We should all be on the same page by now: our choices impact the natural world around us. Whether that’s through fast fashion or via our addiction to Amazon Prime same-day delivery, we are all somehow contributing to the degradation of our environment. But this is not a soap-box tirade, but rather, an opportunity to peek into a different way of living.
I was invited to stay at The Menjangan Luxury Resort to experience what Eco-living was all about first-hand. Coming from California, I have a deep appreciation for living a more eco-friendly life, but my London life has led me down a dark, smog-fill path that I’m trying to shake myself out of.
So what is Eco-Tourism?
Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas, intended as a low-impact and often small-scale alternative to standard commercial mass tourism.
You don’t have to travel 3,000 miles away to enjoy Eco-Tourism. This could be just an hour outside of your town. The point is for you to enjoy the natural world without placing additional stress upon it. Eco Tourism is booming for Millennials in particular because we want to give the next generation an opportunity to enjoy the oceans, forests, and mountain ranges in the future.
We arrived at The Menjangan at midnight. The taxi ride is 4 hours from the Denpasar International Airport (aka Ngurah Rai International Airport) and the journey is filled with twists and turns across the whole island. I would recommend doing this drive during daylight as you’ll pass the rice fields and incredible temples along the way. The drive is 100% worth it as it brings you into the heart of Bali’s National Park.
The resort is broken into multiple pieces, but you’re likely to spend most of your time in the following three locations:
- Your Beach or Forest Villa
- The ocean-front restaurant
- The resort tree-house reception
The whole resort is about 382 hectares so you can get lost in nature if you’re keen, but if you’re more interested in staying ON the beaten path, that’s okay too.
Activities & Experiences
There are loads of things to do at The Menjangan; I doubt you’ll be able to do it all. Some of the highlights are:
- Spa treatments overlooking the ocean
- Water Sports in crystal-clear waters
- Hikes in the National Park
- Horse riding through the forest
- Snorkeling and Diving
- Balinese Cooking Classes
These activities can be done at your own pace and we ended up paddle boarding along the coast in the middle of the afternoon. The water was calm and the coastline was relatively untouched.
It was extremely soothing just to paddle toward the skyline without a care in the world. But best stay focused on the task at hand! We wandered off quite far with the help of the current.
Accommodation & Food
This was perhaps one of the most spectacular villas that I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying in. It was spacious, clean, and incredibly romantic… too bad I left the husband at home!
The main room had a king-size bed with a mosquito canopy net to protect us from any unwanted visitors. The double doors slide open to reveal an elevated deck with a water-proof sofa on the beach edge.
We ended up doing night yoga in front of the glass with candles all around us. It was the perfect ending to a long day in the sun. Perhaps what was particularly special was the villa’s outdoor bathroom. It had a large, stone tub (perfect for long, hot soaks) and the outdoor rainforest shower made it feel like you were bathing under the stars. It was truly a special treat.
As for the food, each dish was more spectacular than the last! Most meals are taken at the ocean-front restaurant and most dishes are some type of Balinese twist on typical Western meals. We had sashimi, Balinese fish skewers, and a fresh-grilled fish platter that was to die for!
Every meal, I would try a different tropical drink or juice and I was never disappointed. It was clear that everything was made fresh and I quite enjoyed the idea that the seafood was caught that morning. Finally, a true farm/ocean-to-table experience.
Eco Tourism is more than just taking a holiday that focuses purely on bringing people back to nature. It’s about challenging our preconceived notions about consumption and whether or not we NEED anything specific.
Recycle, reuse, and reduce is a good start, but if we’re going to fight against climate change we need to focus on the latter: reduce.
We need to reduce our consumption – period. This is particularly difficult in cultures where an obvious display of wealth is important for status.
But I’m totally guilty of not living my best ‘Eco Life.’ As a travel blogger, my entire business is dependent on my ability to jet set across the globe… which is unfortunately a significant contributor to my carbon footprint. I am not perfect. I buy things I don’t need, I consume carbon-heavy food, and I’ve never been able to keep a plant alive for longer than a few months.
But I’m willing to learn.
‘Let s/he/they who are not without fault cast the first stone’… meaning, everyone is somehow contributing to the degradation of nature so can we all agree not to single out any one individual?
Instead, let’s focus on keeping governments and large corporations accountable, whilst we learn how to better our own practices at the same time.