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In a nutshell

Go dive the Japanese Wreck. Climb Gunung Agung. Check out a local arak factory. Relax!

The place commonly referred to as Amed isn't a single town but a string of quaint beachside fishing villages stretching about 10km along the dry and rugged northeastern coast of Bali. It's a world away from the busy tourist centres in South Bali such as Kuta, Seminyak and Legian.

The common usage of Amed for the area started due to the same-named village being the first of the villages to be visited by tourism which subsequently spread east to the neighbouring villages further east. Although the layout is quite straightforward with villages following on from one another along the coast, getting your bearings can be difficult because of the seemingly endless number of similar looking small bays.

The village of Amed is the first village to cater for tourists when heading into the area from Culik and is followed by Jemeluk, Bunutan, Pupuan, Lipah, Lean, Selang, Banyuning and Aas. By the time you reach Aas, tourist facilities have all but faded away and all that remains are a couple of small guesthouses. The most popular locations are Jemeluk, Bunutan and Lipah.

Amed is set more or less due north of Candi Dasa and east of Tulamben and so makes a convenient stopping point for those travelling around the island. Most people visit Amed to relax by the beach, snorkel and dive and the area doesn't disappoint in this regard. The best snorkelling is to be had in Jemeluk, Selang and Banyuning while diving is more commonly conducted offshore and arranged through the many dive shops in town.

The climate in Amed is much hotter and drier than other parts of Bali, particularly compared to Ubud and other inland centres and you'll find that accommodation without air-con or the ability to catch the sea breeze to be stifling. As a result of this climatic difference, crops grown around the area are those that require much less water than rice: corn, peanuts and cassava (singkong).

If diving isn't your thing, Amed can also be used as a base to climb Gunung Agung. You tend to leave around 11pm and climb all night, arriving at the summit for dawn. Ask at your guesthouse or hotel to put you in contact with a guide. Rates start at around the 500,000 rupiah mark, but are variable depending on size of group and are, of course, negotiable. It is a hard climb!

The demographic of visitor here is very heavily dominated by European countries. This heavy reliance on European visitors distorts the local economy by bringing large amounts of money into the community in July and August and leaving many of the cafes and hotels completely empty for the rest of the year.

This also has the effect of increasing prices of everything from snorkelling gear to accommodation in these two months, when just about every room apart from the most expensive are booked out. The other side to this coin is that hoteliers are desperate at all other times and open to massive discounts on negotiation.

There is an international access ATM in Jemeluk. The next closest is in Amlapura about 45 minutes away by car. Many resorts still work on a cash only basis.

Internet is available at a few cafes through the area and some guesthouses and cafes also offer it either on a free or paid-for basis. The 3G signal is ok as far as about Lipah, but gets very patchy after that. If you absolutely require internet access, check with your accommodation beforehand.

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Text and/or map last updated on 13th July, 2015.

Last reviewed by:
Stuart McDonald co-founded with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.

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