Experiences

Lembongan Island, A small paradise from broken pieces of Bali Island

Leaving from Desa Pramana Swan, A spectacular Villas close to the Keramas beach where we stayed 4 Nights there, We were picked up by the boat agency at 7.30 am, we were directly heading to Sanur Harbor. After arriving, we did a registration then Waited for the boat heading. All big stuffs left in Desa Pramana Swan and only an important adventure stuffs to be brought to Lembongan Island, If you have a cam action, please fully charge to capture your best moments in Lembongan.

It's time cruising to Lembongan Island, A bit shakes on the boat, but that's okay for an adventure which might never be repeated. An half hour trip which makes us arrive on this tiny island. Not long since we arrived then some guys approach us to offer some bike rentals and the tour island program. Mostly travelers take bike to ride on the island. Then the story begins….

We opened the googlemap to search the resort where we’d stay. Sari Nusa Inn, Yes that's where we stayed for 2 Nights. I walked for 5 minutes to get it and finally we arrived. The lady was ready with the welcome drinks on the tray. That made us so chilled out and refreshing.

We're not much spending time, and then we're all packed up with our stuffs, ready to go. Novi, the woman one who welcomed us, she has prepared thing what we wanted, yes. It was an automatic bike!

Before heading this island, we already pinned some locations to visit, here we go… I rode the bike to visit the first spot “Dream Beach", the beach we actually never dreamt about. We just could say WOW!. The beach was awesome with the white sands and the blue water calling us to swim immediately. We swam a bit; my partner bought me a beer to complete the happiness.

Finished swimming on this awesome beach, we dried ourselves then moved again to next spot which was so close one another. We arrived on the sea cliff and the name was weird "Devil's Tear". Absolutely no tear drops when you visit this amazing place. Tears asserted that the sea water pushed strongly by the wave, hits the rocks and when it’s blown up then it drops to become a rains then it starts to be called a Devil's Tears. But, please keep your distance from the cliff, some said, some accidents happened here. Don’t forget, nature which amazed you, could also endanger you!

We moved to the famous bridge called “Yellow Bridge”, yes, it is because the bridge painted yellow. But before being at the place we already wished to stand at. I read about sad news when in October 2016, The Bridge was collapsed and causing less than 10 people killed and more than 30 in serious injured. Now this bridge has been a witness what tourism could affect two sides. The bridge was in previous dominantly built in wooden, but now has been well reconstructed with the heavy metals and steels; hoping could save everyone's lives. Leaving from the sad news, now the Yellow Bridge has been the most visited and most remembered bridge when visitin Lembongan Island. Yes we might never forget this bridge in whole life, what a fantastic view from this bridge when we could see two islands were just separated.

After having lunch at a local cafe, we came back to resort, it might we need some rest. We entered the nice cool air conditioned room at Sari Nusa Inn after fully heated by the sunlight. After some hours rest and nice conversation with some staffs at Sari Nusa Inn, we decided to go to Mahagiri Beach. This beach is wonderful when we visited some people did some activities like; relaxation on the long chairs, Jogging with puppy, playing ball and just sightseeing. Yes we could see Bali and Mount Agung clearly and made us missing Bali for awhile.

The sun started to set down, and then we decided to find a local warung for a seafood dinner close by. You won't be so hard to find a nice food such as; seafood, vegetarian and fresh food cause Lembongan has all you need. We came back to the resort and told about what we did to a friendly staffs that were like our family.

On the next day, we had our breakfast served as we ordered the day before. The breakfast was so good. Finished our meals then we got ready to explore a "Mangrove Point”. Starting up our bike and tried to find where to purchase the gasoline. We rode for only 10 minutes to “Mangrove Point". Arriving at the spot, we were sooner offered an activity to explore mangrove with traditional boat pedaled by a local who almost works for more than 5 years pedaling the boat to fulfill the tourists' desire of Mangrove Exploration. It took us to look deep into the most seeable underwater view. It also carried us to the silent world when we passed the mangrove trees.

We continued our activity to try a snorkeling. The underwater of Lembongan Sea was spectacular. Some sea creatures and corals live under a good conservation. This is the reason that the tourists still go to Lembongan. Even this island could be finished in one day for an adventure, but the repeater guests kept coming like us. We are Igor & Laura from Russia, thanks for being with us in flashback story.
Lembongan in January 2019.

Ducks aplenty in Bali haven

A mob of fluffy ducks is storming security, charging along the Keramas shoreline, past guards and the surf competition cordon.

By JOHN BORTHWICK

Amob of fluffy ducks is storming security, charging along the Keramas shoreline, past guards and the surfing competition cordon. Legends such as Kelly Slater or Steph Gilmore may be out in the break getting barrelled on perfect waves, but it’s the charge of the little brown ducks that steals the show. Herded by a Balinese farmer with a flag, they scamper frantically along the waterline, causing even the event commentator to collapse into honking duck calls.

Such is Keramas, a 2km-long black-sand beach on Bali’s east coast that is home to an impeccable right-hand reef break, along with a clutch of small resorts and villas. An hour’s drive north of Denpasar, Keramas in Gianyar¬regency is still a coast of temples, ¬offerings and uncrowded sands where villagers crouch at low tide, picking pebbles to sell as garden decorations.

Since the Komune surf resort opened here in 2012 this once semi-secret spot has hosted professional world tour surfing contests, and the surrounding fields have
“Keramas locals don’t want to see their place end-up like Kuta,” I am told by an Australian woman who has built a tasteful villa nearby. The community of about 5000 people wanted to see their kids in local employment and this largely has happened, with resorts such as Komune and Desa Pramana Swan drawing staff from surrounding villages.

Progress, of course, has come to Keramas, although not all of it is smart. One jerrybuilt seawall is crumbling while an abandoned beach club decays like a shipwreck. But morning here still smells like a ¬Balinese “morning of the earth” should: sea-salt tang, last night’s rain, wafting incense and a whiff of clove cigarettes. The cone of GunungAgung volcano hangs in the sky like a sentinel, although one minute it’s there and then, with a shift of clouds, suddenly it’s gone.
Locals look for ornamental shells on the surf beach at Keramas, Bali. Picture: John Borthwick

While beachfront warungs such as eco-cool La Casa and down-home Locas might have front-row seats on the wave action ¬(including floodlit night surfing), a few hundred metres down the beach are the 25 roomy villas of Desa Pramana Swan resort. With a range of one to four-bedroom pool villas, its self-catering, air-conditioned accommodation is designed for families or groups of friends on long or short stays. At Pramana’s beachside Swan Lounge restaurant, I can breakfast on my favourite, baburinjin (black rice porridge), eggs Benedict, or plenty of options in between, while planning the day.

My choices include heading up the shore to the important Masceti temple on the point or visiting the nearby Saba Bay Asri Turtle Conservation project.
Further afield are the traditional Bali icons of Goa Gajah elephant cave, Tegalalang’s famous rice terraces and the water temples at Tampak Siring and Tirta Gangga.

On one inland trip I discover Keramas Sacred River, a new 14-room forest hideaway beside a tiny river temple near Keramas village. There’s a butterfly farm, bicycle tours, yoga, a pool, neat villas and a historic 7th-century temple in the grounds, plus surely the most perfect banana fritters in all Bali.

Keramas Beach looks east towards the Lombok Strait where Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida islands sit double-stacked on the horizon. With the waves rolling in here year-round the surf is usually crowded, but there are no malls or touts, yet. Almost too often I overhear someone say Keramas is “just like the Seminyak of yesterday”. Let’s pray it doesn’t become the Seminyak of tomorrow.

Meanwhile if you’re on the beach at around 9am or 3pm, although you’d never set your watch by it, beware the Keramas duck rush. Stand in the way and you risk being trampled by 200 feather dusters.

John Borthwick was a guest of Pramana Hotels & Resorts.

IN THE KNOW
Desa Pramana Swan resort at Keramas is a one-hour drive northeast of Denpasar. A one-bedroom pool villa starts at $US120 ($180) a night, plus 21 per cent tax.