In the drier north of Bali, the midday heat can be overwhelming. Yeh Sanih is an ideal antidote: a cold-water natural spring-fed swimming pool where the waters are crystal clear and the temperature is cool year-round.
Located on the north coast road between Lovina and Tulamben, three larger pools, and a series of artificial channels meander over the spacious beachside complex. A cooling ocean breeze and large shady trees add to the relaxed nature, however on weekends and holidays the crowds of frolicking Balinese families and excited kids at this popular local spot are perhaps a little detrimental to the serenity. You can always join in the fun and hire an inner tube to splash around in.
As you will possibly be the only foreigner, follow the local way and wear shorts and a T-shirt rather than the budgies or bikinis. If travelling with a partner, an extra incentive to make a detour here might be that local legend holds that if a couple swims at Yeh Sanih, their relationship will be long lasting. A collection of warungs sells snacks and drinks. In the southeast corner, a small temple with a large banyan tree shades the source of the spring. Yeh Sanih is also referred to as “Air Sanih” (yeh being Balinese for water and air, the Indonesian equivalent).
Another six and a half kilometres east of Yeh Sanih, the picturesque cliffside temple Pura Ponjok Batu is worth a stop if passing by. According to local folklore, the temple was founded by the 16th-century priest Nirartha after he rescued a shipwrecked crew, and rocks on the nearby promontory began emitting light. A small boat-shaped shrine can be seen in the sea in front of the temple.
Based on archaeological excavations in 1995, sarcophagi found here suggest the site may have had religious significance for about 5,000 years. Entry is by donation, and you will need to bring your own sarong and sash to wear.
Also in the vicinity, American artist Symon’s studio, Art Zoo makes a colourful diversion with the opportunity to wander amid a vibrant and sometimes surreal and erotic self-created fantasyland. Invariably holding court from his hammock, Symon is generally happy to discuss his work (with bit of hard sell thrown into the bargain). Entry fee 50,000 rupiah.
By Sally Arnold
Last updated on 21st September, 2016.