Since coming to Amed Bali in Indonesia, I’ve been hit with a bad case of island fever. All I want to do is sit on the beach and watch the waves flow in and out on the shore. Sometimes I’ll even take a swim in the ocean instead of staying at home and working. It’s gotten so bad, I’m afraid it may be terminal!
All joking aside, I really have been enjoying my time here in Amed. And one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about Amed is being able to experience snorkeling in Bali. Amed is a great Bali snorkeling destination. And it’s one of those villages that is still yet to be discovered by too many tourists.
This post was updated on February 21, 2020.
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Finding places to experience Bali snorkeling
My previous Bali snorkeling experience was back in 2015. And to tell you the truth, it was a bit of a disappointment. We booked a ride on a glass bottom boat that took us out into a bay where we could go snorkeling. The water was choppy, and there were at least ten other boats with tourists doing the same thing we were doing. Needless to say, I was not impressed.
Since then, I’ve been wanting to find other places to experience snorkeling in Bali. It turns out, the best places for snorkeling in Bali are in the east and northeast side of the island, as well as the west. Any place near the southern end of Bali, where many tourists like to visit, are not as ideal. The water can be rough, and visibility may not be so great. The Lonely Planet Bali, Lombok, and Nusa Tenggara guide book has some suggestions for snorkeling locations within Bali.
Fortunately, Amed is located on the eastern part of the island, so it’s a perfect place for experiencing Bali snorkeling. It is traditionally a fishing village, but in recent years, it has become a popular spot for snorkeling and diving due to its fairly healthy coral reefs surrounding the area. If you’re planning to visit, you can find plenty of lodging options in Amed.
Getting to and getting around Amed Bali
The village of Amed Bali is approximately 98 kilometers (60 miles) from Ngurah Rai International Airport. Due to the condition of the roads, the ride to Amed from the airport can take anywhere between two to three hours. Buses go periodically to Amed, but the best bet for families is to rent a private car to take you there from the airport. The cost is around Rp. 500,000 (approximately $35) one way.
Once in Amed, the best way to get around is by renting a motor scooter. We paid Rp. 40,000 (approximately $3) per day to rent a scooter with a helmet for three weeks. But if you’re renting on a daily basis, expect to pay around Rp. 50,000 (approximately $3.50) per day.
If you’ve never driven a scooter before, take a few practice rides with someone who’s experienced before tackling the roads on your own. Driving a scooter can be risky. I saw a handful of tourists take some nasty spills during my time in Amed Bali. That said, most locals use scooters as a way to get around. You will need an International Driver’s License to drive a scooter. Americans can get an IDP at any AAA office before traveling to Bali.
If you’re not comfortable driving a scooter, you can catch a taxi around town. Just know that you may have to wait for some time to find one! The taxis are unmarked, but will often honk their horn asking for a ride, if they see you walking or waiting on the road. A one way ride will cost between Rp. 50,000 to 75,000, depending on the distance. Alternatively, you can rent a car in Denpasar or at the airport, and drive it to Amed.
Why Amed is great for snorkeling in Bali
Compared to my previous snorkeling in Bali experience, snorkeling in Amed has been nothing short of amazing. Our villa is located just across the street from a popular snorkeling beach, so it’s easy to squeeze in a quick snorkeling trip in the morning or afternoon. Besides close and easy proximity to beaches, there are a few other reasons why Amed Bali is great for snorkeling.
Unique Bali snorkeling locations
Amed has several unique snorkeling locations to choose from. Jemeluk Bay is a popular diving and snorkeling spot. There are Hindu and Buddhist statues placed among the coral, so it’s a fun place to take underwater photos. Likewise, the USS Liberty and the Japanese Shipwreck are popular places to snorkel, due to the novelty of exploring a sunken ship. But for my family, our favorite place for snorkeling in Amed Bali is Lipah Beach. The coral is colorful, and healthy in many parts of that beach.
Diversity of fish
I’m not a fish expert, so I can’t say exactly what type of fish you can find while snorkeling in Amed Bali. But I can say that there is a large variety of fish that you can see. During one snorkeling excursion, we even saw a sting ray! Usually, we’ll see various kinds of small fish swimming in schools, as well as larger fish swimming and feeding among the coral. It was a great opportunity to test out our new FujiFilm Fine Pix XP140 underwater camera!
Availability of gear
If you’re new to snorkeling, or didn’t think to pack snorkeling gear before coming to Amed, there are plenty of stores that sell the gear throughout the village. Our favorite place to buy Bali snorkeling gear is at Adi Shop. You can also buy fresh food and produce at Adi Shop, as well as imported foods like wine, butter, or cheese.
The sunsets in Amed Bali are amazing! Since parts of Amed are set on a hill, there are plenty of spots throughout the village where you can catch a beautiful sunset. We like the view from Blue Earth Village and Waeni’s Sunset View Hotel. Both places have restaurants where you can admire the sunset over a nice meal.
Other activities to experience
When we were in Mexico, my husband and I became hooked on paddle boarding. It’s such a simple sport to learn, and one that allows you to enjoy being out on the water. We were extremely excited when we found out Amed Bali has several paddleboarding options.
Besides paddle boarding, Amed also has diving and free diving activities that travelers can try. Many places in Amed offer diving courses. And there are also some places that offer free diving lessons. If you’re new to either of these sports, it’s wise to take lessons beforehand so you know the proper technique.
Glimpses into Bali culture
One of the things I love about Amed Bali is that it’s still relatively unknown to travelers. This means that many of the Balinese cultural traditions are still alive and well among the locals. They haven’t yet been distorted and distilled to be more palatable to the tourists.
During a recent full moon, I was invited to attend a Balinese Hindu full moon ceremony on the beach near our villa. Though I’m not Hindu, it was quite an experience worshipping alongside Balinese. I felt lucky to be able to witness that side of Bali, away from the white gaze of tourism.
Feeling at home in Amed Bali
Being here in Amed Bali truly feels like home. Although some of the amenities of large cities are absent (public transport is virtually nonexistent in Amed!), the village has a certain charm that makes it feel homey.
Also, the slow pace of life here in Amed has allowed me to take some time and relax. Life really is a beach here in Amed!
Have you visited Amed Bali? Share with me why you think it’s a great place to experience snorkeling in Bali.
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