Pardon the Jacob Riis reference, but that is how I feel after staying three nights at The Menjangan Resort. The only hotel located inside the National Park, the Mengangan is an interesting concept to say the least. A low impact resort, guests have the option of staying in one of two places; the Monsoon Forest Resort or in a Beachside Villa. Not able to afford the beachside villas, I had booked a room in the Monsoon, which turned out to be pretty freaking nice as well. After staying here for two days, I feel as if I’m living out a 19th century colonial reenactment. Every possible thing you could imagine is provided, and the hotel’s management and service is outstanding. I normally don’t stay at places as nice as these, but after a long two weeks bouncing around Korea and southern Bali, this was a nice respite. Whenever you leave your room, there is someone there to transport you to wherever it is you may want to go, though there are not too many choices. There is the Bali tower, which has good views of the surrounding area.
Then there is the beach area, where you can catch a boat to Menjangan Island, grab kayaks, go swimming, or hit the spa. We did all of the above in our short time in the park.
Our first full day, we hired a boat to take us out to Mengangan island where we were able to go snorkeling for the better half of the day. World famous for its diving, the island has an incredible drop off wall filled with tons of fish, many of which can be seen while snorkeling. After a 30 minute boat ride out to the island, we hopped off the side of the boat and swam for about one hour with our guide. The problem was, I really, really, really had to go to the bathroom and unlike most normal people, I can not go in the water no matter how hard I try. We then had a little break where we popped back on the boat, I notice we were close enough to shore that I could swim there if I really wanted to. I tried to explain to our guide that while we were taking a break in between snorkeling, I was just going to swim to the shore to go to the bathroom. We’re fairly certain this was lost in translation and he thought I swam to shore to go to the bathroom, just a different type of bathroom. Oops.
After going out for a second round of snorkeling, we had a light lunch aboard our small boat, then headed back to the resort checking out the bat caves and giant Hindi temple that decorated the shoreline.
The afternoon was characterized by rain most of the time, somewhat unusual for this time of the year, and a decent dinner at the restaurant in Bali Tower.
Today we woke up early, enjoyed breakfast at the beach, then took kayaks out to explore the Bali Sea and Menjangan Bay. We saw all sorts of fish through the clear water, including my favorite, a blue starfish. We wound up the day with some snorkeling off the resorts pier and another Balinese Massage, lying in an outside hut within the mangroves along the water. This has to be one of the most peaceful places I have ever been to.
This has been a relaxing and rejuvenating three days, though I will never fully feel comfortable with being treated like a member of the 1%. Tomorrow we move on to our final destination, Ubud- Bali’s cultural and artistic center of Eat, Pray, Love fame. Can’t wait!