One of the best snorkeling and diving spots in Indonesia, even in the world, is Bali. So we decided to go to West Bali, particularly to Menjangan Island, a small island in northwest coast of Bali sitting in West Bali National Park, for our freediving and snorkeling first experience. We’ve already explored Bali in last three years, from south to east, but never been to the west and north. There are many reasons, besides snorkeling and diving, why West Bali is worth to visit, especially West Bali National Park.
Baca juga :
The first time my son snorkeled is when he was 5 years old. We did it in Belitung Island and several places. We still didn’t have enough courage to swim without life vest in open water back then, but it was really not bad as an introduction to get to know the sea. Six years later, he’s 11 years old and everything has changed.
We’ve been learning how to freedive in the last 3 months. In the beginning, we learned from our friend, then my husband signed us up to become certified freedivers, so that our level of confidence increased. We can even swim open water freely without life jacket. But since we are all newbie freedivers and this was our first time to snorkel and fun dive in open water as a family, we invited our friend, om Alfon, who initially taught us freediving to join us .
Baca juga :
Freediving is about enjoying aquatic life with less gear, only mask and fins with no oxygen tank. It’s different from scubadiving. In scubadiving we keep breathing by the help of oxygen tanks. On the other hand, we should hold our breaths underwater when we freedive. It’s more challenging than scubadiving, though.
How to go to Menjangan Island ?
Menjangan has beautiful landscapes above and under the sea. It’s famous spot among divers and snorkelers. This island is also home to the deers. Local people call them “Menjangan”. That’s why they named this place Menjangan Island.
Menjangan is easily accessible, either from the West Bali or from Banyuwangi in East Java. You have several options of ports to reach this island.
- from West Bali
You can reach Menjangan Island from Pelabuhan Lalang (near Gilimanuk Port and Pemutaran Beach), Teluk Banyuwedang (around 8 km from Pelabuhan Lalang) or Teluk Terima Beach, then rent a boat with a tour guide for around 500.000 IDR return trip per person. It takes 30 to 40 minutes by speed boat, depends on the weather. But usually hotels around West Bali National Park organize a trip to Menjangan Island. Its price is of course higher than local tour agents nearby.
Our jumping-off point to Menjangan island is Teluk Terima Beach since it is the nearest from our lodge in Bajul Eco Lodge, inside West Bali National Park. 20 minutes driving only. Two days before crossing, we rent a car and drove to West Bali for 3,5 hours, directly after arriving at Ngurah Rai International Aiport in Denpasar.
- From Banyuwangi, East Java
Another way to go to Menjangan Island is via Banyuwangi. Actually it’s easier, faster and cheaper. This can be opted when you stay in Banyuwangi and want to enjoy Menjangan Island as well. There are some departure points you can choose to cross the strait : Watu Dodol Beach, Bangsring Beach, Kampe Beach, and Grand Watudodol.
Snorkeling dan Freediving Tour di Menjangan
It is impossible to visit Menjangan Island completely independently. Rather, you need a company of tour guide for protection of national park and also for visitors safety. It’s practice after all. A guide provides all what you need, including boat, snorkeling or diving gear, lunch and drinks, not to mention guidance to the best snorkeling/diving spots you’ve never known before.
Therefore, we contacted Menjangan Snorkeling to book a trip a day before and met Bli Raka as our guide at Teluk Terima Beach at 7 am, the appointed time. I love this beach that was clean and has beautiful view. Balinese people gain more and more their awareness to keep the environment clean and green. On top of that it is now strictly not allowed to provide single-use plastics in the markets or stores in all area in Bali.
When we arrived at this beach, we could easily park our car nearby. Zola and I then played on a swing on the beach and took some photos while waiting for Bli Raka and the helmsman filled up the boat with things until it was 8 am and the tide was high enough so the boat was ready to sail. It takes less than 30 minutes to reach Menjangan island from this beach.
We quickly found that Bli Raka has a positive vibe, caring and enthusiastic personality. We strongly recommend to contact him if you look for a snorkeling, diving or trekking companion at Menjangan Island or West Bali National Park.
He provided us lunch and drinks, as well as a good companion. He was always keeping an eye on my child, never let him roam freely alone, and took a ring buoy with him during snorkeling for safety reason. When Zola told that he was so tired, Bli Raka brought him back to the boat that parked on beach and joined us again snorkeling. We really appreciated his effort to go back and forth to the boat.
Even though we all already had our own gear, Bli Raka brought us spare gear. It was useful when water was leaking my mask and my snorkel broke, I used his gear. For us, he has everything a guide needs. No hassle anymore. We had not only an exhilarating first time snorkeling experience but also tiring yet fun trekking adventure with him.
Trekking Taman Nasional Bali Barat
Oh, about the trekking, we almost forget in the beginning that our guide offered us trekking after snorkeling. We all were too excited and only focus on preparing ourselves for snorkeling, not for trekking. Haha. As a result, we didn’t wear proper clothes and footwear for trekking.
Can you imagine we trekked through the jungle and hill 6 km away for one hour in the sun only wearing diving shoes, socks and flip flops ? To be honest, it was uncomfortable, especially for Zola, during our walk. It became the lesson we should learn : don’t forget to prepare everything for your trip. Many thanks to om Alfon, our dear friend, who carried Zola along on his back. Despite uncomfortable feet, it was a unique experience for us. At least we met black monkeys which only lives in tropical forest and of course the menjangan (deers). They all live and roam freely in this National Park.
Finally, after long walk without proper trekking shoes we arrived at a dock where our boat had been waiting for us. This dock actually belongs to a secluded resort in a private area we passed by. There are no roads for cars or motorcycles, only for bicycles. They picked up their guests at a pier and welcomed them at this dock. I hope we can stay at this resort in the future.
Well, West Bali National Park and Menjangan Island are really worth to visit. So many things you can do and see in here. Not only there are gorgeous view above the sea, but also amazing underwater life.
Happy traveling ! 🙂