The Regency of Karangasem has an impressive range of terrain and covers about 2,000 square kilometers. The steep rise from the coast up to the mountains creates magical scenary. Dominiting the regency is the Mount Agung, said to be the “home” of Balinese gods. In 1963 the volcano’s last eruption killed more than a thousand people and many people lost their land and become homeless. However it also has given special value where hundreds of lorries and trucks thunder every day to transport sand stone for building materials.
Bali’s “mother temple”, the largest temple in Bali, is over 900 meters up to he slopes of Mount Agung. It has been regarded as holy place since pre historic times in Bali. The first recorded mention of its existence is from an inscription from the fifteenth century; it has been regarded as a central, holy temple for the entire island. All the allegiances of the Balinese people come together at Besakih.
Each regency has its own temple wirhin the overall compound, as do each of the caste groups.
Protected for centuries from the outside world by its surrounding walls the village of Tenganan has maintained its ancient pre-Hindu customs through a strong code of non-fraternization with outsiders. Tenganan is famous for its ‘double ikat’ woven material called gringsing, which is supposed to protect the wearer with magic powers.
AMED & TULAMBEN
Approximately 1.5 hour from Badung north of Padang Bai. There is the most popular diving site or snorkeling in Bali. A shipwreck and a drop-off accecsibble from the beach offer easy access to colourful under water world. The magnificent coral viewing, also notorious for shark, rays and wide variety of beautiful fish life. Diving courses are also available.
Just north of Karangasem on the slopes leading up to Mount Agung is Tirta Gangga, a veritable water playground designed by 6 princes in the royal family of Karangasem as a resting place. The exotic pools and water fountains sustained some damage during the eruptions of Mt. Agung but the water gardens remain as serene and temping as ever to the waery travelers.
Karangasem, Bali’s easternmost regency, is also its most beautiful. It has a wide variety of resorts, some of them are little-known. Padang Bai, where the ferries depart to Lombok; Candidasa on the southern coast; Tulamben and Amed, the divers’ hide-outs on the north coast; Tirtagangga, near the cultural heart of the eastern coastal plain, and the more remote areas of Sidemen and Putung. Karangasem is a great area to base yourself for several days of exploration.
Candidasa is a good place to escape the bustle of Kuta. Accommodations are good and relatively cheap as is the food. There are no beach vendors and aggressive hawkers are rare. Although the town has tripled in size in recent years, the surrounding area is still serene and very quiet. Everything is oriented along the main street that parallels the beach.
Bali Tourist Information
Perama Information Center in the west part of town is helpful. No Problem International Air Ticketing can book tickets on Garuda and many international airlines. They also arrange bus travel to Java and eastern Indonesia.
Getting to Karangasem
Public bemos run between Batubulan station and Candidasa until dark for Rp 3,500 (this is the local price: you may end up paying more). Public bemos operate between Candidasa and either Klungkung or Amlapura charging around Rp 3,000.
If you come from Kuta and want to avoid crossing Denpasar, take the direct shuttle bus which departs from Kuta at 9.30 am. Buy tickets at CV Ganda Sari Transport, JI. Legian, Phone 754383. From Ubud (next to Nomad Restaurant), take a similar shuttle at 8.15 am or 4 pm, Rp 6,000. These buses also run the return journey.
The best way to explore the area’s back roads is by car, motorbike or bicycle, all of which can be rented at several outlets in Candidasa at rates similar to those in Ubud. Motorbikes with drivers park on the main road at the Tenganan road junction and at the Culik junction to offer lifts to Tenganan and Amed, respectively. The usual fare is Rp 1,000 one way: bargain.
Eating in Candidasa
Candidasa sprouts new restaurants almost daily, so there are always new places to try out. Menus are similar, so we recommend only those that stand out in some way. The typical menu includes salads, Indonesian and Chinese dishes, seafood, sandwiches, and deserts. Some add steak, curry, pasta and cakes. Prices are good, averaging $4-$5/person with drinks. Seafood can be a lot more expensive. Most places close by 10 pm.
Arie Bar and Restaurant Down-to-earth, family-run establishment with a good selection of Balinese, Chinese and Western dishes. Good quality and prices that are hard to beat.
Di Mahkota, this international restaurant has a very Dutch flavor to it, serving smoked fish (salmon, herring and even eel), meatballs, croquettes, imported cold cuts and cheeses as well as more common international and Indonesian fare. Has the luxury of AC and open-air settings.
Kedai, right on the main road as you enter Candidasa from the south, this very stylish Asian fusion restaurant is the perfect spot for lunch and dinner. A mouth-watering menu features crab cakes, various curries and fresh seafood.
Kubu Bali, serves a bit of everything but excels in seafood: grilled, steamed or fried. Their open kitchen is fun to watch. Finish up with a peach melba, chilled fruit or a cognac.
Lotus Sea View (free transportation in surrounding area). Next to Toke cafe. Larger and more formal. Enjoy the sunsets and great seafood. Its location near the water gives it a Venetian flavor.
Pandan Restaurant by the beach. Well known for its Balinese buffet of babi guling (roast pork), chicken, fish, vegetable, noodles and salads. Experience this feast or sample one of the many other delicious local or Chinese dishes.
Puri Bagus Beach Hotel has a good restaurant on the second story overlooking the sea. Great seafood.
Rama Bungalows and Restaurant has added Swiss dishes such as Roschti, Kartoffel and Puffer Mitgemuse to an already good menu.
TJ’s Cafe has the best grilled fish, stuffed baked potatoes and salads around. Elegant open pavilions overlook a carp pond.
Toke Cafe Near the bend in the road opens to the beach on one side and to the main road on the other. Offers the best combination of Balinese ambience and Western intimacy. Great welcoming drink and good pasta for a couple of dollars.
Warung Ibu Rusmini has the best nasi campur (mixed vegetables, tempe and chicken with rice) in town for under $1, plus other simple local dishes.
Shopping in Candidasa
Candidasa is not particularly a place for shopping, but a limited selection of textile bags, sarongs, locally designed clothing, and jewelry, as well as other gear is available. The following places are of some interest:
Ratu Oka is a lontar palm-leaf artist who works in his small shop next to Artha Home stay. Traditional lontar books are available here for $20.
Bali Ceramics, east of town, has a variety of quality glazed stoneware. Simple bowls, vases, cups, and plates in interesting designs. They also sell shuttle bus tickets to Ubud and Kuta.
It’s also worth checking out some of the shops in Terganan. They offer typical Tenganan ikat textiles and other traditional textiles. Some are genuine antiques. Most shops also have pandanus baskets in different designs and stories from the Ramayana carved into lontar leaves.
Candidasa Night Life
Candidasa has entered a new age with the recent advent of discos and nightclubs which seem rather out of place in this once quiet seaside village. Raja Restaurant shows movies nightly. Go-go’s is a favorite with the younger crowd and has great dance music. But to dance all night long, the only place to go is Beer Garden Disco.
There are also traditional music performances and dance at several places. Candidasa Beach Bungalows II holds barong and keris dances in the restaurant upon request for groups, $15 including dinner. Pandan Harum stages legong, bans, and barong dances with gamelan orchestra on Tuesday and Friday at 9 pm. Closed during low season. $2.75/person.
Karangasem has several dive spots not to be missed, namely Gili Tepekong, Tulamben (with its ship wreck swarming with marine life), Amed (great 40 meter drop-off), and the reefs of Tianyar. Scuba diving equipment is available for rent at several diving centers along the main street of Candidasa. Their prices change according to the location. For those near Candidasa and Padangbai, expect to pay $55 for one dive and $65 for two. Contact Calypso Bali Dive, Stingray, or Baruna through its Denpasar office.
Snorkeling can be arranged almost anywhere. Prices for 1.5 hours of snorkeling (including the roundtrip) at the islands just off Candidasa are around $3/person in a party of up to 3 people. If you are going out alone, expect to pay $4. This includes the price of the fins and mask equipment. Watch out! The waves can be rough near the islands. One can also go to Pasir Putih area east of town and land on the beautiful beach for a swim. Sailing prices are approximately $6 for 2 hours or $8 if you want to fish.
Many places rent bikes. Kubu Bali has five and ten speeds mountain bikes. The Water Garden has mountain bikes and maps at similar rates. Count on paying Rp 20,000 per day.
A fine three-hour, 6 km walk from Candidasa to Tenganan starts just east of Kubu Bali or at Sri Jati Restaurant. Follow the ridge-top trail and drop left into Tenganan just before the fourth major hill. Magnificent views, but start early to avoid the midday heat.
A shorter hike starts at the tip of the headland east of town: walk the hill due northeast down to a long, deserted black sand beach. Other hikes can be organized from Tenganan to Putung or to Bedabudug (Bandem).
Candidasa is a small town with few services apart from the hotels and restaurants.
Near The Water Garden has a good selection.
There are two doctors in town. Hours are limited. Inquire about the cost before accepting treatment. Look for the sign opposite Pondok Bambu Seaside Cottages and Restaurant and opposite the Bayu Peneda Beach Inn. Ask at the big hotels for more information.
Scattered along the main road are numerous money changers.
Asri Shop, mid-town, is the official post office and the closest thing to a convenience store in town, selling medicine, foodstuffs, cassettes, and simple clothing, as well as stamps. Photography. A basic selection of film, 10% above Kuta prices, is available at several places. One-hour film processing is also available.
The Kubu Bali Restaurant has a wartel for telephone service.
Upon arrival at the small beach resort of Padangbai, don’t be put off by the busy pier. Padangbai hides great coves and dive spots behind its hills. Quiet Biastugel lies behind a small hill to the west, while Padang Kurungan, or Blue Lagoon, lies to the north, nearer to the accommodations. Rows of colorful outriggers are lined up on the sandy beach, east of the pier. There is a tourist information office at the harbor. Made’s Cafe provides diving services at $50 a dive. Only simple accommodations and restaurants are available here.
Getting to Padang Bai
Padangbai is a main departure point for Lombok and other islands. A ferry leaves the harbor for Lombok every two hours from 9am. For information on ferries to Lombok, call the harbor office, Phone 41840.
There are private boats to Nusa Penida (landing in Buyuk) for Rp 4,500 per person. These only go to Nusa Penida and leave early in the morning. Depending on the boat size, they can carry either 20 or 40 people for the one-half hour journey. Find the boats on the beach just east of the big ferry terminal. They leave between 7 am – 2 pm; same schedule coming home from Nusa Penida. A charter will cost about $7 if you bargain well. To sail directly to Nusa Lembongan you should leave from Sanur.
There are direct buses from Padangbai to Jakarta for Rp 400,000. Public bemos to Padangbai from Denpasar (via Batubulan and Klungkung) charge Rp 5,000 to those who bargain well.
Eating Out in Padang Bai
A few small restaurants are scattered around Padangbai. Topi Inn’s attractive sandy floor restaurant serves a wide range of food and is famous for its fried fish prepared by the owner herself. Pantai Ayu Restaurant, right on the beach, is always full. Chinese and seafood dishes. The pleasant English-speaking manager lbu Komang presents you with small gifts a krupuk udang to welcome you and a cute out rigger souvenir to take home. She has also a few rooms for rent: $2.50-$10.
Tirtagangga is still a small hamlet, quiet by day and even quieter by night. Nice place for a few days of hiking and reading with periodic dips in the spring-fed pools. The few places to stay are all quite basic. Reach Tirtagangga from Candidasa by bemo via Amlapura for Rp 2,000.
Eating in Tirtagangga
Kusuma Jaya and Warung Rijasa serve Indonesian dishes such as mie goreng (fried noodles) or nasi goreng (fried rice) for $1. Warung Tirtawati has a selection of delicious Indonesian food; their mie goreng is a delight, and a bargain at under $1.50. Both Good Karma and Tirta Ayu Homestay serve a wider selection of Indonesian and Chinese meals.
Several warung and restaurants are in a little shopping arcade in front of the water palace. Gangga Café serves pizza, Indian, vegetarian, and homemade yogurt. Puri Sawah’s menu includes all kinds of baguette sandwiches, many salads, baked potatoes with various fillings, and baked goods.
Most people visit Tirtagangga to swim in the pools, which are quiet and cool. Also look for the fresh spring by the bridge.
There are many walks through the rice fields. Ask around or just keep to the wider, well-worn paths. A wonderful cascade of rice terraces and steep hills drop down into Culik just north of Tirtagangga. Trekking guides are available in Tirtagangga. For $30 they will take you to the top of Mt. Agung; $15 to Mt. Lempuyang.
This is probably the best area in Bali for biking. There are some steep hills but there are lots of great back roads. Rent a bike elsewhere and either ride it out or bring it on the bemo.
One of the most beautiful areas in all of Bali is the Sidemen valley. Take the road over the bridge east of the city Semarapura, going north through exquisitely beautiful scenery of sharp green hills and rice field terraces interspersed with kubu (thatched huts for keeping tools, animals, or for taking a shaded rest). Sidemen and Iseh are famous for their views from the jagged hills, plunging down to steep rice terraces in the near distance and soaring up again to Mt. Agung rising above it all. Sidemen is famous for its kain ndek ikat cloth, as well as gold-threaded songket weaving. One can go to any of four atelier in the Sidemen area and watch the workers weaving.
Bemos cost Rp 5,000 from Semarapura, a rather steep price since it’s a comparatively seldom-used route. Home stays and hotels are all owned by members of the local royalty, the family of Cokorda Dangin. If all rooms are full, they can refer you to another. Prices can be inclusive of up to 3 meals a day, cooked at your home stay, since there are no restaurants catering to non–Balinese tastes in the area. There are no fans needed in the cool mountain air.
Amlapura is not a place where many tourists stay, but you can. Bemos run frequently between town and the surrounding areas, as it is a business and market center. Bemos to Ujung leave from the terminal east of town. The fare to Denpasar is Rp 15,500 and to Singaraja Rp 15,000.
Eating Out in Amlapura
Restaurant Lenny Associated with the Pandan Restaurant in Candidasa, has a wide selection of quality Indonesian and Chinese food.
Warung Manggis Behind the bemo center. Excellent Indonesian food. Under $2 a meal.
Amed is on the easternmost tip of Bali where some of the island’s most idyllic beaches are located.
Getting to Amed
Bemo prices to Amed from Culik are Rp 10,000 or Rp10,500 further out. An ojek ride costs Rp 2,000.
The Village of Tulamben can seem uninviting: the beach is rough black sand and in the dry season the countryside is uniformly brown. But Tulamben’s attractions lie beneath the water. The wreck of a World War USS Liberty ship, a magnet for divers, lies 30 m from the beach. Experts say 400 species of reef fishes live on the wreck, visited by 100 species of open-ocean pelagics. It’s not hard to see why this is probably Indonesia’s most popular dive spot. Reach Tulamben by bemo from Candidasa via Amlapura for Rp 2,000. Taxi is Rp 25,000 each way.
Posted in Districts | Comments Off
This entry was posted on Thursday, March 20th, 2008 at 10:03 pm and is filed under Districts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Comments are closed.
Warning: mysql_connect() [function.mysql-connect]: Lost connection to MySQL server at 'reading initial communication packet', system error: 111 in /home/villaren/public_html/aboutbali/wp-content/themes/privateleisure/left.php on line 11