The Gypsy Redhead in Bali Part 2 – Amed in March

After a magical solo month in Ubud (profiled in part 1 here) I met-up with my husband Thom, who was fresh out of the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, in the quiet fishing village of Amed.

© Nicole Geils

Located on the East end of the island, I chose Amed because it is still considered rural Bali… and that is harder and harder to find in recent years.

Amed encompasses a long stretch of coast running from the village of Culik, east 8 ½ miles incorporating seven villages; Amed, Jemeluk, Bunutan, Lipah, Selang, Banyuning, and Aas.

The pace of life here is relaxed and the coastal scenery is quite spectacular. Amed is the perfect place for a tranquil holiday in Bali with someone special.

5 Travel Tips for Couples Touring Amed

1. Stay at the Blue Moon Villa Resort: the Blue Moon Villa Resort is a great place to get away from the ever-present crowds so common in most Bali tourist destinations. I rented a beautiful cliff side villa at Blue Moon for my husband and I. The setting is secluded and romantic. We whiled away many hours relishing the private little infinity pool connected to our villa. The pool is the ideal place for cooling off, and watching the local fisherman sail home each evening in their colorful little sailboats. Blue Moon boasts breathtaking sea views and amazing sunrises in an ideal coastal location. Tip: if you are staying longer than 14 days, ask for a discounted rate.

2. Diving and snorkeling in Amed is the best in Bali. From the impressive USS Liberty wreck at Tulamben, to Jemeluk Bay with it’s shallow coral garden just off the beach, and the ever-popular Japanese Ship Wreck teeming with colorful fish. Amed has it all underwater! We did a few guided dives with Bali Reef Divers and it was a great experience. I am so glad Thom & I chose to book with Valerie of Metaboolan Underwater Videography. Not only did we get a high-quality DVD showcasing our dives… we gained a new friend.

3. Full Day Roadtrip from Amed. Rent 2 scooters and ride east along Bali’s picturesque coastline to a stunning white sands beach. This roadtrip is packed with culture and beauty. Winding along jungle-covered coastal cliffs with vast ocean panoramas… thru hillside communities and rural coastal fishing villages… past marigold fields and various ancient-looking temples.

En route, stop at the beautiful water palace in Taman Soekasada Ujung. It was rebuilt after the eruption of Mt. Agung in 1963. It is a beautiful spot to spend an hour, exploring the gardens and various buildings.

Try Exotic Foods from Roadside Vendors, like Salak, also known as Snake Fruit. We stopped along the way to purchased a bag of this exotic fruit. The outside of the fruit is scaly like a snake and prickly like a cactus, but the inside is sweeter than honey, sour like a pineapple and incredibly juicy. Its flesh is slightly acidic, giving your tongue a citrus like tingle. The complex flavor wrapped into a lethal looking package has a spectacular effect. Tip: there are many exciting culinary adventures in Bali if you are willing to try new things. I like to order something different every time I dine out so I can try as many of the local culinary delights as possible.

Arrive at the beautiful White Sands beach. Also known as Virgin Beach, and locally as Pasir Putih. This beach is breathtakingly beautiful and sparsely crowded.

Nestled between a rocky cliff and terraced rice fields, Pasir Putih is a long crescent shaped beach, separated from Coast road by a beautiful jungle…

Though the jungle dirt road to get there is a very bumpy trek, it is more than worth the slow traverse. No hotels flank this secluded spot, just a couple of restaurants that serve-up cold beer, coconuts, and grilled fish like fresh Red Snapper… grilled to perfection beachside.

People watching while enjoying a $3, 30-minute foot massage is the perfect indulgence under your beach umbrella. Tip: the umbrellas are pretty sun damaged, compromising the shade. Don’t get complacent thinking you are safe from the powerful UV’s in the shade, and be sure to re–apply sunscreen often!

After you have had you fill of sun, sand, and swimming head to the Bali Chocolate Factory for some Chocolate in Paradise! Just few miles from Candidasa, follow the bumpy scooter-path thru the jungle down Chocolate Way till you reach the sea.

You will know you are there when you spot tiny hobbit-huts and a quaint tree swing set beachside among the palms.

Sample the local chocolates and candies, and be sure to purchase a bottle or two of their Organic Coconut Palm Syrup. 100% natural, taken from the nectar of local coconut trees and bottled on site. After your vacation, I promise you will appreciate this tasty reminder of Bali over your sourdough pancakes.

My husband and I loved this roadtrip so much we made the trek twice during our time in Amed.

4. Book a sunrise fishing trip because fishing without a pole is quite the experience. I call this, finger trolling. My finger was pretty numb after 3 hours, but seeing the sunrise over the water while bobbing along in a traditional Balinese sailing fishing-boat, is an experience not to be missed.

5. Experience a Cultural Ceremony. Plan your trip to Amed around watching the Ogoh-Ogoh precession preceding Nyepi Day. The Ogoh-Ogoh are huge papier-mache effigies of evil monsters. They are carried through towns and villages in a traditional procession to the sound of drummers, claxons, and gamelan music. Basically, the idea is to make as much noise as is humanly possible in order to scare all evil spirits off Bali. After dark these effigies are ceremoniously burnt and floated out to sea… followed by much communal debauchery (for Balinese standards) into the night. Drinking, dancing and feasting takes place in a rather chaotic fashion, all with the aim of driving these evil spirits far, far away, or at the very least driving them insane. The next day is the day of Nyepi itself. After a night of over-the-top excess, the whole island basically transforms into a ghost town.

Nyepi, or the Day of Silence, is the start of the Balinese year and is a religious celebration. Its origins date back to the mythical times of gods, evil spirits, witches and bizarre superheroes. Nyepi is intended to cleverly fool the evil spirits into thinking Bali is completely empty. When they say a Day of Silence, they are certainly not joking. The whole island, populated by over 3 million, quite literally resembles an eerie, post-apocalyptic world with not a soul to be seen, or a voice to be heard. The only sign of life on the street is the menacing sight of the Pecalang (Nyepi police) who patrol local areas in search of wayward locals trying to sneak out, but will also politely but firmly escort curious tourists back to their hotel.

Note: If you are thinking of arriving or departing Bali on this day, or even taking a stroll by the beach, think again! The whole island switches off – quite literally. The airport is completely closed, no travel is allowed, whether by motorized means or using your own two feet, all household electricity is banned and any kind of noise is a big no-no. It is a day for introspection and reflection. Plan accordingly.

Nyepi Dates:
March 31, 2014 – Profiled Above
March 21, 2015
March 9, 2016
March 28, 2017
March 17, 2018
April 5, 2019
March 23, 2020

*All photography and videography was shot on my iPhone 4s.

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