If you are looking for a nice hidden spot on Bali providing relaxed diving and snorkeling along the colorful reefs on the black sand, then you’d better travel to Amed area. One of the 7 villages of Amed, Lipah, Bunutan, Jemeluk, Aas, Banyuning, and Selang will be ready to provide you with a tranquil accommodation.
As the Island is quite big it will take you up to 3 hours to get from Bali’s International Airport to the north-eastern coast of Bali where Amed is located. You can take a taxi, a minibus or a shuttle bus.
Perama Bus Company provides bus services around Bali. There are 2 stops with the related shops to get off and on the bus in Amed area: No Problem Shop at Amed Beach and Amed Cafe. There you can also buy tickets for the bus.
Within the 15 km (9 miles) area of Amed there is hardly any public transport, usually, there is 1 minibus in the morning. So it is much more convenient to rent a car, a motorbike or to hire a transport with a driver.
Amateurs of comfortable and easy diving might love Amed for its warm, calm waters with good visibility and almost no currents. There are many dive sites which are located very close to the shore.
It is common to use Jukung to access some of the nearby dive sites with a small group of divers. These are wooden canoes traditionally built by Indonesians for fishing and now adapted also for diving and snorkeling purposes.
You can enjoy macro diving at the nearby reefs among such beautiful tiny creatures as Pygmy Seahorse and Ghost Pipefish. The average depth in such places is 5-18m (16-59ft.), so you will have plenty of light for the underwater photography.
There are some dive sites which are recommended for advanced divers as they are located in deeper waters with strong currents. These are to be accessed from the boats.
Best dive sites overview
Jemeluk is one of the best places for the beginners and underwater photography. You will find Anemones, Sponges, and Sea Fans at the depth between 12-22m (39-72ft.). Usually, there is no current, so you can relax among Bumphead Parrotfish, Grouper, Morays, Triggerfish, Angelfish, Surgeonfish, and Morays. Whitetip and Blacktip Reef Shark, and Turtle are often seen at this dive site. There are also Clownfish, Lobster, Shrimp, Yellow Scorpionfish, Leaf-nosed Moray Eel, and Pygmy Seahorse.
This artificial reef at the depth of 10m (32ft.) was created with the help of Amed Dive Center in 2003. Their aim was to restore the heavily damaged reef which suffered from coral harvesting and fishing methods of 1980’s. Now the reef blossoms with soft and hard corals and it is full of macro photographer’s favorite creatures like Seahorse, Frogfish, Stonefish, Lionfish, Crabs, Shrimps and Ghost Pipefish. If you are lucky you might notice Mimic Octopus.
Japanese Wreck is located in Banyuning Bay between 6-12m (19-39ft.). She used to be a 20m (65ft.) long Japanese still freighter. There are many Soft corals, Back corals, Sponges, Gorgonias as well as many fish like Angelfish, Anthias, Parrotfish, and Damselfish. Smaller creatures are presented by Shrimps, Seahorse, Nudibranch, and Pipefish. Those who wish to dive deeper can explore the reef further up to 40m (131ft.).
Another place to enjoy a relaxed dive is Bunutan Point. Here you can spot a large variety of Nudibranch and other small creatures as well as Garden Eels living on the sandy slope. Bluespotted Stingrays and Whitetip Reef Sharks often pass through the site. Among pelagic it is common to see Barracuda and Trevally.
Gili Selang (also known as “The Express” due to mad currents) is located near the Island of the same name. The site is exposed to strong currents of the Indonesian Flowthrough which is coming between Bali and Lombok. There can be a horizontal current together with a down current and even spinning currents. In this connection, the dive site is recommended only for the experienced divers. There can be a thermocline and water temperature can range between 20-30°C (68-86°F). However, there is a high chance of seeing one of the sharks: Grey Reef Shark, Whitetip and Blacktip Reef Shark, and even Hammerhead Shark. Rays, Turtles Mackerel, Trevally, Cuttlefish, Bumphead Parrotfish, and Jacks are often residents of this site.
The dive site is located at the depth of 12-25m (39-82ft.) within a short Jukung ride. Pyramid-shaped objects now form an artificial reef over the coral plateau. You can expect to see lots of reef fish, Pygmy Seahorse, Ghost pipefish, Frogfish, Leaf Scorpionfish, Nudibranch, Garden Eels, Turtle, Bluespotted Stingrays, and Whitetip Reef Shark.
Best dive season
Local dive clubs recommend September-October as the best time for diving at Amed. It is the transition period between dry and wet seasons when there is less wind bringing fewer waves. This is also the period for the best visibility of 20-25m (65-82ft.).
Depending on the season there will be either dry air coming from Australia or moist air coming with the northwest winds. The dry season lasts between May and September while the wet one is from November till March. The months of the transition periods between the seasons usually have less wind and waves.
Tide arrives twice a day. Local dive clubs usually have the tidal tables so they can recommend the best time depending on month and moon calendar.
The average visibility is 15-25m (49-82ft.). It can be spoiled after heavy rains. The water temperature stays between 28-30°C (82-86°F). However, there are spots where the waters are coming from the deep. That is why you can encounter thermoclines lowering the temperature to 20°C (68°F).
During 1980’s lots of hard corals around Amed were gathered by locals as a construction material. The second challenge was el Niño in 1998 which caused coral bleaching. Thanks to the unique marine conditions based on the biggest water movements in the Indo-Pacific and human efforts the coral gardens were restored. Now they are in a good condition, so you can enjoy Back corals, Sponges, Gorgonias and many other hard and soft corals at Amed.
Among the coral dwellers, you can see Lobster, Yellow Scorpionfish, Leaf-nosed Moray Eel, Pygmy Seahorse, Frogfish, Stonefish, Lionfish, Crabs, Ghost Pipefish, and Mimic Octopus. The latter has a unique ability to fully imitate the color and behavior of a Lionfish, a Jellyfish, a Flatfish or a Sea Snake.
Pelagic fish is represented by Jacks, Mackerel, and Trevally. Grey Reef Shark, Whitetip and Blacktip Reef Shark, Hammerhead Shark, Rays and Turtles are often spotted at Amed’s dive sites.
You can choose any type of accommodation in Amed: from budget to luxury. Not all of the hotels and resorts are located near the beach. If you wish to stay in a comfortable beachfront resort, you can try Coral View Villas or Hidden Paradise Cottages both situated in the village of Amed. If more privacy and luxury is expected then you’d better choose a 2-bedroom private Villa Aquamarine at the beach of Seraya.
However, there are also some bungalows and guesthouses offered near the beach in Amed and Jemeluk. The latter is popular for its restaurants. The coral reef is located right in front of it.
Some of the resorts are integrated with the dive centers. They usually provide packaged offers for accommodation and diving.
Arya Amed Beach Resort & Dive Center
The Resort is situated in Amed. It offers Rooms, Suites and Bungalows each with individual balcony or terrace. Pool, restaurant, Spa, and Dive Center are located on the territory of the Resort.
Hotel Uyah Amed and Spa Resort
This Resort operates under the Eco-concept in close cooperation with Amed Dive Center just 100m (328ft.) from the beach. Sustainable development and preservation of marine resources are their main aim. Guests can choose their accommodation in a Family Rooms or in Bungalows.
Baliku Dive Resort
This Dive Resort is located on the hill of Banyuning providing fantastic views over the Banyuning Bay where Japanese Wreck dive site is located. All luxurious Villas are equipped with an Extra King Size Bed, lounge and dining terrace, and a dressing room.
Jukung Dive & Accommodation
This is a 5-star PADI Gold Palm Dive Resort situated on the hills of Amed Bay. There are different types of Villas to choose from as well as a budget Youth Hostel for 3 persons.
Ecodive Bali Hotel
The Hotel is integrated with Ecodive Bali Dive Center. They offer packages which include diving and accommodation in Bungalows on Jemeluk Beach in the village of Amed.
Dive Safari is a unique Balinese style of getting acquainted with the best or specific dive spots around Bali. This is usually offered by the dive clubs who provide services in several locations of the Island or who partner with other clubs, for example, Aquamarine, Bali Aqua, Blue Season Bali, and Two Fish Divers.
Safari package includes accommodation (in either a suggested resort or in accordance with the guests’ requests), all transfers, and guided diving. It can also include some diving course or specialty. The length of the safari differs greatly: from 2 to14 days. The itinerary can be a set-up one, for example, best dive spots of Bali, for macro photographers, wreck dive sites; or it can be flexible and adapted according to the request of the group.
Other activities for non-divers
Coral reef comes close to the shore in Amed area so there are many places for snorkeling. The best of them are Selang, Jemeluk, and Banyuning.
Amed is famous for Freediving. Jemeluk Bay with no current and deep coral walls is recognized as the best place for this.