We’ve just come back from five stupendous days in sleepy, gorgeous Amed, located on the North Eastern tip of Bali. On a recommendation from a beautiful soul that we met in the Yellow Flower cafe, in Ubud, we booked a taxi over the weekend, with plans to only spend two nights in Amed…we ended up spending five!
Here are our 10 tips on getting the most out of one of Bali’s most stunning locations.
- Don’t Stay in Amed Town, stay at Good Karma!
Yep, our first tip is to not stay in Amed itself. Instead, grab yourself a scooter and get yourself down to Good Karma, located east of the town. Why? Good Karma has the most delicious, soul-nourishing vibe that we’ve ever encountered on our travels. The staff makes you feel like one of them and you’re destined to meet extremely interesting fellow travellers from all over the globe. The beachside bungalows are spacious, with outside bathrooms and large four-poster beds and there’s a sun deck, replete with a sunbed and hammock. Perfect for everyone!
The pool is stunning – with a view over the black sand beach that you’d sell your kids for (if you have any). Finally, the restaurant serves both local dishes and more western fare, cheaper than a small portion of fries at Michael Donald’s (McDonald’s to the uninitiated).
Oh and buy a Good Karma t-shirt. We did and it’s cool (cos we say so).
- The Beach Boys are Your Friends
Nope, not the band. Unlike other beaches around the world (Jamaica, I’m looking at you), the local beach touts here (“beach boys”) are as polite and well mannered as a Harrow schoolboy – when he’s not off his head on coke, that is. Be sure to rent snorkelling equipment from them and take up their offers for boat trips to the most famous snorkelling sites in the area. Haggle, but not too much, mind.
- Spend ALL DAY IN THE WATER
Be like Ariel before she had ambition and rent some snorkelling kit (the right size mask is probably a good idea too), and jump into the pool. Snorkelling can also be had in the sea!
Our typical day: wake up, go for a swim in the pool until our fingers and toes resembled raisins. Jump out of said pool and run into the sea to gawp at the magnificent (and surprisingly, alive) coral and schools of fish. It was as if we were sucked into Finding Nemo (HD), partially naked. Not Finding Dory, as that was crap. You get the idea.
After 2 or 3 hours in the sea, jump back into the pool until it was time to take care of a basic need (sleep, eat etc.).
The water just outside of Good Karma is teeming with sea life. We spotted all kinds of stunning marine flora and fauna. One of the best snorkelling experiences of our lives.
- If You’re Invited to a Midnight Beach BBQ, GO!
This goes without saying, for some. For others, like us, who like to chill out over a nice, quiet, dinner and excellent conversation, we hesitated (for three seconds) when invited to a midnight BBQ on the beach featuring KALI BANG BANG – a species of fish and not a K-POP band. We guarantee that the arak will be flowing and you’ll be swapping war stories with the local fishermen, before staggering back to your bungalow and passing out blissfully on the sunbed – and becoming mosquito fodder in the process.
- Snorkel the Post Box (Sunken “Temple”) & the Japanese Wreck
As you may have seen on our Insta post, we snorkelled a sunken “temple” at Jemaluk Beach, which was supposed to be an authentic site of sacred rituals. It turns out that it is a post box! Nevertheless, it is a stunning site and a must-do when in and around Amed.
East of Amed, is the location of the famous Japanese shipwreck. It is spectacular and lies only 20 metres or so from the beach. The wreck’s origins are unknown but, as our beach boy (Wylan) told us: “it’s a Japanese ship that was bombed in WW2.” Good enough for us! The myriad of sea life is stunning and, if you bring some fish food, the little buggers get greedy and start nibbling on your legs! Well, they did that to me.
- Stay at Stairway to Heaven and Watch the Sunrise
It’s definitely worth spending a night at Stairway to Heaven, a set of bungalows owned by the Good Karma proprietors (Katsuko and Baba), that are elevated above sea level. Watching the sunrise from the balcony is magnificent: we’ll let the picture speak for itself.
- Take your Scooter and Just Go
We followed the coast road inland, and to the east of Amed, on a leisurely cruise through the villages dotted amongst and within the jungle and mountain slopes, stopping at the Ujung Water Palace for lunch. It’s a beautifully-rendered palace, teeming with fish and historical artefacts telling the story of the local region’s royal family. Pro-tip: buy fish food here and take it back to any of the reefs.
Driving through small villages with smiling kids playing ball (or chase the chicken/cat/dog/goat) is an experience that will make your heart melt, and improve your scooter skills in the process.
- Do Nothing
The magnificence of the natural surroundings in Amed created spaces in our minds so that we could just be and appreciate the moment. Basically, that was our excuse for doing nothing. Long stretches of the day spent idling by the pool or in the Good Karma restaurant, chatting to the staff, reading a book or making sharing our lives with other travellers. Give yourself permission to do sweet FA – you’ll thank us for it.
- Sit and Watch the Stars
The clear sky and the backdrop of the Lombok mountains on the horizon provides the perfect frame for sitting and staring at the stars. You’ll feel humbled by the grandiose tapestry of interstellar objects shining their light on us from the past. It’s even better when you are bathed in moonlight with a cold Bintang at arm’s reach and the sound of the waves crashing against the surf. Hashtag soothing.
- Eat Copious Amounts of Honey Pancakes
Good Karma does an incredible honey pancake. The honey is sweet yet not-too-sweet, and the pancakes are fluffy and not too heavy. You’ll feel guilty, guaranteed, but you’ll be beaming from ear-to-ear after your second and retching after your fifth. Don’t worry: you’ll be back for more tomorrow.
So there you have it, 10 things to do in Amed that should resonate with even the most ardent traveller.
What recommendations do you have? Let us know in the comments below!