Amed is a cluster of tiny coastal villages on the island of Bali in Indonesia. A welcome relief from the island’s busier tourist and party destinations, the area is laid-back and charmingly modest, despite offering world-class scuba diving. So, is Amed worth visiting? In this article, you will discover seven of the most blissful things to do in Amed that make it a must-visit on your Bali trip.
Where is Amed?
While the area is known as Amed, it is actually seven fishing villages dotted over nine miles (14 km) along the east coast of Bali. They are called Amed, Jemeluk, Bunutan, Lipah, Selang, Banyuning and Aas. If you’re wondering where to go in Amed, read on to find out more about the best beaches, activities and accommodation in each village. Amed is a tranquil place to stay for everyone from families to digital nomads, so you can’t go too far wrong. We decided to make our base in Jemeluk, a 15 minute walk from Amed village, as it has affordable homestays and friendly bars and restaurants.
Sunbathe on the black volcanic sand at Amed beach
One of the main things you’ll notice when you’re in Amed is the imposing Mount Agung, Bali’s highest volcano, which dominates the backdrop. Head to Amed beach for awe-inspiring views of this impressive peak. Look down and you will see you are standing on volcanic black sand. Relaxing and sunbathing on this black sand is one of the most popular things to do in Amed during the day.
Nearby black sand beaches in the area are Lipah Beach and Jemeluk beach, where you can enjoy a Bintang beer at a local Amed warung called Sunset Point.
Go snorkelling among Amed’s vibrant marine life
If you’re at one of Amed’s beaches, why not hire snorkelling equipment and explore the coastline’s many pretty underwater spots. The unspoiled coral and colourful marine life make this area an underwater paradise, even if you’re a novice snorkeller.
Jemeluk Bay is a well-reputed snorkelling location thanks to its vibrant marine life and its incredible underwater temple and sculptures. Other popular areas to snorkel include Lipah Beach which has many vivid coral formations.
Explore an incredible underwater shipwreck
A 25-minute drive north of Amed is Tulamben, a fishing village and dive resort. It is popular for being home to the USAT Liberty (better known as USS Liberty) shipwreck, Amed’s most famous scuba diving spot and a favourite with visitors to Bali. Not to be confused with a smaller Japanese shipwreck in Amed, this 130-metre long United States Army cargo ship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942 during World War II. The ship originally lay on the beach until the eruption of Mount Agung two decades later caused it to slip into the sea. As the wreck still in relatively shallow waters, it’s easily accessible by fun divers or even if you’re learning to scuba dive in Amed. As a result, there is an abundance of dive shops in the area.
It had been one of my ambitions to explore a shipwreck and it was truly a magical experience. The ship’s dark iron skeleton is now home to an abundance of marine life and at one point, we even swam inside the wreckage. Below you can watch a video of our underwater adventure.
After the Liberty wreck it was time to investigate an Amed scuba diving site known as the Tulamben drop-off, a sheer wall covered in colourful coral. We were treated to a rare sighting of a school of large silver bumphead fish on their way to rest in the wreck for the evening.
If you’re feeling adventurous, Amed freediving is also renowned in Bali. Visit one of the area’s freediving centres for full guidance on how to safely descend into the water without equipment.
Celebrate a Balinese festival
While we were in Amed, the local people were preparing for the Galungan festival, one of Bali’s most significant religious ceremonies. While having lunch one day, we chatted to a guy who was creating a penjor, a beautiful decorated bamboo pole which arches over the street, laden with gifts and offerings for the spirits.
For the day of the festival itself, we received a kind offers from our homestay owner Ketut and her neighbours to borrow a motorbike and visit their family temple. We dressed in traditional Balinese sarongs that we’d bought from local shops and were welcomed in. Here we watched the women in their colourful lace and sashes carry plentiful offerings of food and flowers. Extended families from all over the country are reunited for this important event in the Balinese calendar.
Chill out with the locals and dance to reggae bands
You may be wondering, what is Amed, Bali like in everyday life? Well, life in Amed is super laid-back but it has an entrepreneurial spirit. We met a group of friendly local guys relaxing on the beach, who told us that many of them have several jobs supporting the area’s tourism. Don’t be surprised if you recognise your taxi driver serving dinner at a restaurant in Amed, or if you spot your scuba diving instructor later than night performing on stage in a reggae band.
If you ever find you’re not sure what to do in Amed, Balinese locals here are so well-connected, they are sure to be able to help you. One day during our stay, we were invited to the launch party for a new bar in a neighbouring village. We wandered up the road to find locals and tourists dancing all night to the band’s cool reggae grooves. They made us feel really welcome and we enjoyed this taste of Amed’s nightlife.
Discover more relaxing things to do in Amed
Amed is one of those disarmingly relaxed, slow-paced places where you arrive for a couple of days and end up staying for a week. We met other travellers who experienced the same thing. It’s a great place to unwind and appreciate the simple joys and life around you.
There are plenty of blissful things to do in Amed. Take your time and enjoy a relaxing massage in Amed’s spas which include the Om Shanti Spa in Bunutan and the Bamboo Sweet Spa in Amed village.
The top yoga studios for travellers in Amed include Apneista Bali and Ocean Prana in Jemeluk, as well as Blue Earth Village and Buddha Sunset Yoga in Bunutan.
Otherwise, simply deciding where to eat in Amed from its tempting selection of restaurants, organic cafes and local warungs with entertainment provided by a reggae band will make you smile.
Take a trip from Amed
How to get to Amed, Bali and a beautiful stop on the way
The most convenient way to go to Amed in east Bali is by taxi. From Bali’s international airport in Denpasar to Amed it takes two and a half hours. It’s around the same travel time from the popular town of Ubud.
Even on the way to Amed, Bali there are things to do. Halfway through our journey from Ubud to Amed, our taxi driver took us to the Tirta Gangga water palace. Here, you can wander around the peaceful gardens and fountains, and hop between paving stones like lily pads across the main pond.
Where to stay in Amed and soak up the sun
Even though it’s one of Bali’s more off-the-beaten-track locations, there are many places to stay in Amed. Accommodation is available for all budgets, from beautiful beach resorts to villas, hotels, Airbnbs and homestays.
For a slice of luxury, check out the 4-star Life in Amed boutique hotel in Bunutan village, which has a restaurant and a fabulous outdoor pool. Also in Bunutan is the Aquaterrace Amed, Bali’s answer to an Ibiza-style beach retreat. Nearby resorts include the Santai Hotel Amed, set in a tropical garden and offering spa treatments, and the hillside Amed Dream hotel with dramatic views over the sea.
In Amed village is the superb Amed Beach Villa, close to Amed beach, which has an infinity pool and panoramic views. Close by is the Hotel Uyah Amed spa resort, which is also a dive centre. If you are looking for yoga in Amed, just north of Amed village is the beautiful Balila Beach Resort, which has stunning sea views, a swimming pool and often hosts retreats.
If you are in Jemeluk and on a backpackers’ budget like we were, I highly recommend Dharma Yoga, a spacious, sunny and affordable homestay with reliable WiFi connection, managed by the delightful manager, Ketut. The upstairs rooms have a large balcony overlooking the sea and every day we enjoyed the glorious sunrises. Alternatively, try the Bamboo Bali Amed homestay, which has simple bungalows on the beach with their own terrace and hammock.
Browse and book all the best guesthouses in Amed here.
Next up, discover all the perfect destinations that will make you fall in love with Bali.