Attractive black sandy beaches, the dramatic view of Mount Agung Volcano, tons of outdoor activity options and rich marine life make Amed a famous destination for those who prefer to stay away from the crowd and enjoy Bali’s natural beauty above and under the sea. Let us convince you why to visit the north-eastern coast of Bali by highlighting the best things to do in Amed and featuring the Top 5 Amed snorkeling spots!
Table of Contents
- Amed Bali travel tips
- Best Amed snorkeling spots
- Things to do in Amed
Amed Bali travel tips
Northeast Bali most recent development area is a perfect destination for a relaxed holiday topped with cultural and water activities. The name Amed refers to the 14 km long coastline and covers 7 villages: Amed, Jemeluk, Bunutan, Lipah, Selang, Banyuning, Aas. The area was one of the poorest in Bali. Due to its remoteness and lack of road network, only a few visitors came here.
Thanks to latest developments that started around 2000, Amed became a celebrated holiday spot while still remaining peaceful and quiet. You won’t find loud parties and huge shopping centers here but stunning black sand beaches, lush vegetation and the opportunity to explore the traditional Balinese life. Clearwater and vibrant marine life make Amed snorkeling spots the best ones on the island!
Note: if you are visiting Amed Bali in the near future, stay up-to-date with the latest news on Mt Agung Volcano’s activity since it is an active volcano!
How to get to Amed?
It takes about 3 hours to get to Amed from Ngurah Rai Bali International Airport. Calculate with the same time, approx. 3-3 and a half hours from Kuta, Nusa Dua, Jimbaran, and other South Bali destinations. The best is to arrange your transfer in advance through your hotel or taxi service.
Alternatively, daily shuttle buses also operate from bigger tourist locations like Sanur or Ubud as well as from the South regions. Should you arrive from Lombok or the Gili Islands, there are several speedboat companies available. From the Gilis or Lombok Bangsal, there are several operators that go directly to Amed pier (we booked Freebird Express and were satisfied with them).
If you take the public ferry from Lombok Lembar (this is the big car ferry that operates between Lombok and Bali, very slow but cheap), it will take you to Padangbai Bali. From there you will need to take a taxi to Amed (approx 1 hour).
Best time to visit Amed
Bali has a tropical climate with 2 seasons. A longer dry season from April to late September and a shorter, rainy one from October through March. If water activates are on your list and wish to discover Amed snorkeling spots, we recommend to schedule your Bali holiday between April and September.
Since it is tropical climate, there are rainy days throughout the year, but during these months you have the best chance for long sunny periods, calm sea and good visibility. High season is July and August when prices are a bit higher and the area is the busiest. In the rainy season the sea is often rough with huge waves and strong currents, therefore wintertime is not ideal for snorkeling nor diving.
Tip: make sure to read our complete Bali snorkeling guide too and learn what other places we recommend to visit on the Island of Gods!
Amed Bali Hotels
No matter what type of accommodation you look for, Amed hotels offer a wide selection from lovely homestays to modern villas. If you prefer being in the center, within walking distance to Amed best restaurants, supermarkets and of course to the best Amed snorkeling spots, we recommend staying at one of Amed Beach hotels. Don’t worry, the center is not a noisy area rather the local hub with lovely atmosphere and everything nearby.
If you don’t mind being a bit remote, check Lipah Beach hotels where the reef is also superb! The area is even more relaxed than Amed Beach with less traffic around, ideal for honeymooners too! But fewer options for eating or shopping, so you will need to rent a scooter or book taxi to go out.
Below you will find 2 places we personally recommend to stay at:
The Camessa Hotel is a lovely, small familiar hotel with a perfect location at Amed Beach. The property has a swimming pool, a huge terrace where you can enjoy a stunning view of the Agung volcano.
Although the rooms would need fresh painting and bathrooms a little upgrade, the treatment you receive from the staff makes you feel being a VIP guest. You get the personal care like in a homestay but with the extras of a hotel such as a well-maintained garden and pool.
The best is the excellent snorkeling! Right from the shore, you can reach the reef and also the Pyramids artificial reef project that is right in front of the hotel. Camessa has an on-site restaurant that is open for walk-in guests too, visit it for dinner or lunch even if you are not staying in the hotel.
Kembali Beach Bungalows
A highly recommended laid-back style Amed Beach hotel with the best Amed snorkeling spots at your doorstep. Literally, the reef stretches right in front of the Kembali Beach Bungalows bungalows that are surrounded with a lush tropical garden offering privacy while being on a beautiful black sand beach. Perfect place to watch the sunrise or even the sunset. And on top of these, did we mention that you can see here turtles too!
Find here the latest deals on Amed Beach hotels:
Best Amed snorkeling spots
The northeast coastline of Bali is fringed by abundant reef system. A fringing reef grows directly from shore creating shallow underwater paradise for snorkelers and divers and making Amed black sand beaches perfect for shore snorkeling. Amed coral reefs remained in a very good condition thanks to the limited number of tourists in the area.
After the intensive developments in the past few years, of course, more and more people arrive for a diving holiday or to discover Amed snorkeling spots, but thanks to conservation efforts, marine life is still vibrant. You can rent snorkel gear almost everywhere (Hotels, Restaurants) but it’s always better to bring your own. Now let’s see the Top 5 Amed snorkel beaches:
Kembali Beach Bungalows Reef
Definitely, the best of Amed snorkeling spots at Amed Beach although it is not so famous as the nearby Jemeluk Bay. Shallow, healthy reef with many tropical fish around, and a perfect place to spot sea turtles! The sea is usually calm and free of currents offering a nice, easy snorkeling trip for weaker swimmers or for kids too.
The liveliest part of the reef enter the water in front of Kembali Beach Bungalows and swim towards Jemeluk Bay. The best time to snorkel here is at low tide!
What to see: huge Leafy Cup Coral (Salad Coral) colonies, Table corals, Finger corals, Turtles, Blue Starfish, Bannerfish, Butterflyfish
Tip: If you love turtles and have some free time around Denpasar after arriving to Bali or before your departure, visit the Serangan Turtle Conservation Center where you learn about sea turtles and also adopt baby ones!
Not so far from this beautiful reef, on the left side you will find the most interesting of Amed snorkeling spots, the Pyramids artificial reef. This spot is better known as a diving site although some structures were placed in relatively shallow water (13-16 ft / 4-5 m) so at low tide, they can be easily observed by snorkelers too.
Here you can see how corals settle down on the concrete blocks turning them into a blooming reef that attracts marine life. The black sandy bottom gives the pyramid-like structures a strong contrast resulting in a somehow otherworld experience. We loved snorkeling at Amed Pyramids!
Probably the most visited of Amed snorkeling spots thanks to its central, easily accessible location and rich marine life. Jemeluk Bay snorkeling is recommended for snorkelers at all level even for kids. The sea is usually calm thanks to bay’s half-moon shape.
Jemeluk Bay is famous for the Underwater Temple (also known as Underwater Post Office) that you find in the middle of the bay (marked with buoy). Although snorkeling is the best on the right side of the bay if you have time we recommend to check out the left side too.
There you also find a smaller reef as well as some underwater statues. The sculptures were placed there in order to support coral growth as an artificial reef. The statues can be found deeper around 16-20 ft (5-6 m) but if the water is clear enough you can see them from the surface too. Best is to do Jemeluk Bay snorkeling at low tide so you have a bigger chance for calm, clear sea.
What to see: different hard coral species, Angelfish, Surgeonfish, Damselfish, Blue Spotted Ray, Underwater Post Office, artificial reef
Tip: Snorkel equipment rental is available at onsite warungs. Free parking available. Beach access is easy. Big boat traffic in the bay, for your own safety, carry a floating swim buoy!
The second most popular of Amed snorkeling spots is Lipah Beach. It is a relatively quiet spot with one of the nicest sandy beach in the area. The color of the sea is not so dark as at other black sand beaches.
Walking into the sea is very easy and safe at high tide. At low tide, you need to pay attention not to hurt yourself on the corals in the shallow water. If you don’t find any path to go in, better wait for higher water, never walk on the corals! At Lipah Beach, you find big hard coral formations as well as many red sea fans. Snorkeling is the best in the corner in front of Pondok Vienna Beach.
What to see: massive hard coral structures, Table coral, huge sea fans in vibrant colors, Barrel Sponge, Blue Spotted Rays, Mackerels
Tip: Free parking. Sunbed and snorkel gear rental available. Restaurant and café on the site. Long, wide beach with many free spaces. Water access is easier at high tide.
Bunutan – Selang Beach
A less touristy half-moon shape sandy bay where coral reef starts at very shallow water. Recommend to start snorkeling in front of Good Karma Bungalows and follow the gentle slope that will take you to a rich coal garden with abundant sea life around. Blacktip sharks are often spotted here!
What to see: Triggerfish, Boxfish, Barracudas as well as common tropical fish species, Black Tip sharks
Tip: snorkel only when the sea is calm and watch out of currents! Read our snorkeling safety tips to learn more how so stay safe in the sea!
Japanese shipwreck Amed
A small but interesting shipwreck in the small village of Banyuning, a white-red sign next to the main road shows the location. Just check it on the map if you go on your own, or tell your driver Japanese shipwreck and they will take you there.
This bay often gets strong waves so be careful when entering the water. Best time to go early in the morning since visibility drops during the day. It is worth to check the huge Staghorn Coral table on the left side of the bay.
What to see: hard and soft corals settled on the small shipwreck, Batfish, Clownfish, extensive Staghorn Coral colony
Tip: entering the water is not easy because there are big stones, use water shoes or neoprene socks. Sometimes there is no path between fishing boats. Snorkel gear can be rented on the spot. To see a more dramatic shipwreck, visit Tulamben USS Liberty which is just a short drive from Amed!
Things to do in Amed
Do you love the underwater world but wondering what other things to do in Amed? Don’t worry, the area offers many other programs you can organize for the days that you spend out of the water. Pick up a program from the list below, or just rent a scooter, explore the stunning Amed coastline or get closer to locals while driving through the cozy villages.
Mount Agung is the highest point of Bali (3142 m) and considered to be a very sacred place, home to Bali’s Mother Temple Pura Besakih. Volcano hikes are typically scheduled for sunrise time meaning you need to leave around or even before midnight, but it worths the effort since a breathtaking view of Bali, Gili Islands, and Lombok will be your reward!
Two routes are available:
- starting from Pura Besakih climbing up to the top in 6-7 hours
- Pasar Agung route which is shorter and suitable for novice hikers too takes about 4-5 hours
Note: due to the current active status Agung volcano hiking trips are not always possible, so make sure to do your research and ask local guides before planning this trip .
Pura Lempuyang Temple
Bali’s one of the oldest and most sacred temples. Pura Lempuyang Luhur temple complex can be found on the Mount Lempuyang Mountain which is one of Bali’s most sacred natural points.
To visit the lowest but most famous temple with the “gateway to heaven” Pura Lempuyang door you don’t need to work so much: it is just a short walk from the temple entrance. Those who wish to see all the 7 temples need to hike up to the top which is a 4 hours long trip total. Don’t forget to take sarong with you!
Tirta Gangga Water Palace
The water place was built in 1946 by the Raja of Karangasem but Agung’s eruption in 1963 destroyed it. The raja’s grandson rebuilt it which was a long restoration process. Tirta Gangga Water Palace is an arranged garden surrounded by holy natural spring and lush vegetation around.
Visiting Tirta Gangga can be part of a day trip to Pura Lempuyang Temple since the locations are just next to each other.
Tulamben shipwreck snorkeling
Although Amed has its own Japanese shipwreck for the real wreck snorkeling experience, we recommend visiting the Tulamben shipwreck! The USS Liberty is one of the most famous Bali dive sites.
The shipwreck is accessible and visible for snorkelers too with its highest point just 16 ft (5 m) deep. Tulamben is an approx 20 mins drive from Amed Beach area, so exploring Tulamben shipwreck is a comfortable day trip. Go early in order to enjoy the best visibility!
I am sure you will fall in love with Amed black sand beaches but just in case you would have a strong desire for lying in the white sand, here is a tip: visit the Gili Islands! The Gilis are 3 small islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air – off northwest Lombok and popular for beautiful beaches and magical sunsets. On top of these, these islands feature also superb reefs with excellent conditions for underwater sport.
There are many speedboat companies offering daily departures. An Amed-Gili Trawangan trip with a good speedboat takes about 45-60 mins depending on sea conditions. Make sure to choose a reliable fast boat service like Freebird Express who has maintained big boats! The sea can be very choppy on the way to the Gili Islands resulting in a very uncomfortable ride. In the case of seasickness, ask pills from the staff!
Tip: If you are interested, read our Gili Islands snorkeling guide for more information.
We hope our best Amed snorkeling spots article and we could help you plan your Bali holiday! Share it with your friends too who plan to visit the Island of Gods!
Inspired? Pin it!