Undiscovered Amed (from July 2009 Newsletter)

>At Imprint Tours we pride ourselves in finding destinations that are away from the typical commercial tour itinerary. One such location is Amed, on Bali’s east coast. The area has avoided over-development and this collection of sea-side villages is one of Bali’s unspoiled jewels. Amed, named for one of its 10 villages, is an 8-mile stretch of lovely bays, black-sand pebble beaches, and stunning views. Although development is happening, Amed remains, for the present, a place of quiet refuge. Even the most developed of the villages remains low-key. And because it remains just off the tourist radar it is a great value destination.
Activities in Amed naturally center on the water. Some of Bali’s best diving and snorkeling are found along the reef just a few yards out from shore. The water is crystal clear and the reef accommodates multiple species of coral, sponges, and a high density of tropical fish. The current is gentle and safe and access is extremely easy from shore. For serious divers Gili Selang, the eastern-most tip of the island and two accessible shipwrecks provide more challenging dives. Certification courses are available and two-dive trips with all equipment are around $60. Tulamben, Bali’s most popular dive site due to the 400-foot shipwreck Liberty, is also accessible. While Amed lacks the golden sand beaches of the south its pebble beaches are nonetheless picturesque, lined with colorful outrigger fishing boats.
Apart from water-oriented activities, Amed is mostly for relaxing. Most mid-range hotels boast a swimming pool and spa. Walks along the beach are lovely. Sunrise and sunset are dynamic and the views in every direction are memorable. In general, the restaurants serve food of a very high standard. There is live music or Balinese dance available 4-5 nights per week. One can observe the processing of sea salt, the traditional industry of the region. The process is quite interesting and Amed salt has a reputation for excellent flavor. Lastly, the scenic drive south of Amed to Ujung is one of the most beautiful and remote on Bali. Dramatic coastal vistas and beach-ringed coves are revealed by every turn in the windy road. Additionally, one gets a glimpse of real Balinese village life, untouched by tourism. One sees villagers involved in carving boats, weaving cotton fabrics, or cultivating fruit, corn, or peanuts.
Ultimately, Amed is not a place to DO, but rather a place to BE. When one arrives the first reaction might be to wonder what you’ll find to do after the first day. But as the somnambulant pulse of the area seeps into your own biorhythms you’ll begin to enjoy genuine relaxation. The outside world seems to matter less and less and a planned 2-day visit stretches to 3, 4, 5, . . . .

On Imprint Tours’ Beautiful Bali Tour, we spend 3 nights and two full days in Amed. One day is set aside for pure relaxation – no tour activities scheduled. The second day we’ve hired the sailing yacht Condor for the day. We’ll spend the day on the water; sailing, snorkeling, swimming, picnicking and enjoying the entire length of the Amed coast. Our tour hotel, Pura Wisata, boasts 2 sea-view swimming pools, in-house diving operators, and a relaxing spa. On our arrival day we enjoy a sea-side/pool-side lunch and observe a class of Balinese children learning traditional dance just outside of Ujung before driving to Amed via the dramatic coast road described above. Prepare to unwind.