Bali off the beaten tracks: Amed

More and more people are heading to Bali nowadays, who for surfing, who to practice yoga, many to drink Bintang at the beach. As a result, the West Coast is getting crowded and touristic, new buildings pop up every day, taking the place of the beautiful rice paddies. This can dissuade people who are looking for a bit more of authenticity to visit the island. However, there are still many pristine places in Bali which are completely different from the famous Kuta and Seminyak.

As it has rained quite heavily lately and the surf isn’t expected to be that good, I decide to go on a weekend mission and to cross all Bali by scooter to find a bit of peace. I leave Canggu on a solo mission on Saturday early morning to avoid the morning traffic when passing through Denpasar. Some roads are flooded, but this doesn’t stop me to go ahead.  Denpasar is quite crazy, very busy for sure, as all Asian big cities, but charming somehow. If you plan your departure time well, you will not get stuck in the traffic and you will arrive quite easily to the East Coast and from here, up to Sanur, Keramas, Padang Bai etc, all the way to Amed.

There are different ways to get to Amed and I decide to pass from the mountains and visit a couple of temples on the way.

On my way, I stop to visit 2 temples, Tirta Gangga and Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang. Honestly, the first one is lovely, the second one probably worth it if you are planning to climb the 1700 steps to reach the top (which I don’t have time to do as time runs fast and I want to reach Amed for lunchtime). If you go there for the famous Heaven’s Door, prepare to get disappointed. These are pretty much a tourists trap, with an hour line to get the famous Instagram shot and, if you are lucky, Mount Agung is not covered by clouds. I take a photo of the doors with a random person in it and I hit the road again.

4 hrs after my departure from Canggu, I finally arrive in Amed. The town is so simple and so lovely! Forget the busy beaches of West Bali. Here you will be able to find silence and quietness, all for yourself.

I have lunch at the beach. The reef is right in front of the warungs, the snorkelling is beautiful, I spot many colourful fish and even a sea snake (no, it’s not dangerous, but I swim in the opposite direction anyway). I spend my afternoon chilling and swimming, resting from the long trip. The sunset from the beach is absolutely gorgeous. The top of Agung, which has been covered by clouds all day long, finally opens and shows up to the few spectators, the majority of them are locals. Few Bule’ (western people as Indonesian call them) have organised a beach cleaning and involve all local kids as well. That fulfils my heart of joy! It’s time for sensibilisation in Indonesia and also this far end of Bali has a bunch of trash spread everywhere.

I spend my night at Oasis hotel and I have a delicious seafood dinner at Warung Enak. Time for me to go sleeping even if quite early, I want to see Agung in the morning before the clouds come up and do some more snorkelling.

The morning is sunny, the mountains behind Amed stop the perturbation and the rain and the weather is always better than in other parts of Bali (really good escape for rainy season days). I pack my stuff and back on the road to get to Jemeluk View Point, just a km south the coast. The view from there is absolutely stunning, there is a lovely warung where you can go for lunch or sunset/dinner. It is still close when I arrive but I sit on the steps and admire the surrounding panorama. The water is crystal clear, I can see the reef underneath, the sand of the beach is so black due to the volcanic activity and in sharp contrast with the white local boats, so well maintained. The jungle is green and wild. Mount Agung is powerful and shows his magnificence on the background.

I drive south, in 15 minutes I arrive at the spot where there is a Japanese Shipwreck 5 meters from the shore and you can easily snorkel.

The trash abounds, but it’s also because of the trash that heaps of fish come around. The coral is growing everywhere, the quantity and colourfulness of fish are unbelievable. It’s the first time I snorkel on a shipwreck, there aren’t so many so shallow and easy to reach.