Exploring Bali’s Ancient Forests
Bali is full of surprises and the forests of the centre and north of the island are places not to be missed while you’re on the island. The ancient forests are a wonder in themselves and you’ll be left in amazement at the age of the trees and the absolute beauty of them. We will focus on the top 3 that are less visited and less touristic than the highly popular Monkey Forest in Ubud.
The Munduk forest is located in the north of Bali around a 90 minute ride from Denpasar but offers some beautiful scenery and you’ll be in the right area to explore the waterfalls of Bali aswell. The forest is located right next to Danau Tambligan where you can also rent a canoe and go out on the lake. As you head along the road to the lake, you’ll see a blocked off road that leads into the forest – this is the road that you need to take. Once you get through here the path is beautiful and the trees tower above. Once you get out the other side you there is a booking office for the lake activities. You can talk to the guys at the office and arrange a boat tour or just turn around and check out the Munduk waterfalls.
Cruising through Munduk Forest – Photo – Ryan Mazure
Sangeh forest is popular with day tourists and is just a 20 minute ride from Ubud however, if you use the back entrance then you won’t have to pay and can still enjoy the forest for what it is. This is actually the preferred method and as you drive along the main road pass the entrance and then turn just at the end of the forest. The huge trees and jungle atmosphere makes this forest a great place to beat the midday heat and enjoy some shade. If you are driving from the north then you’ll see the forest through the rice paddies. It looks like an oasis rising from the rice fields and a place you can’t miss if you are in the area. If you do enter there is an amazing temple and you can walk around along the paths but don’t stray from them as there are a lot of things out to get you in the jungle.
Taking the back road along the north side of Sangeh Forest – Photo – Ryan Mazure
Bedugal is home to the famous Bali Botanical Gardens and a little known secret is the forest at the back of the gardens. The old Banyan trees make a great backdrop and you can even explore and climb on their huge root systems that make a great playground. If you do decide to enter the Botanical Gardens the entrance is just 18,000 rp ($1.30 USD) and well worth your time. In the afternoons its not uncommon for the cloud to come in and you’ll actually be in a cloud forest. You can walk around at your own pace and the gardens aren’t very touristic so you can practically have the whole place to yourself.
Chilling in the Forest – Photo – Giri Suarsana