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Attractive black sandy beaches, the dramatic view of Mount Agung Volcano, and tons of outdoor activity options make Amed a famous destination for those who prefer to stay away from the crowd and enjoy Indonesia’s natural beauty. The area’s attractions are numerous not only above, but also under the sea as the region is famous for its easily accessible coral reefs and rich marine life. Let us convince you why you should visit the northeastern coast of Bali by featuring the best Amed snorkeling spots!
Top Amed snorkeling spots
The northeast coastline of Bali is fringed by an abundant reef system. A fringing reef growing directly from shore creates an underwater paradise for snorkelers and divers and makes Amed black sand beaches perfect for shore snorkeling. Amed coral reefs remained in 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 come here to spend their vacation, but thanks to conservation efforts, the marine life is still vibrant here. You can rent snorkel gear almost everywhere (in hotels, guesthouses, and even in most beach restaurants) but it’s always better to bring your own. If you decide to visit the area (which we highly recommend) and looking to see healthy reefs with vibrant aquatic life, here is where to go snorkeling in Amed:
Kembali Beach Bungalows Reef
In my opinion, the best of Amed snorkeling sites is the reef in front of Kembali Bungalows directly at Amed Beach. It is not as famous as the nearby Jemeluk Bay, but believe me, this site doesn’t lack underwater attractions!
This shallow, healthy reef has many types of tropical fish around. What’s more, it is also a perfect place to swim with sea turtles! The sea is usually calm and free of currents offering a nice, easy snorkeling trip for weaker swimmers or for kids too.
To access this snorkeling site, you can enter the water in front of Kembali Beach Bungalows and swim towards Jemeluk Bay. The best time to snorkel here is at low tide. We found the sea the calmest in the morning and in the afternoon before sunset.
What to see at Kembali Reef: 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 in 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, just a little left (in front of Alam Bali Beach Resort) you will find one of the most interesting Amed snorkeling spots, the Pyramids artificial reef.
This is better known as a diving site, but since there are several structures scattered across the area and some of them were placed in relatively shallow water (13-16 ft / 4-5 m) they can be visible for snorkelers too at low tide.
Here, you can observe how corals settled on the concrete blocks and turned 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 popular spot to go snorkeling in Amed is Jemeluk Bay thanks to its central, easily accessible location and decent marine life. This site is recommended for snorkelers at all levels because the sea is usually calm here due to the bay’s half-moon shape. However, note that sometimes there is boat traffic in the bay, so for your own safety, carry a floating swim buoy when snorkeling in Jemeluk Bay.
After entering the water, you can swim along the reef on the right side of the bay. The corals are not exceptional here, but you can see many fish species in shallow water.
In the middle of the bay, you will find the famous Underwater Temple (also known as Underwater Post Office). The location of this underwater structure is marked with a buoy.
Although we found that snorkeling is better on the right side of the bay, if you have time, we recommend checking out the left side too. It is deeper than the right side but there is 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 at 16-20 ft (5-6 m) deep, but if the water is clear enough you can see them from the surface too.
The best time to snorkel here is at low tide so you have a bigger chance for a calm, clear sea and good visibility.
What to see while Jemeluk Bay snorkeling: different hard coral species, Angelfish, Surgeonfish, Damselfish, Blue Spotted Ray, Underwater Post Office, artificial reef
Tip: Snorkel equipment rental is available at onsite warungs. There is free parking. Easy water access directly from the shore.
The second most popular Amed snorkeling spot 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! You should never walk on the corals as you can break them and cut yourself too.
While snorkeling at Lipah Beach, you find big hard coral formations as well as many red sea fans. The best area to snorkel is in front of Vienna Beach Resort (former Pondok Vienna).
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 is 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 the coral reef starts at very shallow water. It is recommended to start snorkeling in front of Good Karma Bungalows and follow the gentle slope that will take you to a rich coral 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 for currents! Read our snorkeling safety tips to learn more about how to stay safe in the sea!
Japanese Shipwreck Amed
The Japanese Wreck of Amed is a small but interesting shipwreck in the small village of Banyuning. A white-red sign next to the main road indicates the location. Just check it on the map if you go on your own, or tell your driver you want to go snorkeling at the Japanese shipwreck and they will take you there.
This bay often gets strong waves so be careful when entering the water. The best time to go is early in the morning since visibility drops during the day. After observing the wreck, it is worth checking the huge Staghorn Coral table on the left side of the bay too.
What to see here: hard and soft corals settled on the small shipwreck, Batfish, Clownfish, and extensive Staghorn Coral colony
Tip: entering the water is not easy because there are big stones, use water shoes or neoprene socks to avoid getting hurt. Sometimes there is no path between the fishing boats to go in so you might need to wait a bit. 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!
Amed snorkeling 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 a road network, only a few visitors came here.
Thanks to the 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. Clear water beaches and vibrant marine life make Amed snorkeling sites 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!
Sign-Up for a Guided Snorkeling Tour
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 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 go snorkeling 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 activities are a priority for you and you wish to discover Amed snorkeling spots, we recommend scheduling your Bali holiday between April and September.
Since it is a 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. The 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 or diving.
Tip: make sure to read our complete Bali snorkeling guide too and learn what other places we recommend visiting on the Island of Gods!
Amed snorkeling 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 the best snorkel sites, we recommend staying at one of Amed Beach hotels. Don’t worry, the center is not a noisy area but rather a local hub with a 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, it is ideal for honeymooners or remote workers. There are fewer options for eating or shopping, but you can easily rent a scooter or book a taxi when you want to go out.
Below you will find 2 places we personally recommend staying at:
Alam Bali Beach Resort
The Alam Bali Beach Resort (former Camessa Resort) is a lovely, small family-friendly hotel with a perfect location directly at Amed Beach. The property has a swimming pool and a huge terrace where you can enjoy a stunning view of the Agung volcano.
Although it is not a huge complex, the treatment you receive from the staff makes you feel like 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 feature of the hotel is the excellent snorkeling! Right from the shore, you can reach beautiful corals and also the Pyramids artificial reef project that is just in front of the hotel. The hotel 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 snorkeling in Amed at your doorstep. Literally, the reef stretches right in front of the Kembali Beach Bungalows which are surrounded by 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:
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.
Hike the Agung Volcano
Mount Agung is the highest point of Bali (3142 m) and is considered to be a very sacred place, home to Bali’s Mother Temple Pura Besakih. Volcano hikes are typically scheduled for sunrise time. This means that you need to leave around or even before midnight, but it is worth the effort since a breathtaking view of Bali, Gili Islands, and Lombok will be your reward!
Two routes are available:
- starting from Pura Besakih and 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.
Visit Pura Lempuyang Temple
Bali’s one of the oldest and most sacred temples. Pura Lempuyang Luhur temple complex can be found on 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-hour long trip in total. Don’t forget to take a sarong with you as you need to cover yourself to enter!
Walk around the 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 springs 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.
Go snorkeling at Tulamben Shipwreck
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!
Explore the Gili Islands
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 sports.
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 which 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 for pills from the staff!
Tip: If you are interested, read our Gili Islands snorkeling guide for more information.
We hope you found our snorkeling in Amed tips useful and that we could help you plan your Bali holiday! Share it with your friends too who plan to visit the Island of Gods!
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