Sawai, the 'Little Maldives' of North Seram

Here is the hidden paradise!
This long weekend trip is the climax of our exploration in Maluku. It brought us to the furthest point we ever reached; Sawai. Previous posting of this blog tells how to get Masohi from Ambon. Now this posting will show you how one makes a trip to Sawai and Ora Beach from Masohi.

From Masohi, you just need to take a Sawai taxi whose pool is across Masohi Plaza. This taxi is just like taxis in Ambon, which are actually normal private cars (usually Toyota Avanza) without any signs of 'taxi'. This one, however, is not a privatized taxi all by your group but shared with others. At that time, coincidentally only we two were the passengers in that Sawai taxi. Each one of us was charged IDR 100,000. This cost is far cheaper than renting a whole car.
Leaving Masohi, the car headed to the direction where we came earlier, passing a foodstall where we had our lunch the day before. At the Waipia T-Junction, the car turned north. From there it was still a three-hour mountain trail. The road turned even more mountainous especially when we had entered Manusela National Park area. Maluku people prefer call the place as 'Mountain SS' because the road there shapes many S letters ascending steeply. Just before entering the welcome gate of Manusela National Park, we saw a beautiful high mountain. Here there are some food stalls and gasoline retailers. There will be no more of these ahead. So better prepare everything here.
This monument is a landmark of Waipia T-Junction.
A green rock mountain standing high
Some parts of Mountain SS are foggy most of the time. This what makes the path very dangerous to pass for those who doesn't know the area well. Sometimes there are some cassowaries coming down the road. They are big and strong enough to damage if accidentally being hit. But we didn't see any this time. No need to worry about all of these handicaps if taking Sawai taxi because the driver is a villager of Sawai who passes through this route everyday.

After a long journey through Manusela National Park, we (almost) arrived at our destination. Following the main road would take us to Wahai, the capital of North Seram regency. But for Sawai, one has to get out of the paved road to the left where a 15-minute drive rocky road would lead to Sawai. The taxi took us exactly into Penginapan Lisar Bahari, the one and only lodge in this village. But before that, we had to pass narrow streets in the village, whose width fit to one car only.
Fog-covered SS Mountain
Rocky path which brought us to Sawai
Very narrow of Sawai's main road, still cars pass through it
Public washing area at Sawai
Stepping foot on Penginapan Lisar Bahari, Sawai, we were welcomed by the owner; Pak Ali. He was a generous person. He served us one the new harvested durians there for free. I don't like durians so Kristin had it by herself. For your information, durians in Moluccas especially Seram are very cheap. Durian lovers must come here when its season and give them a bite!

Sawai from the sea
One lodge of Penginapan Lisar Bahari, Sawai
Penginapan Lisar Bahari from the sea. It contains of lodges with some separate rooms.
When we were staying there, some new lodges were being constructed.
Enjoying the uniqueness of this above-the-water inn, we spontantly forgot all of distressful moments in the journey we had. After the room was fully prepared, they let us to check-in. We did not take too long break because every minute of ours was so valuable. We practically just put down our things in the room, then leaving for Ora Beach by renting a long boat. The boat was only filled by two crews and us. So exclusive! On the way, we saw beautiful steep cliffs. Well, the twenty-minute trip was not boring at all. It took more time to adore such a marvelous view.

Pictures on the way to Ora Beach
Arrived at the amazing Ora Beach Resort, we hold ourselves back not to plunge to the water first. Before getting wet, we would love to take pictures around. Even amateurs will get good pictures here! Ora Beach is administratively out of Sawai. It is in Saleman. The resort here looked more elegant than where we stayed, but for sure the price was also much more expensive. The rate was about IDR 700,000 per night for beach resort and above IDR 1,000,000 per night for above the sea lodge. While in Lisar Bahari, one person needs only pay IDR 250,000 per night. In both inns, the price is based on persons not on rooms.

After taking many prictures, we finally got down to the sea to snorkel using tools provided by the long boat crews without any additional fee. The sea wealth of Moluccas was really spectacular! Coral reefs and colorful fishes could be spotted even without snorkeling as the water was very clear. An opportunity to take a peek downside the sea here was really a blessing.

Pictures around Ora Beach

Satisfied after playing around Ora Beach Resort, we were then brought to another spot to enjoy the underwater view. This area was located right to the steep cliffs we saw on the way to Ora. It was beautiful indeed but unfortunately we were too amateur to snorkel at such shallow water. Our feet often got hit by coral reefs. Returning to Penginapan Lisar Bahari happy-hardheartedly, we took a shower and break. Then at 8 pm we enjoyed the free dinner. Yeah, the price we paid included three-time meals and tea break anytime. Because we arrived too late in the afternoon we missed the free lunch. The dinner atmosphere was kind of alive as there was a group of other guests dominated the dining area.

The next morning, we woke up before the sunrise. The guests having dinner with us last night had checked-out very early in the morning. So the lodge had turned sleepy now. While waiting for sunrise and free breakfast, we fed fishes on the sea. We even could do it without going out of our room just through the window. As the sun showed its face from behind the hill, she shot her dazzling light. Now with the sunlight, we could see the underwater view even more clearly.

Staying above the sea was an unforgettable experience indeed. Unfortunately, we had very limited time. The driver who took us here yesterday had come taking us back to Masohi. Before leaving Penginapan Lisar Bahari, we certainly had to pay our bills which showed IDR 700,000. So renting the long boat was charged IDR 200,000. Well, if we had come earlier and/or with more people, it would be more advantageous. First, coming early means no miss the free lunch. Second, with more people means we could share the boat rental cost. But that's okay. We'd been lucky enough to be able to come to this place amid our tight schedule.

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