City Guide: Amed, Bali

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Amed, a sleepy town on the far east coast of Bali, is a diamond in the rough. Decades ago, Amed was probably nothing more than a typical mountainside Balinese village. But as tourism crept in, and the depths of Amed’s Jemeluk Bay were first explored by adventurers, so came the restaurants, guest houses & dive shops. Today, Amed still feels like a Balinese village…with a high percentage of foreigners. Only one road runs through the heart of Amed, and in the midst of tourist expansion, the Balinese heart & culture remain evident. Amed continues to be a favorite getaway spot of ours on Bali, so here’s your guide to what to eat, drink, see & do while in Amed.

EAT
Warung Amsha
This is the restaurant where I fell in love with Amed. Located right on the beach in front of Classic Beach Villas, this place could easily be looked over. But don’t skip it. Some of the freshest Balinese food you will try can be found right here. From the tempe satay covered in rich peanut sauce to the variety of light & tasty curries, health conscious eaters will find plenty to be happy about. Two Balinese dishes to try are the pepes ikan, which is a fresh fish, marinated & steamed in a banana leaf and cooked rich with flavors and the sate lilit, fish shredded & mixed with coconut milk & spices, wrapped around satay sticks and grilled. Delicious, all around. For dessert, try lak-lak, a Balinese dessert consisting of small rice flour pancakes covered in palm sugar & coconut flakes. To drink like the locals, try cocktails made with arak, the local Balinese liquor.  With your toes in the sand and your belly full, Warung Amsha will not disappoint.

Warung Enak
This gem is located on the main road of town, nestled between dive shops. The word enak in the Indonesian language means delicious, and this place does not disappoint. The chalkboard menu hangs from the walls around the restaurant, and immediately you see the diverse & unique dishes Warung Enak has to offer. Fresh salads, bbq fish, curries, pizzas, and juices may seem like regular menu standards but Warung Enak puts a creative spin on their choices. Whether it’s a chicken & pineapple curry or a roast pumpkin & feta cheese salad or a smoked salmon & onion caper wood-fired pizza, you can’t go wrong. That chicken & pineapple curry [$4 USD] was top of the list for me, by the way! With the most expensive menu item at $6 USD, at Warung Enak you can eat well for real cheap.

Warung Nikmat
I happened upon Warung Nikmat on a rainy afternoon when I was hungry and didn’t want to venture far from my hotel. The menu looked appetizing, but I was really in the mood for pizza. They offered a simple Margherita pizza for $4 USD, so I thought I’d give it a try. The staff said it would take some time, so they’d bring it to my hotel room when it was finished. Fine with by me! Almost an hour later when I opened my hotel room door, I was pleasantly surprised to see a homemade deep dish pizza! Most pizzas in Bali are thin crust, and usually pre-made crust. But Warung Nikmat created a thick & delicious pizza, reminiscent of Chicago style dining, on it’s own unique crust. Needless to say, we ate there again before we left Amed. What a treat!

Fusion FreeDiving Cafe
After a day of diving, no need to go farther than Fusion Freediving’s own cafe. Rehydrate with chilled fresh coconut water bottled right in the cafe. Light, healthy and well priced options fill the Fusion Cafe menu. My favorite was the chicken curry, which was plentiful and rich in flavor. Hanging out at the Fusion Cafe is like being part of a family. Almost everyone there is training to be freedivers, aspiring freedivers, or trainers of freedivers. The stories are epic and advice is invaluable. For food & community, step in the Fusion Freediving Cafe.

Galanga Garden Restaurant
Top rated for a reason, Galanga Garden Restaurant is a step above the rest…literally. Located on the hilltop away from Jemeluk Bay, Galanga is tucked away in a lush green paradise. A few tables are arranged in a dining room, but most are spread out throughout the garden in little gazebos, or an Indonesian bale. A fusion menu of European & Asian dishes are fresh and exciting. We tried Galanga for brunch, but I can imagine this place being fantastic for all hours of the day. The homemade brioche with fresh jams & fruits was melt in your mouth fantastic. We tried an exotic Matahari juice, which contained pineapple, orange, ginger, honey & curry for an invigorating & refreshing beverage. Galanga is well priced, well designed and well prepared. Can’t wait until our next trip to Amed to eat here again!

DRINK
Sunset Point
This cliffside restaurant overlooks the whole of Amed, from the lush mountainside down to the shores of Jemeluk Bay. Even Mt. Agung makes an appearance. Tables at Sunset Point sit precariously close to the edge, and if it’s a windy day, you may choose a table not so near the edge. Sunset Point offers typical restaurant food, but really shines in the beverages. Creative cocktails, including a few featuring a local Balinese liquor called arak, can be enjoyed, as well as beer. Juices & smoothies are delicious and fresh. But Sunset Point is all about it’s view. The only restaurant on this hillside corner, Sunset Point has the premier overlook of Amed. While Amed is on the east coast of Bali, sunset isn’t as spectacular as other spots in Bali, this is by far the best place to watch it Amed. On a good night, you are enjoying a tasty drink, watching the sun’s sinking rays illuminating a glowing Mt. Agung.

SEE
Beaches
Amed isn’t really know for it’s diverse tourist attractions. It’s a beach town. So you gotta see the beach! What makes the Amed beach unique from southern Bali is the black volcanic sand. Most northern/eastern beaches are exclusively black sand, due to the nearby volcanoes in the region. It’s a stark contrast to the more famous beaches found down south. It’s visually striking and unforgettable. Amed beaches could be good for swimming, depending on the waves and wind. Either way, they are perfect for a beach resort and a good book.

coast

DO
Diving
Ultimately, Amed is a dive town. You can’t walk a mile without encountering a dive shop. Depending on your budget and what experience you want, you really have your choice of shops. Nearby to Amed is a sunken shipwreck from World War 2, called the USS Liberty. It’s the most famous dive site in Bali, and almost all dive trips visit this trip. For a new diving experience, try freediving with one of the few shops in town, like Fusion Freediving & Yoga. Freediving, or extreme snorkeling, is diving without the tanks and only breath holds. But without the loud & bulky equipment that scuba diving requires, free diving allows for a peaceful experience below the sea with the wildlife. For a better description of freediving, check out my husband’s guest blogs about freediving here.

Spa
If diving is not your thing, don’t worry and just relax. At the spa, that is. Spa services abound in Bali, but one of my favorite spa locations continues to be Jepun Bali Spa in Amed. Aside from the fantastic relaxing & deep tissue massages [1 hour for $6 USD], they also offer body masks and skin care. The Cucumber Soother body mask is perfect for skin that has seen a little too much sun. Beginning with a refreshing rose petal soak in the tub and ending with a cucumber cooling applied to the whole body, my skin felt rehydrated instantly. The Bali Honey mask is also fabulous. I literally watched my masseuse create the mask from natural ingredients. She first scrubbed my skin with a coconut body scrub to exfoliate all my limbs, the covered me in a honey mask and then I was wrapped in banana leaves. My skin felt brand new. Best part, these hour long scrubs are only $15 USD. Another fun experience at Jepun is the Amed Refreshing Facial where I had cucumber slices across my entire face!

GET AROUND
Walking
Amed is so small, you will just end up walking everywhere. Walking up the hill to some of the warungs may take a bit of effort, but not impossible. You won’t see any official taxis like you do in the big cities, and Grab Taxi and Uber won’t work here. So enjoy the slow pace of life in Amed!

Motorbike Rental
If you wanted wheels, renting a motorbike for your time is really easy. Most hotels can arrange, or even some guy will offer you one while you are walking. The roads aren’t too bad, and there’s hardly any traffic, so it’s a pretty easy place to do motorbike driving if you never have. I also got motorbike rides places, kinda like a motorbike taxi. You could also ask your hotel about rides up to the hilltop or further out of town stops, and they can arrange.

WHERE TO STAY
Manik Garam Villas
This guesthouse is new and modern with large rooms right on the beach. They also have an infinity pool with lounge chairs. There’s a full restaurant, which offers a range of meals, but we only ever ate breakfast because of all the other great places to eat in Amed. This guesthouse isn’t on the main bay of Amed, which we preferred, because it’s a little quieter. But less than a 10 minute walk put us in the heart of Amed. A well priced hotel at only $22/night including breakfast!

Classic Beach Villas
A beautiful property with quaint bungalows at Classic Beach Villas provide a serene setting while staying in Amed. The bungalows, while simple, are spacious. A lovely lounge area in front of each bungalow is quite nice for mid day naps and early morning reading. Classic Beach Villas also has a large infinity pool with incredible views of both the beach and the reverse, green mountaintops. With breakfast is included each day Classic Beach Villas is a great find at $26/night.

Amed is a fantastic beach village worth the long car ride from the airport. It’s off the beaten path, but yet well developed for tourists. For a video look into Amed, and our most recent trip, check out my December 2016 SnapChat story!

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