Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Amed, Bali

View of a part of Amed with the Agung volcano in the background

I was supposed to put up this post back in 2008 when i did my mini road trip from Kintamani to Amed/Lovina/Ubud but somehow it got lost in my cache. I thought I'd put this up just to serve up a reminder that Bali is more than the Kuta's, Ubuds and romantic cliffside weddings (and also to you women who say its a girls spa holiday when we know its a surfer boy kinda experiece - its OK ladies, the 21st century says you can play by boy rules. no need to be shy about it)

I had hit Amed the day after i had stupidly climbed the Batur Volcano AND after coming down and feeling bored did the 3 hour trek around the Batur Lake caldera the same day. Which effectively meant that anything below my waist was a knotted up shitpile of pain. And yes, using a squat toilet was out of the question. I hit this little hotel almost at the end of town and just chilled out having beers by the beach. As the evening hit i decided to walk around the town and started to walk south along the main road.

Amed, is a cosy little town in the North East of Bali. It might take about 2-3 hours from Denpasar by those little mini vans that are available. It's a great place to just chill, the snorkelling is great. Nothing pretentious about it. You come here for a quite time to chill by the beach, eat at the little cosy cafes and take some boats out for snorkeling and some diving - there are some wreck diving sites nearby.

Padi fields on hillsides on the approach to the town of Amed

I head South as the sun shone brightly and hit the edge of the town. I saw some other buldings in the distance and figured I’d try to walk off the stiffness by heading to the other set of buildings and treating myself to a cold happy hour beer. The ocean on my left is now sparkling in the sunlight and the road I am on hugs the coastline. Somewhat dry shrubbery crops close to the ground offering me no reprieve from the sunlight but the strong wind keeps the mood chipper. I turn a bend and I am greeted by a chic white building beside the road on my right, overlooking the ocean from a vantage point. I can see from the road that it’s elevated dining area has a great almost 180 degree view of the ocean. Fuck this, beers call out to me from the restaurant fridge, and I climb up the steps to Sails, the restaurant in Amed. Its all white deco and simplicity is charming but more so it’s view of the ocean which is lovely and quite breathtaking.

My beer arrives and I settle down contented. I am happy.

My second beer arrives and I look out onto the ocean that is taking a deeper blue with the slowly setting sun. I see a single gull like fisherman’s boat speeding south on the wings of the evening wind. Then another, and another and another! Suddenly my entire horizon is filled by colorful little boats speeding in the same direction south, jumping, skipping on the waves as I look on it amazement. I count out to about 40 plus.

My waiter tells me it’s the fishermen, some going out and some going to pick up divers. Its an amazing sight but not as awesome as the sight that I witnessed at dawn the next day.

After a couple more beers I head back – I would say the best time to appreciate Sails is during the day or with light. At night you’re just surrounded by the darkness of the ocean bar possibly the lights from some boats out at night.

After a quick shower I head out to look for dinner and came across one of the many little restaurants in Amed that had a live band. The sea food was nice in a simple sort of way and the singer was doing Bob Marley and retro rock songs – a staple of what every surf town seems to like. From my conversations with the owner there is only one or two bands in town and they take turns singing in various outlets throughout the week. I chat with an English couple who were comparing Amed to Lovina and preferring the simplicity and small town feel of Amed to it’s northern neighbor which I agree totally – Lovina had nothing to offer except frantic dolphin chasing.

I wake early the next morning. I wanted to have coffee by the Indian Ocean and watch the day break with a hot cuppa. Camera in hand I wandered out onto the beach. The sky was now an explosion of gold, doubly reflected in the sea as the cool morning wind gusted in.

There were already some people on the beach and were looking out into the ocean. I look out, something’s not quite right in the horizon. I squint against the rays of sunshine and realize that the ENTIRE horizon is dotted with tiny specks. I squint harder and realize they’re the same fishing boats from yesterday except now they range in the hundreds! And they’re all coming back to the beach after an early morning of fishing. Its exhilarating as you see the tiny specks grow into defined outlines of the boats as they race each other back. It’s amazing sight and I curse myself for not having a wide angle lense. I took some pictures with an old film camera but I can’t seem to find them now after all these years. If I do I will put them up here though.

The boats now hit the beach and the fishermen immediately take out their wares and display them on the beach for sale. Traders, restaurants, even some tourists gather around to buy the bounty from the ocean. I look on a little and realize that I haven’t had that coffee yet. My stomach rumbles a little. Too many beers the night before demands food in the morning after.

I guess this is my memory of Amed – no frills, a mixture of chicness only because I stumbled upon someone’s good taste in a restaurant design and location and the unexpected glorious sight of the fishermen of Amed in full flight across the ocean at dusk and dawn. Would I go back a second time ? Probably not, as I prefer the lakeside of Batur for my solitude but I would head back to Amed just to share this experience with others who are like minded and appreciate the little things in life.

Statues in Amed

Black volcanic sandy beaches

One of the sea gull like outrigger fishing boats

View from Sails restaurant (picture courtesy of Sails Facebook page)
For more on Sails go HERE.


ah lim said...

looks almost mediterranean to me. not that i've been to europe. haha

seems like a nice holiday destination

Anonymous said...

Yes it does doesn't it mr Lim? I think this is where u go for that well deserved break la. 4 years working non stop tak boleh ler.

Anonymous said...

Damn that wqas me anon again. Hving prob with the bb - Chindiana

ferestre lemn said...

I was there two years ago and i was impressed. Unfortunately i had no time to visit it very well because i was there for only two days, but i hope to visit it again very soon. I recommend this place, it is very nice.

Chindiana said...

Ferestre! (did i get that right?) I see you appreciate the quieter things as well! good taste! I am in Bali again as i type this :)