The island of Menjangan in the northwest of Bali is where diving first really started on the island back in about 1978, under the sponsorship of the Indonesian Navy, when it arranged a get-together of the country’s main diving clubs – Possi, Ganesha, Nusantara & Triskati.
That get-together lead to Menjangan establishing itself as the premier dive location in Bali and many of the attendees went on to become the pioneers of commercial dive operations across Indonesia.
Then, about a year later the Liberty wreck was explored for the first time since it had slipped down the slope at Tulamben in March 1963 and Menjangan Island was effectively eclipsed…
Menjangan Island is part of the 19,000 hectare West Bali (Bali Barat) National Park that was first established in 1982, but before that the island was made a game reserve by the Balinese Council of Kings in 1950.
The island was famous for its wild Java deer, which according to a local urban myth, used to swim the 1km from the “mainland” of Bali to the island in spring…
The word Menjangan actually means deer in classical Javanese and the increasingly rare wild Java deer is supposedly spotted on the island from time to time.
The island is quite small – roughly 3km long and 0.7km wide – and sheltered from the strong currents that run through the main strait that separates Bali from its big neighbor Java.
There is no fresh water on the island, and therefore no run-off, so the surrounding waters are known for their exceptional visibility.
Diving Indonesia: Bali – Getting to Menjangan Island
The main way to get to Menjangan Island is using a local boat run by the Bali Barat National Parks Service, from the little harbour called Labuhan Lalang in Terima Bay.
An alternative that I used was from the small jetty in the lagoon-like inlet of Banyuwedang Bay, next door to the Mimpi Menjangan resort.
Mangroves line the “harbour” and the whole whole deal is somewhat rustic… but it works.
The trip over to Menjangan Island takes between 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the weather and the boat’s load, and there is an excellent view of the East Javanese volcano Prapat Agung in the distance as you make your way over.
The drivers who take the divers & tourists to Banyuwedang Bay have built themselves a kind of tree house in the mangroves where they wait patiently for your return..
Drivers “Tree House” at Banyuwedang Bay
To get to Labuhan Lalang or Banyuwedang bay depends on where you are coming – if that is from the tourist area of Kuta-Sanur-Nusa Dua, it means about a 140 km journey which will take around 3 hours or so and take you through Denpesar and then along the southwest coast. Or if you are coming from Tulamben, it’s a bit shorter but still about 2.5 hours along the north coast of Bali.
Diving Indonesia: Bali – Where to stay when diving Menjangan Island
I personally stayed at Mimpi Menjangan when I was diving both Menjangan Island & Secret Bay, but an alternative would be to stay in Pemuteran at either the Taman Sari Cottages or Pondok Sari.
Next Page: Menjangan Island Dive Sites
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