East Bali – In the shadow of Mt Agung – The region

As Mt Agung erupts and 100,000 villagers evacuate and flights are cancelled, it is a good time for a refreshed look at the ‘must visit’ East Bali region. And think about the hardships to the any small villages and communities completely dislocated by Mt Agung doing its thing.

This is a re-posting of the original in 2014. We will be visiting again between mid-December to mid-January, so will be doing some new and updated posts in 2018.

Please note : This re-posting uses an automated metaslider to display the images. If it does not work, then use the manual arrows.


Anon and I have been to Bali six times, each time we swear we will explore other areas of Bali. We get to Ubud, settle in and that’s where we stay. This time we left the airport and headed to East Bali for the first week of a four week stay.

The general area is known as Karangasem.

We  booked  into a small hotel on the coast north of Amed called Batu Belah for three nights. The hotel is about a 3 hour drive from the Airport, a detailed blog about the hotel will follow.

Sunrise across the pool at Batu Belah, East Bali, in the shadows of Mt Agung

Sunrise across the pool at Batu Belah

Then we moved to Villa Campuhan for four nights, a ten minute drive north of Candi Dasa; again this will have its own several blogs.

The main villa (left) and communal area (right) at  Villa Campuhan, tucked away in the shadows of Mt Agung.

The main villa (left) and communal area (right) at Villa Campuhan

We have not had a great deal of joy on the one or two occasions we have spent in the South – Kuta, Legian or Nusa Dua. So when friends told us the East was what Kuta was like in the 70’s I think we imagined long stretches of white sandy beaches. The beaches on this coast are all black volcanic sand, the one exception Is Pantai Putih “white sand beach” or “virgin beach” …….. original. It’s a rough drive to a beautiful little beach between two headlands just north of Candi Dasa. Beware the rips tho.

"White sand" or "Virgin Beach" near Candi Dasa, East Bali, in the shadow of Mt Agung.

White Sand Beach, Bali East

We didn’t spend much time in Candi Dasa but it looks like a sleepy little village with many restaurants and hotels, laid back and lovely.

Discovered in 1970’s as the next big thing in Bali, however as the facilities developed  the beach eroded – unthinkingly offshore barrier-reef corals were harvested to produce lime for the cement in the orgy of construction that took place – So now – a beach resort with no beach.

Described by the tourist bumff as “The Real Bali” the drive north offers many more natural attractions than any other parts of Bali and is dominated by the brooding presence of Bali’s highest and most sacred volcano Mt. Agung.

The quiet roads do meander through spectacular rice terraces and tropical forests.

If you are interested in the Bali Aga you can visit the closed, religious community of Tenganan. In this tiny society clothing has always been central to ritual, so it is here you see the painstakingly fashion “Geringsing” or Double Ikat cloth” being made. Be-aware tho that this is now a tourist destination, you will be given a guide who will most likely take you to his home in the hope that you will buy some fabric from his household.

Amed is less than and hour to the north of Candi Dasa. This is a collection of small fishing villiages. Maybe you have to be a diver to appreciate the charm of Amed – there are many world war 2 shipwrecks and coral reefs on this part of the coast – but for me, above sea level it looks like bad development out of control. Dirty black beaches and a mish mash of accommodation clinging to the Cliffside.

Black sand beaches in Ahmed, East Bali, in the shadow of Mt Agung

Coastline near Ahmed, Bali East

The drive along the coast from Amed to Amlapura  clings to the side of the cliffs through little fishing villages and is a lovely way to get an idea of the different areas of Bali – it is too dry for rice so depends on corn as the staple.

Woman in the Amlapura Markets, in East Bali under the shadow Mt Agung.

After our brief stay we left (sadly) Villa Campuhan to head over to Ubud for the remaining three weeks. The drive to Ubud via Sideman is something not to be missed. This is where you do get a true understanding of the REAL BALI.

Leave yourself some time, this is not a drive to be rushed.

A couple of highlights of this stay in the east will have their own blogs …….


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Comments 1

  1. Really loved our time in East Bali ….. and looking forward to some time back there on this upcoming trip …. including lunch or dinner at Bali Asli ….. and watch Mt Agung do its thing …..

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