Four hour journey from the south to this region provides an insight into the quiet and stunningly beautiful collection of timeless villages that appear to have given scant thought to tourism. Other than West Bali National Park, famous for its Menjangan island, the west Bali offers quiet beaches with calm seas, excellent for diving and snorkeling on the north side and wilder seas, renowned surfing spots on the south side. Then there is little fishing village, Pemuteran, and Negara, the only place where you can see traditional buffalo races.
It is located at northwest of Bali, 40 min drive to Lovina and 15 min boat ride to Bali Barat National Park and The Menjangan island. Surrounded by the wonderful sea with black sandy beaches and the beautiful mountain scenery along North West coast of Bali, the village is a great example of Balinese concept of “Nyegara Gunung”, the energy of connection between mountain and sea.
Negara is ~75km west of Denpasar and can be accessed via the coastal road to Java. Buffalo races is the main attraction in Negara. Buffalo races (Mekepung) is in Delod Berawah about 9 km east of Negara town. Thought to originate in Madura, Mekepung was originally held as part of the harvest festivities in Negara. Between July and October, the colorfully decorated carts and buffaloes race on a four km course every 2nd and 4th Sunday morning starting at 7AM. Mekepung is a competition amongst numerous buffaloes, where two pairs of bulls are hitched to make-shift chariots and ridden by jockeys around a one-track course. The buffaloes are chosen carefully, on the basis of strength and color, and then made up in wonderful ornaments and painted. At first, these are paraded before the spectators, and then the race begins, with two pairs racing at one time. The judgment is based on speed and style, and winning is considered very important. This is a fantastic spectacle with great fun.
Menjangan Island is located 5 miles to the north-west of Bali. "Menjangan" in Indonesian means "Deer". The name was given by the local population observing wild deer herds swimming to the island every spring and covering a distance of approx 1.2 miles.
As a part of Bali Barat National Park, Menjangan Island is well known for its magnificent underwater world. With deep coral reef walls, and a wreck known as ‘Anker’, it is the one of Bali’s best diving sites. With good water conditions and excellent visibility, Menjangan Island and nearby Labuan Lalang are excellent for snorkeling. Fishing around the island is another worthwhile activity
Those wanting to soak up a bit of culture as well as sun can visit some of the Hindu temples on the island, including Kelenting Sari and Segara Giri. There is also a large statue of Ganesha, the Hindu god with a human body and an elephant head, which was recently erected on the island.
Watching the most beautiful sunset on the unspoiled white sandy beach will remind you why some call Menjagan island the best kept secret of Bali.