About an hour’s boat trip away from Pemuteran, in northwest Bali, is the small, uninhabited Menjangan Island. The island is actually named for the wild deer the locals saw swimming to it (menjangan means deer in Indonesian), however it’s real claim to fame is the striking corals that surround it just beneath the water’s surface. Among the most popular dive sites in the area, there are plenty of wall dives to be had off the cost of Menjangan Island. The currents are a little stronger here than in most of Pemuteran (where they were virtually nonexistent), so I didn’t find the dives as relaxing as the typical reef dives closer to Pemuteran. Honestly, other than the beauty of the island itself, I’m not quite sure what makes this dive site so special. We had a better time (and saw much more diversity in creatures) at the Bio-wreck and Temple Gardens closer to Pemuteran. I digress.
The boat ride to Menjangan Island, however, might be worth the trip alone. It boats two cliff-side temples and amazing views of the cliffs and water.
The first dive was gorgeous, and we saw our first cuttlefish of the trip (the other was at Biowreck). These mollusks, in the same family as squid and octopus, are actually not fish at all! They were really fun to watch as they hover close to the corals.
Menjangan has loads of incredible wall dives, although the currents took a little getting used to for us newbies fresh off our Open Water certs in Thailand. Our guide could just glide along effortlessly while I was exhausted from trying to keep up.
The most impressive aspect of Menjangan was the sheer volume of fish. In almost every direction we saw hundreds, if not thousands of fish swimming around the corals.
The typical surface interval on all of our other dives was spent lazing around the beach of Pemuteran, which I was happy to do. This day, however, included a mandatory surface interval over lunch on a private beach on Menjangan Island. I know, poor me.
The five of us, including our guide, the boat driver and one other diver all sat around talking about diving over nasi campur and this incredible view. We laughed hysterically when our dive guide, who is normally incredibly calm and laid-back, screeched at the site of a bee (he’s allergic) and ran off. Only to return as happy-go-lucky as ever with a tiny baby shoe he found for his new baby at home (jokingly). We also tried snake fruit for the first time!
Getting to Menjangan Island is a day trip from the wonderful beach village of Pemuteran, which is about a five hour drive from the airport on Bali. Some dive shops will arrange tours from other areas of Bali, but Pemuteran is well worth a visit on it’s own. We left around 8:30 and returned by about 3:30pm.
Cost: This trip is more expensive than any of the other dives, in part due to it’s location, as well as park fees. It’ll set you back about $100 a person with equipment rental. Snorkeling trips are slightly less expensive, and from what we can tell there were far more people on those boats and there weren’t private beach lunches.
Tips: If this is primary reason for the coming to the area, consider including the other dive sites Pemuteran has to offer. Biowreck, in particular, was a stunning and unique site.
Accommodations near Menjangan Island
There aren’t many to choose from in Pemuteran, which is partly the beauty of this little sleepy beach village. Here were some of our favorites:
- Reef Seen – if you’re a diver, this place is perfect. Right on a beautiful stretch of beach, close to fabulous restaurants and budget friendly. They’re small, with only a few rooms, which is exactly what we were looking for.
- Taman Sari Beach Resort – this place is gorgeous, and right next to Reef Seen. We had several meals at their beautiful beach front restaurant that were fantastic.
- Taruna Homestay – small but plenty of amenities, and a swimming pool. Even though it’s not directly on the beach, the family atmosphere and price might make up for it.
- Matahari Beach Resort & Spa – a gorgeous luxury option with a restaurant, spa and pool that’s right on the beach.
- The Menjangan Resort – this resort is a little more off the beaten path for guests who might want more seclusion and relaxation. This beachfront resort has many amenities and an on site restaurant.
This post is part of a series on Diving Pemuteran, Bali, check out the others in the series: Menjangan Island, Bio-Wreck Conservation Project, as well as the reefs of Pemuteran.
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