The east coast of Bali is particularly scenic, with black sand beaches and traditional villages backed by the looming peak of Mount Agung, Bali’s most sacred volcano. From the seaside resorts of Candidasa to the dramatic temple gates of the mother temple of Besakih, the east of Bali offers a glimpse into Bali’s past and future.
Padang Bai is a port town where you can find numerous ferries and speed boats heading out to the neighbouring island of Lombok and the Gili Islands. On either side if the harbour, there are white sand beaches that are great for suntanning, swimming and snorkelling, and along the main drag in town there are inviting restaurants that serve up fresh seafood and rustic reggae bars that feature live bands most nights of the week.
Head further north and you’ll pass Candidasa, a pleasant seaside resort town with bungalows and restaurants overlooking the sea, and Pasir Putih, a not-so-secret white sand beach with shacks on the sand that offer fresh grilled fish and cold Bintang beers. For a small fee, you can rent a sun lounger for the day or simply set up a sarong on the sand for free.
At this point, you have a choice to head to the interior of the island or follow further north along the coast. If you head inland, you’ll reach Tirta Gangga, a gorgeous palace built by the royal family of Karangasem. Stroll through the maze of decorative ponds, fountains and statues to see the opulence of Balinese royalty in days gone by. Follow the road further inland, and you will reach the biggest and most sacred of Bali’s temples, Besakih. Keep in mind that as Bali’s biggest temple, Besakih can get quite crowded and touristy.
Continue up the coast, travelling along winding mountain roads past terraced rice fields and lush mountain peaks to Amed. Amed is actually a string of small black sand bays, each with its own unique character. Book into a peaceful seaside villa or bungalow to laze the days away on the sand, dine on fresh prawns and mussels at bamboo restaurants, or head off on a diving or snorkeling trip to see amazing reefs, colorful marine life and the famous Japanese shipwreck off of Tulamben.
Where to Stay
Tirta Nila Beach House is like a home away from home in peaceful Candidasa, except even better because you have your own gorgeous swimming pool overlooking the ocean, spacious light-filled rooms spread over two levels, and a talented team including cooks, maids and a manager on hand around the clock to look after your every whim and need. Spend your days basking in the sun on the wooden sun deck, sipping cocktails in the seaside bale as you watch fishing boats bob on the waves, or exploring the charming cafes and restaurants of cheerful Candidasa.
The sea views are simply sublime at Villa Asada, a contemporary four-bedroom villa perched on a hill overlooking Labuan Amuk Bay just a short drive from Candidasa. The villa features two villa buildings set in an L-shape, both with two stories that offer plenty of indoor and outdoor chill-out spaces. Outside a wooden deck with a bar and dining table sits above the 18-metre pool, which is flanked on both sides by emerald green lawns. Inside the decor consists of an artful mix of antiques and comfy contemporary furnishings, plus modern amenities like flat-screen TVs, a fully equipped kitchen and a modern gym.