The Menjangan Resort at the West Bali National Park is a different side of Bali, away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist areas, and a completely natural experience in an unspoilt and stunning landscape.
Set in the incredibly beautiful 700 square kilometre forest, the resort is a combination of native retreat, adventure park, honeymoon oasis and beach hideaway.
We spent six days at the Menjangan and had a fantastic time. The forest, mangroves and the beach are very different to the rest of Bali and it was a really unique perspective.
There are many accommodation options to choose from. The forest lodge in the main part of the resort has large en suite bedrooms, perfect for honeymooners. We were greeted with rose petals on our bed, and a hand carved sculpture of two lovers. What a perfect souvenir for a honeymoon couple!
Every night is a turn down service with mosquito nets to ensure you don't get bitten and there is good air-conditioning throughout.
Each room has a huge en suite, with complimentary natural body care products, fluffy towels and robes. There's also a private sun room facing out to the forest with a matted floor and cushions to sit on. We used it for our yoga room, but it's also a perfect place for room service breakfast.
For a truly natural experience out under the stars, couples can try out the mangrove beach huts, a double bed surrounded by a tented mosquito net. You'll be right on the beach, but hidden in the lush green mangrove trees.
The other options are the cliff top villas, an interconnecting series of three villas overlooking the stunning ocean below. Perfect for large groups or families. Coming soon will be the amazing beach side villas, just metres from the ocean and featuring luxury appointments and the best view in the resort.
So much to do
The activities are endless, so you'll never get bored. The beach is incredibly clean and unspoilt and is perfect for snorkeling and diving. Day trips with boat transfers and lunch can be arranged to dive around Menjangan Island, or you can experience a unique night dive.
Even snorkeling just off the floating jetty is impressive, with beautiful angel fish, star fish and coral visible even on the surface. We went for a kayak around the bay, stopping at our own private beach along the way and watched the sun go down.
The resort has its own dedicated stables, with beautiful Australian horses available for every level of rider. We went on an exhilarating trail through the forest, galloping and trotting with only the sounds of the birds for company, ending up on the beautiful beach. Each trail is led and flanked by experienced guides, and the horses are very well behaved and responsive.
Of course, if you don't fancy a different activity every day, you can just laze around on the jetty, by the pool or even have a Balinese massage in the privacy of your own room.
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The Bali Tower
The stunning 5 story Bali Tower is an incredible feature of the resort. It's one of the highest buildings in Bali and the view from the top is unbelievable, as it was originally built as a watch-tower for the park. Now it's a gorgeous restaurant.
Breakfast is served on the lower deck, which is almost at tree-top level and has an incredible view of the mountains. Each breakfast comes with a fruit plate and fresh juice, with choices of traditional Indonesian and Western options like pancakes, and bacon and eggs.
Lunch and dinner are served either on the first or second floors of the tower. There's a huge range on the menu, serving the healthy minded (with salads and juices), Indonesian favourites such as Nasi Goreng (fried rice with either meat, seafood or vegetables) and Western burgers and fries.
Couples must experience the special romantic Indonesian feast at the very top of the Bali Tower. It's a private experience for two, with incredible views. Sat on natural mats with each course presented before you, this is a truly unique experience. Cutlery is provided, but each course can be eaten the traditional way, by hand.
We requested a vegetarian feast, but the regular ones contain meat or seafood, whatever your preference. It started with a complimentary Indonesian cocktail and a tasty peanut dish fried with herbs and syrup. Next up was clear soup, followed by a rice, tofu and tempe dish with a light curry sauce. Dessert was banana fritter with ice-cream.
It was a delicious meal, served on natural palm leaf plates and a very unique and special experience. It's not to be missed!
Rare natural beauty
Bird and animal lovers will be in heaven, with hundreds of beautiful animals in and around the resort. There are several endangered flora species in the park and more than 160 rare species of birds, including eagles, sparrows, kingfishers and the critically endangered Bali Starling.
The park is teeming with unique wildlife, such as the flying fox, wild boars, Rusa deer, the Hawksbill Turtle and you'll see monkeys of all ages playing together.
The best way to see all this wonderful nature is to take a guided jeep tour around the park, but you'll also be lucky on the open top bus which takes you between the facilities. Make sure you have your camera handy, because you could blink and miss a National Geographic moment.
The Menjangan is in the middle of an extensive expansion programme, which will be sensitive to the environment and will create an even greater experience for guests. We can't wait to go back and see all the new additions.
Destination weddings will also be popular here, fun to bring out the whole family for relaxation and adventure. Weddings can be conducted virtually anywhere, on the jetty and on top of the tower are our recommendations, but the breakfast deck would also be unforgettable.
Many thanks to Lifestyle Retreats and China Airlines for sponsoring our trip to the Menjangan. Runaway Bride and Groom can help you organise your entire package to Bali for a wedding or honeymoon including flights, transfers, insurance and activities.
We did three vow renewals in Bali, including two at the Menjangan. Bali is a fantastic place to get married, guests will love to come and have a tropical holiday, and you're already on honeymoon!