We’re officially more than three months into our move to Bali, and there’s still a ton of shit we haven’t seen or done.
Many people envision our lives as some sort of Indiana Jones and Anthony Bourdain hybrid, with us swinging on jungle vines to land on remote white sand beaches and feasting on farm-to-table cuisine alongside sea turtles and monkeys, all made with love by Balinese grandmas who salsa dance and roll us joints. And while that is the ultimate dream, the majority of the time, we are truly very boring. I typically get up and work on my computer, go out to eat, take a walk, watch movies in bed, avoid death-by-scooter, drink a beer and swim in the pool slash ocean. In many ways, our life in Bali is just like life anywhere else, only with better scenery, cheaper rent and more puking in public.
Like the majority of our adventures, however, budget is still a major factor. Less so in Bali, admittedly, but keep in mind that our combined household income is around $40k/year, meaning a ‘treat yo’self’ evening typically rings in at about $40. So when my mom kindly offered to give us the only real birthday and Christmas presents we ever need – dolla dolla bills, y’all! – we used it to go exploring, a la sir Jones and Bourdain.
Peace Out: Ditching the Crowds for Amed, Bali
One thing you may not realize about where we live in Bali – which is smack dab in the middle of a crowded ass town called Legian, sandwiched between two larger towns called Kuta and Seminyak – is that it’s absolutely the Cancun of Indonesia.
Swap the drunk, obnoxiously loud underage Americans for Aussies, and the tacos for noodles, and bam! Home sweet shit show home. Which is not to say I don’t still dearly dig it, because I do. After living in two relatively small, calm towns during the last couple of years, it’s a fun change of pace to have everything we need within walking distance and also to live somewhere with a nightlife equivalent of Richard Simmons on speed.
That is not to say, however, that it’s not nice to get away from it all every now and then. It is.
Where to Stay in Amed
After hiring a driver to take us on the 2 1/2 hour journey to the eastern coast of Bali (use GrabTaxi for the best price, which is now apparently called Power Grab), we arrived at the swanky and stunning Aquaterrace resort.
If you enjoy afternoon desserts and tea time in pool cabanas, $6 rose oil massages and panoramic views of the ocean whilst shampooing, stay here. If you don’t, you are made of pure nonsense, and good day (I said good day!).
As opposed to Legian, where I am constantly forced to suppress my people-pleasing tendencies by refusing every hawker trying to sell me everything but my own birth certificate, in Amed, I was left to wade in my own patch of salty solitude and sand, and could not have been happier about it.
Also, though I am much too repulsed by 5am alarm clocks to have seen it, I hear that sunrises on this side of the island are spectacular, especially from the ocean on one of the local outrigger fishing boats. There’s always next time. Or the time after that.
The only bummer of our trip was snorkeling through a floating tornado of plastic garbage at the Japanese shipwreck, which was otherwise fairly radical. Even though Amed is one of the cleaner areas of Bali (less people = less trash), there are still giant patches of disgust that float through from other areas of Bali, or even other islands like Lombok, Java, Borneo, etc., depending on the currents.
Overall, Amed is the anti-Cancun. It’s peaceful, the water is super calm, the locals are friendly, tourists are few and far between (and typically of the older European sort), the views of Mount Agung are killer, there’s great scuba diving, snorkeling and free diving, and even a funky little reggae scene a few nights of the week. Not to mention it’s a great take-off point for the Gili Islands, if you plan on getting off of Bali for a bit.
Till next time, Amed…