The place commonly referred to as Amed isn’t a single town but a string of quaint beachside fishing villages stretching about 15 kilometres 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 Ubud.
The common use of Amed to name the area started due to the same-named village being the first of the villages to be visited by tourism – then the tourists gradually spread 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 large 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, 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 can be 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, elevated 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 23:00 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 700,000 rupiah mark, but are variable depending on size of group and are, of course, negotiable. It is a hard climb!
The demographic of visitors to Amed is very heavily dominated by European countries and, while now illegal, don’t be surprised to see hotels and dive shops offering room rates in euros or US dollars (payment must usually still be made in rupiah, at the prevailing exchange rate). June, July and August are easily the busiest months in Amed, when the room rates spike as well. During off season, towards the start or end of the year, you could well be the only person staying in your hotel and snare a bargain.
Seasonal vagaries aside, Amed lends itself well to a three- to four-day stay. We’ve visited here a few times for a slow weekend — arrive Friday afternoon and leave Sunday evening — and we always leave thinking an extra day or two would have been good. If you’ve got the time, and especially if you enjoy snorkelling, allow at least four days as a few bays are worth trying out.
There are international access ATMs in Jemeluk, next to Three Brothers Bungalows. The next closest is in Amlapura about 45 minutes away by car. Many resorts still work on a cash only basis so if you need to pay by credit card, check with your hotel beforehand.
Internet is available at a few cafes through the area and most guesthouses and cafes also offer it. The 3G signal is okay as far as about Lipah, but gets very patchy after that. If you absolutely require internet access, check with your hotel beforehand.
By Stuart McDonald. Last updated on 12th October, 2016.