A visit to Bali will not be complete without some relaxation time in the sun and beach. Our next three stops accomplish exactly that, but each delivering a different vibe and experience.
If it was not for a popular shipwreck, the village of Tulamben would probably not exist today. There is little infrastructure, just a few diving hotels and not much else to see if you are not diving or snorkeling. Our hotel is just a short swim away from the shipwreck. While looking for a company to dive with, Boris runs into his first diving instructor from Koh Tao, Thailand, Alice P.! She recently relocated here; what a small world.
Boris and our friend, Ben, both sign up for a day and night dive. The day dive is ok, but it does not have the exploration feel Boris was expecting. However, the night dive with Alice, the divemaster, is different and a cool experience. The lack of lights gives it a more claustrophobic feel so exploring all the rooms of the wreck with a torch has more of a mysterious touch.
Trying to catch transportation to the village of Amed, which is only a short ride away from Tulamben, is not worth the trouble so we rent a motorcycle. Soon after taking a turn into the road that leads to Amed, the scenery becomes very lush with mountainous backdrops. We drive through several small villages mostly filled with hotels. As we make our way up the cliff, there is a wonderful view of the coast. This is enough to get us to change my plans and stay in Amed.
With so many accommodations here and being that it is low season, we get the pick of the best. We rent a small quiet villa with the pool to ourselves. For lunch, we randomly pick Kamara Resto Warung run by the super-nice Gede Sama and his wife. They cook up a Balinese dish, called Nasi Campur, a rice dish topped with various meats and vegetables. It is so good that this is the only place and dish we eat while in Amed! For dessert, we go back on our motorcycle and do a run for longan fruit. It is almost like lychee, but with a brownish peel and white flesh that is very tasty.
From Amed, we take a fast boat to the Gili Islands. The ride is very rough, but luckily it is short. I recommend taking this route since it is not yet mentioned in Lonely Planet. Also, dive companies in Amed go out to the nearby shipwreck and charge the same as in Tulamben so staying in Amed vs. Tulamben may be a nicer option.
The Gili Islands is composed of three small islands and for our first night, we try out the smallest of the three called Gili Meno. We enjoy the quietness and small number of tourists, but the hotel accommodations turn out to be a horrible experience. Unless you book the only one expensive hotel on the island, the rest are basic with lots of mosquitoes and the beaches are filled with dead coral.
The next day we head to Gili Trawangan. I expected a crazy party island but to my surprise, the island has a great balance of nice hotels, restaurants, bars, and various beach areas to enjoy. Being in the sea feels great, but there are lots of coral so it can hurt.
The Gilies is a great place to kick back. The islands are so small you can easily bike or walk around it. If there are too many tourists in one part of the island, just head the other direction. Just don’t expect too much out of the beaches in Indonesia as they are enjoyable, but we have seen better.
|What We Paid:||IDR||USD||Euro|
|– Private double at Paradise Hotel [fan, private bath, short swim to shipwreck]||250,000/double||28.75||20.35|
|– Motorcycle rental||25,000/half-day||2.90||2|
|– Meals at hotel||45,000||5.20||3.65|
|– Meals outside hotel||25,000||2.90||2|
|– Private mini villa at Pazzo Hotel [private bath, free wifi, pool, friendly staff, restaurant, highly recommend]||250,000/double||28.75||20.35|
|– Motorcycle rental at Beten Waru||30,000/full-day||3.45||2.45|
|– Nasi Campur at Kamara Resto Warung||10,000||1.15||0.80|
|– Amed Sea Express fast boat from Amed to the Gili Islands [75 mins]||250,000/pp||28.75||20.35|
|– Private double at Perama Kontiki Bungalow [recommend getting something at least on the 2nd floor b/c of the mosquitoes, bring your own mosquito net if possible]||200,000/double||23||16.30|
|– Water transfer to Gili Trawanga||20,000/pp||2.30||1.60|
|– Private bungalow at The Beach House Resort [clean, pool, friendly staff, restaurant, recommend]||300,000/double||34.50||24.45|
|– Street food meals||10,000||1.15||0.80|
|– Local fried fish at Night Market||15,000||1.72||1.22|
|– Barracuda fish at The Beach House restaurant [by weight]||80,000||9.20||6.50|
|– Bicycle rental||22,500/half-day||2.60||1.80|
|– Single scoop of Gili Gelato [excellent]||15,000||1.72||1.22|
|– Fast boat [80 mins] + shuttle transfer [90 mins] from Gili Trawangan to Kuta [highly recommend buying one-way ticket in case of cancellations with company]||250,000/pp||28.75||20.35|