Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
East Bali
The new coast road from Sanur east has made it easy to get to large stretches of shore that were
until recently pretty inaccessible. Here are some beaches we believe are worth exploring, starting
in the west and heading east. Swimming is generally dangerous. Ketewel (Map p128 ) and Lebih
are good spots for surfing; see p79 for details.
Saba Beach has a small temple, covered shelters, a shady parking area and a pretty tropical
drive from the coast road; it's about 12km east of Sanur.
East and West Bali vie for the title of the 'real' Bali. Certainly it has many good arguments:
it's home to Gunung Agung, the 3142m-high volcano known as the 'navel of the world' and
'Mother Mountain'; its rice terraces are beautiful, pervasive and appreciated on myriad back
road drives. It's also home to Bali's holiest temple.
Pura Masceti Beach has an architecturally significant temple with gaudy statuary and a few
drink vendors.
Lebih has a beach made of mica that sparkles with a billion points of light. There's a couple of cafés.
Tegal Basar Beach is a turtle sanctuary with no shade but with a good view of Nusa Lembongan.
But maybe it is the water that sets East Bali apart. Temples line the shore, some meant
to protect the island from the demons said to lurk in places such as Nusa Penida offshore.
Towns such as Padangbai and Candidasa delight visitors with their relaxed pace and seaside
vibe. Amed and nearby the little coastal villages revel in the kind of mellow charm that
travellers have always sought. And Tulamben adds another dimension when people venture
below the waves for amazing diving.
Pantai Beach is oxymoronic using two languages ( pantai means beach). There's a tiny café
and a long row of dunes at this picture-perfect spot.
Pura Klotek Beach has a small temple and some very fine black sand.
Note that swimming in the often pounding surf is dangerous. You'll need your own transport
to reach surfing areas and you'll find services are few, so bring your own drinking water and
With the completion of a new coastal road, all of East Bali is more accessible than ever.
Getting to Padangbai and other points is now an hour quicker. Better yet, the road makes pos-
sible all sorts of circle tours from South Bali and Ubud. Now you can take in seaside temples,
beaches, the royal city of Semarapura, the awesome Sidemen Road, the mountain scenery
near Muncan and the towns of Bangli and Gianyar, all in an easy day with plenty of stops.
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After several years of construction and staged
openings, the new coast road (for now called
the SanurKusamba Bypass, but these things
change so we'll just say Coast Road) serving
East Bali opened in 2006.
It promises to revolutionise the way people
travel in the region. For one it means that places
such as Padangbai, Candidasa and points east
are now one to two hours closer by road to
South Bali. No longer is all traffic funnelled onto
the choked and meandering route through Gi-
anyar and Semarapura. Now it's a straight shot
a few hundred metres inland from the coast,
which also means that the many beaches along
here are now easily accessible (see above).
Inland, towns like Semarapura will finally
have a chance to breathe, now that traffic is
greatly reduced. Given its royal sights, this
could help the city add lustre to its charms.
The coast east of Sanur is striking, with sea-
side temples, black-sand beaches and pound-
ing waves. The entire coast has great religious
significance, and there are many temples. At
the many small coastal village beaches, cre-
mation formalities reach their conclusion
when the ashes are consigned to the sea. Ritual
right on the beach. The large Sungai Pakerisan
(Pakerisan River), which starts near Tampak-
siring, reaches the sea near Lebih .
The impressive Pura Segara looks across the
strait to Nusa Penida, home of Jero Gede
Macaling - the temple helps protect Bali from
his evil influence.
At Pura Batu Kolok , it's difficult without your
own transport. It's quiet and of great signifi-
cance. Sacred statues are brought here from
Pura Besakih (see p218) for ritual cleansing.
Tourism aside though, East Bali also remains a traditional place. Starting with mountain
towns lsuch as Tirta Gangga or Sidemen, you can take walks that put you in touch with the
rhythm of day-to-day life. Follow the ducks across a rice field, avert your eyes from bathers
in a river and seek out a hidden temple on a peak.
One way or another, you're sure to find your own real Bali.
With the ease of access and increased traffic,
expect a boom in places to stay. Already rental
and expat villas are popping up among the rice
fields and tropical palms.
About 11km east of Sanur near Saba Beach,
Lor-In Villa Resort (
Enjoying the new, easy access on the coast
road to beaches like Saba Beach ( opposite )
Climbing the often cloud-shrouded Gunung
Agung ( p219 )
297070; www.lorinresortsababai
) is a modern and
impressive beachside resort. The 32 villas are
set in gardens of grand proportions. The best
ones have private plunge pools and sea breezes
from their upper-levels. Service is very good
at this luxurious 'escape'.
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.com; villas US$120-300;
Hearing the echoes at Semarapura's Kertha
Gosa ( p214 )
Diving the WWII wreck off Tulamben ( p238 )
Gunung Agung
Following the rice terrace of your dreams at
Sidemen ( p215 )
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