Scuba Diving & Snorkeling
A number of qualified dive centers are along the beach at Pemuteran, the best being Kuta-based Archipelago Dive Sarana (tel. 0361/761414; fax 0361/756944; www.archipelagodive.com) and Nusa Dua -- based Yos Diving (tel. 0361/773774; fax 0361/775439; www.yosdive.com). Two island dives cost US$95, including lunch.
Menjangan Island, part of West Bali National Park, was Bali's first internationally known diving location. Famous for wall-diving with easy conditions, Menjangan is 30 minutes from mainland Bali and offers warm waters, white sand, and visibility that can reach 50m (164 ft.) plus. Between 1997 and 1998, Menjangan's reef flats not only suffered from a population explosion of the coral-eating crown of thorns starfish but also from coral bleaching as a result of El Niño; the walls, however, were unaffected. These walls start at 10m (33 ft.) and descend to 26 to 60m (85 -- 197 ft.) and are full of nooks and crannies, overhangs, and crevasses and are covered with Bali's highest concentration of gorgonian fans as well as soft corals and sponges. The fish life is prolific and you may see turtles. Although you can occasionally see whale sharks, there are only rare sightings of pelagics around Menjangan as the island is protected from the cold ocean currents. Various dive sites circle the island: the main three are Garden Eel Point, Pos Two, and Anker Wreck, which lies at 35 to 50m (115 -- 164 ft.), though the calm conditions and good visibility could make it easy to forget this is a deep dive.
Secret Bay (aka Gilimanuk Bay) was Bali's first and so best-known muck dive. At 2km (1 1/4 miles) wide, 3 to 12m (10 -- 39 ft.) deep, this is the only bay off the narrow Bali Strait (currents reach 7 knots) and acts as a large catch tank for many larval and juvenile fish and rare marine species. The water is cold and the fish fat and healthy. Unusual nudis, Banggai cardinalfish, gobies, Ambon scorpionfish, filefish, puffers, dragonets, seahorse and pipefish, juvenile Batavia batfish, and many other organisms can be seen here. Elsewhere juveniles hide to avoid predators, but here in Gilimanuk there are very few large fish, leaving the juveniles with no need to hide. The bottom is fine sand with patches of algae and sea grass, some branches, and coconuts (housing for many octopi). Night-diving yields Bobbit worms, cephalopods, wandering crustaceans, and frequent surprises.
One of the locals can take you out for a combined fishing and snorkeling trip to the offshore reefs. Bring sun block and a picnic with plenty of beverages packed in ice. These narrow dugouts provide an invigorating downwind sail if the winds are above 5 knots. Cost is typically Rp200,000 to Rp250,000 per day. Arrange boats at the Labuan Lalang park office.
Contact Menjangan Jungle Resort for riding in and around the park. The cost for 1 1/2 hours of riding is US$30, including a guide.
It is not possible to enter and explore the park alone. Choose from 2-, 4-, or 7-hour treks through the park. The bird walk normally takes 2 hours. The 4-hour trek is a leisurely passage through the foothills and the 7-hour trek is a rigorous hike to the slopes of Mount Klatakan. During the dry season it is possible to obtain an overnight camping permit. Bring mosquito repellant and netting for your overnight. All tours must be guided by locals who charge the following:
2-hour trek: Rp150,000 for one to two persons; Rp250,000 for three to five people.
4-hour trek: Rp200,000 for one or two persons; Rp300,000 for three to five people.
7-hour trek: Rp400,000 for one or two persons; Rp500,000 for three to five people.
Overnight camping guiding fees range from Rp800,000 to Rp175,000 for four people.
Guides can be booked at the park center in Cekik near Gilimanuk but there is more chance of finding someone who speaks English at the Labuan Lalang harbor office. Discuss and arrange a trek personally with one of the guides the day before. Because of the heat, try to start early in the morning.
The Best Time for Wildlife Viewing
For viewing wildlife in the park, have your guide take you to a water hole where a variety of local wildlife gather in the early evenings to take their fill before retiring.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.