Travelling with a 7 year-old: Amed, Bali

Amed, Bali

We were back in Bali in April of 2013. I noticed that the island had got more touristy, more crowded, and we always encountered traffic jams along the more populous area of Kuta/Legian/Jimbaran area. That was when we felt so lucky that we were able to escape it all by going to the eastern tip of the island somewhere in the vicinity of the small town of Amed.

The trip to Amed from Jimbaran (where we stayed earlier) took about 4 hours by car. We went through winding roads up the mountains and back into the valleys behind them where Amed and its unspoiled water lies. The eastern coast of Bali is still mainly local. There is a hint of nascent tourism starting to creep in, but it seems to be confined to some privately owned B&Bs and holiday rentals for now. There are no chain hotels, no supermarkets, no ATM once you’re outside of Amed’s municipality, and no public transport, though it’s possible to rent a bike or motorbike.

Where we stayed:

We rented a bungalow atop a cliff overlooking the sea. There was a path going down into the sea, ended up in a private diving platform just outside the door. There was a semi-infinity pool which we had for ourselves, surrounded by lush garden. The place itself is generously spacious with its own outdoor living and dining room. By the time the sun came down, it was very quiet, and dark. The staff left the premise after cooking us some home-cooked meals, and the whole property was ours. Fortunately, the owner of the place was thoughtful enough to leave a powerful storm lamp, which we use to navigate around in the dark streets and garden. The Kid was especially excited about exploring around with a storm light. Walking the quiet street we found a small shop nearby that sold nothing but bottled water, instant noodle packages, and beer (well, at least they’ve got beer). Later on at night, it got a bit livelier when we saw (and you could hear them a bit too) all the fishermen going out to start fishing somewhere around midnight.

In the morning, when I walked out to the balcony, the sun was shining, the sky was so clear and blue. The colours of the garden and the sea popped out gloriously, and I knew that I fell in love with the place already. The Kid changed into her bathing suit at once and jumped into the pool. We also found that the diving path on the bottom of the garden to be quite a luxury, since you don’t need to go far at all to ogle all varieties of corals and fish with our snorkels. This place definitely sits on the top of my holiday rental experience ever (and it didn’t even cost us more than 70 Euros a night).

What we ate:

The shop next to our house is not very useful in terms of providing us with real supplies, but the housekeeper kindly called another shop 3 km away, and asked them to come and bring some groceries we needed for the stay, which I really appreciated. They could’ve provided us with breakfast, but we opted out of it, since the three of us have our own breakfast habits, and I don’t really like having the feeling that I’m obliged to show up at the breakfast table at a certain hour just because someone has provided it for us.

Breakfast sorted, the area doesn’t offer much choice in terms of eating out, but there are small cafes and guesthouses around where you can eat simple Indonesian fares such as fried rice, fried noodles, satay, Balinese curry or pancakes (the Kid ate all of them except for the curry). They also make fresh juices, and ice tea. The offerings are always simple, but they were generally well-made, satisfying, and affordable.

What we did:

I could’ve happily spent the four days we were there sitting on the garden reading a book, but it was also too tempting not to go out to the warm sea and swim around, while observing what’s under the clear water. There were also real beaches dotting the coast which we could reach by walking 10-20 minutes away. These beaches are not all the same, we walked some distance and found that some of the beaches have white sands, while other black, and another one pebbly. Some are easier to reach than others, but we also discovered ‘secret’paths going through the bushes to secluded ones, where the corals started right at the beach. The pebble beach was a special one, I had never been to one. I love sitting by the beach, listening to the curious sound of the waves on pebbles, crackling away with predictable frequency. It sounded like when you have a lot of marbles in your pocket, and you dip your hand into it and rolled the marbles around, and magnify the sound several times over.

When the sun was down, the Kid’s favourite activity was to get the storm lamp out, and we went exploring the village with it. Sometimes we met some friendly villagers along the way, but most of the time we just strolled by the beaches, or looking for new pathways and just randomly walked around, finding caves and little temples we didn’t see during the day. It was perfectly safe, and there were no dangerous animals such as snakes. The only beasts you need to worry about are the mosquitoes. It’s a quiet place, but there’s always something to do with a curious city kid eager to explore things she doesn’t usually encounter at home.

If you’re looking into possibilities to do something more active, you can also book a bike tour, like what Hubby did. He said the bike tour mainly went downhill, and it would suit all kinds of abilities/stamina level while allowing you to see more of the local area than if you just walk around.

Amed is definitely the perfect place to get way from it all, and I hope it stays that way for some years now. I would hate to see the place turns into another Kuta, even though it’s got all the potentials to be the new IT place.

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