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Home » Guides, Serangan Island

Serangan Island  

by on Sunday, 3 February 20082 Comments | 5,681 views

Serangan is a small island that lies off the Balinese coastline just south of Sanur and has long played an important role in local religious history. Despite its size, there are actually four temple compounds found on the island and Pura Sakenan is considered one of the holiest sites of worship for Balinese Hindu’s.


The origin of Pura Sakenan dates back to around 1250 during the reign of Raja Sri Masula Masuli when it was built by Mpu Kuturan. However, shrines, pagodas and other religious elements were added during the 15th Century by Dang Hyang Niratha, a priest who was also responsible for the magnificent cliff top temple at Uluwatu.


Every Kuningan on the Balinese calendar a vibrant three-day temple ceremony is held and Pura Sakenan and worshippers flock from all over south Bali to the island to pray. Prior to 1996 the island was only accessible by boat and visits to the temple there were likened to a holy pilgrimage.




During the reign of President Suharto, Serangan Island was viewed as prime property and developers began a massive reclamation project that tripled the size of the island and built a bypass land bridge in anticipation of a luxury golf resort. But due to financial difficulties the entire project went into bankruptcy and the island and its sacred temple were saved from the clutches of greedy developers. As a result, Hindu worshippers now visit the island by car or motorbike, which some scholars believe de-sanctifies the overall pilgrimage.



Serangan Island is inhabited by over 3,000 people and almost half of them are involved in the fishing industry. Interestingly enough there is also a local Bugis community of approximately 300 Muslims who live side by side with the Hindu’s complete harmony. There is a rare mutual respect that exists between these two ethnic groups.

Serangan Island is also known as Turtle Island as for many years it was nesting ground for the Green Sea Turtle. Locals used to catch the live turtles as well as their eggs for consumption and unfortunately this exploitation resulted in the near elimination of all turtles in this area. In 2004 with the aid of international funding a Turtle Conservation and Education Centre was established on the island and the government imposed a strict ban on turtle trading. With local help, the aim of this centre is to nurture the growth of newly hatched turtles and release them at an age where survival rates are quite favourable. The fishermen of Serangan now try to safeguard these ocean creatures to prevent extinction.



The waters surrounding Serangan Island are popular with surfers especially during the wet season when west-south-west winds blow. The waves average 4-6ft and this once secret spot now gets quite crowded.

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