Up and Over: Mimpi Resort Menjangan
Published 03 August 2012
In the northwest corner of Bali is a resort that lies at the gateway of the wilds of the island. A place of mangroves, savannah, coral reefs, sunshine and extreme comfort known as the Mimpi Resort and Spa. Thomas Jones checks in for some adventure and relaxation.
Text and Images by Thomas Jones
The Mimpi Resort Menjangan is a special place on the inner reaches of a natural harbour where the mangroves grow tall and proud on the fringes of the West Bali National Park. The owner bought 4.5 hectares of coastal land in 1998 and, after discovering a geothermal spring, developed the resort using only 40% of the land, choosing to leave the rest in gardens and natural forest due to the scarcity of water in North Bali. The only water the resort has onsite is that which comes from their spring and this is only used for the hot pools and the local community. They have to buy the rest, and they recycle their grey water through the kitchen gardens and plumbing systems. They are extremely aware of the importance of the fragility of their local environment and are heavily involved in helping the fragile ecology of the region maintain its foothold, including working to regenerate the coral reefs around the park.
From these springs, 16 of the villas are supplied with their own natural hot pools. So, after a three-hour motorcycle ride up from Seminyak in the south of Bali, when I was shown into the courtyard of my villa with not one, but two pools – one cold, one hot – I could hardly wait for the bellhop to leave. All I wanted to do was to ease my weary road-damaged joints and muscles into that sulphuric-smelling hot water. As soon as he left, the bolt went on the door, clothes on the floor and into the pool. Oh, it was good!
The island is protected and its reefs are teaming with fish.
After 30 minutes or so of recovery, it was time for a wander through the estate to get an idea of the resort layout. In the centre is a large swimming pool that looks over the gardens, which are full of towering canopy rainforest trees. Shady meandering pathways lead down to the water’s edge where most of the resort facilities are located; the dive centre, restaurant, another swimming pool, the spa and two more hot pools. Here, the inner harbour area is filled with mangroves, and the skyline is dominated by five tall volcanic peaks just a short distance away on the eastern edge of Java.
The tide was high so I grabbed a kayak and paddle and headed out onto the water for a bit of exploration under the mangrove canopy for a couple of hours. Then as the day’s end drew near it was time for a spa treatment before slipping into one of the hot pools at sunset with a cold drink in hand to take in the serenity. How perfect is that!
The next day it was time for some adventure and over breakfast asked the staff for some recommendations. Mimpi Resort offers all sorts of tours to guests including boat trips to nearby Menjangan Island for some great snorkelling, or guided walks in the National Park in the hope of seeing some of Bali’s native wildlife. A highlight is a trip to the Bali starling pre-release centre, a conservation project designed to protect this very rare and beautiful bird for eventual release into the wild.
Seeing as it was a glorious day I was up for some underwater action, and after kitting up with snorkel and mask at the resort we motored out through the channel under a hot sun and onto blue seas, protected by the boat’s canopy for the 30-minute ride to the island. The island is protected as part of the National Park and its reefs are teaming with fish and underwater life. I snorkelled for about two hours all up and then circumnavigated the island by boat taking in the mixed scenery of forest and coastline with the eerie backdrop of those Javan volcanoes just across the Bali Strait; a stark reminder that we humans are a pretty insignificant blip on the Earth’s radar.
Taking the initiative to head out of Kuta you will see that there’s more to Bali than the party palaces of the south. The northwest of Bali is a stunning locale just crying out for a visit, in particular the Mimpi Resort, and it is a reminder of all the things that come to mind when thinking of the tropics; calm blue seas, coral reefs, white tropical sands, palm trees and warm sea breezes, and only a few hours drive from the airport.
Mimpi Resort Menjangan
Banyuwedang, Northwest Bali
Tel: +62 362 94497