Destination and Activities
Amed is like a jewel in Eastern Bali. This place is inimitable blend of culture and nature, surrounded by friendly local people. It has quality that still offers a sense of tranquility and authenticity of Bali just how it used to be 50 years ago. It is an ideal escape from the mass tourism locations such as Kuta or Legian in the South.
The coast here is often called simply Amed, but the name actually refers to the first of a series of small seaside villages that run southeast down the coast. As the road meanders alongside the coastal line, it passes beautiful black sand beaches, small boutique hotels and a number of beachside restaurants, many of them specialising in fresh fish. If you are walking by the road just after sunset, is hard to resist the mouthwatering aromas of the seafood barbecue coming from every direction!
The peaks of Mount Seraya and Mount Lempuyang guard the area, and the steep hillsides offer spectacular views that stretch all the way to the coast, and on clear day, right to Lombok.
Snorkeling and diving is excellent at several places along the coast. There are protected areas where you can admire soft and hard corals and plentiful fish starting only few metres from the beach. The Liberty wreck at Tulamben is only 20-minute drive away, offering one of the best diving sites in Bali with hundreds of different species of fish, corals and marine life. There’s also a Japanese fishing boat wreck near Aas and many more attractive dive sites nearby, featuring steep coral slopes and drop-offs.
The local people are friendly and honest, most of them getting their income from fishing, agriculture or salt production. Colourful jukung (traditional boats) are lined up on the beaches, and the fishermen are heading to the sea every morning early before sunrise.
Salt production by the traditional methods is still carried out in the area. Amed’s salt is higly appreciated for its flavour, and it has found its way to many top-end kitchens worldwide. Visitors can learn about the salt-making process and buy gourmet-salt on a bargain price compared to what it would cost in delis around the world.
Karangasem, one of Bali’s best kept secrets
Karangasem is one of the nine regencies in Bali, situated in the eastern part of the island. Large parts of the region have remained very original, mostly because of the topography and the rough road access in the past.
However, the new highway, Jl Bypass Prof IB Mantra, has made the Karangasem area easier to reach, and now it takes only 90 minutes to get there from the Bali airport. Nevertheless, the area has maintained its peace and beauty, and it doesn’t have the noise and crowds of the tourist centres of the south.
East Bali has an extraordinary variety of scenic landscapes. Island’s highest mountain, Mount Agung (3142 meters), is towering majestically over the area. Low and high mountain areas vary with upland plain, small villages, tropical forests, teracced rice fields and beautiful beaches.
The area contains some real treasures:
Tenganan is a village inhabited by Bali Aga, the original people of Bali, whose culture and traditions are unique. One of the best and most popular diving spots on Bali, the wreck of US Navy cargo ship USAT Liberty lies in Tulamben. Two fabulous water palaces, Tirtagangga and Taman Ujung feature beautiful ponds, pools and sculpted stone figures. The mother temple of Besakih is Bali´s largest and most revered temple since the 15th century. It is built about 1000 meters above sea level on the slopes of sacred Mount Agung.Gua Lawah, the famous Bat Cave temple is located in near Kusamba. Thousands of bats hang on the wall of cave, bringing good luck to the temple and the surrounding area, as locals believe.The capital of the Karangasem regency is Amlapura. It’s worth a stop to see the royal palaces, which remind of the time when Karangasem used to be a kingdom.Amed is like a jewel in Eastern Bali. It has some of the best snorkeling and diving sites of the island and also the newest 5-star luxury resort in the area, Santai Bali. Padang Bai is the port for the ferry service to Lombok. It's a sleepy fishing village situated in a perfectly sheltered bay.Candidasa is a relaxed town on the southern coast of Karangasem. It is a good starting point for visiting places along the beautiful east coast of Bali.
There are also many activities arranged in the area. Snorkeling and diving is excellent, and you can find perfect spots along the coast. Or perhaps you want to go fishing, trekking, mountain biking, kayaking or white-water rafting? You name it, Karangasem’s got it! And for relaxation, you can try some yoga or different sorts of spa treatments.
People of Karangasem make their living in various ways. Some of them are farmers, fishermen, traders, craftsmen, and even active in tourism field. People in majority are Hindu followers, who live in a very religious life, thus ritual activities can be seen almost everyday in this area.
The unique combination of beautiful landscape, unusual destinations, friendly local people, great accommodation, varied activities and fresh seafood make Karangasem definitely worth visiting!