Unforgettable scenery and the local fishermen’s lifestyle discovery are awaiting the early risers in the northeastern tip of Bali. Although this area does not have the glitter and glamour of the districts further south like Seminyak and Canggu, there are plenty of hidden gems to be found in the black sands that line the coast. Amed is one of seven villages stretching over 14 kilometers along the coast. Its popularity comes from the laid-back lifestyle and great spots for diving and snorkeling. Most of the action along this stretch of the Eastern Coastal Road happens before 10 am, leaving you to relax for the rest of the day.
We do recommend a few days exploring the Eastern Coast Road in Amed. However, if time is limited, one of the best ways to explore is taking a trip in a VW 181. The eastern seascapes tour hits the highlights on the eastern coastal road. Cruise along with the top down and enjoy the slow ride. Along the way, have lunch at Lipah Bay and take a swim or go snorkeling around the Japanese shipwreck. Later, make your way to a white sand beach where you can relax with a beer or coconut water. The countryside views in between stops are just as amazing as the places you stop at along the way. So have your cameras ready.
Although a trek up the Eastern Coastal Road is only a few hours from the heart of Bali’s main tourist destinations, a decision to stay a few days could be a perfectly relaxing getaway from the hustle and bustle. Amed is home to many quaint homestays. However, if you are looking for a bit of luxury, then this 4day, 3night stay might be the perfect place to set up for an Eastern Coastal Road adventure. Spend the morning exploring and the afternoons being pampered with massage treatments and dinner. Nestled in the slopes of Léan Valley, enjoy the view of the Lombok Strait and the surrounding areas of the resort. Every effort was made to ensure this resort is authentic to Balinese style architecture. Feel the laid back vibe of the eastern coastal road and indulge in a bit of luxury.
The eastern coastal road of Bali begins in the village of Amed, home of several diving centers and a freediving school. It continues south to the village of Candidasa. The view of the coastline is peaceful and serene. However, just below the surface lies a sea full of beautiful corals, schools of reef fish, and the occasional sea unicorn (pygmy sea horses, mimic octopuses, and the Mola Mola to name a few). Whether you are starting your diving adventures for the first time or heading to more advanced depths, there are plenty of diving opportunities to try.
Several of the best diving locations are near Amed. The rich nutrients from the lava flow of Mt Agung provide a feeding ground for corals to thrive as well as the reef fish that use these corals. Two dives take you to Jemulak and Lipah Bay. The site at Jemulak has two locations ranging in 5-60 meters deep and is frequented by sea turtles and black and white tip sharks. You will also come across the pyramids that were built over 20 years ago to help rebuild the coral reefs in the area.
The site at Lipah Bay is home to a small shipwreck just off the coast. Little is really known about the origins of the ship. It is only assumed to be Japanese because of the toilets. Also reachable by the beach, you can enjoy both snorkeling and diving here. Look closely, you might find a few pygmy seahorses floating around.
Home of the USS Liberty shipwreck. Damaged and docked on the beach in 1942, the eruption of Mt Agung in 1963 carried it to its current resting place off the coast. A real feast for the eyes. The hull is covered in giant barrel corals and sea fans reaching 3 meters high. Parrotfish are known to congregate around the wreck as well as a few blacktip sharks. Parts of this dive site go down as far as 70 meters. This diving spot is popular for photographers so keep your eyes open for some great discoveries underwater.
A bed of soft coral gently sways with the waves in this lesser-known snorkeling location. Although it may not hold treasures inside sunken ships, you will undoubtedly be amazed by the tranquility of Pondok Vienna Beach. The vibrant colors of the coral will delight you as float effortlessly above with the schools of reef fish that call this spot home. This is a great place to start your underwater adventures.
Ever tried holding your breath underwater, thinking you were under for minutes to realize it was only 15 seconds? If so, then you are not alone. Freediving is not for the faint at heart. Many divers move on to freediving as a way to connect more with nature underwater. If you are looking to learn, then taking this course will help. Combining your training with yoga and meditation with freediving lessons, learn how to calm the mind and the heart rate as you master the art of freediving.
Exploring on Two Wheels
The landscape here gives the area a hilly and winding road, so you have to be in good shape if you want to ride a bicycle. It is best to get out early in the morning to beat the heat. However, many parts of the road are shaded by trees offering a refreshing break from the sun.
Start the journey before 7am when the sun is still low and not too hot. It will allow you to catch the hustle and bustle of the local life in the morning. Stop along the way at many of the cafes that offer fresh fruit juices, including organic options.
Visit a Local Market
A trip to the local market is a must. Fresh meats and vegetables, along with tasty sugary treats, can be found. But don’t wait too long. Early birds get the worm here. The market, except for a few stalls, is pretty much picked over, and the merchants head home by 9 am.
If biking the Eastern Coastal Road is not your thing, rent a motorbike. Traffic? Not in these parts. In fact, the roads are open most of the time. There is no need to rush. Running piglets, wannabe flying chicken and cows lazing on the ground are also part of the neighborhood. So look up and adapt your speed. Ride slow, the more you will see!
Make your way to the other villages along the Eastern Coastal Road
After Amed, the road follows the coast through other small villages where the locals, captured in their daily morning activities, offer an alluring sight of the coastal lifestyle.
People collecting sea salt from open drying pans, fishermen wives’ setting up stands to sell their husbands day catch, kids playing around or riding-in-four on a bike…
Trekking in the Mountains
In order to get to Amed, you need to pass through the mountains of East Bali. In this range, there are plenty of opportunities to see beautiful tropical landscapes and hidden temples. The nutrient-rich soils make it perfect for farming. From rice paddy fields to vanilla and coffee, the fields are alive. If you are looking to do some trekking, Amed is only 30 minutes to some incredible locations.
They consider this trek to be a spiritual journey. Lempuyang Temple is one of Sad Kahyangan, (six places of the gods) and highly regarded in Bali. The culinary and trekking adventure takes you through the pandan forests. Along the way, notice the vanilla vines and wild orchards as well as fields lined with lemongrass. Enter through the gates of Lempuyang temple, explore one of the oldest temples in Bali and admire the view of Mt Agung through the gates. Finally, receive blessings from the holy water that comes the inside of Bamboo growing nearby. Descend and pass by other sacred temples as you make your way to Bali Asli for an incredible megibung lunch. Bali Asli offers the royal treatment in dining and stunning views of Mt Agung.
The Views are Amazing
Speaking of the sunrise, it is one of the key features here on the Eastern Coastal Road. Almost any location whether in the hills or on the beach will put you front and center to the morning show.
Soon after, watch hundreds of boats all coming back with their day’s catch. For many of us, rising before 8 am is not the norm. But for the fisherman, their day is almost done.
Sometimes on the road, you will find beautiful viewpoint areas where you can stop, enjoy the view and take lots of pictures.
Village after village, you can decide to keep going south all the way to Candidasa (which would take more than an hour with a motorbike), or you can go back and enjoy the rest of your morning in Amed.
With that, the journey on the Eastern Coastal Road was complete. Now time to sit back and relax and wait for the sun to set behind Mt. Agung.
For other exciting things to do in Bali, visit our website at eOasia.com or contact us at support@eOasia.com. Check out our latest blogs for ideas on your next extraOrdinary travel adventure.