Amed refers to a long stretch of coast running from the village of Cucik about 14 km eastwards incorporating the seven villages of Amed, Jemeluk, Bunutan, Lipah, Selang, Banyuning and Aas. The pace of life here is slow and the coastal scenery quite stunning making Amed the perfect place for a relaxed holiday in Bali.
Amed is the most recent tourist development area in Bali. It was only in 2000 that tarmac was laid on the roads. Telephone lines were installed in 2003 and it took until 2007 for a bridge to be built over a section of the main road that regularly washed away during the rainy season.
This is the most commonly used base for visitors wishing to dive the USS Liberty wreck at Tulamben. There are other good dive sites close at hand and a thriving dive industry has developed all the way along the coast here.
Amed’s inhabitants live from fishing, salt-making and tourism. The lack of tourism-based revenue, its remote nature and the generally harsh environment for farming, meant that this area was very much one of the poorer areas in Bali. Amongst others, the East Bali Poverty Project drew attention to the plight of the local villagers in this area and that, together with recent tourist development, has gone a long way to improving general standards of living, health and education;
Amed lies on the north-eastern tip of Bali, a little more than a two hours drive from the Ngurah Rai International Airport. A taxi service to Amed is available at the airport for about Rp 400,000.
Amed is accessed by turning east at the village of Culik which lies on the main east coast road from Karangasem to Singaraja.
Shuttle buses regularly serve the destination from Candidasa and Lovina and now that the road has been greatly improved,
The easiest way into Amed though is still to hire your own transport with a driver. Be aware that the Amed district is stretched out over more than ten kilometres. Transport by local drivers is widely available in Amed.
If you are coming from Gili Trawangan, there is daily speedboat service to Jemeluk in Amed, departing Gili Trawangan at 11AM.
Most people come to Amed as a getaway, including expats from other parts of the island. It is a favourite honeymoon destination for tourists and is very popular with divers and snorkelers. Day trips to local places of interest such as the water palace at Tirta Gangga and Bali’s most sacred temple, Besakih, can easily be arranged. Mount Agung with lots of trekking options is just 30 to 40 minutes from Amed.
Traditional outrigger boats are available for fishing charters from the main beaches in the Amed area. This normally involves early morning trolling for mackeral.
Have a traditional massage on the beach. Women from the local villages are always on hand for an invigorating massage, especiallly so at Lipah Beach.
Amed has some good snorkeling within metres of the shore. A reef follows the majority of the coastline and is quite close in. Due to the limited number of visitors to the area, the sea life is healthy and abundant. There is a small wreck in quite shallow water off Lipah Beach. This is not the World War II “Japanese Wreck”. David Pickels’ book on diving in Bali described this dive site for the first time back in 1999 as the Lipah Bay Wreck, and he admitted his mistake in the meantime. Matter of the fact is that this little wreck is not located in Lipah Bay at all, but some villages further east along the coast, namely in the village of Banyuning. The dive site is locally known among the dive operators as the “Japanese Wreck”. Lipah Bay is a nice snorkel spot and actually also has a small wooden wreck in only 1.5 metres of water. Best places for snorkeling are:
There is some fine diving in Jemeluk Bay both from the beach and from boats in deeper water. After a gentle slope out from shore, the wall here drops off dramatically to depths of 40 metres plus. The coral is healthy and fish life abundant. There are some good drift dives further east at Selang and Bunutan but these are generally only suited to more experienced divers.
Beware of diving after a heavy rain, the water from the run-off can greatly reduce your visibility.
Tulamben is a small fishing village, 30km north of Amed, about 20 to 30 minutes drive. As well as local dives off the various Amed beaches, a notable attraction is diving the wreck of the USS Liberty at Tulamben. Some divers base themselves at Tulamben itself where all of the hotels have either in-house dive operations or are allied to one or other of them.
The Liberty is a US Army transport ship torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942. The wreck lies about 30 metres offshore and is absolutely covered in soft corals. A huge range of reef fish have made this their home and occasional pelagics visit as well. Some of the wreck can even be seen by snorkelers. There are other dives in the Tulamben area and keen divers will have no problem entertaining themselves for a few days in this area. One word of warning – The Liberty is a very popular dive and unless you are actually staying at Amed or Tulamben and get there early in the day, it can be very crowded indeed.