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AMED BALI- THE REMOTE NORTHEAST COAST

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Amed Bali coast

Amed coastline with Mt Agung and Mt Batur clearly visible

AMED BALI- THE REMOTE NORTHEAST COAST

Amed is a fairly remote arid coastal region of poor fishing/ farming communities on the far northeast coast of Bali. The entire area is collectively referred to as Amed but actually consists of a series of small beach-side fishing villages, each with its own name and identity.
From west to east there’s Amed, Jemeluk, Bunutan, Lipah, LeeAn, Salang and others beyond. These communities are separated by hills stretching along the coast. The single coastal road winds up over the headlands then down into a small beach-fringed cove then up over the next headlands and down into the next village.


Dancing Dragon resort - Bunutan- Amed- Bali

Reception of Dancing Dragon resort in Bunutan


Until the mid 1980s Amed was undeveloped by tourism, little-visited by outsiders. In the 80s a few low-key resorts began appearing and a paved road was introduced in 1985. Amed locals aged 35 and above still remember childhood life without roads, electricity or any modern development!
Since 1985  several beach-side boutique resorts have sprung up, all with beautiful gardens, lovely Balinese-inspired bungalows, and open-aired restaurants. Luckily, they’ve all maintained a low-key unobtrusive presence. Many promote healthy back-to-nature themes incorporating massage, yoga, cleansing, and so on. No massive 5-star hotels, skyscrapers or modern eyesores here!

bungalow -Coral View Resort- Lipah- Amed- Bali

bungalow at Coral View Resort, Lipah

Probably because of the ‘blend into nature’ style of these resorts the whole area still maintains an atmosphere of local village life. Astoundingly, even when resorts are fully booked you can walk along the meandering coastal road meeting locals going about their daily life, barely passing any other tourists at all. It’s even hard to imagine any other foreigners are around.

 

Local woman- Amed- Bali

Local woman coming downhill for water


An Amed visit is a quiet, tranquil, unhurried blissful retreat from modern life and bustling touristy beach areas. You’re simply surrounded by nature: scrubby hillsides, vast blue sky, trees, flowers, gardens, beach and the expansive sea. Nighttime brings a dark sky brilliant with stars.
Aside from low-key tourism: boutique resorts, dive centers and scattered shops, Amed still revolves around fishing, farming, and in one area salt making. Some locals do manage to make a living off tourism by working in resorts and dive shops, by owning small shops and restaurants or by taking visitors on boat/ snorkeling/ hiking trips.

salt making fields-Amed-Bali

salt making fields in Amed, with Mt Agung watching over

Otherwise, most locals are fishermen/ farmers or salt makers. They live down along the coast and up on the hillsides in small primitive shacks and houses. They are astoundingly poor. In fact, despite the low-key tourism the Amed area is quite poverty stricken.

Lipah fishermen-jukung- Amed- Bali

Lipah fishermen hauling a jukung onto the beach

Fishermen ‘park’ their colorful wooden sailing boats ‘jukung’ along the beaches. Jukung are so numerous that most beaches are packed from end to end. These boats are not simply ‘parked’ though. Fishermen still take them out daily in early mornings around dawn and in  late afternoons fishing for mackerel. Some days bring an excellent catch, some days bring nothing. Luck of the hunt. In any event, it’s an amazingly beautiful site watching hundreds of colorful sails drifting in the sea near sunrise and sunset.

jukung -Amed - Bali

jukung in Amed returning from evening fishing

Some fishermen have been lucky enough to earn money with their jukung by taking tourists out for cruises and divers out to offshore dive sites. Diving from jukung is a fun unique experience which I highly recommend.
Local woman- Amed- Bali

local woman carrying goods-Amed-Bali

Besides watching fishermen taking their boats out/in and hauling mackerel around in buckets, visitors can observe many other village activities: women hauling buckets of water, food, fish, wood on top of their heads; fishermen’s wives selling mackerel roadside; farmers selling vegetables; women taking care of children, and so so. Various ‘truck merchants’ pass through on a daily basis selling vegetables, fruits, fresh meats, clothes, housewares. Locals gather at the trucks to see what’s available and buy necessities.

Local woman- Amed- BaliAmed, like the rest of Bali, practices Hinduism. Balinese Hinduism permeates daily life with plentiful ceremonies including weddings, funerals, temple ceremonies and daily rituals. Every morning begins with temple offerings. First women make tiny baskets of flowers, leaves, rice and treebark. Next they don traditional temple clothing, light incense sticks, and walk around to each small shrine, shop, house entryway, and other locations, carefully placing flower basket offerings and incense. These colorful, fragrant offerings remain on the streets, steps, temples, doorways, etc. until they’re blown away by the wind or swept up by cleaners. Throughout the day sweet fragrances float through the air.

This routine is repeated several times daily! Women spend an enormous amount of time making their little offerings and placing them around. In addition, every week at least one, but often 2-3 days, contain some ceremony or other! People dress up in temple clothing and head to local temples or private houses to participate. Businesses are interrupted as employees constantly attend ceremonies. People spend vast sums of money participating. Hinduism in Bali really defines daily life to a large extent.

temple ceremony- Amed- Bali

large temple ceremony at Amed beach

Tourists to Amed have the fortune of observing and immersing themselves in local daily life.
In addition there are many ‘touristy things’ to do. Relaxing: lounging around beautiful resort gardens, swimming in shaded pools and the tranquil ocean, gazing at the sea, suntanning on beaches, relaxing at beach-side open-aired restaurants, reading books.

scuba Diving - Amed- Bali - Tropical reef

Diving on Amed reefs

Activities include snorkeling on gorgeous shallow coral reefs, diving at spectacular dive sites, taking sailboat cruises, hiking in nearby hills, climbing Bali’s highest volcanic peak, Mt. Agung, chatting with locals, getting fantastic massages from local women. In evenings many young local guys get together to sing music and visitors are welcome to join.
(If you’re interested in hiking in Amed, check out my guidebook: Hiking in Bali 20 Hikes in Amed: Bali’s Remote Northeast Coast )

 

Seaside salt-making paddies in Amed

Seaside salt-making paddies in Amed

For travelers looking for tranquility, nature and ‘the real Bali’ beyond south Bali’s gaudy tourist traps, get yourselves up to Amed!

 

QUESTIONS: 

 

Have you been to Bali? If so, which areas did you like best?

 

Do you think you’d enjoy visiting Amed? Why or why not? 

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If you’re heading to Amed, check out my hiking guidebook:

 

Hiking in Bali – Lash - LashWorldTour

Hiking in Bali  20 Hikes in Amed: Bali’s Remote Northeast Coast

My Hiking in Bali guidebook includes detailed information for staying in  Amed plus hiking preparations such as what to take hiking, getting to/from hike entry points, maps and photos. The book begins with a thorough introduction to visiting Bali,  including all the essential information tourists need for arrival and settling in.

READ MORE        Buy Print Version

 

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4 comments

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  1. Suzy

    Amed seems to have found that nice balance of welcoming visitors but not losing its local flavor.

  2. LASH

    you're exactly right Suzy. thanks for stopping by. cheers, Lash

  3. Pondy

    We are headed to Lipah beach in July 2012 – cant wait , looks great, were not that into the Kuta scene so this place looks like what we are after, thanks for the info Lash , cheers.

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi Pondy. Thanks for stopping by! Oh, cool. If your’e in Amed in July, I’ll probably see you there! Keep in touch so we can arrange to meet. cheers, Lash

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