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.