Café Garam (
strewn with lava and boulders, and is nothing
like the lush rice paddies elsewhere.
The big attraction here sunk over 60 years
ago. The wreck of the US cargo ship Liberty is
among the best and most popular dive sites on
Bali and this has given rise to an entire town
based on scuba diving. Other great dive sites
are nearby, and even snorkellers can easily
swim out and enjoy the wreck and the coral.
But if you don't plan to explore the briny
waves, don't expect to hang out on the beach
either. The shore is made up of rather beauti-
ful, large washed stones, the kind you pay a
small fortune for at a DIY store and which
are good for your garden and bad for your
23462; Hotel Uyah Amed, east of Amed;
dishes 14,000-40,000Rp) There's a polished ambi-
ence here with pool tables and Balinese food
plus live Genjek music at 8pm on Wednesday
and Saturday. Garam means salt and the café
honours the local salt-making industry .
Cafe Senang (East of Amed; dishes 9000-20,000Rp) At
Euro Dive, this small, sleek café is popular
Sama Sama Cafe (Jemeluk; dishes 15,000-35,000Rp)
Prawns, barracuda, mackerel and other fish
almost jump from the boats onto the grill at
this five-table beachside joint with a lovely
view of the minute bay.
Restaurant Gede (
THE 1963 ERUPTION
The most disastrous volcanic eruption on Bali in 100 years took place in 1963, when Gunung
Agung blew its top in no uncertain manner at a time of considerable prophetic and political
Eka Dasa Rudra, the greatest of all Balinese sacrifices and an event that takes place only every
100 years on the Balinese calendar, was to culminate on 8 March 1963. It had been well over
100 Balinese years since the last Eka Dasa Rudra, but there was dispute among the priests as to
the correct and most favourable date.
Naturally, Pura Besakih was a focal point for the festival, but Gunung Agung was acting strangely
as final preparations were made in late February. The date of the ceremony was looking decid-
edly unpropitious, but President Soekarno had already scheduled an international conference of
travel agents to witness the great occasion as a highlight of their visit to the country, and he
would not allow it to be postponed. By the time the sacrifices began, the mountain was glowing,
belching smoke and ash, and rumbling ominously, but Gunung Agung contained itself until the
travel agents had flown home.
On 17 March, Gunung Agung exploded. The catastrophic eruption killed more than 1000 people
(some estimate 2000) and destroyed entire villages - 100,000 people lost their homes. Streams of
lava and hot volcanic mud poured right down to the sea at several places, completely covering
roads and isolating the eastern end of Bali for some time. The entire island was covered in ash,
and crops were wiped out everywhere.
Although Pura Besakih is high on the slopes of Gunung Agung, only about 6km from the crater,
the temple suffered little damage from the eruption. In contrast, the inhabitants of the village of
Lebih, also high up on Gunung Agung's slopes, were all but wiped out. Agung erupted again on
16 May, with serious loss of life, although not on the same scale as the March eruption.
23517; Bunutan; dishes 16,000-
35,000Rp) The huge menu focuses on Chinese
dishes. Artwork by the owner decorates the
Cafe Ketut (Lipah; dishes 7000-15,000Rp) A dash of
style here goes well with the burgers and Indo
classics. There's a couple other cafés nearby.
Orientation & Information
The town is a quiet place, and is essentially built
around the wreck - the hotels, all with cafés,
and many with dive shops, are spread along a
3km stretch either side of the main road.
You can change cash at a few signposted
places at the eastern end of the main road;
otherwise services are sparse.
For dial-up-only internet access, try Tulam-
ben Wreck Divers Resort (per min 500Rp).
Getting There & Around
Most people drive here via the main highway
from Amlapura and Culik. The spectacular
road going all the way around the headlands
from Aas to Ujung is in good shape; it's pos-
sible to do the journey as a circle. See p232
All the places east of Culik are difficult
to reach by public transport. Minibuses and
bemo from Singaraja and Amlapura pass
through Culik, the turn-off for Amed. Infre-
quent public bemo go from Culik to Amed
(3.5km), and some continue to Seraya until
1pm. A public bemo should cost around
7000Rp from Culik to Lipah.
You can also charter transport from Culik
for a negotiable 40,000Rp (by ojek is less than
half ). Be careful to specify which hotel you
wish to go to - if you agree on a price to
'Amed', you may be taken only to Amed vil-
lage, far short of your destination.
Perama offers charter tourist-bus serv-
ices from Candidasa (see p226); the cost is
75,000Rp each for a minimum of two people.
This is competitive with the cost of hiring a
car and driver.
Many hotels rent bicycles for about
35,000Rp per day.
Sleeping & Eating
At high tide even the rocky shore vanishes but
places situated on the water still have great
views of the surf. All places to stay are on the
main road or right off it.
Puri Aries (
long, but the hull is broken into sections and
it's easy for divers to get inside. The bow is
in quite good shape, the midships region is
badly mangled and the stern is almost intact -
the best parts are between 15m and 30m
deep. You will want at least two dives to really
explore the wreck.
Many divers commute to Tulamben from
Candidasa or Lovina, and in busy times it can
get quite crowded between 11am and 4pm,
with up to 50 divers around the wreck at a
time. Stay the night in Tulamben or - better -
in nearby Amed and get an early start.
Most hotels have their own diving centre,
and some will give a discount on accommoda-
tion if you dive with their centre. If you are
an inexperienced diver, see Sink or Swim:
Diving Safely, p75 for tips on choosing a dive
Among the many dive operators, Tauch
Terminal is one of longest-established. A four-
day PADI open-water certificate course costs
Expect to pay as little as US$25/40 for one/
DIVING & SNORKELLING
The wreck of the Liberty is about 50m di-
rectly offshore from Puri Madha Bungalows
(there's also a shady car park here; 1000Rp).
Swim straight out and you'll see the stern
rearing up from the depths, heavily encrusted
with coral, and swarming with dozens of spe-
cies of colourful fish - and with scuba divers
most of the day. The ship is more than 100m
23402; r 50,000-70,000Rp) On the
inland side of the road, there are eight small,
clean cold-water bungalows in a really lush,
green garden setting.
Puri Madha Bungalows (
22921; r 70,000Rp)
This is the first hotel you approach from the
northwest; it faces the wreck and the day-use
parking area. There are nine small, clean cold-
water rooms on the water.
Bali Coral Bungalows (
/fax 22909; r 100,000Rp,
) Ten pleasant, clean
bungalows with modern bathrooms huddle
here, some with sea views.
Matahari Tulamben Resort (
with air-con 200,000Rp;
THE WRECK OF THE LIBERTY
In January 1942 the US Navy cargo ship
USAT Liberty was torpedoed by a Japanese
submarine near Lombok. Taken in tow, it
was beached at Tulamben so that its cargo
of rubber and railway parts could be saved.
The Japanese invasion prevented this and
the ship sat on the beach until the 1963
tulamben.com; r 100,000-200,000Rp;
) On a long,
narrow site, this simple, cheery place has 14
decent rooms ranging from those with cold-
water to pricier ones with hot water and air-con.
There's a restaurant, dishes range from 8000Rp
to 15,000Rp, and the pool's on the water.