The warm climate and lush sub-tropical vegetation of Indonesia provides an ideal habitat for a diverse variety of animal and bird species. For visitors to Bali, holidays are invariably themed with at least some kind of brush with the wildlife. Despite Bali’s popularity as one of the world’s favourite tourist destinations, there are still many species of native fauna that live within the in the island’s eco-system. There are also a surprising number of sanctuaries and wildlife parks open to the public which are dedicated to the preservation of some of Bali’s more high profile natives. Depending on how up close and personal you want your brush with nature to be, on Bali holidays you will have the opportunity to encounter all creatures great and small.
On the Mild Side
Like the smiling Balinese people themselves, much of the animal life on the island is laid back and gentle. From delightfully coloured finches and sparrows, to lazily swimming giant sea turtles, it seems that the phrase ‘being on island time’ refers to the animal population as well as humans.
For a magical wildlife experience with one of nature’s most delicate creations, you can visit the Taman Kupu Kupu Butterfly Park on your Bali holidays. You will be able to see many rare species of butterflies endemic to Bali, as well as watch the birth of baby butterflies and hold them in your hand. As you walk through a netted enclosure, thousands of intricately decorated butterflies hover around your head and shoulders.
On the other end of the scale, but nevertheless almost as gentle, are the wonderful elephants of Bali. A visit to the Elephant Safari Park in Taro is a totally interactive encounter and it claims to be the only place in the world to give visitors a ‘complete elephant experience.’ Guests are encouraged to wander amongst the elephants and hand feed them as they sun themselves by the lake, plus there are plenty of opportunities to experience their gentle intelligence and friendliness. You can take a safari ride through the park high on the back of your own personal elephant; or you can view the incredible spectacle of these wonderful animals painting pictures with their trunks.
On the Wild Side
Years ago in Bali, animals such as tigers, panthers and leopards lived abundantly in the forests and jungles of the island. Today, although they are still around, you are unlikely to come face to face with any of these creatures except in a zoo.
The Ubud Monkey Forest is one of the must see places on your Bali holidays. It is a unique way to see these very lively, excitable creatures interacting in a natural habitat. The macaques (the Balinese monkey) can be extremely unpredictable, so visitors are not allowed to pet them. You can however get quite close to them because although they live in the wild, the macaques are well accustomed to human presence. The cheekiest amongst them are brave enough to sneak up close to steal your lunch and once it’s gone it’s gone! From a safe distance they are extremely entertaining and their mischievous faces can be most endearing.
If a visit to Komodo Island is not on your agenda, you can still see the famed and dangerous Komodo dragons on your Bali holidays. The Bali Zoo, just fifteen minutes out of Ubud, houses a number of these fascinating prehistoric animals and you can view them safely from outside their enclosure. The dragons are actually the world’s largest lizards and can grow up to a terrifying ten metres. For a truly exotic experience, the Bali Zoo is also home to reptiles, primates, tigers, lions and crocodiles; everything you could ever want to experience the wild side of this most gentle of Indonesian islands.