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Great Insider’s Travel Tips to Amed, Bali

Great Insider’s Tips to Travel in Amed, Bali

Whoever said Amed was a small sleepy fishing town much smaller and less to do than its neighbor Candi Dasa was giving you a handful of bull honkey.  In actuality it is now a fun town sprawling approx 15 km chock full of restaurants, hotels, beach bungalos and even a nightlife.  Actually I think there is more to do and see in Amed than Candi Dasa.  Candi Dasa does have access to the Bali Aga, which, while incredibly interesting, and a look into early Bali, can be dangerous for outsiders and is not recommended without an experienced guide.  Don’t get us wrong, Candi Dasa is worth a visit and is quite charming with some great hotels and some right on the beach.  We recommend The Nirwana Resort in Candi Dasa.  It’s a bit pricey (maybe $100 per night), but it offers a great pool and it’s right on the water.  This brings us to one of the big downfalls of Candi Dasa.  While I say its right on the water, this does not mean on the beach.  In fact, there is very little beach in Candi Dasa at all, and much of it is a breakwater with very little swimmable area.  This is another reason to prefer Amed, as there is a good beach with entertaining snorkeling right in front of many of the hotels and bungalows.  The coral is not plentiful and much of it has been destroyed, but you can find some coral gardens if you know where to go.  There are however, many colorful fish that make the snorkeling worthwhile.  The waves are generally small but can reach almost a meter kicking up the sand and decreasing visibility but the beauty of it is, you can watch the conditions from the hotel pool, and walk a few steps into the ocean whenever you feel the time is right.

Bali travel tips amedThree Brother's Hotel's infinity pool overlooking the ocean and Mount Agung Volcano

The guidebooks and travel sites will tell you ‘Life in Amed’ Restaurant is the best in town but that is highly inaccurate.  Our meal there was fairly tasteless but the presentation and alang-alang roof covered dining area is quite nice.

For some confusing reason, several businesses in Amed share the same name but are different entities. For example there are 3 different ‘3 Brother’s Hotel’ and a couple Wa Wa We We’s, so you need to know which one is better.  Wa Wa We We 1 is the bar and WWWW2 is the hotel and restaurant.  #1 is fun on most nights and currently has live music on Wednesday and Saturday nights.  You will find many local expats here, mainly from the diving community along with some true locals as well as tourists.  It’s a good mix and for a town that is supposed to be small and sleepy, it can really be a good time.  As for the 3 ‘3 Brothers’ locations, they are right next to each other and choose the one with the pool (the northern most location).  It hosts a small but quite nice infinity pool over looking the ocean.  It can’t quite accommodate all the guests of the hotel at once but that’s rarely a problem as some are sure to be out snorkeling, diving or elsewhere in town.  While the staff is not overly welcoming, we found the hotel to be a good value.  It’s inexpensive at about $30 per night (including AC and hot shower) with a small breakfast (the egg jaffels are tasty).  The best room is most likely the 2nd closest to the pool/ocean as it’s a bit more private than the one overlooking the pool and ocean. The 3 rooms in the back offer a second floor with 2 additional beds for families or those traveling with a driver. While we like 3 Brothers, we think Kembali Bungalos right next door is an even better place to stay. Its still inexpensve but just a bit nicer, the staff is much friendlier and the snorkeling right out front is even better. Head straight out and then to your left for wonderful coral gardens and lots of big colorful fish.

3 Brothers- a good choice for accommodation in Amed, Bali

As an aside, don't try to translate 3 brothers into Bahasa Indonesia (tiga suadara) as surprisingly; none of the local Balinese seemed to know what this referred to.  There is no Wi-Fi at 3 Brothers but we would simply walk 2 doors down to the Amed Café, order a Bintang, overlook the ocean and use theirs.  The Amed Café also offers more beach chairs by the ocean if the pool at 3 Brother’s is at capacity (which it never was while we were there ever during full occupancy.

The main reason for the change from sleepy fishing town to Amed’s current state is the diving industry.  There are several good dive spots in the area including two shipwrecks.  The Japanese sunk the SS Liberty about 7 km north of town in Tulamben, and the US returned the favor about a half hour catamaran ride south of town.  Both are quite shallow and can be enjoyed snorkeling,.  You can see the cannons, the deck and the splayed open hull.  But to get the full feel a good scuba company can get you inside the wrecks.  We recommend Diving Concepts and if you are lucky enough to get Miki as your guide, you will be stoked. But all the instructors and guides are highly trained and speak several languages well.

 Bali villas hotels tips amedAmed's black sand beach provides spectacular views of Mt Agung Volcano and BOTH sunrise AND sunset!

For a real local traditional experience head to Culik Market in Amed. The food is excellent and crazy cheap.  We got a truckload of nasi bungkus, fish satay, lawar, and other super tasty treats for about $4 USD.  It’s quite a deal and a great experience too considering we spent over $30 USD at Life in Amed and the food was nowhere near as tasty as the market.


One last note that makes Amed a really special place is that you can view both the sunrise and the sunset from the same beach!  Both illuminate massive Gunung Agung volcano, the anchor of Balinese tradition and houses Bali’s Gods.


Amed has earned its place into our regular tour itineraries and we look forward to visiting again.  For more information on Amed, Candi Dasa, accommodations and other tips and tricks, just contact us at

We hope these tips help and make your holiday in Bali even more rewarding.  We share the very best secrets with our tour participants and Balifornian members, but we are happy to share these.  Want more?  That’s easy.  Read our blog regularly, Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and if you want the very best tips, email us at to become a Balifornian. Get the best travel deals, time saving tips and much more. We will never, ever give, sell or transmit your information in anyway, to anyone.  Email us today and benefit right away.


Thanks and happy travels from all of us at Balifornian Villas, Tours and Travel Blog


Top 10 Best Things Not To Miss on Your Bali Vacation

Top 10 Best Things Not To Miss on Your Bali Vacation

Don't believe the hype, no top 10 list can come close to covering the variety of experiences one should have on Bali, but here is a humble offering to help one begin thinking about thier next trip.

1. Ubud

Sure, Bali is known for its paradisiacal beaches and you will get your share of those but many special places lay away from the shore.  Ubud is the cultural center of Bali. Its true its becoming crowded and the traffic coming in and going out can be brutal but it’s all worth it. Take in a dance performance, run with the monkeys and be transported back in time in The Monkey Forest, enjoy the world-class restaurants, hit up nearby Mas Village for incredible woodcarving and other fine artworks (notice I did not say crafts).  While the true traditional culture maybe a bit harder to find, the hip, world nomad feel is like none other and makes for an eye-opening walk around town.

Bali top 10 best things to doWomen offer morning offerings in Ubud, Bali's cultural capitol

2. Ibu Oka

No one and I do mean NO ONE in the world can cook a suckling pig like this. I don't even like pork but my mouth waters just thinking of the deliciousness that permeates this small restaurant. No waitress will come by to take your order, you wont have your own romantic table with a view a,nd you'll be getting busy with plastic forks, but instead you order upfront and share a table with othersan d it could not be more perfect. Just watch your fingers as you may pull back a nub with all the chowing down going on. When I think pig-skin I would normally think of football but here it makes me think of something completely different and a world away. The pig is cooked on a human-rotated rotisserie (aint no mechanical half steppin here) until the skin is a combination of peanut brittle and potato chips.  Its cheap, its delicious, its in the heart of Ubud, and its an experience you will not soon forget.

Ibu means mother and Oka is the sweet owners name.  Her family roasted pigs for the King of Ubud and the secret recipe still satisfies locals and tourists the world over.  Normally six or seven pigs are slaughtered before 5am each day and painstakingly rubbed with spices, roasted by hand on a spit over a escret wood fire and cared for lovingly until they are cooked ot perfection. It’s open only for lunch and try hit it early as they often sell out by 2pm.

3. Menjangan Island

While it’s on the direct opposite side of the island that most tourists go to, it’s well worth the trip (plus you get away from many of the drunk annoying tourists of Kuta- For more on the good and bad of Kuta see-   Menjangan is part of Bali Barat National Park and has some of the best snorkeling on the island, boasting schools of colorful tame fish that will come right up to you.  If you know where to look you can swim with turtles as well. It also is home to one of the best protected coral reefs in the area.  The colorful reefs are sadly becoming harder and harder to find in South East Asia due to dynamite fishing and myopic dive operators anchoring to the reef, but you can still enjoy the one here via snorkeling or scuba diving.  The reef has taken its share hard knocks and is recovering well but the real attraction here is the wall diving.  The island gets its name (Menjangan means deer) because each spring at low tide herds of deer make their way out to the island.  You can dive year round and the water visibility is the best in Bali. You can stay in one of the resorts nearby, kayak the turquoise waters, get pampered, and simply enjoy this peaceful and rejuvenating secret of Bali.

Bali snorkeling diving villasThe spectacular Sanur coastline4. Sanur

Sanur was the first expat residence in Bali and has surprisingly maintained its charm and offers some of the best stretch of beach in Bali (aside from the secret ones we can’t publish here).  It has a fun nightlife and some outstanding restaurants including The Village, which serves up the best Italian food I have had since I lived in Italy.  For authentic Balinese food, try Warung Pregina.  We have discussed Sanur quite a bit in our Bali blog in the past and for more check

5. Amed

The guidebooks will lead you to believe Amed is a sleepy fishing village.  While that sounds romantic and alluring, its not quite the truth as this is no longer the case.  Don’t get me wrong, Amed is still romantic and alluring, but these days, it boasts a fun nightlife, good food and lots of hotels and villas on the beach. It’s a quick and easy escape from the tourist-laden traps of South Bali and also has some extraordinary scuba diving and snorkeling.  There are a couple spectacular shipwrecks just off the coast of Amed and can even been experienced by snorkeling. More on Amed can be found in our blog here…

6. Kecak Dance

No one will tell you this but this is not a true traditional Balinese ritual dance.  It was developed in the 1930’s but don't let that discourage you from attending as its one of the most interesting and exciting dance performances you will see while in Bali and has become a cornerstone of contemporary Balinese culture. The dance tells a story from the Indian epic, The Ramayana and is in 3 or 5 parts depending on how it is broken up.  The first part, always a ladies pleaser, involves a couple dozen shirtless man chanting in rhythm, the second part includes female dancers as the plot thickens with the monkey god Hanuman and other players; and the final stanza is a fire dance with performers walking on, kicking, and sometimes eating fire.

Photos of the Kecak Dance performance can be seen here…

bali dance villasA village elder in Bali's countryside prepares for The Galungan celebration7. Countryside

To experience what we call “Old Bali” one needs to get out of the cities.  Rent a motor scooter (and helmet) and head towards the volcanoes.  You will be amazed at what you will find- ceremonies, cock-fights, temples, markets, rice fields and more. Stop in a small village warung (tiny restaurant) order some food and drink and simply take it all in. Interact with the locals and the children.  If you know a few phrases of Bahasa Indonesia or Balinese, that’s wonderful, if not use smiles and hand gestures.  I suggest printing out some vocabulary and basic phrases from the Internet before you leave and this is the perfect time to try it out. Don’t be shy as the villagers will generally enjoy interacting with you and there are few more rewarding experiences.  I always travel with small toys, pens, candy, etc. to give to children along the way.  It’s a great way to break the ice and interact with the friendly Balinese locals.

8. Ceremony

In Bali ceremonies happen all the time. Some are easier to plan for like festivals and holidays, but note that many are on the Balinese calendar so be sure to research dates.  Others happen within the banjar or local village due to funerary ceremonies and the like.  Talk to the locals (or us), make friends with the Balinese and inquire about current happenings.  Its best to be invited to something like a cremation ceremony but generally the generous people of Bali will welcome you into the proceedings. Many of our deepest cultural experiences and most meaningful memories have occurred in situations such as these and nowhere else in the world can you see traditions quite like those in Bali.

Here are some photos and information from a traditional Balinese Ngaben or cremation ceremony.

9. Massage

What more do we need to say about this one? Bali is the perfect place to pamper yourself. Some of the most luxurious spas in the world are located in Bali and if you know where to go, it can be unbelievably affordable.  Even the basic $5 per hour massage is usually fantastic and well worth it.  Some places like Ubud Body Works or the original Cozy (there are a few locations but beware of the copy cat oportunists) charge a few dollars more but it is well worth it.  The mandi lulur and creme bath are mind blowing treatments and always recommended, but the hair treatments, foot massages, shoulder and neck massages, reflexology and more are well worth the small investment of time and money. We try to go most days, as it’s a great way to rejuvenate and relax. Treat yourself and you will not be sorry.

bali best food10. Spend time with locals

Notice a theme here? If you cant tell we are all about the true culture of Bali.  You can party in a disco and hang out with westerners anywhere. If you are lucky enough to find yourself on the dream island of Bali, take advantage of this priceless opportunity and spend time with the local people.  Most Balinese are as curious about you as you are of them.  Many know English and like to practice. You may even develop lifelong friendships and they can open doors for you that other tourists will never see. The Balinese are beautiful honerable people. Treat them with love and respect and your experience will deepen.

We hope these tips help and make your time in Bali more rewarding.  We only share the very best secrets with our tour participants and Balifornian members, but we are happy to share these.  Want more?  That’s easy.  Read our blog regularly, Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and if you want the very best tips, email us at to become a Balifornian. Get the best travel deals, time saving tips and much more. We will never, ever give, sell or transmit your information in anyway, to anyone.  Email us today and benefit right away.

You may have noticed we left out one of the very best things to do in Bali, surfing. Obviously surfing in Bali is amongst the best in the world and other blog posts we have made detail the best breaks and beaches like this one…

but we realize surfing is not for everyone and we wanted this blog post to benefit a wider audience.

Have you used our tips or want to share others?  Please comment below and share your stories.

Salamat Jalan / Happy travels,

Michael and Maryam

Balifornian Villas, Tours, and Travel Blog