The coastal villages making up Amed are found along the eastern coast of Bali. It is a good place to relax away from the crowds found elsewhere on the island. And it is a great stop for a night or two before any trip to the Gili Islands.
The Amed area is great for any traveller exploring Bali who needs a break from the mass tourism that is found elsewhere on the island. Its a 14km stretch in total. Essentially there is a long road that runs through Amed and the villages are based around this and the beachfront. The villages of Amed and Jemeluk in particular are good base for backpackers visiting the region. These are the 2 villages where I spent my time when I visited, and therefore the 2 that inform this post.
The beach at Amed
There is black sand/pebble beach here that is relatively quite compared to others on the island. It makes for a pleasant evening walk and you can see some nice sunsets. The active volcano Mount Agung makes for a fabulous backdrop and watching the sun set behind it is a special feeling. The volcano began erupting in 2017 and was still ongoing when I visited.
Its also nice to walk along during the day and have a look at all the boats parked up on the beach. This isn’t a typical paradise beach that perhaps some image when they think of Bali. But it is peaceful and has a relaxed feel to it.
And should you want to chill out, there are several restaurants along here where you can sit in the shade and watch time pass by. Food is generally local Indonesian dishes and Southeast Asian standards. Think rice, curry and noodles. You can likely find some western snacks too such as fries. They will serve the Indonesian beer Bintang and assorted soft drinks and juices.
The area has some great diving spots, though I myself haven’t done any. I’m not a good swimmer so didn’t feel confident, but snorkelling is another thing that attracts people to Amed. The wreck of the USS Liberty is particularity spoken of highly as somewhere to check out. It was sunk by a Japanese submarine in January 1942, during World War 2. It can be found near the village of Tulamben.
Travel to the Gili Islands
From Amed you can take a fast boat to the Gili Islands. To book this check out the tourist agencies dotted along the road running through the area. There are several different operators who do this route. I recommend you shop around a bit to get a good price. It takes around 45 minutes to an hour to get from Amed to the Gili Islands by fast boat. The weather conditions are of course a factor here as well. When bad weather is forecast there is a risk the boars won’t run. This doesn’t just include rain but strong winds too. This is of course the reality of this method of travel.
It is worth speaking to any backpackers you meet in Amed to see if they have made the journey. The local fast boat situation here can change quickly. It can be difficult to find up to date advice about which operator is safest and giving a good deal. So asking others you meet here or on the rest of Bali is going to be your best bet.
When I visited the islands there were actually limited boats running. This was because it was only around a month after the islands had been struck by a serious earthquake. This is the hazard of travel in the Ring of Fire. Ultimately I was able to find transport to the islands and had a great time.
Where to stay in Amed
As with elsewhere on Bali there is a large mixture of both budget and more luxurious accommodation here. Compared to other parts of Bali you can find very reasonable prices in Amed. Generally the more expensive accommodation is found on the beachfront. These tend to have pools and so on, with sea views. The more budget accommodation tends to be back on the other side of the main road that runs through the area. If your looking to book then you can use my booking.com referral code. It gives you money back if you use it and me rewards as part of their refer a friend programme. My link is: https://www.booking.com/s/34_6/745e96fb
Pacha Hostel is a good backpacker option if you want somewhere to socialise. You can also visit the bar here should you want somewhere to spend your evening after dark. It often has live music and has a relaxed, chilled out vibe. As you expect from somewhere that focuses heavily on the reggae imagery.