Lisar Bahari Guest House in Sawai, Moluccas

Submitted by viravira on 20 November 2015   •  Destination

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I don’t know why, but accommodations above water have always been appealing to me. First, the Wisma Apung in Karimunjawa, then Losmen Danakan in Derawan Islands, and lastly Maratua Paradise Resort just off the shore of Maratua Island. Upon my brief trip to Moluccas, Lisar Bahari Resort was also one of the determining factors of why I chose Sawai Village as our anchoring destination. Of course there’s Ora Beach Resort very near to Lisar Bahari, but I wasn’t interested in booking for a guest house in Sawai Village months before the trip.

Lisar Bahari Sawai


Our Room at Lisar Bahari

We stayed at Lisar Bahari for 3 nights, costing IDR300,000/night/person, including 3 meals per day.

Booking was done by phone, with Pak Dino as our contact on +6281247331588 (call/text). We were going there on a long weekend, where most Indonesians were going for holiday. Fortunately, Lisar Bahari has enough wooden water chalets, so getting a room on H-7 was still possible.

The room appointed to us was the one on the very end stilt house, which consisted of 5 rooms, some with double bed, some with triple beds. The rooms are spacious, totally possible to add an extra mattress or two if you need any. They also have rooms on land, I heard they’re not very attractive, smaller and had shared bathroom.

lisar bahari sawai room

For our room, towels were not provided, so we used our own fiber towels, no problem. What we weren’t prepared with was blankets. So I wore a jacket and used a sarong over my legs. Still I was cold at dawn – it may not feel cold if you’re used to winter.

Each room has an ensuite bathroom with shower. Our shower was sort of clogged, so we used the big bucket and bathed the Indonesian way: pour yourself with water scooped out of the big bucket using a gayung (small bucket with handle). The seat toilet is not equipped with a flush, so you have to flush using the water from the bucket. Water was running almost all day long, but hot water was not available.

lisar bahari


Activities Arranged by Lisar Bahari

I used to go on a packed itinerary when traveling anywhere, but lately I prefer the opposite. On our last afternoon at Lisar Bahari, we preferred to take a nap at one of the common areas, which was the deck of our chalet block. Utilizing a mattress that was just taken out of another room after the guests checked out, with the softly blowing wind and indistinct boat machine sounds, I had one of the best naps ever.

We could’ve hired a small boat and visit the Ora Beach for IDR250,000 for a few hours that afternoon, and I actually gave it a thought. But taking a nap  after trekking at the forest earlier in the day was just too inviting.

lisar bahari

On the previous day, we joined a group of other guests, who were also from Jakarta, on an island-hopping tour. The gang was fun and very welcoming, and joining them helped everyone save some budget. There were 9 of us in total, sharing the IDR800,000/boat from about 8 am until 5 pm, including fuel.

The route included snorkeling in two or three spots, one of them was Sapalewa Island (named Pulau Jodoh by Pak Ali), which has a really beautiful white sand beach. However, the snorkeling experience overall was just okay, I wasn’t blown away – comparing to the underwater scenery I’ve seen in many other places previously. But it’s always nice to be among the blue water and sky.

lisar bahari island hopping

We were also taken to Sungai Salawai (river) to see the making of sagoo, the original staple food of eastern Indonesia. It was interesting to see the process, I might write about this separately in the future.

Another group of Lisar Bahari’s guests, a group of happy-go-lucky aunties and grandmas always in matching outfits, were also stopping by at the riverbank and most of our island-hopping spots. Two groups with lots of picture-taking was a bit overwhelming to me to be honest, but these people looked so happy and had so much fun with each other, it was fun too to have lunch with them under the trees at Sapalewa Island. Luch was cooked by the boatmen, serving the prepared steamed rice and freshly caught fish.

pulau jodoh sawai

Trips – island hopping, trekking, and tree-house climbing which we didn’t take – are arranged with Pak Dino, the manager of Lisar Bahari, or Pak Ali the owner. I recommend you to really make sure about the pricing because they’d sometimes give different prices at different times.

Life jackets are provided by Lisar Bahari, but you better bring your own mask and snorkels because I don’t think they provide them.

Lisar Bahari

Swimming around the guesthouse is possible, just jump in from the jetty if you will. But don’t expect too much from snorkeling, the underwater view is nothing much. And perhaps because it’s too close to the guest house and jetty, some area of the water seemed a bit  oily. Definitely a call for shower right after that.

Late in the afternoons, we went out the back door and (tried to) mingle with the local villagers. I’ll write another post on this later.

lisar bahari house reef


Transportation to and from Lisar Bahari

Located in Sawai Village at the north coastline of Seram Island, it is on a different island with Ambon, the capital of Moluccas, which is on Ambon Island.

To get from Ambon’s Pattimura Airport to Sawai, what we did was:

  • pre-booked a private car and driver from airport to Tulehu port. It was about an hour ride, costing us IDR250,000/car. Our driver and contact person: Pak Hasan (+6281343286494). Our backup was Pak Mailod (085243974414).
  • caught the ferry from Tulehu to Amahai port, on south coast of Seram Island. The VIP ticket cost IDR260,000/pax, while an ekonomi ticket cost IDR125,000/pax. We went on the ekonomi class and it was no problem for me. I gotta warn you though, that it’s an air-conditioned room, but if you’re sitting near the back door that’s never closed, a hint of cigarette smoke from passengers outside crept in. Ferry schedule: 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., give and take. Having landed at 1-ish p.m., we took the 4 p.m. ferry.
  • pre-booked a private car and driver from Amahai port to Horale village, IDR600,000/car. The distance was only 55 km but because it was already dark and the road was winding and mostly ascending, it took us almost 3 hours to arrive.
  • continued with a small speedboat from Horale village port directly to Lisar Bahari at the coast of Sawai village. It cost us IDR400,000/boat. The night was pitch dark, if you’re a nyctophobia,this might not be a good idea as you’d be in pitch dark for about half an hour.
  • Another option: go overland form Amahai directly to Sawai Village for IDR1,000,000/car for almost another 4 hours. That was our initial plan but somehow Pak Noke our driver insisted us to take the boat instead because he needed to go back to Amahai for another passenger early in the next morning. Yup, tricky things like this happens quite a lot with informal transportations but sometimes you just have no other choices.

arrival lisar bahari


Going back to Ambon, what we did was more or less the opposite of what we did getting to Lisar Bahari.

  • Because we were catching a 1 p.m. flight from Ambon to Jakarta, we had to take the super early boat from Lisar Bahari to Horale village, at about 5 a.m.
  • The ride from Horale to Amahai port was much faster than the other way around because the road was mostly descending and the day was getting sunnier.
  • And then the ferry from Amahai to Tulehu was left at 8 a.m.

amahai to tulehu

Overall, the transportation itself cost so much. It would be nice to share with a few more people. We had not thought of that when we bought the plane tickets to Ambon on promo the year before!

Have you been to Maluku? What is your recommended destination and accommodation?

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11 Comments on "Lisar Bahari Guest House in Sawai, Moluccas"

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Timothy W Pawiro
4 years 4 months ago

Wow very informative blog post! I think am gonna bookmark this!

Wow you went very early from Lisar Bahari to catch ur flight, I would probably just spend a night in Ambon, and fly the next day lolllsss!

4 years 4 months ago

mantap *masukinkebucketlisttahundepan

donovan manalu
donovan manalu
4 years 4 months ago

Nice story neng ketan item , it makes everyone envy going there ,

4 years 4 months ago

Hi neng ketan item , nice review , not so much explanation , keep goingg

Anita Dwi Mulyati
4 years 3 months ago

this article is definitely accomodate all information needed. I have some experience to join the backpacker open trip arranged by the operator trip agent and the facilities is under our expectation and far away for comfortable such as 14 travelers must occupied one room for sleep and without any bed cover. that’s way I think better to arrange our own backpacker trip to many exotic places in Nusantara with guidance of information like in this article.

Laura Jacobsen
4 years 2 months ago

Great post! We went to Sawai and stayed at Lisar Bahari in December. It’s certainly a beautiful destination off the beaten track. It was a bit challenging for us as we don’t speak Indonesian: I want to learn some Bahasa Indonesia for next time! I’m enjoying browsing your site for inspiration for our next trip to Indonesia.