Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Flowers can be seen everywhere - in gardens or just by the roadside.
Flower fanciers should make a trip to the Danau Bratan area in the central
mountains to see the Bali Botanical Gardens, or visit the plant nurseries
along the road between Denpasar and Sanur.
The only national park on Bali is Taman Nasional Bali Barat, p280. It covers
19,000 hectares at the western tip of Bali, plus a substantial area of coastal
mangrove and the adjacent marine area, including some fine dive sites.
The Taman Nasional Gunung Rinjani (Gunung Rinjani National Park),
on Lombok covers 41,330 hectares and is the water-collector for most of the
island. At 3726m, Gunung Rinjani is the second-highest volcanic peak in
Indonesia and is very popular for trekking, see p316.
A fast-growing population in Bali has put pressure on limited resources. The
tourist industry has attracted new residents, and there is a rapid growth of
urban areas, resorts and villas that encroach onto agricultural land.
Water use is a major concern. Typical top-end hotels use more than
500L of water a day per room and the growing number of golf courses - the
new one on the arid Bukit Peninsula near Dream Beach is an outrage (see
the boxed text, p131) - suck an already stressed resource. Water pollution
is another problem both from deforestation brought on by firewood-
collecting in the mountains and lack of proper treatment for the waste
produced by the population. The vast mangroves along the south coast near
Benoa Harbour are losing their ability to filter the water that drains here
from much of the island (the Mangrove Information Centre near Sanur has
more on this, see p147).
Air pollution is another problem as anyone stuck behind a smoke-belching
truck or bus on one of the main roads knows. And it's not just all those plastic
bags and water bottles but just the sheer volume of waste produced by the
ever-growing population that is another problem. What to do with it?
Just growing Bali's sacred grain rice has become fraught with environ-
mental concerns. (See the boxed text, p147 for details.)
On the upside there is a nascent effort to grow rice and other foods
organically, reducing the amount of pesticide and fertilizer run-off into
water supplies. Things may finally be moving forward on starting a sewage
treatment programme in the south (but it will take years and the money
is not there) and proposals to expand the airport's runways have inspired
efforts to protect the nearby mangroves.
Flowers of Bali and Fruits
of Bali by Fred and
Margaret Wiseman are
nicely illustrated books
that will tell you what
you're admiring or eating.
The environmental group
PPLH Bali in Sanur is
active on a range of
issues and is a great
resource. See p127 for
The Indonesian
Ecotourism Centre
( is
devoted to highlighting
responsible tourism. It
lists places in Bali and on
Lombok that have made
a commitment to the
local environment and
The best way to responsibly visit Bali and Lombok is to try to be as least-invasive as possible.
This of course is easier than it sounds but consider the following tips:
Watch your use of water. Travel into rice-growing regions of Bali and you'll think the island is
coursing with water, but demand is starting to outstrip supply. Take up your hotel on its offer
to save itself big money, er, no, to save lots of water by not washing your sheets and towels
every day. Cynicism aside, this will save valuable Balinese water. So too you can forgo your own
private plunge pool at the high end or a pool altogether - although this is almost impossible
at any price level.
Don't hit the bottle. Those bottles of Aqua (the top local brand of bottled water, owned by
Danone) are convenient but they add up. The zillions of such bottles tossed away each year are
a major blight. Still, you're wise not to refill from the tap so what do you do? Ask your hotel if
you can refill from their huge containers of drinking water. In Ubud, stop by the Pondok Pecak
Library & Learning Centre (Map p188 ;
976194; Monkey Forest Rd, Ubud) which will refill your water
bottle and tell you which other businesses offer this service.
Support environmentally aware businesses. Several hotels have a strong conservation focus;
they include the Udayana Eco Lodge near Jimbaran (p129), Hotel Santai in Sanur (p142), Hotel
Uyah Amed (p236), Puri Lumbung in the cool highlands of Munduk (p253) and Taman Sari Bali
Cottages in Pemuteran (p270).
Don't play golf. The resorts will hate this, but tough. Having two golf courses on the arid Bukit
Peninsula is environmentally mental.
Conserve power. Sure you want to save your own energy on a sweltering afternoon, but using
air-con strains an already overloaded system. Much of the electricity comes from Java and the rest
is produced at the roaring and smoking plant near Benoa Harbour.
Don't drive yourself crazy. The traffic is already bad, why add another vehicle to it? Can you take
a tourist bus instead of a chartered or rental car? Would a walk, trek or hike be more enjoyable
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