Amed & East Bali Top Things To Do (+ 2 Day Trips Itinerary)
Amed is a 14 km stretch of coastal villages on East Bali.
Pretty rice fields, mountains and a dominant view of Mount Agung surround this beach side destination.
The laid back vibe coupled with surrounding beauty would be enough to entice anyone. Among all this, still remains the main draw, Amed’s colourful reefs. Diving, snorkeling and boat trips are the best things to do while in Amed.
We came to Amed after spending a few days in Pemuteran. From Pemuteran it took a 3 hour bum aching scooter ride but was well worth the effort. Amed is a great place to use as a base for visiting East Bali’s lesser known attractions.
Exploring East Bali is worth considering if you want to escape the busier and more popular parts of the island. And adding Amed to your East Bali itinerary is a must if you want to visit one of Bali’s quiet areas yet still have lots of things to do.
Ubud to Amed
If reaching Amed from Ubud, the journey can be done in under 2 1/2 hours. First and most common option is to hire a car with driver which will cost around 300k/400k IDR (19.20 EUR/25.60 EUR) which is quite reasonable, especially if in a group.
Another option is by scooter, this was our means of transport for all our Bali trip. By scooter, (or by car) the journey from Ubud passes through the beautiful highlands of central Bali.
We passed along these highlands when we were heading to Sanur from Amed (since we got to Amed from Pemuteran).
Most of the journey was one big scenic landscape with loads of viewpoints, rice fields and jungle.
Stop at Bukit Pemukuran on your way to Amed. This viewpoint looks down over lush landscape and travels all the way down onto Padang Bai harbour.
Things To Do In and Around Amed
Wondering what is there to do in Amed? Like any other beach destination, things to do in Amed hover around everything beach and sea.
But beside the things to do that require getting wet, around Amed are a bunch of other key highlight attractions.
Here we have listed the must do’s for your trip to Amed which can be combined with any East Bali itinerary.
Jemeluk bay is the most striking and colourful beach in Amed. A curved, black volcanic pebble strip looks onto clear blue waters and a mountainous landscape is in the background.
We first came to this beach one early morning hoping to watch the jukung fishing boats go out. But surprisingly the boats just stayed on the beach.
Jemeluk is one of the beaches in Amed where you can snorkel from the bay. Only a few metres from the shore and you will be snorkelling over corals, blue starfish and a letterbox! (which looks more like a little temple). Unlike other snorkeling spots in Amed, here we didn’t come across much fish. Instead saw just a few that were rather big compared to the fish we usually see while snorkeling.
Coming here early morning (before 10 am) is the best time for snorkelling. Besides being quieter, the day will be cooler and water clearer.
Jemeluk became our go to place for just about anything. Sunsets, lunch by the beach or with views over the bay and snorkeling in the calm water.
Amed beach is long and lined with accommodation options including resorts, restaurants and bars. Accessing the beach side from the first entry point, you’ll get to a small reggae bar. On this side of the beach the snorkelling is not good.
But further along and to the direction of Jemeluk bay, snorkeling got so much better. While in Amed, we snorkelled in 5 different spots but this was our absolute favorite.
The location is somewhere in between Amed beach and Jemeluk bay. Head towards the Three Brothers Bungalows. In front of a small temple there is a passage that leads to the beach. The passage is around one metre wide so if you are on a scooter drive dead slow or you may miss it.
The beach was basically empty when we arrived and only came across 2 other couples. Here we saw schools of different fish, loads of big bright blue starfish and some of the largest corals that we ever came across. And all just so close to the shore!
If you want a more unique snorkelling experience, head over to the Japanese shipwreck.
The wreck is a 15 minutes drive from Amed beach. So depending on where your accommodation is, you might need some wheels to get here.
As strange as it may seem, the wreck is just a few metres off the coast. For a wimp like me, this was an unexpected bonus when I found that within a minute or two I would reach this sunken ship (or what is left of the ship).
The wreck rests against the steep sloped seabed and part of the vessel drops down into the deep blue. We did manage to see some kind of artillery on the closest part of the ship. But beside that, the rest of the wreck was unclear due to low visibility. What made Jacqueline’s snorkeling experience remarkable is watching thousands upon thousands of small fish all swim in synchronisation. And at one point swim straight ahead to open up just a few inches away.
The beach has another good spot for snorkeling just a few metres away from the shipwreck and to the direction of the stairway.
Jemeluk Sunset Point
Sunset Point Amed is right above Jemeluk bay. As nice and colourful as Jemeluk bay is, the view doesn’t really have much to do with the beach itself.
The view looks onto an imposing view of Mount Agung that dwarfs the surrounding hills.
So while you sip on a cold drink – which for me would be a large Bintang (which is an Indonesian beer) – you can be dazzled by a view of the sun slowly hiding behind the volcano.
On the time of our visit, this viewpoint was under construction. A small shack serving cold drinks had been set up on the actual grounds of the ‘to be’ resort. Surely, this is going to be one of Amed’s hot spot for a sun downer.
Other Things To Do Near Amed
Tulamben is 30 minutes drive further north from Amed. This is one of those places you’ve got to explore if you’re into diving. Some parts are also good for snorkelling.
Tulamben is known for the Liberty ship wreck which in a way has become part of the reef.
The wreck starts from around 40 metres from shore. Thus, you could even snorkel your way here.
The liberty is a massive 120 metres war ship so you could spend a whole day diving here. Snorkelling is also an option but only part of the wreck is clearly seen. This is due to a large part of the vessel diving down into deeper waters.
If you’re into something more adventurous, hike up to Mount Seraya.
Mount Seraya is a mountain peak around 3 km inland from Amed beach.
We did try reaching this peak but without avail. Our intention was to reach the peak for sunset, so unknowing what challenge lay ahead we set out at 4 pm.
This wasn’t a great option. Although Google showed that we could reach the peak on our scooter, this wasn’t possible.
The route ended in a small hamlet high up in the mountains. It was interesting to meet these mountain people and see how peaceful life is in this isolated place.
Crops are grown right on their doorstep, pigs and chickens ran freely and cows munched a banana stalk. And while walking along the narrow passages we were shocked that scooters also used this. The drop down into the jungle was pretty high so I wouldn’t recommend trying this.
A short walk along this village is where our adventure ended. We found out that the peak was around 4 hours trek away so decided to head back.
After going through this challenge we would suggest that if you want to reach the peak, best bet would be to get a guide. Or get informed of other routes to reach the peak.
Day Trips From Amed to Other East Bali Attractions
Exploring East Bali should be on your list of things to do.
Organize a day trip while in Amed and check other attractions in the less popular side of Bali. Or even better, get your own 2 wheels and spend the day exploring at your own pace.
Here we have made a list of our favourite spots in East Bali and combined them in 2 separate day trips. We have done our best to combine these in the best possible way by reducing travel time so you’ll get the most out of your adventurous day trip.
# 1 East Bali Day Trip
If you only have the time for 1 day of exploring we suggest this as a first choice.
Here you will get a chance to see a bit of everything. Starting off with a viewpoint and ending with Bali’s most secluded village.
Travel time for all day will be 2 ½ hours, this includes the time for your journey back to Amed.
We have listed each activity in order and best if you start early for a stunning sunrise at your first attraction.
Bukit Cinta Pangi
Bukit Cinta Pangi is your first stop. This is a stunning viewpoint overlooking vast rice fields with a backdrop of Bali’s largest volcano. A spot that should feature in any East Bali itinerary.
We decided to come here early in the morning and avoid the heat of the day. In the dark morning hours we were on our way riding along the fresh breeze and passing by charming villages.
Before reaching Bukit Cinta, you will come across a small area of jungle that eventually opens up. This is where you will be hit by the amazing view.
Going on for quite a distance, a patchwork of rice fields lay right beneath the vantage point. But the verdant fields are just part of the view and are an addition to the main highlight.
The main draw is an imposing view of Mount Agung that dominates the whole scene.
Although still far away, the undisturbed view offers a glimpse of the sheer size of this volcano.
Tirta Gangga Water Palace
Next is Tirta Gangga Water Palace which is 1 of the 2 water palaces in East Bali
Although both temples are similar, Tirta Gangga is smaller and more popular than Balai Gili or Ujung Water Palace.
The reason for its popularity is due to it being much more prettier. Hence, why Instagrammers love this place. Adding to this is the fact there are many shady parts which is a plus.
Due to Tirta Gangga’s popularity, expect to find more visitors here than Balai Gili.
But, if you get an early start you will be one of the first here. Being a bit far out from popular places many opt to come here with a tour. Tours don’t usually leave before 8 or 9 am so you may be among just a few others.
Entrance fee is 30k IDR (1.95 EUR) per person.
TIP: Both palaces are within 10/15 mins from Bukit Cinta Pangi. You can easily switch these and choose your preferred.
Tenganan Pegringsingan Village
This village is one of Bali’s oldest and a walk around the rugged streets gives a glimpse into what Bali was back in the day.
Old houses, undisturbed streets and dense jungle surrounding are just part of why the village is unique.
According to Wikipedia, until the 1970’s the village was the most secluded society in the archipelago.
Tenganan stands out for its traditions. Although the village has, in a way, caught up with modern privileges, it still clings on to ancient traditions and laws.
To enter the village there is a donation fee and a helpful guide will be assigned. Walking along the rugged streets and charming houses our guide pointed out a few that are uninhabited. Villagers have started to seek new opportunities in bigger cities like Denpasar.
Further on we came to a common area dotted with open huts. Each hut had its own purpose but are mostly used for cooking or ceremonial gathering. All the village women were gathered here, each working on their offerings or cooking.
Beside all the useful information surrounding the village, our guide invited us to his house. This is where his family make a daily living by creating artistic ornaments and beautiful scarves.
Each year, this isolated village holds one of the Balinese oldest ceremonies and is unlike any other ceremony in Bali.
The Pegringsingan Festival is an ancient tradition that is only practiced in this village. Apart from offerings to the gods and demons the main event is a friendly war ceremony. Male villagers fight one another with thorny leaves in one hand and a small shield in the other. This part of the festival does get somewhat gruesome and fighters usually end up with bloody slashes.
Strangely, visitors are allowed to come for the ceremony/ritual against a fee. So if you’re in Bali between June and July and are looking for something unusual, look out for this event
** Day 2 attractions are highlighted in yellow on map (further below).
# 2 East Bali Day Trip
This other East Bali day trip starts off with a trek home to loads of monkey and ending at a beach.
Travel time is again 2 ½ hours which includes the time it will take you to get back to Amed.
Attractions are listed in order of how you should go about them by reference to their location.
Pura Gumang & Monkey Hill
Pura Gumang is a sacred place of worship located on top of a hill.
The hill is also home to a large number of macaques. The cheeky monkeys are mostly at the foot or top of the hill.
This was our main concern before actually coming here. Turned out that as long as we stuck to the rules of not staring at the monkey or feeding them, they didn’t even care about us being there.
From the foot of the hill it took us around 45 minutes. The trek is along dirt paths and stairs. Thus is a bit of a challenge but nothing too extreme.
A beautiful Bali gate leads into the distinctive temple complex dotted with stilted structures and temples. But don’t forget to look behind you. Facing the Bali gate is an amazing view of Mount Agung.
Passing through the temple, (or in case you don’t have a sarong by its side), is another viewpoint. This view looks over the not so distant ocean and offers a great sunrise spot.
Balai Gili or Ujung Water Palace
While touring East Bali, we settled on visiting the least popular palace, Ujung.
As we had expected, the palace is a beautiful curated garden of trees and pretty flowers.
Interesting history about this palace and the royal family is in the first building through a few photos and small articles.
From here, a bridge makes way over a pool and will lead you to a big turf garden. Trees are dotted along this open space offering some welcoming shade.
In a large stilted structure surrounded by a pool, is where we decided to have our packed ‘Nasi Campur’ meal. All around, colourful gardens surrounded us.
Further inside you can make your way up a multi tiered garden which is also a look out onto the stunning setting of the palace.
Each tier is different. Some have bushes and others strange feathery plants. Last tier is dedicated to a never ending sunflower garden.
Entrance fee is 50k IDR (3.20 EUR) per person.
Virgin Beach or Pasir Putih
Virgin beach is a secluded white sand bay tucked away in a beautiful setting.
Colourful umbrellas over sun loungers line part of the beach along with a handful of warungs and jukung boats.
Given the remote location, Virgin beach is rather unknown leaving most of the bay unspoilt and to its natural beauty.
We came here one late morning after making our way up to Gunung Hill and cruising around Candidasa. After a hilltop trek and cruising around hot streets, a dip in the cool water was just what we needed.
Small waves just the right size to have fun in crashed against the white sand. We spent quite sometime here, playing and messing around.
Virgin beach doesn’t get much attention and there were only a couple of other visitors when we arrived. Though later during the day a group of visitors arrived at the beach by boats from Candidasa.
Entrance to the beach bears a fee 10k IDR (0.65 EUR) per car / bike.
** Day 2 attractions are highlighted in red on map.
Map of Attraction in Amed & East Bali
Best restaurants in Amed
Apart from all the fun things that we did while in Amed, the food was also great. From local food to Western, the food never disappointed. Here we’ve made a list of our top picks on Amed restaurants.
Joli Best View Amed
Facing directly on Jemeluk bay and offering views of Mount Agung, this little restaurant really lives up to its name. Local food is amazing and reasonably priced.
Gusto Resto & Pizza
Yet again another restaurant with great views and amazing food. The menu is a mix of Western and local. Best place for an authentic Italian pizza.
The Grill Bar & Restaurant
For the meat lovers, The Grill won’t disappoint. Grilled steaks and burgers, both were tasty and juicy. Price is also reasonable.
Warung Ole was our go to place for any time of day. Local food, tasty and value for money.
Unfortunately, we only got to visit this place on our last day in Amed. Warung Segara is directly on the beach. Highlight of the menu is the fish, oh and the cheap beers.
Pondok Wirasa Gulai & Sate Kambing
Not really in Amed but a great option if you’re on your way from Bukit Cinta to Tirta Gangga.
Apart from the tasty local food, the owner is very friendly and invited us to his house.
All food is what the owner gets from his farm.
Let us know your thoughts!
Will you add Amed and East Bali on your Bali itinerary next time you visit the island? We would like to hear from you in the comments below.
Join us on our trip to South East Asia and we will provide you with useful travel tips as we visit different countries. We will also send you articles providing comprehensive guides to travelling to places in SE Asia.