”Life in Amed” – this is one of the first signs you see when driving into this little village in East of Bali. At first I thought it was just another tourist sign, you know like all places have to lure tourists? But after spending time here I realise that there truly is a meaning to these words.
I had booked five nights in Amed before even coming to Bali, as I had heard that the further North you go the more you get to see the REAL Bali. Two nights in Kuta was enough so I booked a shuttle to take me to Amed. It takes about three hours to get there, take the shuttle or hire a private driver who will take you to see many places along the way and make a day of it. This costs about 50AUD and the shuttle 20AUD. Totally worth the private car if you are more than one person!
After an hour driving you can instantly see the change of scenery, buildings turn into palmtrees and where the sidewalks used to be you now have the ocean or ricefields, I loved it!
One of the many perks with Amed is that it is not located along the main road where all the ”big” traffic goes by, unlike many of the other towns that attracts tourists. You turn off the main road and drive for about 15 minutes before you come into the village. Once you enter Amed it takes about 10-15minutes to drive through it. Now, this may not sound as much and even if you google Amed beforehand you might think this is not a place worth visiting, but trust me on this one, it is a great place to come and experience Bali.
Two words you will see plenty of while driving through Amed are ”Warung” and ”Homestay”, two very basic human needs, this is where you eat and sleep. Warung are family owned restaurants with cheap prices (2-3AUD for Indonesian food) and very good food. Don’t be surprised if your waitress for the evening is a little girl, after all, family owned means family owned.
I had already booked a place to stay but if you have not , don’t worry, even during high season there is always someone who has room for you or knows someone who does. Live with Balinese families in one of many beautiful homestays, on the beach or in the ricefields, you pick! They open up their homes and invite you to stay with them while sharing traditions and teaching you about their culture. This is what I did and its an authentic experience. Basic rooms (bewteen 15-30AUD/night) but with all the essentials, cold water and a fan is the way you do it here. There are no big shops where poeple hassle you to buy things, only small ones owned by (mostly) cute old ladies where you can get what you need, and best of all, fruit! Ask for Salak, one of the weirdest but best fruits I have tried.
Pretty much the only thing people hassle you about here is the typical balinese bracelets and transport. But this is the way they make their living so we can’t blame them for trying, right?
They hassle you about transport because they want to help you fulfill another human need, the need to see and explore things! At the moment people who come to Amed are mostly after the relaxing kind of holiday, but there are plenty of things to do here. Enjoy your day on the blacksand beaches, join a local on his fishing trip at dawn, snorkel the corals (which are everywhere), Jemeluk bay and Japaneese Shipwreck are especially good. If you have never been on a scooter this is a good place to try as the traffic is not so bad, just keep your hands close to the breaks in case you need to stop for chickens running across the road. You can visit temples, waterfalls or just drive to enjoy the scenery. All the kids will be yelling ”hello” at you and you might even get a high five while driving through the even smaller villages. I drove around and alongside the coast, many ups and downs, push the gas real good while going up or else you might not get all the way!
If you are the adventurous type you can climb Mount Agung, go trekking or scubadiving, this is one of the best places in Bali for diving. Whatever your needs might be, just ask any local tourist shop and I can promise you that there isn’t anything they can’t help you with. Nothing here is expensive, but if you think something is too pricy, bargain for a better one!
At sunset many people gather on the hill to see the sun set over Mount Agung while listening to the locals sing and play guitar, a definite must do! Live music is very common here and there is always at least one restaurant with a perfomance every night.
Amed has a little bit of everything, it’s family oriented, very kind and my favourite part, simple. If you ask me, you dont go to Bali to experience luxury. You go to experience something different and to learn and appreciate the simple way of life, which is exactly what Amed gives you. To me, Life in Amed = Life in Bali.
This was a contest submission by Sophie Hedström