fbpx

18 Best Things to Do in East Bali

East Bali beckons with its untouched waterfalls, uncrowded beaches, and sacred Hindu sites, offering a tranquil escape from the bustling tourist hubs. From the enchanting Sidemen rice terraces to the underwater wonders of Amed, this less-explored paradise promises a serene adventure for those seeking authenticity and natural beauty.

Beautiful View of Rice Terraces Bali

Looking to get away from the island’s hustle and bustle? East Bali is THE place to avoid the crowds whilst enjoying a more quintessentially Balinese experience, surrounded by nature…and we have a list of all the things to do in East Bali!

The waterfalls in East Bali are some of the most beautiful and the least explored, beaches are uncrowded and pristine, and there’s plenty of natural beauty to discover around every corner. It’s also the perfect place to immerse yourself in the local religion, with a variety of sacred Hindu places of interest to be found throughout the area. 

Even travelling by road you will catch views of the incredible landscape of Bali’s east coast, including the legendary Mount Agung volcano, rice terraces and stunning hilltops. Not to mention the vivid underwater landscapes you will discover when diving and snorkelling in the Amed area. 

Humble East Bali is a little more low-key than the south of the island or Ubud, but we can assure you it’s totally worth the visit, as there are plenty of things to do in East Bali. Whether visiting for the day or planning a longer stay, here are some tips for visiting East Bali, so you can create the perfect itinerary for your exciting East Bali adventure. 

How to get to East Bali

A woman is standing next to a white electric car while on a family trip to Bali.

From pretty much anywhere in Bali such as the airport, Canggu, Seminyak, Kuta or Uluwatu areas, the best way to get around the island as a tourist is by car with a driver. The roads are mostly good but some destinations may require you to use roads that are in poor condition, with steep and winding roads which are sometimes not safe for scooters, especially if you are an inexperienced rider. When exploring East Bali, you are sure to catch amazing views around every corner when driving around this scenic part of the island!

Your transport options to checkout things to do in East Bali include:

  • Hiring a private driver – this gives you your own private vehicle and driver to create your own itinerary, without having to worry about directions!
  • Rent a scooter – if you are a licensed and an experienced rider, you’ll enjoy scooting from place to place in East Bali on a scooter.
  • Rent a car and driver by the hour with GRAB app – we love GRAB app for getting from A to B in the South of Bali, when is comes to East Bali though GRAB cars are not as readily available, if you want to use GRAB to explore East Bali we recommend using the Rent by Hour feature so that you have a driver who will wait for you.

Where to stay in East Bali

You can take a day trip to various locations in East Bali from Sanur. From other areas like Canggu, Seminyak, Uluwatu and Kuta, it may take 2-3 hours to reach various destinations. If you really want to hit all the best spots in East Bali we recommend staying 2-3 days and there are a few different areas where you will find decent accommodation options.

These are the different areas of East Bali you can stay in:

Candidasa

Beach at Candidasa

Candidasa is a great central spot to base yourself if you are exploring the East Bali area. You will find the widest choice of accommodation and eating options here. 

Amed

Aerial View of Amed Beach

Amed is made up of a 14km long strip of fishing villages in Karangasem, and is the ideal place to stay if you’re looking to snorkel or dive. It is located around 1 hour and 20 minutes north of Candidasa.

Tulamben

Scubadiving in Tulamben, overlooking the shipwreck

40 minutes north of Amed is Tulamben. Whilst Amed has more dining and accommodation options and is also closer to other points of interest in East Bali, Tulamben’s main attraction is the site of the USAT Liberty Shipwreck – just a stone’s throw from the beach and a breathtaking snorkelling and diving experience! 

Sidemen Village

If you drive 45 minutes inland of Candidasa, you will discover a handful of homestays, or bed-and-breakfast-style places to stay, as well a handful of luxury villas and hotels. There are rice field views from almost everywhere in this peaceful village.

Jasri Beach

Photo by Surf in Bali

20 minutes north of Candidasa is Jasri, a laid-back beachside village that offers some basic accommodation options.

Padang Bai

Beautiful Drone View of Padang Bai

Known as Bali’s gateway to the Gili Islands, Padang Bai is located 20 minutes south of Candidasa and is the main port for fast boats. 

Day trips to East Bali

If you choose to take a day trip, you can usually visit 3-4 sites in a day. For example the Besakih Temple, Tirta Gangga Water Palace and Lempuyang Temple.

If time is precious, we’d recommend booking a guided day trip so you can be sure to get around as many sites as possible. Take a guided tour through the highlights of East Bali with Klook.

What to do in East Bali

1. Have your breath taken away at Sidemen

View of Rural Scene of Sidemen Village

Prepare for Sidemen to take your breath away! Home to cascading rice terraces that are more beautiful and far less visited than the famous Tegalalang and Jatiluwih. Sidemen offers a less touristy, more authentic Bali experience and is a great escape if a little peace and tranquillity is what you are looking for. There are quite a few accommodation options, from homestays to luxury villas, most with views over the rice fields towards Mount Agung. 

2. Catch the Keramas surfing action from Komune Beach Club

Overlooking the beach from Komune Beach Club Bali

This is a great spot for groups and families who want a beach club vibe with a side of surfing. Komune Hotel & Beach Club overlooks the popular Keramas surf break on Bali’s east coast and is located around 40 minutes north of Sanur. Keramas is also a stop on the World Surf League circuit. Their pool is in prime position so that you can float on a bean bag with drink in hand whilst checking out all the surf action right before your eyes!! There is also a lawn area, chilled DJ tunes and direct beach access, creating a perfect laid-back setting.

Want to stay the night at Hotel Komune? Check our great room rates at Komune with Klook.

3. Spend a day sunbathing and drinking coconuts at Virgin Beach

White sand of Virgin Beach Bali

Virgin beach, located just 20 minutes from Candidasa, is just the spot to satisfy all your tropical vacation dreams – with soft, white sand, turquoise waters and nothing but a few beach shacks with umbrellas serving coconuts and snacks. The waves generally don’t get too big, making it ideal for swimming. The beach is full of local fishing boats so you can spend your day relaxing whilst watching the fisherman come and go with their catches. Just when you think your day can’t get any better, why not indulge in a massage on the beach for around IDR 100k ($10AUD) per hour – pure bliss! This is for sure one of our favourite things to do in East Bali.

4. Visit the atmospheric Tukad Cepung Waterfall and capture a shot of the uplifting light rays

View of Tukad Cepung Waterfall Bali

Want to capture a killer IG waterfall shot? This waterfall in East Bali is located within a canyon complete with large boulders and beautiful light rays pouring in from the canyon’s opening, creating an ethereal cave experience. Of course, you will have to get there early to capture the serene atmosphere before all of the other tourists arrive. However, this waterfall has steep and challenging stairs, so you may not encounter as many tourists as some of the other waterfalls with more convenient access. There is a handrail and with decent waterproof shoes and a moderate fitness level, most people should manage this small trek. We would recommend bringing waterproof shoes or booties, as your feet are likely to get wet once you are in the cave. 

5. Be showered by a 25m Waterfall at Dusun Kuning

A man standing in front of Dusun Kuning Waterfall
Photo by Jonny Melon

If you don’t mind a small hike up and down stairs through lush jungle, then this is a fabulous waterfall to explore! The trek down to the main waterfall is not usually busy and takes around 15 minutes navigating a mixture of stone and steel steps, where afterwards you’ll be rewarded with a stunning 25m waterfall. Most people with a moderate level of fitness should be able to take on this hike. There are several small waterfalls along the way to the main falls and amazing jungle scenery everywhere you look. You can swim beneath the falls in the rockpools while taking in the raw power of the waterfall cascading down from above. However, exercise caution when swimming as the water flow can be surprisingly powerful and you don’t want to get washed down the river into the canyon! Dusun Kuning Waterfall is around an hour from Candidasa and Sideme

6. Telaga Waja River

View of Statue on Telaga Waja River

Just 15 minutes from the scenic village of Sidemen, you can visit Telaga Waja River. The river flows from several springs in the Bali mountains, including the holy Mount Agung which later on meets the sea in the regency of Klungklung on the east coast. The river is popular for white water rafting and swimming, especially around the Telaga Waja river dam area.

7. Take a spiritual cleansing dip at Jagasatru waterfall

Man posing in front of Jagasatru Waterfall
Photo by Budaya Bali

    If you are looking for something a little more ‘off the beaten track’, the impressive 40 metre Jagasatru Waterfall is one of East Bali’s best kept secrets. Located in Karangasem, it’s about a 30-minute drive from Candidasa, near a village called Pateh. Access to the waterfall is a little rough with rocky tracks for the last 300 metres or so. It’s not as well maintained as some of the other sites, but is well worth the visit to marvel at a tranquil waterfall set amongst the mystical jungle surroundings. Catch a glimpse of the ocean in the distance, as well as some spiritual Hindu statues. There is also the opportunity to take a cleansing dip in the refreshing waters around the base of the waterfall should you wish. 

    8. Capture that once in a lifetime shot for ‘The Gram’ at Lempuyang Temple

    Famous Instagram picture of Lempuyang Temple

    Lempuyang Temple, aka Bali’s Gates Of Heaven, is the setting for many iconic photos where Mount Agung aligns perfectly with the majestic Hindu temple gate. There are three levels to the Lempuyang temple in East Bali, which is the highest temple on the island. The first level is accessible to tourists, however the other levels are reserved for ceremonial use. Of course, you will need to dress appropriately with legs and shoulders covered. Sarongs are also available to borrow from the ticket office or you can bring your own. To capture the iconic ‘mirrored lake’ image, you will need to take a ticket and queue – it’s worth noting that during peak season there have been reports of queues taking 2-3 hours! However, there are 7 different temples at the site to visit whilst you wait, as well as gorgeous views of the surrounding landscape, making the Lempuyang Temple definitely worth checking out on your East Bali adventure!

    BOOK WITH KLOOK: Gate of Heaven, Lahangan Sweet, Gembleng Waterfall & Virgin Beach Day Tour for just AUD$85

    9. Stroll the Botanical Gardens at Tirta Gangga Water Palace

    A shot of Tirta Gangga Water Palace

    Tirta Gangga Water Palace is the former Royal Palace built in 1948 by the Raja, or King of Karangasem, and was almost destroyed in the 1963 eruption of nearby Mount Agung volcano. Located around 30 minutes from Amed in Ababi VIllage, it has more recently been preserved as beautiful botanical gardens with maze-like ponds surrounded by gardens, temples and beautiful stone work. There is a large swimming pool open to the public where you can cool off and enjoy refreshments from the warung, as well as a large fish pond with statues and stepping stones which makes for great photos. The water source is the lifeblood of the surrounding villages and is believed to be sacred. Although this temple is less visited than some other spots, it’s recommended to go early in the morning or later in the afternoon to capture the peaceful atmosphere. 

    10. Embrace the spiritual life of the Balinese at Besakih Temple 

    A shot of Besaki Temple

    Besakih temple, or Pura Agung Besakih, is the largest and most important temple on the island. Located on the foothills of Mount Agung, the tallest and most sacred volcano in Bali, you will be treated to panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and ocean. There are 23 different temples at the site which are split over 6 levels and thought to be around 1,000 years old. The temple is still very active today and is particularly fascinating to visit when there is a ceremony taking place. We can all do with a bit of good karma, and here at Besakih you have the unique opportunity to purchase an offering and personally take part in a prayer – something not commonly offered at other Balinese temples. Sarongs are also provided, but it’s best to dress conservatively and women who are menstruating should not enter certain areas. The temple has many stairs and requires a moderate level of fitness. There’s no doubt that Pura Agung Besakih’s structure, terraces and impressive views make it a truly breathtaking place to visit.

    11. Avoid the long queues at Lahangan Sweet Viewpoint

    A man standing on a tree at Lahangan Sweet Viewpoint
    A man standing on a tree at Lahangan Sweet Viewpoint

    Visit Lahangan Sweet to capture an impressive photo of Mount Agung through the temple gates – much like Lempuyang Temple, but without the long queues! The lookout is not as elevated as Bali’s Gates of Heaven, yet the view is just as captivating! There are a few different vantage points you can shoot Mount Agung from, which means there are no long queues like at Lempuyang. It’s best to walk up the hill or splurge on a Jeep ride, as navigating the track can be tricky on a scooter.

    INSIDER TIP: There is also the option of going to Lempuyang temple first, grabbing a queue number and then taking a leisurely 15-minute stroll to Lahangan Sweet whilst you wait your turn. It’s a great way to make the most of your time.

    12. See the bats at Goa Lawah Temple

    The view of historic Goa Lawah Temple

    Three of the six holiest places of worship in Bali are found on the East Coast. Goa Lawah Temple in East Bali is located in Klungkung, around 30 minutes south of Candidasa. Goa Lawah is unique because it has been built into the side of a beachfront cave which is the hangout of local nectar bats. The temple is alive with frequent ceremonies and offers an interesting insight into the religious life of the Balinese. There are several temples, gates and stone carvings to explore, including some impressive bat statues and a water pond.

    13. Explore Amed’s magical underwater landscape including the USAT Liberty at Tulamben

    Underwater world in Tulamben, overlooking the shipwreck

    Vibrant coral reefs, shipwrecks and exotic marine life makes Amed arguably the best spot for snorkelling and diving in Bali. There are several different bays and beaches to choose from, and all are easily accessible from the beach. There is a Japanese Patrol Ship that was shipwrecked in Banyuning Bay during WWII, which is well-covered in coral and inhabited by many fish. The wreck is close to shore and not too deep, so it is easy to explore with just snorkelling gear and great for adventurers of all ages. 

    If you’re up for an exciting scuba diving experience, make your way to Tulamben village, where the USAT Liberty awaits, a mere 30-minutes away. Snorkelers can easily access the USAT Liberty at low tide also. You can easily rent decent snorkel gear for around IDR 50k at various beach spots, including a mask and fins. Bringing your own equipment is recommended, especially for kids, to ensure a proper fit. The area also offers plenty of PADI certified dive centres. 

    Amed Beach is a great spot for turtle spotting and you may even see some friendly black tip reef sharks! There is also an underwater coral wall which is always bustling with marine activity, as well as underwater pyramids and other structures to explore in the Amed area. Keep in mind that dry season usually offers better underwater visibility. Even though you can access all spots from the shore, consider booking a tour for the convenience of exploring various spots without the hassle of driving and parking.

    BOOK WITH KLOOK: Take a Guided Snorkelling Tour with transport to 4 different sites in Amed with this Klook Voucher for just $168AUD!

    14. Take a relaxing walk around Candidasa Lotus Lagoon

    The beautiful Candidasa Lotus Lagoon

    Close to central Candidasa you’ll find the Lotus Lagoon – an icon of the Candidasa area. The large pond is an easy stroll from most of the hotels in town and is located right by the beach. The flowers bloom twice a day, perfect for enjoying a leisurely morning or evening stroll whilst taking in the sights and sounds of the surrounding hills and ocean. 

    15. Enjoy the activities and sights of Lake Batur

    The amazing lake Batur located within a volcanic crater on the eastern slopes of Mount Batur

    Around a 1-hour drive northwest of Besakih Temple is the picturesque Lake Batur, located within a volcanic crater on the eastern slopes of Mount Batur. The main access is via Penelokan Village, however, you can also see Danau Batur Lake along the main Kintamani road, with several convenient lookout spots located around the lake. The lake is mainly used for fishing, and breeding freshwater fish and is also the source of water irrigation for most of Bali. You can catch a boat across to the secluded old Balinese village of Trunyan (known as Skull Island) where there is an interesting graveyard with open graves. You’ll also find hot springs in the area, offering the perfect opportunity for a relaxing soak with magnificent views of the lake and surrounding hills.

    BOOK WITH KLOOK: Get Toya Devasya Hot Springs Tickets with Klook for just $6AUD here!

    16. Catch the sunrise at Bukit Asah

    A shot of Asah Hills

    Perched in the Karangasem region, Bukit Asah serves as a lookout that provides breathtaking clifftop panoramas of the ocean and small island of Pulau Ikan Paus, also known as Whale Island, situated just off the coastline. Camping is popular in this area, with tent rentals available for around IDR 300k and well-maintained bathroom facilities. Wake up to the sun rising over the ocean with Mount Agung behind you. Whilst the ocean breeze keeps things cool, it’s wise to take a hand-held or electric fan in case it gets hot at night!

    17. Be humbled by Mount Agung at Bukit Cinta lookout

    A sunrise shot of Mount Agung from Kintamani, Bali

    At Bukit Asah lookout you will find an uninterrupted view of Mt Agung set against idyllic rice fields and traditional villages. It is a great spot to catch a killer photo of Gunung Agung and enjoy some refreshments from one of the nearby warungs. Another bonus is that it’s often less busy than many of the other Mount Agung lookouts and vantage points.

    18. Indulge in a sensory chocolate-making experience at Sorga Chocolate Factory 

    Make your own chocolate at Sorga Chocolates Bali

    A little further north of Candidasa lies Sorga Chocolate Factory, a haven for premium chocolate which is crafted on-site using locally sourced, organic ingredients. Indulge in sampling the rich flavours of the factory’s signature chocolates, or join a chocolate-making class to explore the art of crafting these delicious treats firsthand.

    Final Words

    East Bali manages to seamlessly combine the stunning landscapes of south Bali with the culture richness of central Bali, but without the annoying hustle and bustle of crowds. Whether you choose to spend your stay temple-hopping or exploring hidden waterfalls and pristine coastline, the options are endless. To ensure an authentic Bali experience, we recommend arriving at destinations before the crowds take over. Don’t forget to keep your camera handy, as East Bali is a treasure trove of picture-perfect moments just waiting to be captured!

    Like This Post? Pin it!

    Bali Buddies on Pinterest

    About The Author


    Bali Buddies Tips

    PS. Some links in this blog are affiliate links and if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, we receive a commission. We thank you in advance as it helps to keep this website going.

    Bali Buddies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by advertising and linking to affiliated sites.

    For more information, please visit our disclaimer page.

    Recent Posts

    Taste the ‘Flavors of Bali’ – A vibrant collaboration by Ikan Restaurant and Dapur Bali Mula!

    Join us at The Westin Nusa Dua for a unique culinary journey with ‘Flavors of Bali’, featuring an exclusive 4-course menu by Ikan & Dapur Bali Mula this Nyepi Day, 2nd March 2024.

    Read More »

    Bali’s Best Hotel Deals

    Find the best Bali hotel deals, weekly updated by Bali Buddies. From luxury beachfront resorts to private pool villas, we’ve got you covered.

    Read More »

    Amarta Beach Retreat’s very own Joglo Daharan reopens its doors!

    Rediscover Indonesia’s authentic charm and hospitality at Joglo Daharan, the quintessential beachside bar nestled along the Pantai Pasut coastline, now reopened with signature locally-inspired delicacies and immersive experiences at Amarta Beach Retreat.

    Read More »

    Regent Bali Canggu: Bali’s most desirable new address

    Discover the essence of luxury at Regent Bali Canggu, where modern elegance blends with Indonesian charm. This all-suites-and-villas resort offers bespoke experiences, exquisite dining, and the world’s first Regent Spa amidst lush coastal gardens.

    Read More »