Taman Nasional Bali Barat, commonly referred to as West Bali National Park, is a forested conservation area that covers over 19,000 hectares of western Bali. West Bali National Park features unique ecosystems that are home to a number of rare birds and animals. The most famous animal that calls the park home is the Bali Starling. It is one of the main attractions that draws bird lovers from all over the world.
The park’s diverse ecosystems encompass river rainforests, unique coral reefs, open lowlands, and mangrove swamps. West Bali National Park also includes the popular Pulau Menjangan, a tiny island off of the northern coast that is commonly known as ‘Deer Island’. The island is a hotspot for avid divers from all over the world. The offshore coral structures are renowned for providing terrific snorkeling and diving opportunities.
More than 15,000 hectares of West Bali National Park is land terrain, with the other 3,000 hectares consisting of protected marine areas. The park is an active scientific research and conservation area, with 80% of its land and marine mass dedicated to this cause. However, it also hosts numerous tourists and recreational opportunities throughout the year.
The park is home to four substantial mountain peaks, the tallest of which reaches 1,000 meters above sea level. Surrounding the park peninsula are four islands: Menjangan Island, Kalong Island, Burung Island, and Gadung Island. Visitors are only allowed access to Menjangan Island, as the other three are dedicated to research and conservation.
There are various species of rare protected fauna throughout the island. The endemic starling is well-known, but other unique animal varieties that call the island home are the scaly anteater, the marbled cat, the mouse deer, the black giant squirrel, the water monitor, and the Javan Rusa. These unique animals attract ecotourism fans throughout the year. Inside the park are numerous ancient temples, various shelters, and an information center for ecotourism spectators to enjoy.
The out of the way location of West Bali National Park helps to conserve its diverse ecosystems. Located three hours away from Denpasar, the park is far away from the hustle and bustle of the eastern side of Bali. Only serious divers and nature lovers opt for the long drive it takes to reach the park’s wonderful terrain and ecosystems.
The history of the park is rooted in scientific research. In 1925, Vikto von Plessen, a German ornithologist, conducted intensive research on the island. He concluded that the habitat of the Bali Starling covered an expanse of the island and that the charming little bird was native to only this region.
Scientific research led to amazing discoveries of other animals as well, like the now extinct Bali Tiger. In 1947, over 19,000 hectares of land was set aside as a private nature park and nature preserve. It was not until 1970 that the park was handed over to the Indonesian government, at which time it became known as Taman Nasional Bali Barat, or West Bali National Park.
Due to its designation as a protected region, visitors must attain a special permit to gain entrance into the park. The majority of the park is utilized for scientific research and closed to the public. Other areas are designated as conservation awareness areas and have limited available activities. Snorkeling, diving, bird watching, trekking, and boat tours are considered tourism activities and only available in certain designated parts of the park.
West Bali National Park is a beautiful and unique destination that offers nature lovers a pristine environment to enjoy. Though the park is off the beaten path, there are numerous cheap flights to Bali, which afford anyone the opportunity to witness this magical land and experience its many treasures.
This was a Guest Post by Brenda Panin. Brenda is currently a web content writer for cheap flights to Bali. In her free time she loves to write about her travel experiences.