Karangasem is one of the nine regencies of Bali and is located in the east of the island. In this regency are located the sacred mountain, the volcano Agung, the most important temple of Bali and some of the best places to dive on the island. Besides the water sports, in Karangasem you can also go hiking and rafting. Although Karangasem has many attractions and there are many activities to do, it still preserves the essence of Bali and is not as touristy as other regencies.
MAIN LOCATIONS IN KARANGASEM
Amed is a small coastal town located in the east of Bali and is known for being one of the best spots on the island for snorkeling and diving. Amed is also a very quiet town and has amazing views of the Agung volcano.
Besakih is a small town located at the slopes of the sacred mountain, the Agung volcano. In this town you can find the most important temple of the island, Pura Besakih also called Mother Temple.
Candidasa is another of Karangasem’s coastal towns and is a very quiet area where there are not yet masses of people. Candidasa is an ideal place to practice all kinds of water sports.
Sidemen is a small village in Karangasem situated between rice fields. Like most other villages in this area, it’s a very quiet place where you can enjoy the authentic Bali without the crowds.
Tulamben is a fishing village located near Amed and is one of the best places to dive in Bali. Tulamben’s biggest attraction is actually underwater and it’s a japanese ship wreck from the second world war.
PLACES OF INTEREST IN KARANGASEM
Besakih - the Mother Temple
Besakih Temple is the oldest and most sacred temple on the island and is considered the most important by the balinese. This temple is located more than 1.000 meters above the sea level, at the slopes of the Agung volcano and is a compound formed by 23 temples. The Mother Temple has a structure with 7 levels that represent the layers of the universe and is an architectural jewel that you can’t miss on your visit to Bali.
Lempuyang Luhur Temple
Lempuyang Luhur Temple is located at an altitude of 1.000 meters on Mount Lempuyang and is another of the most important temples in Bali. To reach the top of this temple you have to climb 1.700 stairs, but the effort is rewarded by the magnificent view of the Agung volcano between the two wings of a traditional balinese door.
Tirta Gangga Water Palace
Tirta Gangga water palace is one of the best known tourist spots in east Bali. Tirta Gangga is a royal palace where you can find gardens full of exotic plants, statues, fountains and pools. This palace is built on a sacred water spring and the balinese use their pools for purification.
Taman Ujung Water Palace
Taman Ujung is a water palace that was formerly used as the summer palace of the royal family. This palace combines balinese and european architecture and has several beautiful floating platforms, gardens and bridges.
Puri Agung Karangasem
Puri Agung Karangasem is the royal palace of the Karangasem regency and is another water palace in the region. This palace has several buildings with balinese, chinese and european architectural details which are very well preserved.
Mount Agung is an active volcano, 3142 meters high, and its peak is the highest point in Bali. Balinese people believe that Agung volcano is home to the gods and this mountain is considered sacred. Mount Agung used to be an important point for trekking lovers, but due to its recent eruption in 2019, it’s not recommended to climb it.
The village of Tenganan is one of the most traditional villages in Bali and one of the few places where it seems like time hasn’t passed for hundreds of years. Every year, Tenganan celebrates Perang Pandan, a traditional festival that consists of a fight with vegetable weapons and shields and symbolises the transition to adulthood of the young men of the village.
Amed beach is a black sand beach with an unbeatable view of the Agung volcano. Amed is a great beach for snorkelling or diving and is one of the best places in Bali to see underwater life. For snorkelling in Amed, you don’t need to take a boat as just a few meters away from the shore you can see many fish and starfish.
Jemeluk is a beach located next to Amed beach and is another perfect place for snorkelling. Just like the neighbouring beach, the variety of the sea bed and sea life you can see is incredible.
Tulamben Beach is located in the north of Amed beach. Like its neighboring beaches, Amed and Jemeluk, Tulamben is also excellent for snorkelling and diving. Tulamben’s main attraction is a World War II wreck (USS Liberty) that can be seen at a few meters depth.
Padangbai Beach is the departure port for boats going to the Gili Islands and Lombok and also for small boats offering snorkelling trips. In Padangbai you can see traditional boats called junkung.
Blue Lagoon is located next to Padangbai beach and offers crystal clear, calm waters perfect for snorkelling or diving. Quite close to the coast you will find very eye-catching seabed which is accessible by boat.
Bias Tugel Beach
Bias Tugel Beach is a small, white sand beach bathed by turquoise waters. This beach is also located near Padangbai and like most beaches in the area is also a very good place to dive and swim among thousands of fish.
Lotus Lagoon, as the name indicates, is a pond full of lotus flowers. In addition to the colourful flowers, in the centre of the lagoon you can see a small island where there are several statues. From the nearby Pura Candidasa temple, you can see the lotus pond from above with the ocean in the background.
Sidemen rice fields
Sidemen’s rice fields extend for miles and miles into the valleys south of the Agung volcano. These rice fields are not as famous as those in central Bali, but they are beautiful and not many tourists go there.