Nov 26 2012
The far western tip of Bali offers a startling change in experiences as you transition from the less-trafficked north coast to the more heavily (and truck favoured) south. Along the way you get to soak up some great forest, excellent views of Java and perhaps a couple of Christian outposts before blasting along the south coast to Medewi.
Leaving Pemuteran heading west, you’ll pass the turnoffs for the boats to Menjangan and enter the reaches of Bali Barat National Park. Heavily wooded and totally undeveloped save a few more turn-offs to resorts, before you know it (well after perhaps an hour) you’ll reach the junction with the spur that runs off to the ferry at Gilimanuk.
If time allows it’s worth driving down to the ferry terminal (the ferries run 24 hours a day) just to enjoy the views across to the volcanoes on Java — they’re real big.
From here it is a long and at times hair-raising drive to Medewi via the larger town of Negara. The truck and bus traffic along this stretch can be very heavy, and the trucks in particular can be very aggressive, so if it gets the better of you, pull over and take a break.
One way to take a breather is to take a sidetrip to the twin Christian towns of Blimbingsari and Palasari which lie inland. Both were established (well, cut out of the jungle) to make a home for Catholics (Blimbingsari) and Protestants (Palasari) who were exiled from south Bali in the 1930s. Each group has built a striking cathedral and while probably not worth driving across the island for, they do make for a handy and interesting one-hour diversion. Note that as usual in Bali the signposting isn’t very good, but they’re roughly 30 kilometres shy of Negara.
The town of Negara itself is known for its buffalo races, something we’ve never seen — in fact they only reason we set foot in Negara was to use the ATM as there isn’t one in Medewi. Yes, we’ll have to head there soon.
Onwards from Negara the road veers back towards the coast, eventually rounding a bend and depositing you at Medewi. Medewi is actually a string of villages and most of the accommodation is before the main affair (if coming from Negara) but it is difficult to miss due to the daggy signposting.
Medewi is primarily a surfing area and we are very fond of it; we’ve written already both about the beach and a very special homestay. If time allows, even if you have no interest in surfing, we highly recommend a stop.
Next, we veer back inland…
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