Seseh-Tanah Lot villas in Bali, Indonesia

A few kilometres to the north west of Canggu, a towering banyan—one of the ‘elders’ of the tree kingdom—heralds the turning to Seseh, a traditional beachside village approached via an avenue of coconut palms.

Seseh and the tiny neighbouring villages of Sogsogan and Cemagi still retain the customs and culture of old Bali. Here, you will see farmers in conical hats riding rusty old upright bicycles, as well as frequent, colourful processions to Seseh’s large beachside temple. There are no international restaurants here, but you might just see a barong (a high-spirited, benevolent beast representing the power of good; danced by two men inside an ornate costume) dancing on the street. The good news, for folks who want to immerse themselves in the customs and culture of old Bali, is that the villagers encourage and welcome congenial visitors. Although there are now many private rental villas in these three villages, they have seamlessly integrated without detracting from the simplicity and charm of the location. This is an ideal destination for those who want to get lost in the beauty of the countryside, and for those who want to engage with the local people and gain privileged insights into the Balinese Hindu lifestyle.

A little further up the coast is Tanah Lot, famous for its dramatic and venerated sea temple, which is perched on a craggy wave-lashed rock at the edge of the glistening black shoreline. It is probably the most photographed sight in Bali, especially in the late afternoon when its splendid profile is silhouetted against the setting sun. The Tanah Lot locale is also home to a number of private villas due to presence of the 18-hole, 72-par, championship-standard Nirwana Bali Golf Club, which is frequently voted the number one golf course in Asia. This is, however, still a far-flung area with few facilities other than the souvenir stalls and simple eateries within the temple grounds, and three international restaurants within Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort.

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Rumah Campur

Rumah Campur

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

Much of Bali's appeal comes from the simple way of life and Rumah Campur allows you to fully appreciate this without sacrificing too many comforts. We quickly slipped into a relaxed routine, dividing time between the pool and a good book, bathing in sunshine and birdsong and savouring the cook's tasty local dishes. The villa is as much a romantic retreat as it is a family one: strolling down to the beach to watch sunset, then returning for a quiet dinner under the stars would certainly set the scene perfectly for any marriage proposal. Mornings are ushered in with dove calls and if you can drag yourself from slumber at sunrise and open the blinds, the backdrop of dappled green will wake even the most jaded soul with a smile. Children have plenty to keep them occupied between the pool, garden and watching DVDs in the den. The owners actually lived in the house for a year with their kids and made modifications to suit - like the mezzanine sleeping deck in the main bedroom. If younger guests do get restless, you can always nip to the site office, which is open all day and manned by friendly, helpful staff, and ask them to book you for a horse ride at the nearby stables, call a taxi to take you to the beach at Canggu (8km), or even to go shopping in Seminyak (15km). Staying in a village brings you into close contact with Bali's rich, local culture: there are ceremonies and offerings at the nearby temples almost daily. We were there during Nyepi, the Balinese New Year festival, and ideally placed to witness the famous, hand crafted Ogoh-Ogoh demons being paraded through the country lanes. On the day following the parades, no-one is allowed to venture out of their homes and only candles can be burned for light at night. At Rumah Campur, rather than being a drag, this only added to what was already a supremely peaceful and authentic Balinese experience.
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Rumah Campur

Rumah Campur

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

Much of Bali's appeal comes from the simple way of life and Rumah Campur allows you to fully appreciate this without sacrificing too many comforts. We quickly slipped into a relaxed routine, dividing time between the pool and a good book, bathing in sunshine and birdsong and savouring the cook's tasty local dishes. The villa is as much a romantic retreat as it is a family one: strolling down to the beach to watch sunset, then returning for a quiet dinner under the stars would certainly set the scene perfectly for any marriage proposal. Mornings are ushered in with dove calls and if you can drag yourself from slumber at sunrise and open the blinds, the backdrop of dappled green will wake even the most jaded soul with a smile. Children have plenty to keep them occupied between the pool, garden and watching DVDs in the den. The owners actually lived in the house for a year with their kids and made modifications to suit - like the mezzanine sleeping deck in the main bedroom. If younger guests do get restless, you can always nip to the site office, which is open all day and manned by friendly, helpful staff, and ask them to book you for a horse ride at the nearby stables, call a taxi to take you to the beach at Canggu (8km), or even to go shopping in Seminyak (15km). Staying in a village brings you into close contact with Bali's rich, local culture: there are ceremonies and offerings at the nearby temples almost daily. We were there during Nyepi, the Balinese New Year festival, and ideally placed to witness the famous, hand crafted Ogoh-Ogoh demons being paraded through the country lanes. On the day following the parades, no-one is allowed to venture out of their homes and only candles can be burned for light at night. At Rumah Campur, rather than being a drag, this only added to what was already a supremely peaceful and authentic Balinese experience.
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Villa Champuhan

Villa Champuhan

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

There is nothing like the hum of the rainforest and the rush of flowing water to lull you into a state of utter serenity, and our stay at Villa Champuhan left us glowing with wellbeing. We loved the raw beauty of the tropical setting, enjoyed from the comfort of a modern, thoughtfully designed living space; taking a rain shower on the private deck above the river in the first master bedroom was sheer bliss! During the day the sliding glass doors were wide open, creating a sense of open-plan living, but were conveniently shut at night time to keep out any lingering tropical bugs. The villa was so big that it was like having a mini resort all to ourselves, and our explorations revealed plenty of spaces to nestle in privacy or mingle in comfort. Staff seemed a little shy, (the villa had only just opened when we visited in February 2012), but the warmth and kindness we experienced was genuine and the service discreet, just the way we like it! On site manager, Gun,proved to be a wealth of knowledge on the area, while Dewi cooked us up a great Balinese curry. Lazy afternoons filled with flittering butterflies were spent lounging in the sun-drenched pool overlooking the river – which was so wide that we never felt encroached upon by the surrounding rainforest. Huge daybeds and couches provided ample comfort, and even the dining chairs were soft and plump. Lounging aside there was lots to keep us busy, with river banks and gardens to discover, (some of the gardens slope steeply to the river, so young children will need to be kept an eye on) and the charms of rural Bali on our doorstep. The villa was such a peaceful sanctuary that we didn’t feel overly compelled to leave, but we liked having a complimentary driver on hand, just in case.
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Villa Champuhan

Villa Champuhan

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

There is nothing like the hum of the rainforest and the rush of flowing water to lull you into a state of utter serenity, and our stay at Villa Champuhan left us glowing with wellbeing. We loved the raw beauty of the tropical setting, enjoyed from the comfort of a modern, thoughtfully designed living space; taking a rain shower on the private deck above the river in the first master bedroom was sheer bliss! During the day the sliding glass doors were wide open, creating a sense of open-plan living, but were conveniently shut at night time to keep out any lingering tropical bugs. The villa was so big that it was like having a mini resort all to ourselves, and our explorations revealed plenty of spaces to nestle in privacy or mingle in comfort. Staff seemed a little shy, (the villa had only just opened when we visited in February 2012), but the warmth and kindness we experienced was genuine and the service discreet, just the way we like it! On site manager, Gun,proved to be a wealth of knowledge on the area, while Dewi cooked us up a great Balinese curry. Lazy afternoons filled with flittering butterflies were spent lounging in the sun-drenched pool overlooking the river – which was so wide that we never felt encroached upon by the surrounding rainforest. Huge daybeds and couches provided ample comfort, and even the dining chairs were soft and plump. Lounging aside there was lots to keep us busy, with river banks and gardens to discover, (some of the gardens slope steeply to the river, so young children will need to be kept an eye on) and the charms of rural Bali on our doorstep. The villa was such a peaceful sanctuary that we didn’t feel overly compelled to leave, but we liked having a complimentary driver on hand, just in case.
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Villa Champuhan

Villa Champuhan

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

There is nothing like the hum of the rainforest and the rush of flowing water to lull you into a state of utter serenity, and our stay at Villa Champuhan left us glowing with wellbeing. We loved the raw beauty of the tropical setting, enjoyed from the comfort of a modern, thoughtfully designed living space; taking a rain shower on the private deck above the river in the first master bedroom was sheer bliss! During the day the sliding glass doors were wide open, creating a sense of open-plan living, but were conveniently shut at night time to keep out any lingering tropical bugs. The villa was so big that it was like having a mini resort all to ourselves, and our explorations revealed plenty of spaces to nestle in privacy or mingle in comfort. Staff seemed a little shy, (the villa had only just opened when we visited in February 2012), but the warmth and kindness we experienced was genuine and the service discreet, just the way we like it! On site manager, Gun,proved to be a wealth of knowledge on the area, while Dewi cooked us up a great Balinese curry. Lazy afternoons filled with flittering butterflies were spent lounging in the sun-drenched pool overlooking the river – which was so wide that we never felt encroached upon by the surrounding rainforest. Huge daybeds and couches provided ample comfort, and even the dining chairs were soft and plump. Lounging aside there was lots to keep us busy, with river banks and gardens to discover, (some of the gardens slope steeply to the river, so young children will need to be kept an eye on) and the charms of rural Bali on our doorstep. The villa was such a peaceful sanctuary that we didn’t feel overly compelled to leave, but we liked having a complimentary driver on hand, just in case.
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Jagaditha

Jagaditha

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

Enticing, uncomplicated and restorative; this is exactly how a beach property should be. The aesthetics of Jagaditha’s build, especially the gorgeous landscaping, felt perfectly in tune with the surroundings without cluttering or detracting from the serenity that this location brings. I loved how each bedroom enjoyed different outlooks that were equally appealing; the lily pond lapping onto three of the ground floor bedrooms was enchanting. Children especially will find lots to interest them here as there were frogs, dragonflies and fish galore, plus a flat lawn for letting off steam. A second dining area with shade-giving parasols to one side of the garden comes highly recommended for daytime dining as it beautifully overlooks the swimming pool, garden and sea and feels refreshingly informal. All outside areas come with Bose amplified sound that you can connect to your own iPod. The gym comes only with a rowing machine and a Power Plate, but if you’re feeling enthusiastic Jagaditha’s guests can use the fitness centre in the nearby Canggu Club in addition to the tennis courts, creche, restaurants and swimming pools. There’s a big staff team at Jagaditha and they do a great job. Fusion cuisine is on the menu and the chef comes recommended; we really enjoyed all of our meals.
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Villa Matahari

Villa Matahari

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

This wonderful spacious villa is situated just metres from a rugged beach, with views (from upstairs) of the ocean, rice fields and traditional village life. During our stay, we walked a few metres up the road to the temple and had a chat with the very friendly villagers, followed by a stroll along the beach to watch an amazing sunset. If you’re looking for nightlife and shopping, this is not the villa for you. Instead it is a place to relax with family or friends and immerse yourself in the local culture. Matahari is also somewhere you can hold dinner parties, events and weddings. The amount of space will astound you, and the staff are very willing. The villa operates a grocery system, so staff will do the food shopping for you with no extra costs thrown in.
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Villa Niloufar

Villa Niloufar

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

Upon arrival at Villa Niloufar, our opinion about the modern architecture was initially divided. But over the course of 24 hours it became two very positive ‘yays’. This villa is refreshingly different in that it has thrown out any pretence to traditional Bali style (thatched-roofs-and-coconut-wood) by following a rule of its own. Despite its clean lines, nature is embraced by the design. Niloufar is also way more eco-friendly than most villas profess to be, with passive cooling techniques such as cross ventilation and rooftop ponds, an advanced ioniser filter system for the swimming pool, and a water recycling system that allows waste water to be reused in the gardens.  We first reviewed Niloufar in 2009, and on a recent revisit we were impressed with how well the villa has been maintained.

The staff are friendly and diligent; they are there when you need something, but also understand the importance of privacy. The infinity lap pool sits above the river valley with beautiful views, while the sun loungers at the far end are in the form of one large daybed with individual uprights, making for a very communal lazing space. Once installed in the gazebo with the drink of your choice, you can sit back and enjoy the scene in front of you: the river, banked with mature trees, giant bamboo and jungle, and a rice terrace on the far side. This is also a great place for a massage. Judging from the sights and sounds, there is an abundance of wildlife around the villa; we counted many swifts and kingfishers, and even watched a large monitor lizard lazily swim across the river. A dip in the river is fun, there are a couple of small rapids and the water is super-refreshing (but don’t swallow it). There is also a small temple and a holy freshwater spring on the river’s edge. It’s a thrill to stay in a piece of modern architecture that feels as though its roots are in the dwellings of the ancients.
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Nirwana Golf  Villas - Ocean and Golf

Nirwana Golf Villas - Ocean and Golf

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

Even though you’re almost on the fairway of one of Asia’s best golf courses, you don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy a stay at this villa. Private homes with beachfront locations are not in abundance on Bali’s south-west coast, which makes Ocean and Golf a particularly good find as well as being good value. There are few better spots to enjoy the famous Bali sunsets than from this villa’s breezy balcony.        

Ocean and Golf incorporates the best of both worlds; a quiet and private residence which, for an additional daily fee per person, also has access to leisure facilities at the neighbouring 5-star resort – you can even order room service (although you do have your own cook who prepare meals from a suggestion menu charging only the cost of ingredients plus 20% service charge). However for guests who want to venture out to experience the shopping, restaurants and nightlife in town, this villa is a little remote (Seminyak, the popular entertainment hub, lies 23km south). We enjoyed walking around the sprawling grounds and whizzing from the villa to the hotel lobby in our golf buggy. The view of Tanah Lot temple from Cendana, one of the award-winning restaurants at the Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali resort, is magnificent – especially at sunset.    

Ocean and Golf is an ideal base for a group of golfers or a golfer who wants to bring the family along. It is sensible for seniors – there are two downstairs bedrooms if steps are difficult to navigate. Whilst there is a twin bedroom for children upstairs and plenty of TV’s to go around. As long as they don’t wander onto the fairway, it is a very safe environment for kids, and the complimentary facilities at the Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali  resort will keep children busy for weeks.
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Nirwana Golf  Villas - Ocean and Golf

Nirwana Golf Villas - Ocean and Golf

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

Even though you’re almost on the fairway of one of Asia’s best golf courses, you don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy a stay at this villa. Private homes with beachfront locations are not in abundance on Bali’s south-west coast, which makes Ocean and Golf a particularly good find as well as being good value. There are few better spots to enjoy the famous Bali sunsets than from this villa’s breezy balcony.        

Ocean and Golf incorporates the best of both worlds; a quiet and private residence which, for an additional daily fee per person, also has access to leisure facilities at the neighbouring 5-star resort – you can even order room service (although you do have your own cook who prepare meals from a suggestion menu charging only the cost of ingredients plus 20% service charge). However for guests who want to venture out to experience the shopping, restaurants and nightlife in town, this villa is a little remote (Seminyak, the popular entertainment hub, lies 23km south). We enjoyed walking around the sprawling grounds and whizzing from the villa to the hotel lobby in our golf buggy. The view of Tanah Lot temple from Cendana, one of the award-winning restaurants at the Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali resort, is magnificent – especially at sunset.    

Ocean and Golf is an ideal base for a group of golfers or a golfer who wants to bring the family along. It is sensible for seniors – there are two downstairs bedrooms if steps are difficult to navigate. Whilst there is a twin bedroom for children upstairs and plenty of TV’s to go around. As long as they don’t wander onto the fairway, it is a very safe environment for kids, and the complimentary facilities at the Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali  resort will keep children busy for weeks.
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