Amed is a string of seaside villages located on the East Coast of Bali. While the remote area remains off most travellers’ radar, Amed is a firm favourite among visitors looking for a snorkelling or scuba diving adventure. Amed also attracts travellers after a relaxing beach getaway surrounded by the real Bali, away from the tourist track.
Hidden away from the crowds, the fishing villages which make up the area categorically known as Amed have maintained the look and feel of the real Bali. Starting from Amed Beach and moving down south on the coastline, the villages are Bunutan, Jemeluk, Lipah, Lean, Selang, Banyuning and Aas. While Amed does have tourist facilities ranging from homestays to a handful of resorts and ample tour and dive operators, the overall feel is still very much that of the real Bali. In many ways, staying here feels like taking a step back in time to a world before mass tourism found Bali.
For travellers, the main attraction in Amed is the fabulous snorkelling and diving offered right off the coast. The underwater views are guaranteed to wow even the most jaded of travellers. While you can snorkel right off the beach, the most famous landmark – or “sea mark” as it were – is the USS Liberty Ship Wreck, a popular dive site located a little further up the coast in Tulamben.
Planning Your Trip to Amed
Amed remains a relaxed and low key destination throughout the year, so you don’t need to worry about being overwhelmed by crowds. Our Amed travel guide aims to give you the essential information, list the most popular things to do in Amed, provide more information on locations you want to visit, and finish with some inspiration from our travel writers. For more information on events and festivals taking place throughout the year, check out our comprehensive Bali guide.
Bali is pleasant all year round! May through September has the best weather (drier, less humid) and is the best time for many activities including diving and surfing. November though March is rainy season – though rainfall is never excessive so you can do most activities except volcano treks.
The temperature ranges from 24 degrees to 31 degrees all year round.
Rainfall ranges from 0cm to 140cm during the wet season.
Things to See & Do in Amed
Amed’s low key appeal is a potent mix of stunning underwater views and relaxed Balinese village life. This combination makes the area as great a destination for active holidays as it is for relaxed getaways where you can let the days simply drift by.
Tours & Activities
Most people head to Amed to enjoy world-class diving and snorkelling. There are plenty of dive operators in the area and you’ll be able to rent snorkelling gear at most homestays and restaurants by the beach. For diving, the most famous site is the USS Liberty Shipwreck, which is actually located a little further up the coast in Tulamben. Snorkelling is available on most of the beaches in Amed and you can often snorkel right off the beach. The most popular site for snorkelling is the coral garden at Jemeluk Beach.
The beaches in Amed tend to have dark sand and can even be covered in pebbles owing to the volcanic activity on the island. Dotted with local fishing boats, the beaches are low key and quiet with relaxed local restaurants offering a bite to eat or a cold Bintang after a day in the sun. One of the most unique features of Amed’s beaches is the majestic figure of Mount Agung looming in the background.
Though much of Amed’s appeal can be found along the beaches and underwater, the area is worth exploring away from the water, too. The less explored East Bali is beautiful and pristine and home to several important cultural landmarks. The famous Lempuyang Temple (also known as the Gates of Heaven) is located roughly 30 minutes from Amed and the same goes for the beautiful Tirta Gangga water palace. Even if you don’t have a fixed destination, exploring the lush roads surrounding Amed makes for a very scenic outing.
Eating & Drinking in Amed
Much like the area itself, the dining scene in Amed is relaxed and low key. While you won’t find cutting edge fine dining or trendy venues on these shores, there are plenty of venues to choose from, with generous servings of authentic Balinese charm.
The dining scene in Amed is mostly made up of local warungs and relaxed restaurants serving a mix of Indonesian and Western favourites. While fine dining is not available, there are also a few more refined dining options in the area. Most restaurants and warungs are focused along the shoreline, with plenty of options available along Amed Beach, Bunutam and Jemeluk.
Nightlife in Amed is pretty much non-existent and limited to only a handful of bars. Several venues have live bands playing regularly and live sports programs broadcasting the big games. Traditional dance performances are held in some of the more higher-end restaurants. The best nightlife spots are set close to the beach, where divers gather in the evenings to grab a few beers and chat with friends about their adventures. Most travellers will indulge in a long dinner with a round of drinks before heading back to their hotel or homestay for the night. This sense of peace and quiet is an important part of Amed’s appeal.
Rather than a standalone town, Amed is made up of fishing villages strung along the coastline. The most popular areas to stay include Bunutan, Jemeluk and Lipah. Though the whole of Amed is lowkey and relaxed, these areas have the most restaurants and accommodation options available. The most popular diving site – the USS Liberty Shipwreck – is located in Tulamben which is about 30 minutes up the coast from Amed Beach. There’s not much to do in Tulamben besides this one dive site so we would recommend staying in Amed and only making daytrips out to Tulamben.
Amed & Surrounds
Amed is hidden off on the easternmost coast of Bali. The area is remote and feels light years removed from the touristic buzz of the saturated southwest coast. Driving West from Amed, you will reach the relaxed beach town of Candidasa which is home to some of the best oceanfront villas on the island. Candidasa is neighboured by Padang Bai, a quaint port town framed by beautiful beaches, with boats launching off to Nusa Lembongan, Lombok and the Gili Islands. Close by, the age old city of Klungkung offers a fascinating study in Balinese heritage. The verdant region of Gianyar offers a study in contrasts with emerald green rice paddies giving way to deserted black sand beaches. Gianyar is also home to Ubud, the spiritual and cultural capital of Bali.
Amed is a remote area where most accommodation offered consists of homestays, bungalows and a handful of resorts. While there are no Ministry Approved villas located directly in Amed, our team can recommend villas in the surrounding area and then help you organise daytrips to Amed. We have a beautiful collection of oceanfront villas in Candidasa, located about one hour from Amed. All of our villas come with professionally trained staff. Many villas offer personalised services including: butlers, chefs, nannies, 24-hour security personnel, drivers and other services you won’t find in a hotel.
Ngurah Rai International Airport is the only airport in Bali, located in Tuban in southern Bali. The busy airport serves over 20 million passengers a year and is well connected to international destinations. Direct flights to Bali are offered from destinations including Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Dubai, Melbourne, Sydney and beyond. Airlines offering direct flights to and from Bali include Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airlines, Air Asia, Jetstar and more. There are some early plans to build a second airport in North Bali.
You can also reach Bali by boat which can be a legitimate option if you’re heading to a seaside destination like Amed. Boat transfers are available between Amed, the Gili Islands and Lombok, the latter of which has its own international airport. Boats from the Gilis and Lombok also arrive in Padangbai (about 90 minutes from Amed), Sanur, Serangan and Benoa (all located +2 hours from Amed). From Java, ferries arrive in Gilimanuk which is located over 150 kilometres from Amed.
Nationalities from over 160 countries are eligible for visa free entry into Indonesia. This means your passport will be stamped on arrival at the airport, allowing you to stay in the country for 30 days. For stays longer than 30 days, you will need to obtain a visa which will require further arrangements. Please note your passport must be valid for six months after your date of arrival in Indonesia.
There is no public transport to get you from the airport to your accommodation, so the only option is to use a private driver or a taxi. Ministry of Villas can arrange a chauffeur to greet you upon arrival and escort you to your villa. To avoid queuing at the immigration counter, we can also arrange a VIP airport service for guests. This service includes lounge access, allowing you to relax while waiting for your luggage.
If you haven’t organised an airport pick up prior to landing in Bali, you can also get a taxi directly at the airport. You will find an official taxi stand in the arrivals hall, located next to the information desk. This taxi stand offers fixed price and metered fares throughout Bali but the fares change frequently, making it almost impossible to find up to date pricing online. There are also countless independent drivers offering rides to arriving passengers at varying rates. We highly recommend arranging your arrival transfers prior to landing in Bali, especially if you’re heading to more remote destinations like Amed.
There are a few of options for getting around Amed, so we’ve ranked them according to our recommendations for first-time travellers.
Having a private car and driver can be a great way to explore Amed and its surroundings. With no public transport available, this is often the best way of getting around the area. Ministry of Villas can arrange a private car and chauffeur for you. This little luxury is remarkably affordable and we can also help you arrange an itinerary, instructing your driver in advance.
You can walk around the small villages, but if you’re staying further off or want to explore your wider surroundings, you will need a car or motorbike to get around.
Hiring a scooter is a handy way to get out and about in Amed, but you should only hire one if you have previous experience driving and you hold an international driver’s licence. Scooter rentals usually start at around IDR 50,000 (USD $4) per day. Needless to say, you should always wear a helmet while driving. The roads in Amed can be bumpy and dimly lit after nightfall.
Due to its remote location, there are no official metered taxis in Amed. For the same reason, ride hailing apps like Go-Jek and Grab are also not available. There are, however, plenty of entrepreneurial locals offering transport services throughout the area. You can also ask your villa or hotel to arrange a car for you. Since local cars have no taxi meters, always make sure you agree on the price before getting in.
The Balinese are among the friendliest and most welcoming people on the planet. This is all the more reason to return the favour and be respectful towards the local culture. Like anywhere else in the world, common sense and basic human decency goes a long way. For more detailed information about local culture, language and safety in Bali, check out our comprehensive Bali guide.
Bargaining can be an enjoyable part of shopping in Bali… or it can be frustrating! To ensure a smooth exchange first decide what the item is worth to you, then ask the seller for their price – your first offer can be from one-third to two-thirds of that price. They are likely to respond with a counteroffer, which you can either accept or negotiate further. If you don’t like the price and you walk away there is a good chance the vendor will call out to you with a better (usually final) price. Keep in mind, if an agreement is reached, you’re committed – you should buy if your offer is accepted.
In late 2018, Bali’s governor banned single use plastic on the island, meaning shops, boutiques and supermarkets no longer give out plastic bags. When out and about, it’s best to carry a reusable bag with you.
Most restaurants and villas include a service component already so tipping is not expected, but if service is good, an additional cash tip is appreciated.
Indonesia’s country code is +62. Data speeds of 3G and faster is the norm across Bali. Local prepaid SIM cards are sold everywhere; any modern mobile phone will work. As of 2018, all prepaid SIM cards need to be registered which you can usually do with a copy of your passport directly at the shop where you purchase your SIM card. Prepaid SIM cards come loaded with pulsa (credit) or mobile data which you can later easily top up at other outlets. Most if not all minimarts and local phone shops can top off your SIM card when needed. Most villas provide broadband Internet and free Wi-Fi is common in cafes, restaurants, hotels and shopping malls.
Health & Safety
It’s important to note that compared to many places in the world, Bali is fairly safe. There have been some high-profile cases of visitors being injured or killed on Bali, but in many cases these tragedies have been inflamed by media sensationalism.
Many of Bali’s beaches are subject to heavy surf and strong currents. Amed is a remote destination with no life guards on duty, so you should take extra care when heading out. Be careful when swimming over coral and never walk on it. It can be very sharp and coral cuts are easily infected. In addition, you are damaging a fragile environment. Avoid swimming near open streams flowing into the sea as they are often contaminated by run-off from built-up areas.
Violent crime is uncommon in Bali, however bag-snatching from motorbikes and petty theft does occur. Take extra care with your phone if riding pillion on a motorbike as phones regularly get snatched from unsuspecting tourists using a navigation app. Otherwise, take the same precautions you would in any urban area and secure your money before leaving an ATM (and don’t forget your card!), don’t leave valuables on a beach while swimming, and use in-villa safes to store your valuables.
Tap water in Bali is not safe to drink. Bottled water is widely available and cheap, however Ministry of Villas encourages visitors to keep a reusable water bottle to reduce plastic consumption.
Travel insurance is absolutely essential for every traveller. A typical travel insurance policy will have coverage for a traveller’s main concerns, including trip cancellations, medical emergencies, travel delays, and lost luggage. Most policies are built to be comprehensive to protect travellers from a variety of events that may cause financial loss before or during their trip. Some policies specifically exclude ‘dangerous activities’ which can include scuba diving, renting a local motorcycle and even trekking.
Worldwide travel insurance is available at World Nomads and you can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.
With its stunning waters, deserted beaches and relaxed feel of the real Bali, Amed has stoled our hearts. Check out our latest blog posts written by experienced Ministry of Villas writers.