Bali – Amed
We arrived in Bali late evening Christmas Eve and were picked up by our driver (seemingly everyone has a driver in Bali as it costs approx. $40USD a day for driver, car, gas, etc). Our driver was wearing a San Francisco shirt that had a nice drawing of the Golden Gate Bridge, just to make us feel more at home or perhaps to draw attention that we were clearly not at home during this holiday season.
We then stopped off quickly at the grocery store to grab some supplies (including the ever important fireworks) as we were headed to the far east coast that had very few markets except the local produce and fish market and we did not know how well that would work for supplies. We also grabbed a quick dinner of Indonesian food that was appropriately spicy and then were off on an approximately 70km just under 45 miles ride to Amed.
The trip was on one of the major roads of Bali and I figured it wouldn‘t take all that long, especially as our driver seemed to know his way around things. The problem is that 45 miles of road in Bali, even on the best of roads really means about 2 1/2 hours of driving. So we all settled in for the Bali speed bumps (pot holes) and hair pin turns until we reached our wonderful bungalows in Amed around midnight.
We woke up the next morning and pried our eyes open to start a day full of sight seeing that our driver convinced us the night before was essential. Merry Christmas! We were of course greeted by crashing waves, sunny warm weather, and snorkeling at our door so we did not want to leave … but we would be back after a full day of touring. Our first day of touring was really fun, as we could finally see the island of Bali during
the daylight. The rice paddies, the volcano, and the small villages were charming.
Our first stop was Tirtagangga Water Palace, a palace that was built in 1946 from spiritual hillside springs for relaxation and spiritual healing. The pools were beautifully laid out and did in fact have a calming effect. We also got to enjoy some Christmas carols from a local Balinese dance troupe.
|The Group at the Water Palace
After touring the water palace we headed to a local village called Tenganan to see how they still make traditional handicrafts such as ikat and double ikat (weaved items), charcoal leaf paintings, and egg shell painting. There were also some villagers warming up for a cock fight that afternoon.
The village is in some ways a tourist trap for selling local handicrafts, although they did appear to be of decent quality. However, in other ways it was interesting to see how the village was laid out with common meeting halls and wide paths down the center of town between houses. We also learned that villagers rarely marry outside of their local area and there are reports that if they do marry outside this area they are banished from town. It was a place that time continues to forget in many ways.
Following this we headed to Candi Dasa for a very late seaside lunch and then some sight seeing via the car on our way back to Amed.
We arrived in Amed late in the afternoon and sat down with Ian Coe from Adventure Divers Bali to discuss our plan for the next two days, which focused on Scuba Diving. Following this brief planning session we enjoyed the rest of the day on the beach or in our bungalows before a restful Christmas Dinner at Warung Bobo’s with a very fresh catch of the day.
The next two days in Amed were spent diving and snorkeling with a few activities such as massage and motorbiking thrown in for good measure.
The pictures below are a wrap up of the Amed portion of our trip.
For anyone interested in a quiet, relaxing, and unique experience in Bali I would highly recommend going to the Amed area. The diving was simply fantastic, the beach was not the standard white beach but the snorkeling and swimming were good, and the bungalows, the restaurants and the slow pace of life were magic. I would recommend our hotel – Kembali Beach Bungalows. I would also recommend Adventure Divers Bali, and for
restaurants I would recommend Warung Enak, Warung Bobo, and the Sails Restaurant