West Bali Area Guide 2014.04.05
Area of great natural beauty
What's West Bali like?
The western side of the island is home to Bali's only National Park, Taman Nasional Bali Barat, where you can hike through forests, explore coastal mangroves and enjoy fantastic diving at Menjangan Island.
The sleepy little villages of Medewi and Balian attract surfers from all around the world, while the holy temple at Tanah Lot is one of Bali's most popular tourist attractions.
It's also here in the west that ferries leave for Java, at the port of Gilimanuk. Regular buffalo races are held in Negara and the hot springs at Yeh Panas are also worth a visit. Click to enlarge map
Popular tourist attractions
Pura Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot temple is the most renowned temple in Bali and seems to have become an icon of the island. The uniqueness of this temple is its location perched on a large rock in the middle of the sea.
The temple is only accessible at low tide, when you can cross over and walk to the base of the temple. It is a very popular tourist destination, especially in the late afternoon, towards sunset.
Pura Taman Ayun
Taman Ayun is located about 18 km north of Denpasar in Badung regency, heading towards Singaraja. Built by a King of the Mengwi dynasty, the inner temple is surrounded by a moat on three sides and features 11 towers known as "merus" or multi-tiered shrines. The temple also forms part of the Unesco-regognized subak system sites.
Jegog at Negara
Jegog are a type of Gamelan instrument, unique to the village of Negara in West Bali. The bamboo xylophones are sometimes added to drums and small metal percussion to create an enchanting sound, often played between two groups.
Approximately four hours' drive from Kuta, Menjangan Island boasts some of the best diving and snorkeling in Bali. The island forms part of the vast Bali Barat National Park, and access is via boat from Labuhan Lalang on the bay of Teluk Terima.
Where to stay
Tanah Lot area
Affordable accommodation is offered at the Waka Gangga Resort or for a luxury 5-Star experience, head to Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort (which also boasts an 18-hole golf course).
Closer towards Canggu, Tugu Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel located right on the beach, and there's also plenty of budget options scattered between Echo Beach and Berawa.
This area is ideal for visitors wanting to stay in a more rural setting, but still within easy traveling distance from the amenities, shopping and restaurants of Seminyak which is just 30 minutes' drive away.
Medewi is a popular surf spot on Bali's west coast, approximately 2 - 3 hours' drive from Kuta.
Surfer-style accommodation is available in bungalows and losmen (affordable hotels) in the area, and there are also a few local restaurants on the beach where you can enjoy a post-surf beer or a bite to eat.
Banyuwedang hot spring is located near the West Bali National Park, in the middle of mangrove forest on the edge of the beach. It is he largest hot spring in Bali, with the average temperature around 40 C.
Accommodation in the area includes the Mimpi Resort Menjangan and Waka Shorea Resort. For cheaper accommodation if you're just taking the ferry to Java, the port town of Gilimanuk has one or two places or else Pemuteran has more of a selection and is overall a nicer location.
How to get there
West Bali covers a large area but if you're only looking to visit the southern part of the region and it's attractions (like Taman Ayu, Tanah Lot and Echo Beach), then it's recommended to hire a charter car with driver.
There are however many sightseeing tours that go to Tanah Lot and Taman Ayu as they are popular tourist attractions. These can be arranged through most travel information kiosks you will find in the tourist areas of Bali.
If you're looking at venturing further north to the National Park, it's recommended to overnight along the way somewhere, for example at Negara or Medewi.
Taxi services are available from most hotels in the Echo Beach and Tanah Lot areas, however expect to pay quite a bit for transport further north to Medewi or the National Park.
For transfers from the airport, arrange with your hotel prior to arrival in Bali.