Green Bali

Where To Go | Written By, NOW! BALI |

In the midst of manic development in some areas of Bali you can still find some places that remain green.  The good news is that these natural expanses are preserved and protected under government regulation. Every year, thousands of visitors are attracted to these areas, showing that modern people still have a strong connection with nature and its sublime beauty.

Text and Photos by Kartika D. Suardana

In the midst of manic development in some areas of Bali you can still find some places that remain green.  The good news is that these natural expanses are preserved and protected under government regulation. Every year, thousands of visitors are attracted to these areas, showing that modern people still have a strong connection with nature and its sublime beauty.  


Jatiluwih 

Jatiluwih, situated in Tabanan Regency, is a hidden gem of Bali. The area is known as the biggest rice producer in Bali and most of red rice in Bali comes from here. Nominated as a UNESCO world heritage site, Jatiluwih offers stunning panoramas of endless yellow and green rice terraces. With the majestic Mount Batukaru serving as a vivid and contrasting backdrop, views don’t get much better than this.  Hopefully the natural beauty here will remain unspoiled as, reliable sources tell me, the government has forbidden the construction of hotels and resorts in the area.

If admiring the beautiful vistas is not enough, you can take a walk along the pathways amidst the rice fields. Get a closer look at one of the most impressive waterways in Bali, an irrigation system that has existed since ancient times, when it was referred to as Subak. If hunger pangs kick in, convenient little warung (food stalls) line the roadside and are an excellent spot to snack on some hot banana fritters whilst breathing in the fresh air and stunning scenery.


Bali Botanical Garden 

in Bedugul

Bali Botanical Garden, which is a popular picnic spot, is more than just a leisure destination.  People can come and learn about the flora and fauna and breathe in the fresh air whilst admiring the plants and vegetation on display here.  

Bali Botanical Garden was established in 1959. The 154-hectare garden on the lower slopes of Mount Pohen boasts an extensive collection of trees and flowers. On entering you will encounter grassy expanses of lawn with the occasional tree offering welcome shade on a sunny day.  Each tree is neatly labelled on a wooden plate so you can find out more about the vegetation and unwind in the sun.  

Going higher and deeper inside the garden, there is a compound where a collection of wild orchids is hosted.  The orchids are preserved in a 0.5-hectare area and the collection includes orchids from all over the Indonesian archipelago. Most of the orchids are usually flowering from March to June but there are always some blooming orchids for enthusiasts to see.

In front of the orchid collection stands a glasshouse for the cactus collection. Normally cacti grow in dry arid areas, but here at the botanical garden, they not only survive but also grow healthily; some species even grow to 5 metres in height. 

There’s a lot more to discover at Bali Botanical Garden, including the mysterious rain forest section.  Wander through this serene oasis to see bamboo, a unique Begonia collection, as well as some of Bali’s iconic flora, including various species of champaca.


Twin Lake 

Conservation Area

Twin Lake Nature Conservation Area, which includes Lake Tamblingan and Lake Buyan is raw, natural beauty at its finest.  Camping ground is available on the side of both lakes, while the jungle surrounding the lakes provides some good trekking.   While some areas can only be reached on foot, others are accessible by 4WD vehicles.

A 4WD – ride in this area really is a remarkable and exhilarating experience.  Starting from the entrance by Lake Tamblingan, you will advance further up through the jungle. The ride is at times bumpy, narrow or rocky but surely that adds to the excitement! As you go you can breathe in the fresh, woody air, filling your nose with lovely aromas of wet forest and leaves. At the dark green of Lake Buyan the jeep tour is concluded and you can stop, relax and take in the view. 

The area can also be appreciated from the water by renting a double canoe.  Paddling gently around the lake is both relaxing and colourful; the tranquillity and beauty of the scene is like a Monet painting come to life.  


Bali Barat National Park

Bali Barat National Park has immense natural beauty just waiting to be discovered. The National Park is located on the western tip of Bali, more or less 200km from Denpasar and a jump away from Gilimanuk Harbor (the harbor that connects Bali and Java). Bali Barat National Park is a vast conservation area boasting both land and marine ecosystems. The landscape is divided into two types of forest, tropical rain forest on the western tip and monsoon forest on the northwest. 

The national park is the endemic habitat of the beautiful Bali Starling. These small white birds with royal blue feathers around their eyes and brown beaks are an endangered species. In the national park, they fly freely and gracefully or just perch majestically on branches. In the National Park some Menjangan (deer), wild boar, partridge, and of course monkeys also roam freely.

Menjangan Island, which is part of the National Park, stands gracefully in the middle of the ocean backed by the stunning Mount Rawung, a mountain located in East Java. The monsoon forest on this little island is considered sacred by Balinese Hindus and thus nobody is allowed to live here. There are four temples on the island attracting devotees not only from Bali but also from Java. On the island, which is part of the Buleleng Regency, the relation between Java and Bali can be seen as well as the Chinese influence in Bali.  

Next to the Gajah Mada temple stands a distinctly Chinese looking temple in honour of Kwan Im, the Chinese Goddess of prosperity. Gajah Mada is the warlord of the Majapahit Kingdom who made a vow that he would unite all the islands in the archipelago, which was called Nusantara. Gajah Mada came to Bali to conquer Kebo Iwa, a supposedly ‘unbeatable’ warrior in Bali who possessed magical powers. 

Menjangan Island is actually very famous amongst divers. The pristine water of the ocean reflects the deep blue of the sky and the surrounding jade green hills. The area around the island offers amazing diving, including deep diving alongside the island’s wall, drift diving, and a special dive where divers can encounter pelagic marine life. 

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