Amed is a small town located in the northeast corner of the island of Bali. Many of your typical Bali vacationers don’t have time in their holiday to make it this far north. So, it definitely has more of a backpacker vibe and is overall a lot more authentic feeling than Kuta or Ubud. We chose to go to Amed to see some of the north side of Bali and also because it is the shortest distance from Bali to the Gili Islands. We traveled from Ubud to Lovina first, and then from Lovina to Amed. From Amed, we went to Gili Air before returning back to Kuta and leaving Bali. I wanted to write this post to point out some of the cool things Amed has to offer because I think it deserves some credit for being a pretty fun little town.
Snorkeling And Diving
Amed has some of the only offshore snorkeling in Bali. You can go out anywhere you please, but there are 3 main spots that offer the most reef life. One of the bigger attractions is a Japanese shipwreck that is right off the beach. You can swim right out to it and snorkel and free dive around it. Sadly, when we were there the water was much too murky to be able to see much more than the tip of it. On a clear day it is supposed to be covered in coral and full of all kinds of fish. Below you will find some screenshots I took along with the names of the three best spots for offshore snorkeling in Amed. There are of course tons of dive shops in town too if that is your thing. I am definitely not the one to ask about diving because we did not go, but I can confirm that there seem to be plenty of dives to go on around Amed because of the number of shops offering different trips.
There are about 10 different reggae bars in the town of Amed. If reggae is’t your thing there are plenty of other options to choose from. They all have live music just about every night too. The town stretches down a single road pretty far along the coast and the bars change along with it as the hotels get nicer. There are plenty of places to grab an ice cold Bingtang and none of them are too expensive.
Amed is a fishing village before anything. That means there are loads of restaurants serving fresh seafood. Fish and chips are commonly advertised as a local specialty. However, one place takes the trophy for doing it best and that is Bo’s Bungalows (pictured above). If seafood isn’t your thing, Amed is a great place to try a lot of different local/regional specialties at an affordable price such as Gado Gado, Sate ayam, curry, and more. We found that just about every restaurant we went to was ran by an enthusiastic local who poured their heart into making you the perfect Balinese dish.
Since Amed isn’t on the weekend vacationers circuit, the price of hotels is relatively lower than it is elsewhere in Bali. Pretty much every hotel in town has a pool and offers free breakfast too. We stayed at a hotel called Bali Yogi and it was only $10 a night and had both of those things. Most hotels can arrange a scooter rental for you and can possibly help you get a good deal on a shuttle or boat onward.
Taking The Fast Boat To Gilis
Everyone that comes to Amed is usually doing so because it is the closest you can get to the Gili Islands before having to take a boat. The fast boat to the Gilis is the only way to get to the islands from Bali. Otherwise you can get there from Lombok too. There are several different companies that operate out of Amed. As hard as we tried to figure something else out, there does not seem to be a cheaper local alternative than the fast boat. The prices for the boat vary depending on your route. All boats departing Amed stop at both Gili T and Gili Air for the same price. You can buy a one way ticket and worry about your return when you get on the island. You can purchase round trip and they even give you the option for an open ticket so you decide when you come back. You can also purchase a return ticket that includes a shuttle transfer to pretty much any other town in Bali. We bought a round trip ticket that had us return to Kuta. A ticket to Gili Air, from Amed, and then returning to Kuta cost us 500,000 Rp/person. We were told as high as 700,000 Rp by some Amed agencies when we were asking around. That ticket included pick-up from our hotel in Amed, the boat ride Gili air, the boat ride back to Padangbai, and lastly the shuttle from Padangbai into the town of Kuta. Having done that now and observed the different prices, I would definitely recommend you purchase a one-way ticket to the Gili Islands and then purchase your ticket onward at one of the other agencies. Don’t pay more than 200,000 Rupiah/person for the boat from Amed to Gili. Once you are on Gili, it depends where you are going next, but even the prices I saw posted, let alone what I could have potentially negotiated, where cheaper than the deal we got for round-trip back in Amed. Below you will see some pictures I took of some of the departure times and prices of some of these various services.