Amed & Tulamben
The place commonly referred to as Amed isn’t a single town but a string of quaint beachside fishing villages stretching about 15 kilometres along the dry and rugged northeastern coast of Bali. It’s a world away from the busy tourist centres in South Bali such as Kuta.
Located near the eastern tip of Bali, Amed is roughly 100 km from the airport. It is also accessible to many temples, shrines, treks and is a gateway to the Gili Islands and Lombok.
Amed is set more or less due north of Candi Dasa and east of Tulamben and so makes a convenient stopping point for those travelling around the island. Most people visit Amed to relax by the beach, snorkel and dive and the area doesn’t disappoint in this regard. The best snorkelling is to be had in Jemeluk, Selang and Banyuning while diving can be arranged through the many dive shops in town.
The climate in Amed is much hotter and drier than other parts of Bali, particularly compared to Ubud and other inland, elevated centres and you’ll find that accommodation without air-con or the ability to catch the sea breeze to be stifling. As a result of this climatic difference, crops grown around the area are those that require much less water than rice: corn, peanuts and cassava.
Amed has some good snorkelling within metres of the shore. A reef follows the majority of the coastline and is quite close in. Due to the limited number of visitors to the area and a growing conservation awareness among the locals, the sea life is healthy and abundant. There is a small wooden wreck in only 1.5 m of water off Lipah Beach, however this is not the World War II “Japanese Wreck”. David Pickels’ book on diving in Bali described this dive site for the first time in 1999 as the Lipah Bay Wreck, and he later admitted his mistake. The Japanese shipwreck is not located in Lipah Bay, but a few kilometres further east along the coast, in the village of Banyuning and is great for diving and snorkelling with abundant coral and fish life – this dive site is locally known among the dive operators as the “Japanese Wreck” and is clearly signposted with ample car parking and snorkel equipment rental on location.
There is some fine diving in Jemeluk Bay both from the beach and from boats in deeper water. After a gentle slope out from shore, the wall here drops off dramatically to depths of 40 m plus. The coral is healthy and fish life abundant. There are some good drift dives further east at Selang and Bunutan but these are generally only suited to more experienced divers.
Tulamben is a small fishing village, 30 km north of Amed, about 20-30 min by road. As well as local dives off the various Amed beaches a notable attraction is diving the wreck of the USAT Liberty at Tulamben. Some divers base themselves at Tulamben itself where all of the hotels have either in-house dive operations or are associated with one of them.
The Liberty is a US Army transport ship torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942. The wreck lies about 30 m offshore and is covered in soft corals. A huge range of reef fish have made this their home with occasional visits by pelagics. Some of the wreck can be seen by snorkellers. There are other dives in the Tulamben area and keen divers will have no problem entertaining themselves for a few days in this area. A night dive on the wreck is strongly recommended, with bumphead parrotfish looking for a place to sleep and chances of seeing the Spanish dancer. One word of warning – The Liberty is a very popular dive and unless you are actually staying at Amed or Tulamben and get there early in the day, it can be very crowded indeed.
Besides the wide-angle dive sites, e.g. USAT Liberty Wreck and Coral Garden,there are numerous Marco dive sites, e.g. Seraya Secrets, Melasti, Segara, Big Tree, Kubu Reef, and Sidharta. The above sites are all for shore entry. If you want to do a boat dive, there are various destinations you can choose from, e.g. Alamanda, Batu Kelebit, Emerald, Sidem, and Bulakan.