Indonesia - Never heard of Seraya in Bali?
Updated: Aug 19
Great, that's a place for us! In the search of the traditional side of Bali, we have been quite succesful by visiting Sudaji in the North and staying in the ricefields in Tampaksiring. So our last stop in Bali was planned in the south, well, in the south-east that means. Because the south-west (being the centre of the mass tourism industry) was a no-go area for us. For whatever reason we found the widespread village of Seraya on the rocky coast in the very east.
We had a private driver (the owner of "our" treehouse in Tampaksiring) who took us to Seraya. It was a beautiful drive across the countryside from Tampaksiring via Gianyar, Sideman and Amlapura. We passed very nice villages. Our driver was supernervous as it was extremly windy that day. So a lot of branches from coconut trees fell down as well as coconuts. He told us that insurance does not pay for this kind of accident (well, we did not figure out if it was his insurance or the insurance in Indonesia in general). Anyway, we arrived safely at the guesthouse and the driver arrived safely back home.
But what a remote and serene village and what an amazing guesthouse it was! In the village there was one nearly abandoned tourist villa on the rocks above the sea. Our guesthouse was a bit further up the road with views over the ocean - that was it. The rest was villagers, farmers and fishermen living their lifes with their daily routine - no tourists, no supermarkets, just little stores on the roadside selling the basic needs and some fuel in coke bottles. We loved it instantly. Nyoman, the owner of the Frangipani Inn welcomed us warmly, we got our welcome drink (fresh watermelon juice and settled down in our bungalow. Heaven on earth! Nyoman was a fishermen before and together with his family he started building up the guesthouse with his own hands. He has only 3 bungalows and a little warung (as there are no other options to eat nearby). It is all made with a lot of love and Nyoman is really enjoying his work and he is always laughing. He did an amazing job and he is a superkind person. Cooking vegan for us was no problem - they offered us all kinds of home-grown veggies. Staying there and eating there for 3 days food was never boring (sometimes this happens to us, as people do not know what vegan things to prepare). They went out of there way to comfort us.
On the first day we just walked around the village, went down to the beach, visited a temple (and were allowed to enter!), talked to locals and just listened to the wind and observe village life while sitting on our balcony. At night, as we were the only guests, we had a long talk to Nyoman about life and the purpose of life. Next day we could rent his scooter and went to the famous white sand beach. The weather was really unpredictable - well, it was rainy season after all. On the 30 min. drive we caught a storm, sunshine and a downpour. But when we arrived at the beach, the sun was coming out. The beach was surprisingly beautiful - so far the nicest we have seen in Bali, to be honest. It is a nice bay with fisherboats, some bamboo huts that serve as restaurants and a clean and big beach which is nice to walk along. So we spend our first half day of our trip on the beach and enjoyed the sunshine, the water - and nearly no people. Later the day we also visited the Ujung Waterpalace in Amlapura. It is a beautiful palace well worth a visit which is less know than the Tirta Gangga Waterpalace. With all the advantages but no disadvantages: nearly no people, beautiful garden, amazing views over the sea and lots of water, flowers and a cheap restaurant which has avodaco juice (we have to admit, we are addicted to avocado juice with chocolate). Before going back home, we decided to also visit the Black Sand Beach which is close to our bungalow. It is a fishermen beach with really
dark black sand from the nearby vulcano. It was very rough that day with huge waves - but it is stunningly beautiful. Just to get there is an adventure in itself as the road is not sealed. With the scooter it was like going down a rocky mountainbike-downhill. We were a bit nervous how we should go up again. But with caution and some driving skills of Nina (she is riding a scooter since many years) we made it safely back. But if you are not familiar with riding a scooter, do not drive there on your own, especially not during rainy season!!!! The evening we spend together with Nyoman and his family and some wonderful food.
Next day we had to make a joice: either visit famous Lempuyangan Temple or driving along the coast to Amed with some snorkelling at different spots. As Lempuyangan is a typical instagram spot, we expected it to be full of tourists. So we decided against it and drove around the south-eastern coast of Bali. And what an amazing, gorgouse drive it was. The road is simply winding along the coast with stunning views over to Nusa Penida and Lombok. We were passing by countless villages, people waving us, being happy and curious to see us. It was just this perfect being in the moment! Firstly, we stopped at the Japanese Ship Wreck Point. We payed 40.000 IDR together for parking and entrance to the ressort
including 2 fresh and big juices, shower and a safe place to store our stuff. Perfect. It was a peaceful ressort and a good choice to pay the "fee". You can go to the beach for free. But the beach is just big rocks, there are no possibilities to quietly sit somewhere and we were thirsty anyway. So it was a great deal for us. Snorkelling around the wreck was really interesting - never before have we snorkelled around a wreck. Some nice fishes but really a lot of waves. Anyway, we enjoyed about 1 hours of snorkelling. Then the wind became stronger, the current was really strong and we settled down in the restaurant of the ressort with nice views over the beach. It started raining but we were happily sipping our juices and drinking delicious balinese "kopi jahe". This is coffee (the coffe powder is on the ground of your pot) with fresh ginger. We do not drink a lot of coffee normally, but this one is so smooth and tasty, we can have several without having any side effects.
After the rain had stopped we went back on the road and drove to Lipah beach. Snorkelling must be beautiful there. With this beach, tourism starts again. It is not really bad, but the area only consists of ressorts. It is all low key and mainly caters for divers, so it is still quite nice. But the weather was not really on our side. No rain but heavy winds and waves. We went down to the beach which was ok but not really clean and beautiful. We tried snorkelling and really got dizzy. Lying on the surface of the water, our bodies were going up and down with the waves. The soft corals we looked at were moving and sometimes the fishes were kind of "thrown" at us with the waves. Kind of a fun experience. The riff really is nice - still intact corals, many fishes. Nothing extraordinary, but nice for an afternoon. We really like places where you can go snorkelling right from the beach - kind of the most relaxing thing to do: be in nature, at the sea and watch wildlife. So we enjoyed the afternoon despite the stormy weather. More and more clouds were coming and the sky got really dark. So we drove back nearly 1,5 hour to our home - luckily, without getting wet! The clouds seemed to dance around us. We had another chilled evening with Nyoman. We had serious discussions again and were laughing a lot! He is such an amazing person!
Next morning it was time to say goodbye to the family. Nyoman drove us to the airport. But the same as with the scooter rental: the prices are super fair. We never felt being overcharged. It was a first time experience in Bali! And we are endlessly thankful for this experience - there are still kind people in this world who do not run behind the tourists being "walking money". We were really sad and again had tears in our eyes when we left Nyoman at the airport. Well, the airport was a shock for our system being full of tourists - mass tourism shows its fierce mask there and we were so thankful that we could mainly experience a beautiful side of Bali. And we were happy we completely avoided the area around Kuta, Seminyak and Canggu. Hopefully these corners in Bali will be able to preserve what they have!
So, our time in Bali came to an end. We had amazing personal encounters here. On the one hand we were sad to leave the people behind. But we were super excited for our next destination - we were about to fulfill a dream we had since a very long time....