The access road to Amed from South can be treacherous to navigate at night. Thanks to Google Map which says that the road is faster than main road through Amlapura, we took the South access road, only to find that Google failed to mention the road work and potholes lining up the road. We covered the 8 km road in 90 minutes, 30 minutes more than what Google said earlier. Thankfully, when we arrived at Baliku Dive Resort at 19:30, Bli Wayan and his crew are ready to greet and help up with our stuff.
“You should take the North access road”, the first word from Bli Wayan.
The help from Bli Wayan’s crew is much needed to haul our luggage up to our room. There are no elevator, only endless stone stairs left and right, leaving us to catch our breath. The hotel staff, used to this kind of climb, march ahead. When we finally catch up with them, we were at the balcony of our room. There are only darkness behind us towards the hill and ocean, but we know that the view will be majestic when the sun rise.
Our room is spacious, with a single bed on the deck in the middle. There pantry on the right, where we can prepare some food and put our luggage. There are fully stocked, reasonably priced mini bar, kitchen sink, but there are no stove to cook. For safety I guess.
In the bathroom, there are a corner bath tub to dip and relax after long day. But the first thing we notice is the lack of ventilation in the bathroom. No open window, no exhaust. And things get really damp and smelly once we did our business in the bathroom.
The next morning, I set my alarm early. Winds blowing hard on the balcony, and the morning is hardly calm with rooster and dog hauling nonstop. The sky, however, enough to catch all your focus that you stopped noticing those sounds or even the wind. Orange streak appears where the sky meet the ocean. For the next 10 minutes, the sky turns brighter, the dark mountain become alive, and the sea sparkling and dancing under the sunrise.
During our stay, we had our food at Baliku’s restaurant. The main restaurant street is in Amed village, some 10-15 minutes driving. But the food in Baliku’s restaurant is very nice, that we are quite happy to just eat at the restaurant. The must try is Mahi-mahi fish, prepared with Balinese sauce or grilled. They also serve western food like Bolognaise Pasta. Another alternative for lunch is Astungkara, a Warung just one minutes walking to the south. It is next to the dive center, which serve home-prepared balinese food. Again, the Mahi-mahi fish in Astungkara is also fantastic.
I would be happy to sit in the balcony whole day just to see the ocean and mountain. But things gets too hot and windy. We checked with the hotel staff for suggestion, and it seems snorkeling is the most favorite activity here. The famous Japanese Ship Wreck is just across the street, a 25-30 meters long wreck shallow enough for snorkeling or free diving. The staff can also connect you to dive center for scuba diving, or help you to rent a jukung boat to snorkeling to nearby Jemeluk and Lipah beach.
If you have car, you can also take 1 hour drive to Amlapura, the city center of Karangasem regency. There is Karangasem palace, the residence of former King of Karangasem, well maintained by the foundation set up by the grandchildren of the last King. Another remains of Kingdom of Karangasem is water palace of Tirta Gangga and Taman Ujung.
Another place to visit is Pura Lempuyang. Here you can take a picture of the heavenly gate, where the peak of Mount Agung is visible between 2 gate of the Pura. Be informed though that the queuing can be 3 hours, and the peak of Mount Agung can hide behind the cloud. But if you decided not to queue for 3 hours, there are many other photo spots that is Instagram-worthy. We visited the restaurant just across the street for unobstructed view of Mount Agung.
Few catch for those of you who decided to stay at Baliku Dive Resort. All of the staff leave at 9 pm after the kitchen closed, so make sure you get all you need before they leave. There are almost no mobile network coverage in Baliku, but they provided a pretty good Wi-Fi in room and anywhere within the complex. Also, bring swimwear even if you are not planning to snorkeling. Their swimming pool is the best, overlooking the ocean and the mountain.
For more information of Baliku Dive Resort, and booking, please visit their website.