A majority of tourists that go to Bali seldom venture off the well-worn ‘tourist tours’ tracks when they go into the countryside and there are even some that never venture out of the Kuta Strip. My advice to anyone planning a trip to Bali is to find yourself a good driver (or hire a jeep) and go off these tourist tracks because you will be amazed at what you encounter. Breathtaking panoramas of astounding beauty and even remote villages that rarely see the likes of tourists or travellers. Few visitors to Bali are unaware of the natural paradises. One of my favourite places is the Bali Barat National Park and Marine Reserve. It is located on the north western side of Bali and its size is amazingly large being 10% of the island’s land area. The animal and bird life will amaze you. There is an estimated 160 species in the national park and is the refuge of the very rare and critically endangered Bali Starling.
You will need a permit to stay in there overnight or even camp there. Permits and guides (you must have if you intend trekking) are available at the PHPA headquarters. These are located at Cekik and at the PHPA office in Labuhan Lalang. Alternatively, you can obtain permits at the PHPA office in Denpasar before you head up to the national park. Costs for entry are Rp2,500 but be aware that some guides tend to stretch the cost for guiding you on a trek. But, it is a place that is worth spending at least 2 days trekking through the terrain. The types of areas you will encounter are a savanna, mangroves, montane and mixed-monsoon forests, and coral islands. There are also remnants of four volcanic mountains in the centre of the park.
The best time of the year to visit the Bali Barat National Park is at end of the dry season before the start of the wet season – from August to December.