Also known as Turtle Island or
Pulau Sakenan, this dry, low-lying, 73-hectare,
three-kilometer-long island formed on the sandbar
at the entrance to Labuhan Benoa, only 250 meters
off the southeast coast of Bali.
The island's lovely, palm-lined southern beach
is visible from the village of Benoa at the northern
tip of the Tanjung Peninsula. At the northern end
of Serangan are two villages, Pojok and, just 500
meters to the south, Dukuh, connected by a bridge
over an inlet.
One kilometer south of Dukuh is Serangan's slender
Pura Sakenan, a two-part sea temple, sacred to all
south Bali. A feature of this seaside 'pura' is
its peculiar, graceful 'bersayap'-style winged 'candi
bentar'. Inside is an obelisk to the rice goddesses,
Legend has it Pura Sakenan was founded by the 10th
century wanderer-priest Mpu Kuturan. It shares the
same guardian statues and decorative designs as
its contemporary, Pura Uluwatu, on the Bukit, and
was constructed with the same material-hard coral
The more squarish Pura Susunan Wadonan contains
pyramid-shaped 'prasada' - Javanese 'candi'-style,
stepped shrines, but without the 'cella'. The combination
of 'candi' and prehistoric pre-Hindu stepped pyramid
is seldom seen in Balinese temple architecture.
It's best to visit the island at festival time.
Once every 210 days, a festival (Manis Kuningan)
is held at the Pura Sakenan sea temple in the north
of the island, one of Bali's eight most sacred public
temples. For the two-day 'odalan' festival, droves
of people are ferried or wade across the sandbars
bearing offerings to the sea gods. At the same time,
towering giant puppets for the 'barong landung'
dance are carried by canoe in a water procession.
A big colorful fair takes place outside the temple
as throngs of people in all their finery stream
in and out.
The most common method is by motorized boat from
Desa Suwung, about 1.5 km south of Sanur. You'll
see the sign pointing to Serangan Island. There
is no regular 'bemo' but you can just charter one
from Sanur. Take a right turn off Jalan Bypass,
then drive past shrimp farms and mangroves to the
estuary where motorized longboats wait for passengers.
Bargain the fare while waiting for other passengers
to arrive to split the cost. The boat then negotiates
the narrow and very shallow channel through the
swamps. Once on the island, get to Pura Sakenan
from the north by walking south over the bridge
to the banjar of Dukuh. From Dukuh, follow the path
that leads across the cement causeway over the lagoon
then through a coconut grove.
From Tanjung Benoa, plan on about 20 minutes each
way to cross the bay by 'prahu motor', and at least
a half-day on the island. From Tanjung's tip, it's
possible to walk across the mud to Pulau Serangan
when the tide is low.