Amed in Bali: Review of What You Should Know

Alexis
Modified on January 1, 2024

Amed isn't the most famous destination in Bali, but it does pack a punch. Here is a review and guide to help you decide if you should stop in Amed.

Where is Amed in Bali?

Knowing where Amed is located is important because when you're in Amed, it can be difficult and quite far to go anywhere else!

Amed is nestled on the North-East coast of Bali, about 2 to 3 hours drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport.

This distance from the airport (and other destinations in Bali) has both advantages and disadvantages, which we will discuss below.

Amed is historically a fishing village, and its authentic charm has remained intact despite the increase in tourism. The existing tourism is primarily dominated by people looking for a certain authenticity of Balinese countryside, and above all, tranquility.

Over the years, Amed has become a popular destination for travelers seeking underwater diving, relaxation, and a true Balinese experience. However, it still stays far from the tourist volumes of some destinations in South Bali like Kuta, Sanur, or Seminyak.

What does Amed look like today?

Amed Bali

Today, Amed is the equivalent of a large village capable of welcoming international tourists, but without becoming a true resort city either.

In Amed, there are few very large hotels, no real beach clubs, no malls, and other franchises of large international groups as it can sometimes be the case in Bali.

So, the village looks more like a "normal" Balinese village as there are many along the North coast, with simple tourist facilities added.

Amed is famous for its preserved natural beauty, pebble beaches, crystal-clear waters, and spectacular underwater scenery rather than mass tourism, restaurants, or malls!

The major pros of Amed

According to me, Amed has many advantages, but here are the main ones.

Amed has a view that is really hard to beat

Let's be clear, there are few places in Bali where you can have a view as breathtaking as in Amed.

The mix of black sand beach, small hills, and the massive Mount Agung (because it's very close!) in the background has something magical to it.

From all the hilltops in Amed, you have this view of the sea with the volcano in the background, which is quite something.

Amed's hotels are often nice and not too expensive

Many of the hotels and other accommodations in Amed are seaside or just a few steps away from the beach. Since Amed is ultimately a village along a road that runs along the sea, the likelihood of staying in a hotel by the sea or having a room with a sea view is quite high.

If a few years ago the accommodations offer was quite basic, today there are more establishments with different standards that can suit quite varied budgets.

In general, since Amed is remote and less trendy than some destinations in South Bali, prices tend to be quite reasonable in regard to the quality you can get.

Booking.com

The surroundings of Amed are quite traditional and spared from mass tourism

If Amed remains a touristy place, even if it is spared from mass tourism, the villages around Amed are much more traditional.

As soon as you leave Amed, you are quickly in the "real" Balinese countryside with everything that it implies. So, Amed is not a bad base for discovering Balinese culture, with a added magnificent view and a minimum of comfort.

The underwater world of Amed and its surroundings is beautiful and renowned for diging

The North and East of Bali are highly renowned for their diving and snorkeling spots. Amateur divers come from all over the world to discover the underwater world around Amed, and the more experienced ones come to Amed to dive on shipwrecks that seem straight out of a dream.

Some even come to train and obtain their PADI levels in one of the many diving schools in Amed.

diving in amed

Amed is a very calm place in Bali, perfect for relaxation

If Amed is so appreciated, it's primarily because, in addition to being a beautiful village with magnificent underwater scenery, it's a green and very calm place in Bali.

So, you are very far from South Bali and its traffic jams, parties, and (sometimes) bling-bling atmosphere... Basically, in Amed, you are a few steps further from mass tourism than elsewhere. It's not what everyone looks for in Bali, but from my experience, I know that many Europeans people hope to find this in Bali, and they often find it in Amed and its region.

The negative sides of Amed

Surprisingly, Amed also has some serious cons that seem important to keep in mind, especially if you plan to stay in this region for more than a few days.

Saying that Amed is not central is an understatement

Amed is far from everything, for better or for worse. So, while this brings fewer tourists to the region, it's also less convenient in many ways.

Firstly, just getting to the airport can be quite a mission. Count on 3 hours most of the time.

But above all, there is no big Balinese city (or big resort cities) around to make your life easy. You are really in the middle of nowhere. The biggest "city" around Amed is Amlapura, and it's still clearly a big village. Even Singaraja, the largest city in North Bali, is still 2 hours away from Amed.

So, small shopping for something specific that you can't find in Amed, or perhaps a visa extension at the immigration office, can quickly turn into a day-long expedition!

The road to reach Amed is quite dangerous (be careful if you're on a scooter)

If you come to Amed from South Bali, you'll have to pass through the Ida Bagus Mantra bypass 4-lane road, which is the route many trucks take to Padang Bai, one of Bali's ports where ferries depart. If this road is already very dangerous in itself, it's far from the end of your troubles!

In short, Amed is located "behind" the mountains, which must be crossed at some point. The slope is steep, the turns are tight, and vehicles on these slopes are not always adopting basic survival precautions. And of course, the altitude means that it rains more often than elsewhere, making it even more dangerous.

In short, if you go to Amed on your own, especially on a scooter if you're not used to it, be very, very careful, especially in the rainy season. If in doubt, use a driver, really.

Amed can be too calm for some

Amed is calm, which may not be to everyone's taste.

If for you, being on vacation in Bali means getting drunk every night in beach clubs, discovering new restaurants every day, and bringing a different person/nationality into your bed every night, you might quickly find Amed monotonous!

Who frequents Amed?

You can encounter a bit of everything in Amed, but here's the archetype of those you're going to meet.

Divers and snorkeling rnthusiasts: Amed's main visitors

As Amed serves as the gateway to a true underwater paradise, you will naturally encounter divers from around the world, of all skill levels.

This ranges from experts obtaining certifications to teach diving themselves, to snorkeling beginners in need of a life jacket to stay afloat. There are also those honing their skills, others experiencing a dive for the first time, and even surfers from the southern part of the island training in freediving.

In essence, if diving is your thing, you might make some friends.

Couples seeking romance and intimacy: quite present in Amed

Not surprisingly, the tranquility of Amed and the authenticity of its surroundings make it a good destination for a touch of romance.

There are therefore many couples in Amed, from all countries, even those not particularly interested in diving. If you're wondering if Amed is a good destination for a honeymoon, the answer is yes in many cases!

Travellers seeking authenticity (many Europeans!)

Those looking to escape the busier tourist areas of Bali appreciate the simplicity and authenticity of Amed, and this is true for many Europeans people.

What to do in Amed?

Since Amed is not very large, most of what there is to do revolves around the following activities.

Scuba diving and snorkeling: the must-do in Amed

If you want to go scuba diving in Bali, Amed is undoubtedly in the top 3 best places to do so (along with Candidasa and Nusa Penida).

Since Amed's beach is calm with no waves or currents, beginners can even try snorkeling with minimal risk (and at a low cost) directly from the shore.

Experienced divers, or those looking for fantastic dives, can explore numerous underwater playgrounds in the region, including the USAT Liberty wreck in Tulamben, not far from Amed, Kubu, or the "Japanese Shipwreck" wreck.

In short, there's plenty to do.

Relaxing on waveless beaches: Amed is not the worst destination for chilling

If diving is not your thing (or if, like me, your ears are too damaged for it), Amed remains an exceptionally pleasant destination without needing to descend 10 meters underwater!

The beaches are truly tranquil, without waves, and the small beachfront restaurants and bars are perfect for a lazy afternoon if you fancy.

Visit nearby cultural sites

Although Amed is quite isolated from the rest of Bali (some might even say to the rest of the world), there are still some significant cultural activities along the road to Amed or not far away, including:

  • The Tirta Gangga Water Palace (right on the way when you come from South!)
  • The Lempuyang Temple
  • The Besakih Temple
  • The Puri Agung Karangasem Temple

Hike in the North Bali volcanoes: relatively close to Amed

The Agung and even Batur volcanoes are not that far from Amed. At least, they are closer than reaching them from South Bali.

A day trip to one of the two volcanoes is therefore doable from Amed, which is good news for many.

Who do I recommend Amed to the most?

Confidentially, I recommend Amed to almost everyone, at least for a few days. Nevertheless, here are the typical profiles of those most likely to leave Amed delighted.

If you want to dive/snorkel in Bali, then yes, go to Amed

If diving is a significant part of your visit to Bali, there aren't too many questions to ask yourself: yes, you should include Amed in your itinerary !

Not only are there superb wrecks just minutes away from the main village, but it's also possible to snorkel easily, and you can find all the necessary diving gear in Amed if you haven't travelled with it.

Plus, many people come to Amed specifically for diving, so you are likely to meet people who, like you, have a taste for deep sea.

If you want a view of the sea AND a volcano at the same time, Amed is for you

Having a view of the sea AND a volcano at the same time is rare in Bali. It's generally either one or the other, or everything needs to be clear for kilometers, which is an alignment of planets you can't exactly rely on.

This all-inclusive 2-in-1 package is, for me, sufficient to justify spending a few days in Amed, with or without diving, especially if you aren't used to seeing volcanoes. It remains a view that takes your breath away, even when, like me, you already live in Bali.

Peace and countryside lovers are in paradise in Amed

If you love peace, small mountains, countryside, greenery, fishing, and life at a slower pace, then Amed is clearly one of the destinations to prioritise in Bali.

Amed's calmness is really not a myth, especially if you stay a bit away from the "city center," which is already very calm.

Amed is a good entry point for some North Bali destinations

If you plan to visit North Bali, especially the volcano area, Amed is not the worst entry point if you're coming from the South or East of Bali.

The village has the advantage of being comfortable, convenient, and having the sea (did I mention the view of the volcanoes?), which is not always the case once you venture into the depths of central Bali.

Conclusion

Amed offers a true Balinese escape, with a relaxed atmosphere, exceptional dive sites, and authentic charm.

Whether you are passionate about diving, relaxation, or cultural exploration, I recommend to almost everyone to stop there for a few days or even dedicate a significant part of your itinerary for it.

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