Privileged we are to have Bali all to ourselves. Privileged to have the time, the friends, and the incredible eco-tourism destinations within a few hours drive.
Plataran Menjangan, located inside the West Bali National Park is our destination for this weekend. A couple of must-dos when heading to the northwest part of Bali; do take the Pupuan road northwards, (one of my favourite roads to really “drive”) and do make sure you stop and buy flowers at the Seririt flower market – a small bag of sandat and cempaka blossoms will set you back Rp.5’000 and your car and hotel room will be fabulously fragrant throughout the weekend…
Once on Bali’s north coast, head west along the north coastal road of Bali, pass Pura Pelaki and some naughty temple monkeys and, around half an hour later, turn right into the Bali Barat National Park, towards Plataran Menjangan Resort & Spa, here the monkeys are less naughty, but just as inquisitive.
Arriving into the driveway set deep in the heart of the Park, the Plataran Team welcome us (C19 protocols at this resort are very well followed). We check in and buggy our way to the Mangrove Beach Villa – #301. Two Mangrove Ocean Villas share a private beach and both are East facing; the sunrises from these villas are incredible, as are the afternoon visits from the troupe of monkeys who cross the shallow waters at low tide – the young monkeys playfully jumping off the mangrove roots and onto their companions – truly a live Nat Geo documentary right before our eyes!
The A-Frame Villa, with its soaring ceiling, is sectioned into two – one half is the sizeable bedroom and the other is the larger sitting/dining room. At the back, the ample bathroom with freestanding bathtub and to the front, the wide terrace. All in all, very spacious, and as we at The Yak are known to say “space IS luxury”!
Having checked in, the rest of our weekend passed in a fabulous succession of eco-tourism activities; with an early morning walk to the divisory Timeline that puts Java one hour behind Bali (like the Equatorial line but more local);
A visit to the endangered Bali Starling’s – Rothschild Mynah – conservation facility; kayak paddling across the bay followed by a quick snorkel off the jetty and a swim.
An impressive menu at breakfast, lunch and dinner juxtaposed our next set of activities, very pleasurable and impressive, both the food and the activities.
It’s a toss up as to which experience came top of our list, but it is possibly the two and a half-hour sunset cruise aboard one of Plataran’s Phinisi fleet (their other two boats are in Komodo). Fully butlered, the champagne and wine sunset experience turns out to be one of life’s ‘most special’ memories. Motoring gently out of the bay, the phinisi tracks straight into the path of the setting sun. Three volcanoes on the near horizon, the National Park to our left… We moor, we pour and we enjoy the canapés. The sun sets right behind the crater-cone of the nearest mountain – it could have been one of three volcanoes – active Ijen or Raung, but I believe it was dormant Baluran.
Our memory banks are filling up, as is the memory capacity on our mobiles. We set off early next morning, boating again, this time destination Menjangan Island, for a two-hour private snorkel. In the past you could expect to see fifty to one hundred boats moored up to the famous dive-site island. But no, this trip there was not a boat in sight. The corals were bursting forth with new growth, and the fish added to the palette of colours to the crystal clear, aquamarine waters. Having had over a year off from the onslaught of unchecked tourism and oil-slicking boat engines, the under-water-scape was positively blooming – breathtaking!
After all that sea air and salt water, it’s time to check out the spa. Ensconced in mangroves, and facing the water’s edge, it is here that our eco-tourism, action adventure slows to a meditative massage with scented oils. Life is placed on pause for a full ninety minutes of bliss…
Maximizing the wide range of “to do’s” at this eco-adventure resort, and as our check-out time nears, we make a quick visit to the stables, where, if we had had the time and the jodhpurs, we definitely would have taken a sunset wander through the forests and mangroves – definitely something to come back for!
The food is superlative, their Indonesian offerings delightful. We are pleasantly surprised as the resort is very much off-the-beaten-path – however this does in no way show up either in the kitchen, or in the excellent service that the Plataran Team impart. A genuinely fabulous eco-tourism experience and one we will repeat before the hordes return!