Parks & beaches
Taman Nasional Bali Barat (West Bali National Park)
Cecik, Park Headquarters, tel. 1365-61060
Established by the Dutch in 1941 and subsequently declared a national park in 1984, this natural reserve covers an area of over 75,000ha on the western coast of Bali. The Bali starling, one of the planet's rarest birds, can be found in this park whose varied landscape includes mangroves and savannas. Visitors can hike through the park's trails (renting the services of a guide is mandatory) to discover the exotic fauna that lives in the heart of this spectacular natural environment. Just north of the park is Menjangan Island, whose surrounding waters conceal a magnificent coral reef.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Ubud, Monkey Forest Road, tel. 0361-972774
Located right in downtown Ubud, this forest shelters cynomolgus macaques, also known as long-tailed macaques. It is recommended that visitors do not feed the monkeys, as they can become somewhat aggressive. The park is also home to the Pura Dalem Agung, a large funerary temple.
The neighbouring towns of Kuta and Legian are Bali's most popular seaside resorts, thanks to their pristine white-sand beaches and ideal surfing conditions. Famous Kuta Beach spreads over more than 3km and will appeal to both surfers and sunbathers. Several restaurants, hotels, boutiques and nightclubs line the oceanfront.
The Island of Bali is lined with several other beaches: on the north coast, the black-sand Pemuteran Beach offers an isolated, quiet setting; located near the town of Kuta, small Jimbaran Beach is set on a pretty bay; off Bali's southeast coast is the island of Nusa Lembongan, which boasts a long beach bathed by turquoise waters, as well as a magnificent view of Mount Agung.