Many people head to Bali because of the party atmosphere most commonly found in areas such as Kuta and Legian, but for those who are looking for the perfect area to just kick back, relax and unwind, make your way out to the Amed region of East Bali.
Now you won’t find all the crazy nightlife, maybe the nocturnal animals, there isn’t even an ATM anywhere to be seen, but if you are into diving or snorkeling it is the most beautiful part of the island. Located just off the coast are a number of different wrecks for you to explore, or you may want to just cast your eyes around on the magnificent coral reefs and interesting marine life.
What you will find is very cheap and quite good quality accommodation at a number of 4 or 5 star resorts ranging from hotel type rooms through to beach front villas. Most of the resorts can also arrange for transport to pick you up from Denpasar airport, or any other part of the island that you wish. Cost of the transport from the airport to Amed is usually in the vicinity of 350,000 Indonesian Rupiah, which works out to just under $40USD one way for the 2 1/2 hour journey. You will also find that most of the resorts have arrangements with qualified diving schools so that even the inexperienced can take advantage of the excellent diving available in this area.
While visiting this area, I stayed at the Puri Wirata Dive Resort & Spa. This resort has it’s own PADI diving centre and runs various different courses depending on your experience. But this resort was also an excellent place to just relax and unwind, with nearly all of the rooms having an ocean view from the balcony. Or if you prefer you can head on down to one of the 2 pools, both of which are located right on the beachfront. I would have to say though that one of the most enjoyable things about staying at the Puri Wirata would have to be the staff. Balinese people are some of the friendliest that you will find and nothing is too much trouble for the staff here at this resort.
Now for those that may be thinking that being such a remote area you may not be able to keep in contact with the outside world, you are safe. Mobile phones do work in this area and you will find that most of the resorts her have complimentary WiFi for access to the internet, not necessarily in your room, usually in the restaurant areas.
For those people who may be a little unsure about eating different kinds of food, rest assured, not only can you find an assortment of local and asian foods, there is also plenty of the western favourites available as well in most of the restaurants. One thing you definitely do have to be careful of is to make sure that you don’t drink the water from the tap, it is not the cleanest available, but there is plenty of bottled drinking water available for you.
Anybody who enjoys getting right in there and experiencing different cultures will also enjoy a trip out to this part of the island, with a number of different sites for you to visit. A short drive will take you to Besakih, high on the slopes of Mt. Agung, the islands highest and most sacred volcano. Here you can visit Pura Besakih, known as the mother temple of hinduism, by far the most important temple complex for the large hindu population on the island. Or you can visit one of the 3 water palaces, once belonging to the last raja of Karangasem located at Tirta Gangga, Jungutan and Ujung. The palace at Ujung has been rebuilt after it was badly damaged by the eruption of Mt. Agung in 1963.
But one of the most fascinating places you will find is located just outside of Candidasa called Tenganan. Here you will find a Bali Aga village (the original Bali) with the people there still living according to their traditions and ceremonies. For years visitors have been coming to this living museum for the geringsing, a cloth woven by the women of Tenganan.
So if you are looking for a place to go to chill out, or do some diving on your next trip to Bali, make your way up to East Bali and experience what this island was really like before the tourism really kicked in. Just make sure that you do have enough of the local currency to cover your expenses while you are there as there are not many ‘decent’ money changers around the area either, but most resorts do accept the major credit cards.