The third place we will explore in my travel beach series, is the eastern side of Bali, Amed and Candidasa. My love of freediving took me here twice in 2015. I absolutely fell in love, and was so happy to discover that not everywhere in Bali has been overdeveloped, like I had heard. We love it so much so, that we are thinking about returning for longer this year. If you are a little confused as by what I mean ‘east” , I’m talking about heading north of Denpasar, to Candidasa and Amed.
Here are four reasons to go east in Bali.
I’ve heard of places in Bali where there is so much rubbish in the water that you can’t see your hand in front of your face. So sad. But not unfamiliar. Like many asian countries, particularly small islands, they haven’t caught up with the fact that you actually need to protect the environment so tourists want to return. I really hope that the Balinese cotton on, before it is too late. Fortunately, the north-east side of Bali is slow to catch up to tourism. Amed, around three hours north of Denpasar is a series of protected bays sitting against the backdrop of Mt Agung. The waters are absolutely clear with a drop of 40 meters 10 meters from the shore, perfect for freediving and scuba diving. Here you won’t find rubbish, plastic bags, or anything really, except for maybe turtles and a shipwreck! This is how clear the waters were on our swim out to Tulamben.
Accommodation for all – at great prices
For absolutely a fraction of the price of areas like Seminyak and Uluwatu you can stay in relative comfort, or luxury if you like. In Candidasa, there is a little village with great places to eat and drink. You want to be within walking distance of here (in my opinion). The northern beaches are quieter with some awesome snorkelling right in front of the hotels. Fair enough my accommodation choices here might have been determined by close proximity to a paragliding site, but we have stayed at Hotel Genggong twice. Their air-conditioned deluxe rooms on the top-level are awesome value for around $100 a night. You’ll also see one of the best sunsets in Bali.
Villa Bukit Segara, (that’s me, in the feature photo of this post, chilling out in their amazing pool) an hour north of Candidasa in Amed, can be rented out as a villa or per room. The private property has beach access with great snorkelling out the front, large comfortable rooms, a restaurant and an infinity pool. The airy, lofty rooms have a day bed for reading and unique furnishings with marble open air bathrooms. The property is beautifully maintained with amazing gardens, you almost don’t want to leave for sightseeing. At around $150 per night, this is amazing value for what you get.
If your on a budget, there is also a range of guesthouses available. Bubu Racok has clean beachfront, air-conditioned rooms in the main part of Amed.
You’re not going to be surrounded by people on the beach, or at your hotel pool here in eastern Bali. If you like quiet, then this is the area for you. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of places to have great food and drink, or a Bintang, but it’s not a party place. Most people travelling to will be taking the opportunity to do the plenty of activities the area has to offer, and if you take these up (as you should) then your head will hit the pillow most nights, before you can even think about a big night out!
So many activities – so little time
Amed kind of reminds me of Ubud by the sea. You have stunning mountains, rice fields and greenery, then you descend down the hill, to black sand beaches and blue waters. Trek Mt Agung, take a rice field tour to walk to some quiet villages, motorbike through the countryside, snorkel, freedive, paraglide, or just laze around by the beach. Villa Bukit Segara even has a sailing school, if this tickles your fancy. There is a number of important cultural sights as well, the most notable Tirta Gangga and Ujung Water Palace, stunning water palaces and gardens built for the king of Karangasem to relax from his busy schedule. Tough hey?
My final piece of advice, go there now before the rest of the world does!
Interested in tropical destinations and travel?
Check out the rest of our Travel Beach Series.
Images by James Mills