10 Best Things to Do in East Bali

Most Popular East Bali Attractions

The best things to do in East Bali prove that the lesser travelled region does have much to offer in terms of sightseeing and natural attractions. A trip to East Bali will provide you with an escape from the common crowds of the popular southern resort areas, which happen to be closest to the Ngurah Rai International Airport. Travel east, and you’ll discover attractions ranging from ancient temples to royal palaces of the type not found elsewhere on the island.

East Bali also features rugged natural beauty, home to the island’s tallest peak, Mount Agung, which is an active stratovolcano but highly popular among adventurous climbers who often set out early and keen on capturing the first rays at early daybreak. The peak looms over and serves much as an important backdrop to most of the other attractions you’ll see here, such as the island’s largest temple complex, water palaces and even some of the island’s most popular spots for diving, of which East Bali is also best known for.

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Besakih Temple

Behold the ‘mother temple’ of Bali. Besakih Temple is called as such, due to its sheer size with its whole complex, comprising at least 86 temples which include the main Pura Penataran Agung (the Great Temple of State) and 18 others. The temple sits high on the southwestern slopes of Mount Agung. Climb to the top of its towering main gate staircase and you can take in the surrounding landscapes with scenic local rice paddies and distant hills and mountains afar. The grand courtyard features three shrines dedicated to the Hindu trinity. Allow up to half a day to explore the whole site, including a separate mini complex at the top where you can get even more impressive high views. Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 08:00-17:00
  • Location: Besakih Village, Rendang sub-district, Karangasem, East Bali
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The Tirta Gangga royal water garden is a popular and well-kept historical site in East Bali. It dates back to the reign of the late raja of Karangasem, and has seen a series of restorations following the destructive hot showers of volcanic ash from Mount Agung eruption in 1963. The 1.2-hectare site comprises palatial buildings that are set amongst pools, ponds and fountains. Surrounding these floating buildings are well-manicured lawns with stepping stones, ornate statues and tropical flowering gardens. Beside Tirta Gangga is the Tirta Ayu Hotel & Restaurant – located just behind the main fountain, where you enjoy the view while dining alfresco. Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 08:00 - 23:00
  • Location: Jalan Abang, Karangasem, East Bali
  • Tel: +62 (0)363 225 03
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Also known as Taman Sukasada Ujung, this water palace is often considered the sister site of Tirta Gangga, which also dates back to the rule of the late raja of Karangasem. The complex consists of various large pools and historic structures set against a backdrop of Mount Agung and the eastern shoreline. Like Tirta Gangga, the site suffered near devastation to a certain extent by showers of hot ash following the 1963 Mount Agung eruption. It also underwent restorations following an earthquake in 1979. In its current splendour, it’s one of the must-visits in East Bali, where you can admire the unique combination of Balinese and European architecture throughout three large ponds connected by long elegant bridges and pathways. Read More...

  • Location: Tumbu Village, Karangasem
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Underwater Gardens

East Bali’s overland terrain is known to be quite arid, and the further you head east, the more desolate it seems especially around the ‘lava land’ where Mount Agung’s eruption once flowed to the sea. However, what lies beneath the waves are truly colourful and magnificent, with Tulamben and Amed being among Bali’s top dive sites. Furthermore, these sites offer even more great underwater ‘treasures’ for you to discover on your next dives, ranging from bio-rock reefs to underwater statues that have become new homes for tropical marine life. These mesmerising ‘sunken gardens’ and ecosystems are great for out-of-this-world holiday photos! Check out Jemeluk Underwater Bay Gallery in Amed, or the Suci Place and the new Boga Shipwreck in Tulamben. Read More...

Goa Lawah Temple

As one of Bali’s most important temples, Goa Lawah is often an included itinerary on tours to East Bali, as its conveniently midway along the road to Candidasa. What’s unique is that this temple complex is built around a cave opening that is inhabited by hordes of bats, and its name translates to 'Bat Cave’. This temple dates back to the 11th having been built by Mpu Kuturan, one of the early priests who laid the foundations of Hinduism on the island. From the main gates, you can see the near black sand shoreline and the outline of Nusa Penida Island on the horizon. Read More...

  • Location: Jalan Raya Goa Lawah, Pesinggahan Village, Dawan District, Klungkung
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As one of the main diving attractions of Tulamben, this shipwreck has drawn divers from the world over to the spectacular remains of the WWII-era USAT Liberty cargo shipwreck, which sunk after being hit by a Japanese torpedo some 19km southwest of the Lombok Strait in one of the sea battles in 1942. US and Dutch destroyers attempted to tow it to the old Singaraja seaport in North Bali, but failed. The ship then beached on the shores here in Tulamben for salvaging. Then, following the eruption of Mount Agung two decades later, the wreck got pushed back some 25 meters out, resting at a depth of 30m, and eventually becoming home to colourful coral colonies teeming with tropical fish. Best dive conditions and visibility is usually between August and November. Read More...

  • Location: Tulamben, Kubu, Karangasem, East Bali
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Sidemen Village

The scenic and traditional Sidemen Village is located between the Klungkung and Besakih Temple route, and is usually an included stop on sightseeing journeys to the East Bali region. From Ubud, it’s roughly a two-hour drive. The village is also known among Balinese locals as the top producer of traditional palm toddy called ‘tuak’, which is also often further refined into ‘arak’ palm wine. Cottage industries producing the beverage are widespread throughout the village. A great souvenir to take home from Sidemen is the villagers’ traditional dye weavings, known as ‘songket’ and ‘endek’, praised for their intricate motifs and use of colourful hand-loomed cotton or silk threads. Other than that, your drive through the lush green paddies of the village provides a truly memorable sight. Read More...

  • Location: Sidemen Village, Jalan Semarapura-Karangasem, Karangasem, East Bali
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Tenganan Pegringsingan is the most famous of several old Balinese villages, whose much of its centuries-old culture and traditions live up to this day. The village is around 4 kilometres’ drive north of Candidasa, and offers a great nearby sightseeing opportunity of you’re staying along the coast. Best time to visit is during one of the festive Perang Pandan festivals, also known as Mekare-karean, which is a coming of age ritual among village boys involving duels armed with thorny ‘pandan’ leaves and woven rattan shields. Local art shops abound within the village, and you can see from up close the making of woven basketry, as well as the Geringsing double-weave ikat cloth, which the village is best known for, hence its name, ‘Pegringsingan’. Read More...

  • Location: Jalan Raya Nyuh Tebel, Tenganan, Manggis, Karangasem, East Bali
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Pasir Putih Beach

This hidden beach in East Bali goes by various names: Perasi Beach referring to its village where it is located; ‘White Sand Beach’, ‘Virgin Beach’ and simply, ‘Hidden Beach’. This secluded coast stretches between two hills of the villages of Bugbug and Perasi, both located in the Karangasem regency, and around 4.5km east of Candidasa. Despite being called ‘white sand beach’, it's quite a mix between grey and black volcanic sand, and the waves are swimmable during low tide. The seascape is fantastic with the small rocky islet of Gili Biaha on the horizon. You can find several locally-run restaurants and cafes lining the coast, selling everything from fresh young coconut and cold soft drinks, to local fare such as nasi goreng and grilled fish, as well as seafood grilled on the spot. Read More...

  • Location: Jalan Raya Perasi, Subagan, Karangasem, East Bali
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Mount Agung

Mount Agung, an active stratovolcano, is Bali’s highest peak, which is also a favourite challenge among climbers. The mountain dominates the landscape of surrounding areas in East Bali, and it also has a big influence on the arid and dry climate of this region. Bali’s ‘mother temple’ of Besakih calls the mountain its home. Mount Agung last erupted between years 1963 and 1964, and its large and deep crater started showing recent activity with smoke and ash in late 2017. Guided climbing tours usually start out very early, with the longest treks usually setting out before midnight. Shorter treks, on the other hand, set out at the Pasar Agung Temple after midnight, ensuring you reach the peak just before daybreak to capture the first light of day, which is truly a remarkable experience. On a clear day, you can usually also capture a glimpse of Mount Rinjani, the tallest peak on the neighbouring island of Lombok. Read More...

  • Location: Jungutan, Karangasem, East Bali
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