Friends of us have been to Amed (map) before and loved it so much that we knew we had to see it ourselves. Amed is known as a quiet fishermen’s village that mainly consists of one street along the beach with some homestays, small shops, restaurants and surfing schools. Amed is also a region with some small villages, so make sure you know exactly where you want to stay as it can take about ten minutes by scooter to reach the next village.
We took a private driver from Ubud to Amed which cost 520.000 IDR and took about two hours. Definitely try to get a room at Bubu Racok’s homestay. It is located right at the beach so you can enjoy your breakfast with a sea view or have a little barbecue on the beach while the sun sets behind the impressive Mount Agung. If you are lucky you can see sea turtles while snorkeling just in front of the homestay around 4 or 5 pm. Wayan, the owner, is such an open, kind and helpful person that you can always ask him if you need anything. You can also rent a scooter from him which is 50.000 IDR per day.
The first day we walked along the beach and discovered the main road with its Warungs. We had a snack at ‘Cristal Beach Grill & Drink’ which is a small Warung that had just opened two weeks before. The food was very good and the owner was open and very friendly. Someone on the street recommended the Warung Enak to us so we booked a table for the evening, which was a good decision, as it is always full. All dishes are written on chalkboards which are placed on the walls. The food is mainly Indonesian and we loved it.
The next day we decided to visit the water palace Tirta Gangga with our scooters. It takes about half an hour and is a nice ride through beautiful landscape. Unfortunately, we were stopped by the police on our way who was carrying out a road control. They asked us for our international driving license which we didn’t have. As we had read about the police and their controls before traveling to Bali, we knew that they would always find something to take money from you and that an international driving license wouldn’t have changed anything. At first we should pay a fine of 1.000.000 IDR which is way too much. So we waited, talked a bit in German with each other and tried to explain that we didn’t know about the license. After a short conversation the police man asked us what we wanted to pay so we said 200.000 IDR and he agreed on 500.000 IDR for two scooters (as we were in three). He gave us something like a receipt, which the police said would let us pass other police controls in case there should be more. We still don’t believe this story, as the piece of paper only contained our names and the amount we had paid, but we were lucky and there weren’t any other controls on the way. So wait for a while, discuss a bit, act stupid and you are likely to pay less than expected. We have to say that it feels wierd to pay off the police. And in further conversations with the locals, we also found out that corruption is a huge problem in Indonesia. As a local friend told is ‘it is not like in your country – the police is not your friend’. This sounds a bit more dramatic than it actually felt like. Corruption is a problem – but you won’t have any further problems with the police. And in the end it was even cheaper than an international driver’s license.
After our experience with the local police, we arrived at Tirta Gangga, the entry fee was 20.000 IDR per person and we could leave our helmets at the ticket office. We loved the water palace with its variety in plants and flowers, its water basins with fish and the overall arrangement of statues and temple elements. On TripAdvisor we had read before that some people had their scooter tyres pierced on the big parking lot just in front of the entrance and that locals later on sold them new tyres, so we drove a little further and parked our scooters there. We guess it is good idea to do the same.
We also explored the southern area of Amed with our scooters and drove about 20 minutes along the main road until we reached the Japanese shipwreck which is signposted. The beach is stoney, pretty narrow and full of traditional ships, so there is not much space to lay down. But as the shipwreck is only about 5 meters away from the beach, it is perfect for snorkeling. After enjoying some time snorkeling and discovering the underwater world, we went back north -a few minutes by scooter- and found our dream beach. We had seen it on our way to the shipwreck and remembered it. Just park your scooter at the street and you will find small steps going all the way down to the beach. There are also rented houses but it’s not a private beach so you can lay down on the very soft sand or rent a sunbed. This is also a good spot for snorkeling as the Coral garden is just a few meters away from the beach. In the evening we had dinner right at the beach at Amed Seaview Warung which was good.
We did get the so called ‘Bali belly’ (digestive problems) for two days which is pretty common and you never really know which bacteria are responsible for it. You can get charcoal tablets in the supermarket which help your tummy and gut flora to get better quickly. Apart from that you cannot do anything, just eat carefully and stomach-friendly and you will feel better soon.
In case you want to continue your trip to the Gili Islands you can book a boat directly from Amed. Just remember to book it a few days ahead as there are not many boats and they only take about 50 people. During the high season some days are already sold out. We booked the ‘Kuda Hitam Express’ two days in advance with the help of Wayans friend who came to our homestay and sold the tickets directly to us (225.000 IDR). It takes a bit more than an hour to reach Gili Trawangan and as the boat isn’t too big you should be relatively seaworthy as the waves can be pretty high.
Overall, we loved Amed with its relaxed atmosphere, the few tourists and friendly locals that will always help you with everything. The beaches are often black as there are volcanos around, but we barely saw any other place that was so original and authentic. We highly recommend spending some days here, enjoy the silence and explore the surroundings! Amed is the original Bali that everyone is searching for.