There's a lot to do! Here are some of our Favorites:
Amed and Lipah
You'll find Bali's SOUL in Amed. A peaceful, inspiring group of villages framing this Indonesian island's CORAL COAST. More laid back than the tourist meccas of South Bali, you won't find hi-rise mega resorts or giant night clubs......BUT if you require a little "action". . . .there's plenty for the restless.
Villa Candi Matahari is quite close to the region's two FINE DINING establishments; Safka at The Griya, and Sails Restaurant. . .just a stone's throw away. You can walk, for sure, but either establishment will happily pick you up. Just ask your staff to make the arrangements.
The village below is LIPAH. You will want to walk into town, visit the local shops, grab a local beer (Bintang) on the beach, and make arrangements to come back in the evening for some live music at one of many restaurants and bars. You may also get lucky and stumble across a Balinese Dance Show.
Your staff can also arrange for a quick 5 minute drive (or scooter ride) into Jemeluk bay. . . .Although the collection of small restaurants and shops is similar to Lipah, it's worth the trip for a slightly different flavor. Afterall. . . .VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE!
Many musicians tour the island, with Amed as a regular stop. . . . .the more popular bands can draw relatively large crowds. If you're feeling like staying out a bit late, just ask a local where the "music" is tonight.
Wherever you venture, make sure to tell them. . . .you're staying at Villa Candi Matahari.
Deep in the mountainous center of Bali, a few hours from Amed, among hanging banyan trees and lush rice paddies, is a small town thought to be the Indonesian island's spiritual and cultural heart. With a name that comes from the Balinese word Ubad (which means medicine), Ubud has long been known as a mystical place . . . rich in healing powers.
Legend has it that as far back as the 8th Century, royal families from across the island sent their ill to Ubud to be healed, and the tradition continues today – with people from all over the world arriving in hope of curing what ails them. In the intervening years, the region has also become a sought-after destination for spiritual tourists, as savvy yoga teachers brought students to find serenity in what was then a sleepy village.
A Visit to the Ubud Monkey Forest must be a priority while in Ubud - a natural forest reserve popular with both locals and tourists. The mischievous monkeys who reside here provide lots of entertainment, but will often demand shiny things in return, so keep a tight grip on your valuables and sun glasses. Meandering paths lead to charming places like the bathing temple surrounded by lush remnants of ancient forest. Just off the main square a lovely arched stone bridge leads to the Hindu elephant-headed Lord Ganesh overlooking a small, square, moss-covered pool where several koi swim at his feet.
Diving and Snorkeling
If you didn't know it already, East Bali (encompassing Amed and Tulamben), has some of the most lush, diverse, and pristine coral reefs on the planet. Local diving in Amed is a magnificent escape, and a journey of discovery for all diving levels. Knowledgeable dive guides (a must in this region) and highly rated dive shops are plentiful in the area. Let the staff at Villa Candi Matahari recommend reputable dive shops nearby. We have arrangements with many who can pick you up at the villa.
A diving trip to East Bali is not complete without a day trip to descend on the sunken splender of the USS LIBERTY. . .a world class dive site for certain, and only a 30 minute drive. A "must see" for most on Bali, so ask your local dive guide when the best time is to avoid the crowds.
Beginners and Snorkelers don't worry!!! You can learn to SCUBA here, or stay afloat, as many of Amed's reefs are . . . just below the surface!
If you feel you want to explore the region a little more deeply. . . . .AND YOU SHOULD. . . . ask the staff to arrange for a daily scooter, or motorbike rental.
Your staff will have GREAT recommendations where to go, but for starters. . . .leave the driveway of Villa Candi Matahari, and go RIGHT! It won't be but a few minutes before you realize you've left 100 years behind you. Village life becomes prominent, the coast line becomes quite grand, and the scenery. . . almost monumental.
Take your time here, as you won't want to miss ANY photo opportunity. . . .but also because road conditions may not be what you're used to. A little gravel or dirt can make for a slippery ride, so go slow, and you'll be fine :-) Hati-Hati (be careful), and wear a helmet.
We believe Bali's most stunning vistas are RIGHT HERE, in Karangasem, particularly in the Amed region. After all, we didn't build Villa Candi Matahari here on accident.
Lovely mountains are right behind, and ALL AROUND you. You've heard this a lot, but your staff can be a great source of hiking routes, and can provide you with a local guide if you desire to challenge yourself a bit more.
Fishing / Boating
"The Sea doesn't care about you . . . . . or know your name". Those who believe this haven't heard the Bali Sea calling them. Anglers, and non-anglers alike, who hear the call, can rise before the sun and fish as the locals have for hundreds of years; in a traditional canoe or JUKUNG.
Essentially of Balinese origin, the double outrigger JUKUNG is but one of many types of Pacific/Asian outrigger canoes that use the crab claw sail traditional throughout Polynesia. Whilst this sail presents some difficulties in tacking into the wind (actually requiring to jibe around), a jukung is superb in its reaching ability and jibe-safe running. They are usually highly decorated and bear a marlin-like bow.
Feel free to bring your own gear, or try your "hand" at hand fishing with local tackle. If for no other reason, schedule a morning sail to watch Amed wake with the rising sun. . . . .gazing back to land from the Bali Sea. . . . .
" . . . and it will know you."
Tirta Gangga - Water Palace
Tirtagangga, meaning holy water of the Ganges in Balinese, is one of the world's romantic gardens. Gushing springs flowing from beneath an ancient Banyan tree and holy temple fill the myriad of reflecting and swimming pools that grace the Water Palace.
The prominent 11 tiered lotus fountain has become the symbol for Tirtagangga since its creation by the late Raja of Karangasem in 1948. After a tour of the Versaille Palace in France, the Raja was inspired to create his second Water Palace in the mountains overlooking his kingdom. The waters of the holy spring have been praised by island healers for their healing and youth giving powers. Thus the Raja named them after the holy river Ganges in India which is famous for these qualities. It is said that if one bathes in the waters of Tirtagangga on the full moon you will be blessed with lasting youth and your illnesses will be healed. Tirtagangga is the "Fountain of Youth" of Bali.
Less than a 30 minute side trip from Amed. Bring a swim suit, and a camera. . . . . as you may feel the need for some "healing", and you'll want before and after pictures!
The Gili Islands
One of Bali's most popular day trip destinations, the Gili Islands (or just the Gilis) came to the attention of the wider world as a backpacker mecca in the 1980s and 1990s. This is still true to some extent, and the islands are still a fixture on the Banana Pancake Trail. But times are changing, and there is now an array of glamour options on the islands, especially so on Gili Trawangan. The islands are very relaxed and laid-back, with countless little beachside cafes, restaurants and bars serving a variety of tastes in local and international cuisine. Best of all, there are NO CARS or MOTORBIKES to disturb the peace.
From Amed, you are closest to the Gili's than any other place on Bali, this means your boat trip is abbreviated (A quick 45 min. trip) Let your staff arrange your trip to make sure your Fast Boat journey is from a reputable, and safety conscience company. Villa Candi Matahari recommends the FREEBIRD EXPRESS exclusively.