It took me awhile to put to paper our trip to Bali. Bali was different for us, it was more… scripted. It seemed everything we wanted to do kept getting derailed so we threw in our tents and gave into a lusher, more relaxed vacation (like it was hard!).
This was part ‘work-cation’ for my husband, Brad, so after a week and a half I joined him in Sanur where we spent 2 more days and then headed to Amed. At about 4 hours north of Sanur, Amed is a new tourist destination but has retained some charm with its laid back, surfer vibe. It’s less crowded and maybe more authentic than a lot of places around Denpasar. Until the recent tourism boom, the area depended solely on its fishing and declining salt-making industry and was considered one of the poorest areas in Bali. Don’t forget to pick up salt while in Amed, it’s delicious! We took some home from a road-side stand – 2 of the ‘smaller’ bags for Rp 20,000 (less than $2 US).
We stayed at a small, 5-room B&B – Geria Giri Shanti Bungalows. It’s a little rustic and no AC but set within a lush tropical setting and manager, Lisolette, is super accommodating. Geria Giri is also part of Adventure Divers Bali if you’re interested in diving. Amed is a dive hot spot – the USS Liberty wreck is supposed to be one of the best in Bali. As I don’t dive, we did a little snorkeling which you can do a couple meters off the coast or at Jemeluk Bay and probably a number of other sites. We found the snorkeling to be OK and much better at our next destination, Pemuteran.
Lisolette had a lot of recommendations for warungs (small family owned restaurants) and we visited two, but I couldn’t shake the idea that they were suggested to us because of some kind of partnership between Geria Giri and the restaurants (each had some kind of promotion for Adventure Dive School). It made the recommendations seem less genuine, but I guess as long as the food is good who cares, right? Also, many restaurants in Amed offer complimentary transportation so don’t let distance be an obstacle between you and a good meal. At around $35 US per night, I think Geria Giri Bungalows is a steal and comes highly recommended from this couple. I’m a sucker for an open-air shower!
We headed to Pemuteran on the north west of the island after 4 nights in Amed. Pemuteran is a young resort town and, probably because of its distance from Denpasar, much less traveled. It’s definitely sleepy, some warungs were closed before 8:30p, but if you’re looking to get away from the crowds and do some excellent diving/snorkeling this is your place. With the largest artificial Bio-Rock reef project in the world and plenty of natural coral gardens (read all about it in this post!) Pemuteran offers some amazing underwater sights. Grid Walking Tip: If you’re looking for a change from the typical warung, one of the better dinners of our trip was at Frangipani.
Amertha Bali Villas was our home for 3 nights in Pemuteran. Our room was HUGE! To be fair, Brad and I spend a lot of time in our 2-person tent, but these villas were a decent size. The villas are split by floor; we had the second floor with lofted ceiling and porch. And each villa has a shared outside space with kitchen, sitting area and a small infinity pool. I thought the rooms could use just a little TLC but Brad reminded me that for under $100 US this was pretty awesome.
Although this trip was a bit ‘cushy’ for us – with our drivers and fancy rooms – I still think we did a good job hitting the streets and getting to know the island. Terima Kasih (Thank You), Bali.
Read my additional post on how we spent our days touring. If you’ve visited Bali I’d love to hear your thoughts!