathways are lit up with soft yellow lights adding to the entire feel of castaway adventure and escape.There are also 2 Villas for those with larger families.

 

nusa-bay-resort-menjangan

 

beautiful-bedroom-at-nusa-bay

 

My favourite place at the resort has to be the restaurant that sits on the beach under tropical trees with a direct view of the jetty. Aside to the delicious food cooked on site by the talented chef, here is where you’ll get to dine with really special dinner guests that you won’t get anywhere else - Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw a group of deer walking within arms length of me as I was enjoying my meal! Regal and docile, they walked gracefully by and eventually sat down on the beach to enjoy the waves and watch the sunset. I abandoned my meal for a few minutes to get closer to snap a few photos for memory. It was truly a moment that’s emblazoned forever in my heart and mind; the glowing golden sky, turning pink and purple, the sounds of the waves, the crystal clear blue waters, a delicious meal and a group of wild deer accompanying me as I ate, and I was in love.

 

menjangan-deer

 

Throughout my entire stay, I can say that it is the staff of NusaBay Menjangan by WHM who truly elevated my experience. Thoughtful, friendly, attentive and accommodating, they were filled with informative and helpful tips about the resort and itssurrounding areas, which they care passionately about. I was told that each staff participated with the planting of 100 saplings around the resort when it re-opened in 2015. If you’d like to hear more about the surrounding wildlife and nature, just speak to the friendly trekking guides who will share their personal stories and information with you. Aside to diving, snorkeling, trekking and cycling, the resort can also arrange for you to visit neighbouring islands. I myself went on a little excursion to visit Menjangan Island to photograph the 10 Hindu Temples there.

budhist-temple-in-menjangan-island

 

The entire trip and my stay at Nusa Bay Menjangan by WHM was truly a memorable one. When the time came for me to leave, I truly felt a hint of sadness. I was reluctant to leave what I saw as my own private recluse, a respite, an escape from the chaos and madness of city life. As I waved goodbye, I made a vow to return again one day for a longer period so that I could take my time to enjoy this beautiful piece of secluded haven, a true castaway experience that is like no other.

 

NusaBayMenjangan by WHM

Jl. Raya Gilimanuk KM 15, TanjungKotal Beach

West Bali National Park, Singaraja, 81115 Bali

www.wakahotelsandresorts.com