The West Bali National Park (or Taman National Bali Barat) is a naturalistic treasure which occupies a protected area of almost twenty-thousand hectares of land and sea in the northwestern part of Bali. The mountainous peninsula of Prapat Agung, along with a stretch of beach and numerous tiny islands, are part of this incredible nature reserve of rainforest, mangroves and savannah, the most extensive of the entire island. A place for scientific research and wildlife preservation, it was made a National Park in 1941, following an initiative to protect the “Balinese starling” (Jalak Bali), tiny almost-extinct white bird. Unusual wild animals, such as the banteng, the flying fox, the leopard cat, the Rusa deer, the Indian muntjac and the East Javan langur, all roam freely among a wide range of diverse plant species. Among the protected animals, you could run into a giant black squirrel or the manus, the marbled cat or the Olive Ridley turtle along the coast as it nests. Lovers of birdwatching will find this the ideal spot to admire the numerous winged creatures that inhabit the park - from the crested serpent eagle to the oriental dollarbird, from the savannah nightjar to the racket-tailed treepie, as well as various types of swallows and kingfishers. For birdwatchers, the Tegal Blunder Trail is an easy stroll of a few hours while it takes five to do the Gunung Klatakan Trail, a jaunt into the rainforest. It is also possible to tour the entire park, riding on solid and trustworthy Australian horses. Lovers of the seabed will find, the Island of Menjangan ("deer island"), as well as the Puri Gili Kencana Temple, among the most incredible underwater ecosystems, where calm crystal-clear waters are home to precious coral and unique exotic fish. Access to the park is only allowed with a permit and a guide.
Here, rests a magnificent statue of Garuda Wisnu Kencana, national emblem of Indonesia and, with a height of over 120 metres, one of the tallest monumental statues in the world.
Stephan Kotas is a Czechoslovakian photographer who chose Bali as a home where he could do what he loves - help the past live again in vintage portraits using the old-fashioned photographic developing technique of "tintype".