At this moment I’m in the process of compiling a list of ‘Things to do in Bali’, directed specifically at families. The one thing that’s struck me, while digging deep for this information to share, is the joy that my family get out of ‘adventuring’. By this I mean to go beyond the countless adventure and water parks, and the enormous playgrounds that are set up for the holiday makers, and take the road less travelled. Dare to push the comfort zones – cause that’s where all the fun is!
Of all the places we’ve been so far on this fantastic journey, the treasures unfold and the best memories are made from the times that we’ve ventured off the beaten track, and Bali has certainly been no exception.
During our first 6 months we took to the East coast to discover Amed and its surrounds, and it was wonderful. I loved Amed, the quietness, the almost remote feeling, the very accessible snorkeling spots with fish ‘galore!’ I wrote a post on this a few years back, actually it was about this time 4 years ago, and I’d like to reflect on that and share it with you …
(For those who have read this little travel tale before maybe it will tempt you, again, to take that side trip next time you spend time on this great little Island.)
‘Our Easter Adventure – Amed’
Monday, 5 April 2010
It’s Liam’s birthday today .. and I forgot! It was Easter this weekend gone … and not a chockie egg in sight! Funny that the things that we put the most importance on at home hardly even hit the radar when you’re travelling. Yesterday the most important thing for the day was getting my babies back to Ubud, safe and sound! We managed the safe … but not sure about the sound?
We’ve just been on a great adventure!
Amed was the destination. It’s an area on the East coast, which is made up of a collection of fishing villages. It’s all mountainous and very lush and green, then black sand (which gets bloody hot!) and the most amazingly clear water. I thought Rotto water was clear, but this was something else! The shorelines were lined with colorful fishing boats, hundreds of them, all pulled up onto the beach, resting from the mornings fishing adventures. It was quite a sight when we rode around the corners of the coastal roads, breathtaking actually!
From what I’d read, and the couple of pictures that I’d seen, I had created a picture of Amed in my mind, I imagined that it was one town with skinny little boats lined up along the beach, that wasn’t the case. It was so much more than that. It was bay after bay after bay of fishing boats, literally hundreds of them, lining the coast. An amazing site – colorfully decorated white boats filling the jet black shores. It certainly makes you stop and think about how tough they do it here, imagine how many of them are bringing in their catches each morning to sell at the local market? No wonder they love chartering us around! easy money.
… so we get to Amed after a 4 hr journey (that should have taken 2!) and put our one, yes 1, cabin bag (for all of us for 3 days – impressive huh!) in our new, very decadent hotel room at ‘Onlyou’ and go in search of the fresh seafood feast that had kept me going on that lonngggg journey in. We found it – Sama Sama Cafe sits right on the beach and serves the most delicious and fresh seafood – yummo, it was worth the journey! It also had the best ‘front yard’ for the kids to play in (the ocean!) something you really appreciate when dining with 2 young children.
We spent the next couple of days swimming and snorkeling in the beautiful waters of Amed. We chartered a fishing boat from our local friend Leo and went snorkeling around the Japanese wreck. It was fantastic! Jed was able to jump in and hang onto Liam or myself and check out the sea life. With his ‘gobbles’ on, the only time he had his head above water was to catch his breath so he could plunge back down under the surface to check out the fish again. What a great experience for him. The look on his face when he spotted the ‘Gill’ fish (straight from the movie Nemo!) was golden. It’s times like that you really experience the joy of travelling with children. The incredible thing is that when we started traveling Jed was very hesitant around water, playing it safe with no real confidence. What seemed to happen was that when he was snorkelling, and discovering the incredibly beautiful and animated underwater world, he totally forgot about his resistance to swimming. It’s like the experience of being underwater allowed him to just ‘be’ in the water – naturally and perfectly. From that day on his confidence grew along with his love for water.
A great tip that a fellow traveller gave us in regards to teaching children to snorkel … take a pair of ‘Floaties’ (floating devices for the children’s arms) or a floatation vest. It allows the kids to move freely in the water without having to hold onto your back. It also allows you to keep them at arms length at all times.
We headed off just after lunch on Sunday. I was thoroughly enjoying the ‘scenic route’ when the dark storm clouds came thundering over us. Our journey, which we thought would take 2 hrs, turned into 5, in the pouring, pouring rain. (When it rains here IT RAINS!) That 5 hour journey is a story all by itself, one that I may elaborate on some other time … or maybe not!
In short, we got back to Ubud safely – just! We were all absolutely drenched from head to toe with no accommodation booked, and 2 very tired and hungry children, but yes, we were safe!
On reflection, Liam and I decided that we are both really grateful that we have the time to be able to get off the beaten track to see places like Amed. It’s not a place that most would consider visiting on a 2 week holiday and that’s a shame. It’s a beautiful, raw side of Bali that’s worth taking a few days to experience.
So, do yourself a favour …. venture off that beaten track, and push the boundaries a little, you won’t regret it!