Amed is a series of picturesque black sand beaches and rugged bays which make up arguably Bali’s most scenic stretch of coastline. However Amed’s real attraction is its rich and diverse underwater ecology as it is regarded as the finest diving destination on the island. The focus of a thriving scuba scene here is at Jemeluk Bay which sees hundreds of divers daily from other parts of Bali. Despite this influx, Amed remains a low key, tranquil place with lots of traditional charm.
The simple pursuits of soaking up the sun and lazing under swaying palm trees is as rewarding here as anywhere and there are plenty of deserted stretches of beach to claim for your own. Fishing trips out into the deep waters of the Bali Sea are popular from Amed and there are a few beach hotels who offer water sports equipment if you are feeling a little more energetic.
Venture inland a little and you will be rewarded with picturesque rolling hills giving way to steep terraced rice fields and the hulking mass of imposing Mount Agung in the distance. With your own transport there is lots to see and do in this part of east Bali.
Trekking to the summit of Mount Agung is the most popular excursion from Amed and the remarkable scenery of Lake Batur, a little further afield, is not to be missed. Despite increasing popularity, Amed is as close to a tropical beach utopia as modern day Bali gets. It is the perfect hideaway for couples and families keen to escape the feverish atmosphere of Kuta and Legian.
Scuba diving in Amed
Amed’s main diving area is centred around Jemeluk Bay which has a great diversity of underwater topography including a huge coral encrusted drop off which descends to 40 metres. Fish life is extremely varied here and is universally regarded as Bali’s best dive site. Elsewhere along the coast Amed village itself and Banyuning have calm and sheltered waters filled with colourful coral gardens and developed Lipah Beach provides the best snorkeling in the immediate area.
Wherever you choose to stay in Amed you are not too far from one of the dozen or so dive schools based here. Jukung Dive is a well respected PADI accredited outfit. It offers multi-lingual tuition in basic open water courses up to dive master level.
Farther south, Baliku Dive is an upmarket dive resort that is the best place for budding underwater photographers. Bali Reef Divers at the at five-star Puri Wirata is also right up there, while Dive Amed provides up to date news on dives and courses in the region.
Selang Mini Zoo
This is a charming distraction to while away an hour or too in Amed and young kids will especially find it enchanting. Located at the Selang Resort in the village of the same name, it has large well kept enclosures housing small bird and mammal species such as colourful hornbills, cockatoos, monitor lizards and porcupines. There is even a fearsome looking python. It is well run and staff are informative and helpful. (website: www.selangresort.com).
Mount Agung/Besakih Temple
Just 30 minutes drive away is Bali’s highest and most sacred volcano Mount Agung. This is the number one excursion from Amed both for adventurous trekking and to visit the ‘mother temple’ of Besakih, which is sited on its slopes. The temple complex itself is worthy of a whole day’s exploration, covering an area of over two miles and comprising over 20 different shrines and temples. A climb to the summit of Mount Agung is an arduous six hour trek but the views are priceless. Regular tour buses from Amed make trips here through agents in town.
A 15-minute drive north of Amed is the small fishing village of Tulamben. It is an unassuming place with seemingly little appeal but located just off the beach is Bali’s most popular snorkeling and diving spot. Just below the waterline is the wreck of the American warship USS Liberty which is gloriously encrusted in coral and attracts over 400 species of fish. Most Amed dive operators arrange trips here a few times a week. The best time to explore the wreck is early morning as it can get very crowded later in the day.