Tulamben in East Bali

Remote Coastal Village in Bali

Tulamben is a small and remote coastal village in East Bali. This calm seaside area is best known as home of the USAT Liberty shipwreck, one of Bali’s main diving attractions. The village offers a laidback atmosphere with overland terrain that is rough and slightly arid. Even its name loosely translates into, ‘rock-strewn’, in the Balinese language. This relates to the village being in the path of the lava flows of Mount Agung in the past. Instead of sandy beaches, you’ll find that the whole coastline of Tulamben is indeed uniquely pebbly.

The village of Tulamben was originally part of Kubu village. The two villages officially separated in 1991. Most of the villagers make a living out of fishing and marine tourism. What Tulamben lacks in overland attractions, it makes up for with its wonderful underwater attractions. Even so, you can enjoy the calm seascapes from the beach and still have a memorable time. Tulamben is around a 3 hours’ drive from Kuta, and half an hour north from the neighbouring dive resort of Amed.

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What to Do in Tulamben

Diving is the main activity in Tulamben. The dive sites off Tulamben’s coast are not to be missed. Even beginners can make it their first open water dive site. Snorkelling in Tulamben is also good, with great visibility and plenty of schooling fish to see. Try the USAT Liberty wreck, some 30 meters off the shore. Guides can lead you through the different parts of the wreck. You can even explore beyond the site. A drop-off with amazing coral gardens teeming with colourful marine life.

The Boga shipwreck is another great wreck dive in Tulamben. It’s more recent compared to Liberty, and is surrounded by unique sunken objects. Among these are a range of statues and a classic Volkswagen 181 next to its cargo hatch. You can find a great reef right off the shores of the Matahari Tulamben Resort Dive & Spa. In 2013, the resort submerged a range of curious artefacts. Among them are Hindu gods and Buddha statues, at depths between 9 and 17 meters. Besides diving, you may explore the fishing village, or simply enjoy the uncrowded, palm tree-lined and pebbly coast.

Away from the beach, the Rumah Pohon Batu Dawa is a private complex worth exploring. It features a wide variety of fun bamboo tree houses. There's also a mini-Borobudur-like structure onsite. Various wooden suspension bridges connect one structure to another. Entry is IDR 10,000 (under a dollar). For that price, you can cross over and roam around to enjoy panoramic views over the hills of Tulamben.

Tulamben Hotels - Where to Stay in Tulamben

Most hotels in Tulamben are dive resorts. They’re great for getaways, and provide everything necessary to book diving trips. Some dive resorts overlook some of the area’s top dive sites. Some are on the beach where the USAT Liberty lies under the waves. You can also find resorts that have established their own attractive dive sites. These range from 'sunken gardens’ to artificial reefs right off their beachfronts.

Great stays include the Tauch Terminal Tulamben, Matahari Tulamben Resort, Bali Dive Resort and Spa, Tulamben Dive Resort and Toya Bali. Non-divers may also find that hotels in Tulamben can serve as comfortable bases for exploring East Bali. Budget stays offer rooms with either fans or air conditioning and bathrooms.

Tulamben Restaurants and Dining

Most of the dining spots in Tulamben offer cheap eats. You’ll hardly find fine-dining restaurants here. The best restaurants are naturally attached to the dive resorts. Their menus generally focus on wholesome dishes for divers to replenish after a good day out at sea. The local eateries outside of the hotels are worth trying, too. Roadside warungs or food stalls line the village streets. They sell everything from homemade traditional cakes, snacks and coffee, to tasty local favourites such as nasi goreng fried rice.

Up on the hills of Tulamben, you can try a local restaurant selling grilled seafood and satays. These tasty treats are served with great views over the exotic Tulamben coast. There are several spots serving western fare around the coastal area.

Getting Around Tulamben

Tulamben has dive resorts and dive shops providing most of the transport around the village and between dive sites. Being a remote area, taxis are close to non-existent. Should you prefer to explore the area on your own, motorcycle rentals are available, operated by locals. Take extra caution, wear protective clothing and a helmet.

Tulamben

  • Location: Tulamben, Kubu, Karangasem, East Bali
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