Weekend Escapes: Jasri Bay Bliss Online feature for Bali Pure Living
What to see, do, and eat in Bali’s sleepiest east-coast retreat
The chilled-out seaside village of Jasri has that ultimate get-away-from-it-all appeal. A 90-minute drive up the coast from Sanur, it’s a more secluded alternative to East Bali’s uber-popular Candidasa. Charming villas set amidst palm groves overlook pebbly, black-sand stretches of beach, and the waves attract a slew of local surfers. Within easy reach are the white sands of Virgin Beach with its calm crystalline waters and oceanfront warung (simple food stalls), plus historic wonders aplenty. Here are our highlights.
Tenganan Village and its Centuries-old Traditions
Once a year, the villagers of Tenganan Pegringsingan fix head-to-head duels featuring spiky pandanus leaves as weapons. Bloody but good-spirited, the festival is known as Perang Pandan (literally Pandan Wars), and is just one of the ancient customs that the community still practices today. But even if you miss the festival, a stroll through this Bali Aga stronghold — a 20-minute drive inland from Jasri — is still a fascinating experience. Encircled by jungle and free from tarmac roads, the picturesque hamlet is dotted with traditional bales (communal pavilions where the women gather to make offerings) and family compounds (homes), all topped with handmade alang alang (thatched) roofs. Alongside free-roaming roosters and snoozing dogs, the local craftsmen ply their wares. Hand-woven ata baskets, rare gerinsing fabrics, and lontar (palm leaf) calendars are among the keepsakes on offer — remember to bring some cash.
(L) Tenganan ancient village, (R) Taman Ujung Water Palace. Photos: Alison Pace
Royal Water Palaces and Grand Hill Temples
Three of Bali’s most photographed monuments are within a half hour’s drive of Jasri. The water palace of Tirta Gangga – literally, water of the Ganges – is a spectacle of glassy ponds and ornate stone statues, all surrounding a central fountain with eleven tiers. Built by the late King of Karangasem in 1946, the holy site is fed by a mountain spring, and you can take a dip in one of the royal pools for a small extra fee
Sister site Taman Ujung is even more gorgeous. Dating back to 1901, the fairy-tale-like water palace showcases Dutch architecture, Balinese engravings, and decorative bridges set within lush landscaped gardens. Carp dart about inside the shallow ponds and flamingo-shaped pedalos carry tourists around the lake. It’s a relaxing spot to explore.
Finally, Lempuyang Temple, wedged 600 metres up the mountain of the same name, is home to Bali’s infamous ‘gates of heaven’. An influencer favourite before COVID, the mystical site is far quieter these days, and you can snap selfies or trek to the cluster of temples up the hill in relative peace.
Cacao Highs at Sorga
Just next door to Jasri Bay Hideaway’s beachfront cottages is Sorga Chocolate HQ, a tiny tasting room and production facility set amidst tropical green foliage. Handmade truffles, ice-creams, and flavoured chocolate bars are among the treats that await. Everything is made on-site using organic, Bali-grown cacao and island ingredients like Amed sea salt, Karangasem cashews, and fruit from the local markets. Pop in any time (they’re closed on weekends) for a tasting or book a tour or chocolate-making class to see the whole process, from fermenting, drying and grinding to tempering, moulding and decorating.
(L) Garden tables at Vincent’s, (R) Chocolate class at Sorga. Photos: Vincent’s/Sorga Chocolate
Jazzy Vibes at Vincent’s
A quick jaunt across to the resort town of Candidasa is worth it to check out one of Bali’s most lively jazz nights. Opposite the famous lotus lagoon, Vincent’s restaurant hosts local trios and quartets every week with the occasional international guest. Cosy and candle-lit, the lounge tables overlook the stage and the French-inspired food is some of the fanciest in the region. Check their socials for the live music schedule.
*Note that the restaurant is temporarily closed due to COVID restrictions.
Where to stay
This oceanside villa complex is an architectural wonder of bamboo, recycled ironwood, lava stone and traditional alang-alang (grass) roofs. Designed by the late Linda Garland, the easy-breezy villas make the most of their natural setting with huge wraparound windows, pristine gardens, and views of Mount Agung.