I was sad to leave Sanur, as we really enjoyed our time. However it was time to head to Amed. Our driver sent a driver, ‘Made’, to pick us up, at 11am (he informed us that our driver, Nyoman, would meet us on the way, which he did). We said our goodbyes, a little sad but the journey continues on. Suitcases loaded into the car, we are given bottles of water and fruit, nice touch. We head to the BMC money changer before leaving as I’ve read online that the exchange rate is not that great in Amed. 1 NZD is going for IDR 9,650, its gone up from IDR 9,600 since we arrived (we never change any money whilst we are home, we change it in Bali. The rate at the airport was IDR 9,300, so we opted to head to a moneychanger first before anything). The drive to Amed is so scenic (but long), the green rice fields and the ocean – beautiful.
We make a few stops to look at the massive rice fields – Nyoman explains that the rice is all planted by hand (imagine the weight loss if I took part…).
About an hour in I am hungry, and we are just entering the town of Candidasa. We decide to stop and have lunch. As my husband and I look for a place to eat, Nyoman ‘suggests’ a place. We know that these suggestions are not innocent (drivers get a commission). I want to protest, but husband is only too happy to get me to a bathroom asap. We arrive at the restaurant and we are redirected to another location as the place has re-opened in another location down the road. As we arrive the place is dead – no customers in sight – I give my husband the ‘look’ (he knows what it means…). Into the the restaurant we get seated and the menu is brought out. I decided to look up reviews for this place – 2.5 stars! I want to leave, but hubby as always is the voice of reason (he explains there is no harm to it, one bad meal is not the end of the world). The waitress comes over – we order iced latte’s, she informs us they only have instant coffee (what?!!), we opt for water. I order fish and chips – husband orders a pizza – at this point I have ZERO faith in the food. As we wait some other poor souls from Russia are shipped in – but they are clever, before they order they look the place up on google and immediately get up and leave! Oh how I wish I could join them! We wait and wait and finally the food arrives. To my surprise the food looks good, and tastes even better. I look over to my husband and he looks smug, Mr-I-have-faith-in-people. We finish up and hop back in the car. Husband is excited to head to Amed – I am not, as I prefer bustling and busy.
After what seems like hours (it was only an 2 and half hour journey), we arrive at Camessa Hotel.
The receptionist asks for our booking (although I could see my name on their check in board), proceeded to give us a form to fill out and issued our key. To get to our room we had to climb Mt Kilimanjaro (stairs) with heavy suitcases (there are no elevators but stairs at this hotel – definitely not a place for anyone with mobility issues). The staff help us with my suitcase, whilst husband hauls the other. We walk into the room and the first thing I do is head to the bathroom… I am so disappointed!
The bathroom is not clean, the floor, the state of the ceiling, the room is dusty, there are random strands of long hair (did these people even bother to clean the room?). To say I am disappointed its an understatement. Mr-Optimistic-always, encourages me to look on the bright side (the amazing view, and the beach right outside the hotel, should compensate a little), as I am ready to pack up and leave. Husband reminds me we are on holiday, it’s important we relax and take it easy also we can take some precautions (wearing our jandals in the bathroom etc).
After channeling some gratitude into my attitude, we head out for dinner. We decide to walk along the beach to find a place to eat. People are walking up and down the beach, some snorkelling and children swimming. We find a restaurant looking out onto the beach that has bean bags as seats (sold by the bean bags), and we watch the sunset behind Mt Agung.
We order our food and wait for about an hour (Bali time, similar to African time :)). The meal is good, I ask hubby to try my fish, he takes a bite. A few seconds later he is about to throw up, he quickly rushes to the bathroom and gets sick. I am beginning to worry that he may have the famous Bali belly (as the food is fine, I don’t have any issues). He returns and states that he is fine, the fish (i gave him to try) must have reacted with something. He has no fever no sweat, and decides to eat fruit instead. I am worried but husband insists that he is fine – no need to overreact. We finish up and head back to the hotel via the beach – it’s dark now, thank goodness we bought a flashlight with us. It is so beautiful, listening to the waves crashing, I understand the appeal of Amed – the quiet. Kept checking on the husband who still insisted he was feeling better, once back at the hotel, up Mt Kilimanjaro again (certainly getting that exercise in) and straight to bed.
Next morning up the usual time, it is pitch black outside, I sit and listen to the waves and meditate. I am determined to see things positively, after all I am in Bali. Around 5.30am there was a lot of commotion on the beach, the fishermen getting ready to go out. We get up, and get dressed and head out to watch the sunrise, we are joined by several other people.
I don’t know what it is but watching the sun rise is an experience itself (no matter how many times I do). It gets hot really early in Amed, we head back and get ready for the day. When I booked our room online, it didn’t have breakfast included in the room rate. So we head out early to find a place for breakfast, most places are shut and one place told us they are open at 10am.
I am hungry and itching to eat something, so we decide to head back and eat at the hotel as they were already setting up. We take a seat and they bring us the menu (did I mention the view is stunning!), we order and breakfast is hot and fresh (husband has recovered from the ordeal with his evening meal). Once we are done we head out to pay for it and we are informed we only have to pay for the fruit as breakfast is included! Things are starting to look up! We decide to get changed and spend the day in the pool and working on my tan!
We spend hours by the pool looking out to the beach, husband spots a boat with Amed sunset cruise – he decides we need to go out and watch the sunset from a boat (I am hesitant as I prefer to be on SOLID ground). However I throw caution to the wind and book us a private tour at 5pm for IDR500,000 – I am hoping the tour is worth it! I notice I have topped up on my tan, and we decide to head out in search of a massage. We do some research and find a spa 11 minutes away, so we head out on the main road.
The roads in Amed lack any sidewalks, so you just make it up as you go. Six minutes in I am tired, the heat is unbearable. We spot a spa and decide to ditch the one we had planned to walk to. We head on in (looks clean), service is quick – husband decides to have a facial for an hour, I choose to have a full body massage for an hour.
We have our treatments together, and we both fall asleep! I wake up when the masseuse asks me to turn over (I do hope I did not snore…). The sessions end and we get dressed and the total cost of the treatments is IDR150,000. By now it’s well past midday and lunch is needed. We grab a bite at Tropikal Cafe, food is very fresh and good.
We head back to the hotel, husband has to reply to some emails and do some work – the internet is so patchy, (but he gets things done) whilst I frolic in the pool and work on my tan some more ?. By this time the room has been cleaned and the bathroom is a little better!
Before we know it it’s 4.30pm and we get ready for the tour. We had been informed that the captain of the boat would pick us up right in front of the hotel on the beach. Just before 5pm he had arrived.
Now I am nervous, but he assures me there is a life jacket on the boat. We board and things get a little funny, the guy can’t push the boat out by himself – we are too heavy!! So husband jumps out and pushes the boat with him, and off we go. I have to say the experience was worth so much more! It was amazing the views – stunning! We watched the sunset and we will forever remember this moment.
We spend over an hour in the boat and I am itching to head back to shore as I am getting hungry and it’s 6pm (feeding time). We decide to be ‘dropped of’ at a restaurant by the beach.
We head to shore and there is large group of students picking up trash on the beach (side note, the beach was very clean compared to others I’ve seen around Bali – thanks to efforts like these). We hop off and head off to eat. The meal is good – husband doesn’t react and manages to keep his meal down ?.
During dinner we note that we can see the stars clearly (it’s too bright back in Auckland to see stars on a clear night), we finish up and head back to the hotel. From the room there is a long and wide balcony we decide to lie on the balcony and star gaze! We spend a lot of time looking up at the stars – appreciating and marvelling at the universe. After a while we head back in and head straight to bed.
The next few days we spent swimming, working on our tans and reading. Amed forces you to slow down and relax, as it is not as busy as the south of Bali. We have certainly enjoyed our time in Amed, not sure if we (meaning I) will return, but the experience was worth it, none the less.
The adventure continues – off to Ubud for the second time. I am looking forward to Ubud, I love the energy around the place (especially the city centre – some may not like it, but that’s the beauty of life; DIVERSITY ?).