Candidasa is often regarded as the island's 'retreat in the east', and is meant for those who opt for a more serene scene of Bali and which can also serve as the perfect hub from where to discover verdant hillsides and rice terraces upland, to world-class diving spots surrounding the coastline.
If you're looking to escape to an idyllic tropical paradise for a few days, Candidasa might just be the place for you. Situated in the east of Bali, Candidasa has been touted by some as the pearl of Bali. It's easy to see how it earned this reputation. A treasure trove of Balinese temples and hidden beaches, this former fishing village has all the amenities you need for the perfect vacation…without the need to jostle with crowds and hustlers.
Candidasa is a very small section of store fronts, restaurants, warungs, shops and many nice resorts/Villas (our villa being among the top-3 best) There is only a single road through the area, with much of the lodging off on side roads with the better spots out of the village a bit in Samuh, where we are. Recent improvements in the road and sidewalks have made CD easier to walk to/through, BUT the road can be quite busy at peak hours.
The overall atmosphere is slow and easy. The weather is a bit cooler than Sanur, with highs around 29 - 31C and lows near 24C at night, with sun most every day.
The beaches are small, as past history destroyed part of the offshore reefs, changed the long shore current and removed a lot of the beach sand through erosion, although the snorkeling can be quite good at low tide. Samuh, where we are - the northern part of the village, has the best beaches, villa's and resorts. Nearly all of them have nice swimming pools. There are also very good beach/snorkeling spots within 20 minutes of CD, at Blue Lagoon, Padang Bai and Amed. Our absolute favourite: 5 km north east of Candidasa is Pasir Putih (White Sand Beach), one of East Bali's well-kept secrets. It's a 500 m long, isolated, beautiful, white sand beach fringed with coconut palms. There are a few warungs (small shops) who rent sunbeds and umbrellas.
The places to eat and shop here are really nice, with prices ranging anywhere between $1.50 and $15.00 for a meal, depending on the 'ambiance' you desire.
Most shops are bargaining types, but ASRI and Gemini general stores are 'fixed prices' with good deals available.
It is within an easy 60 minute ride to some nice sightseeing, rice paddies, shopping and scuba diving, and transport can be arranged by our staff, making sure you don't have to rely on offers on the street. Trips can be easily arranged to suit your kind of activity and taste for adventure. Also, the area and its environs boast a variety of different sights to see. In any case, just ask our staff, they'll be glad to help you find the best deals.
Cultural highlights also dot the area where ancient Balinese traditions are alive at two original Balinese villages accessible from the area.
Other Activities in Candidasa
Trekking & SightseeingThe treks are conducted by our own manager Nyoman (ask him for all info), and may include such routes as to the Tirtagangga water palace and to the original Bali Aga Balinese villages of Tenganan Pegringisingan and vice versa. These treks traverse the hilly terrain and villages around the water palace and through green rice fields and forests, each with insightful highlights to reveal.
The main and surrounding areas of Candidasa are strategic places from where to start on adventurous treks. Among the popular treks include the hillside and coastal temples such as the ones near Padangbai. These sites are of historical and cultural significance, and not to mention the splendid coastal views and serene nuances they offer!
Among the largest is an 11th century temple, the Pura Silayukti. Nearby is the Pura Telaga Mas and Pura Tunjung Sari. Another hill with a namesake temple, the Pura Gumang offers a rewarding outlook over to Candidasa's coast.Those looking for a more challenging trek may opt for the popular climb up the majestic Mount Agung - only if the authorities allow it. The early morning race up with an experienced guide to this island's highest peak is to catch the glimpse of the first rays of sun.
Many hotels along the coastline of Candidasa provide their guests with culinary experiences, not only through exotic tastes that the island's range of cuisine, but also through various exciting and insightful cooking activities.
These cooking classes enable visitors to experience and create the lively tastes of East Bali as well as the entire island, on their own, through casual guidance of an experienced chef, as well as through guided tours through fishing villages, organic gardens and morning markets from where the basic ingredients, herbs and spices are sourced from.
Among the hotels that offer such engaging activities include Alila Manggis featuring an eastern Balinese specialty programme with its Alila Manggis Cooking School, the Alam Asmara Dive Resort, and Rama Candidasa.
Diving in Candidasa, Padangbai, Tulamben and Amed
The are several diving schools in Candidasa; the eastern area of Bali is a heaven for divers, as there are many popular dive sites around, from the small fishing village of Tulamben, about 20 minutes drive from the other favourite site of Amed.
While Tulamben is renowned for its underwater playground and main attraction, the shipwreck of the US cargo ship Liberty which was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942, the area of Amed has various smaller sites within its seven villages with numerous wooden shipwrecks and natural underwater features.
Padangbai, best known as the small harbor in East Bali serving the ferry crossings to neighbouring Lombok, is also among the favourite sites for diving in Bali.
Among the best choices to exploring the east's back roads is by bicycle. Many of the hotel's guest activity services provide mountain bicycles, and there are also various outlets that provide bicycle rental services at reasonablerates.
Destinations to discover include the Taman Ujung water palace, and the Tirta Gangga water palace which provide a challenging uphill, but rewarding downhill experience. Alila Manggis provides exciting cycling itineraries that include the major landmarks in the vicinity, as well as packages that include lunch breaks at a scenic vantage point looking over the Taman Ujung water palace and coastline. For any cycling trip, make sure you have an experienced guide accompanying on your tour.
While Candidasa's own coastal coral reefs have diminished significantly due to over-harvesting of the coral for building materials, there are many other sites near the area that serve the purpose well, for casual snorkelers and underwater enthusiasts.
Snorkeling would mean to discover the coastal underwater beauty, and various places in this eastern part of the island provide such rewards. The Blue Lagoon, located nearby the Padangbai harbour, is among the favourite places for snorkeling, featuring rich biodiversity amidst a coral reef playground. The coastline of the Blue Lagoon boasts such a coral garden where colourful and vibrant tropical fish accompany your adventure.
Also serving a great snorkeling site is Gili Tepekong, a small island of a group of three that form the main scenery of the Candidasa horizon, featuring abundant fish in a coral ecosystem, and which can easily be reached around half an hour by traditional jukung fishing outriggers.
For those willing to enjoy the underwater beauty of the tropical marine life, but do not have the expertise or diving experience, or simply don't want to bother at getting wet, need not worry as this option caters to all.
This touring submarine, the Odyssey, operated by Submarine Safaris Asia, Ltd. takes passengers to see Read More...
Whitewater Rafting at Telaga Waja
The Telaga Waja river runs through the scenic upland in Karangasem, and provides a thrilling adventure through whitewater rafting. Adventure tour operator, Sobek, takes adrenaline rush-seekers on an adventure of a lifetime. The island has two prominent rafting sites, the other one being the more relaxed Ubud counterpart of Ayung River.
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Here are the best places to shop in Candidasa.