When I began planning my 2 month journey through Thailand, Indonesia and Australia, one of the items on my “must do” list was to receive my Open Water Diving Certification. After doing some thorough research, I decided to start my first leg in Indonesia by getting certified with Adventure Divers Bali in Amed, Bali.
Located on the North-eastern tip of the island of Bali, about 3 hours from the capital of Denpasar, Amed is a slow-paced place to take it easy, enjoy lush green landscapes, coastal views and amazing snorkeling and diving. A small coastal town, it only has one main paved road cutting through it; with shops, small restaurants, and guesthouses lining the road. Amed is literally the place where everybody knows your name.
While taking a walk to explore the town I was taken aback at how friendly and curious the locals were. Everyone I walked by stopped what they were doing to approach me, say hello, ask my name, where I was from, where I was staying, etc. At times, I wasn’t quite sure how to handle some of their questions. I was particularly uncomfortable with answering questions about where I was staying. I was a female travelling solo to a place I had never been before. I was caught in the middle between the part of me that was keeping my guard up and being cautious and the other part that wanted to jump right into conversation with the locals without question. I couldn’t decide whether this was just a cultural thing and innocent inquiry or one that should signal a red flag. Working and living in the Toronto area, I am definitely not used to having strangers be so open and wanting to speak with me. In the end I decided to take the vague approach and just say that I was staying “that way” around the bend. That answer seemed to satisfy most.
Although Amed is a small town, I learned that as a pedestrian, I still had to be very alert when it came to traffic. Motorbikes really do rule the road. It is commonplace to see them speeding by and quickly whipping around bends in the road. When I could, I usually found myself walking slightly off the road to avoid vehicles or bolting across the street whenever the way was clear. During nightfall the town is very dark with little lighting illuminating the road. It is best to bring a flashlight or headlamp with you if you are venturing out in the dark.
Amed has beautiful coastal views with Mount Agung as a backdrop to add some allure and mystery. It is a very popular diving and snorkeling destination. Snorkeling can be done right off the beach, with large coral reef formations and plenty of fish just below the waters surface. The beach itself is made up of black volcanic sand and stone. Fishing boats are often found lining the beaches. There are a variety of several great diving spots that are in or near Amed such as the very popular USS Liberty Shipwreck in nearby Tulumben.
Amed is really a place to kick back and take it easy. There are a variety of places you can visit as a day trip from Amed – trekking on Mount Agung or visiting Tirta Gangga a water palace. I did not do any sightseeing or day trips while I was in Amed as most of my time was focused on completing my diving certification. Also I was there during rainy season (low season) and it rained almost every afternoon, putting a kibosh to any potential sightseeing plans.
Have you ever visited Amed? If so, what was your favourite thing about Amed?
Have you been in a similar situation where you were unsure how to answer probing questions? How did you handle them?