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Amed, East Bali

Three hours from Ubud, Amed is a collection of small fishing villages dotting the eastern coastline of Bali.  The area is quite remote and undeveloped compared to other places we’ve been in Bali.

Although spread out over a few kilometres, Amed has quite a few “warungs” (small local restaurants), a number of home-stays and backpacker’s bungalows, and a few nicer hotels.  My guess is that in 10-20 years, this area will look completely different, as development moves in on a bigger scale.

Being low tourist season, it was very quiet (except for the roosters and motos of course).  We were approached regularly by hawkers selling miniature fishing boats or kites, and schoolchildren selling necklaces and bracelets to help pay for school.

We stayed in a hill-side hotel, with a fabulous view over the ocean.  Unfortunately, the view was the best part, as the young local owner seemed overwhelmed with running the hotel and overseeing new building of bungalows.  He frequently complained that money was running out (foreign investment).  It seemed to me as if the investing partner had put up the money, and then left the local owner alone with a management job that he (and his family) was ill-prepared for.

A main draw for the Amed area is diving and snorkeling.  There is a wide variety of professional diving experiences offered, including night dives, wall-dives, and WWII ship-wreck diving, all apparently rivaling the best in the world.  We opted not to dive, given the excellent snorkeling, the expense of diving, and then there’s those kids to take care of.

Theo and Vivi have become quite good swimmers and snorkelers during our trip, although Vivi was frustrated that she couldn’t dive when snorkeling (we made her wear a life-jacket in the ocean).  The snorkeling off the beach was quite impressive, with many schools of colorful fish and some cool coral formations.

My favorite place in Amed was Jemelek Beach, a small fishing community with great snorkeling off the beach, some low-key restaurants and home-stays, and thriving village life.  Vivi and I went snorkeling there one morning and didn’t leave until sunset.  The restaurants here were also some of the best and cheapest, so we could indulge with iced coffees (me), milkshakes (Vivi), and fruit lassies.

Every evening on Jemelek Beach, local kids of all ages would play together in the ocean or on the beach, until sunset.  Popular games included soccer, high-jump (the only landing pad being the hard rocky sand), and hook & line fishing.   When we ate in a restaurant, various members of the family would be coming in and out, often carrying a baby on their hips.

Amed would be the perfect place for a young backpacker to chill out for a while, stay with a local family, rent a motorcycle, get a diving certification, and learn yoga.

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