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Last Updated on September 6, 2023 by Madison Krigbaum
During a first-time visit to Bali, it’s common for tourists to prioritize the “popular” spots like Canggu, Seminyak, Ubud and Uluwatu. Having spent three months in Bali so far (one more to go!), I’ve been lucky enough to see parts of the island that most tourists miss out on. Diving Amed is the perfect off-the-beaten path experience for any Bali beginner!
Keep reading for a complete four day itinerary to diving Amed and visiting Bali’s East Coast! For more tips on traveling solo to Southeast Asia, visit my Asia Travel Guides.
The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Amed Bali
Where to Stay in Amed Bali 🏡
LUXURY HOTELS IN AMED BALI:
MID-LEVEL HOTELS IN AMED BALI:
things to do in Amed Bali 🤿
My Experience Staying at Kura Kura Diver’s Lodge
I found the Kura Kura Diver’s Lodge though a recommendation in my favorite Bali Facebook group – Girls in Bali. The Lodge is partnered with Bali Reef Divers, so diving and accommodation was based in one centralized location.
The rooms at Kura Kura are very modern and clean (and that A/C is strongggg, a must for this midwest girl). Complete with a second floor bar/restaurant and a swimming pool, it’s the perfect hotel for your dive trip in Amed. 450,000 IDR/night (around $30) includes accommodation and breakfast for two.
Things to Do in Amed Bali
Diving Amed and Tulamben
Since this post is about scuba diving…obviously diving Amed is going to be top of the list! Amed is one of the best places in Indonesia to get your PADI Open Water Certification. Why? The reefs are beautiful and it’s 👏🏼 v 👏🏼 cheap 👏🏼
Although many tourists head to Nusa Penida and the Gili Islands to scuba dive, the courses, fun diving and all around cost-of-living is going to be much higher in those tourist hotspots. Amed is perfect for the diver-on-a-budget!
Although I had already completed both my Open Water and Advanced dive courses in Roatan, the friend I was traveling with had yet to earn his Open Water Certification. His Open Water Course took a total of three days for the instruction, pool skills, four mandatory dives and fifth free dive offered by the Amed dive center! With Bali Reef Divers, he was able to complete his entire course for 4.5 million IDR (about $300).
The courses weren’t the only affordable Amed scuba experience. My five free dives, including equipment, only set me back 2.1 million IDR…that’s only $28/dive! Keep in mind, if you’re a new diver and are not sure if you want to commit to the full Open Water Certification, you can always start with the Discover Scuba Diving Course as a “trial run.
You can find vibrant marine life and gorgeous dive sites in both Amed and Tulamben…but the star of the show is the USS Liberty wreck in Tulamben. I’ve been lucky enough to dive three shipwrecks in my day, but this was like nothing else I’ve ever seen underwater. Every section of the wreck was alive with bright coral, schools of fish, vibrant plants and exciting things to discover around every corner. If you can only do one Bali dive…you better make sure it’s this one.
When diving Amed and Tulamben, be aware that most of the dives are shore dives. Boats are rarely used for diving in this area.
Snorkel Lipah and Jemeluk Bay
I get it, scuba diving isn’t for everyone! Even in Amed, it’s not the cheapest of sports and some people find that breathing through a regulator triggers their claustrophobia. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a certified scuba diver to enjoy the beautiful reefs in Amed and Tulamben.
In lieu of diving Amed, consider hopping on a group snorkeling tour or renting some gear and checking out the reefs yourself. Although we chose diving Amed over snorkeling Amed, it’s easy to rent snorkel equipment from a beach vendor for around 50,000 IDR (or $3.50).
If you’re dead set against scuba diving but still want to experience the best dive sites in Amed, consider booking a full-day snorkeling tour that will take you to exciting spots like the Japanese shipwreck.
Watch the Sunset at Sunset Point
I’m always a sucker for a good sunset, and Amed was no different. On two separate occasions we made our way to Sunset Point for a couple of cocktails and a spectacular view of the sunset over Mount Agung.
The spot was obviously very popular, because all the best seats filled up quickly. Best to get there an hour before sunset to get a good spot!
Rent a Scooter and (Safely) Take in the Views
Driving a scooter in Indonesia, and Southeast Asia as a whole, terrifies me. Trust me, you’ll understand the second you deplane if you visit Ho Chi Minh City. In Canggu, where I’ve been based for three months, the streets are littered with Gojek and Grab drivers who will basically take you anywhere for 11,000 IDR (less than $1). There’s no reason to brave the terrifying traffic and drunk, clueless tourists in busy areas of Bali like Canggu and Seminyak.
Amed, however, is a bit different. Being so far off-the-beaten-path, it’s basically impossible to hire a scooter using the usual apps. Unless you want to trust random drivers on the street, which I would NOT recommend, or walk everywhere, renting your own wheels is basically your only option.
Thankfully, driving a scooter in Amed could not be more chill! If you’re looking for an easy place to practice your driving skills, this is it baby 👏🏼 No traffic, roads in good condition and everywhere you need to go is basically a straight shot – it couldn’t be any more simple!
Take a Yoga Class
If you’re a yogi at heart (I’m not – but to each their own), you’re definitely going to want to sign up for a yoga class at Blue Earth Village. This hotel turned restaurant turned yoga studio turned gym, is perched high on a cliff and boasts stunning views of both Mount Agung and Jemeluk Bay.
Take Touristy Pics at Tirta Gangga
If you’re planning a vacation in Bali, chances are you’re aware that this island is an Instagrammer’s paradise. Seriously – you can’t throw a rock in Bali without hitting a stunning IG photo spot.
Tirta Gangga is one of these coveted photo spots. Full disclosure, that makes the photo-taking experience very stressful. Unless you arrive very early in the morning, you’ll probably have to wait in line to get your iconic koi-fish-feeding photo and chances are you’ll be hurried along by hundreds of impatient tourists.
High-stress IG photo aside…Tirta Gangga Water Palace was built in 1948 by King Karangasem, Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem (try saying that one five times fast). The palace is located under a natural spring and huge banyan tree and boasts fantastic views of the area. The King named the palace Tirta (blessed water) Gangga (from “Ganges,” the holy river in India).
Wait in Line for Hours at Pura Lempuyang (the Gates of Heaven)
Everyone and their mother has seen the iconic “Gates of Heaven” photos that every Bali tourist seems to come home with from Pura Lempuyang. Although it’s no secret that I love a good photo opp, this one was too stressful even for me. I had heard far too many horror stories of people standing in line for four hours and having to pay a local to take your photo.
If you want to brave the line for the photo, power to you, but from my end that’s a hard pass. If you want a list of reasons to skip the Gates of Heaven, click here to read Laura’s experience from What’s Hot? Book & Travel Blog.
Pro tip: there’s another structure almost identical to the Gates of Heaven at a cliffside restaurant in Nusa Penida, Greenkubu. No line, and the views are even better.
Where to Eat in Amed Bali
Let’s be honest, you’re not here to learn about diving Amed. You’re really here for…drumroll please…the food pics! I celebrated my first trip out of Canggu with plenty of local Indonesian food and fresh seafood. Keep reading for the best of our Amed food tour.
Starting off strong with the best food we had in Amed by a landslide…a little slice of heaven called Galanga Restaurant. What happens when a French chef marries an Indonesian fisherman? Fucking magic that’s what.
We loved Galanga so much that we ate there not once, but twice, in three days. I never do that. The food was that good. Everything was made from scratch, insanely affordable and absolutely mind blowing. If you make it to Galanga, I definitely recommend trying the Nangka Curry: jackfruit cooked inside coconut, tumeric and lemongrass sauce and the Ikan a la Galanga: fish of the day served with secret sauce.
Two meals and two drinks only cost us around $15…TOTAL.
Blue Earth Village
I’ve already mentioned Blue Earth Village in this post as one of the best places to take a yoga class in Amed. Well the views aren’t just for yogis…this spot is also a bustling restaurant! Our food was good…I wouldn’t say it was anything mind blowing. What Blue Earth Villages does really well are the views and the atmosphere.
I would recommend coming for a few drinks and appetizers around sunset and then heading to Galanga for your main meal.
Warung Enak is well-known among locals as serving some of the tastiest local eats in the area. As my first meal in Amed, it definitely did not disappoint. I asked my server what he recommended and ended up with a traditional (and very full) Indonesian plate of red rice, tempeh and mixed meats. Everything was delicious and super affordable!
Another great spot for some local fare is Warung Celagi. We stopped by in hopes of trying some fresh barracuda, but sadly there wasn’t any to be found. We settled our hungry stomachs with fried tuna, fluffy rice and super-spicy chicken curry instead!
I hope you enjoyed this guide to diving Amed and Tulamben! This little slice of diving heaven should be on every Indonesia traveler’s bucket list…but that would ruin the charm so let’s hope it stays a little hidden 😉 If you found this post useful, you may enjoy my related posts below. And don’t forget to enter your info below and subscribe to my blog to get notified when I publish new posts!