Alila Manggis offers an impressive list of activities aimed at immersing guests in experiences unique to the region, from fishing for your own seafood dinner to trekking the wilderness behind the famed Tenganan Village. Of course, being on the east, the coastline is also popular for a particular moment: the sunrise.

NB Sept 22 - Chasing the Sunrise_5

Chasing the Sunrise, one of the signature activities at Alila Manggis, takes you on a memorable journey out to sea. As its name teases, Chasing the Sunrise requires an early wake-up, when the sky still blankets Bali with darkness. You’ll board the resort’s own jukung, the traditional catamaran boat, casting off into the rolling sea, as black as the sky itself, its presence below made known by the rocking of its waves, and the slaps of water against the hull. 

At this time, around 5.30am, there is only peace. Despite the cool wind and the purring of the engine, the air feels quiet, a serene moment trapped in limbo between night and day. The intermission.

As the jukung putters eastwards, towards its invisible target, inklings of the day ahead leak like watercolour into the night sky. From the horizon, dark hues of blue and purple begin to rise, fading into the black; the day’s slow invasion. 

At one point, day and night share the space in the cosmos above, the stars and moon shine against glowing rays that have escaped the sun’s centre of gravity, still hiding somewhere under the sea.

Finally, the boat comes to a stop. It rolls in rhythm with the swells as the brightness of the day has revealed the rugged headlands of the east Bali coastline, in the distance, Lombok’s Mt. Rinjani stands impressively against the level skyline.

Is it too late? The sky is bright? Is the moment over? Not at all, the streaks of red and orange are but precursors to the sun’s appearance, the red carpet for Her Majesty’s arrival.

Then, dramatically, a red hot, glowing orb appears on the horizon — its visible size is difficult to capture in photographs, but it is significant. Like iconic time-lapses of the sun rising over the Sahara, our star rises and reveals itself, though almost like slow motion, the magical moment is over quickly, and we see the sun in all its glory, back in its rightful place. Its light casts down upon the land and sea in brilliant fashion: nearby islands appear; the black of the sea transformed to a pristine translucence, now inviting rather than frightening.

During the trip back, you are served fresh juice, fruits and pastries, now able to wonder at the coastal scenes, more grateful than ever for a new day.

Alila Manggis

Chasing the Sunrise is an experience available for in-house guests at Alila Manggis. To find out more, go to 

Edward Speirs

Edward Speirs

Edward, or Eddy as he prefers to be called, is the Managing Editor of NOW! Bali and host of the NOW! Bali Podcast. He enjoys photography, rural travel and loves that his work introduces him to people from all walks of life.