Information before you go
Candi dasa was another piece of paradise in Bali during the 1970's. Word came out that here you could find palm fringed golden Bali beaches, beautiful diving spots, colorful fishing boats, friendly people and stunning scenery...
Since then travelers came here to spend their days in paradise and more guest houses and hotels had to be built to accommodate them.
Everything is still true about this little place except for the golden beaches.
So what happened?
The local people from Candidasa needed construction materials to build their hotels and they used the reef to get it. They started to blow up the reef with explosives and hotel after hotel was built with what were once amazing fields of coral.
Now without the reef the sea had free play and bit by bit took away the stunning golden beaches that this coconut village was so famous for.
Today only at low tide you can see some patches of what was once the beach. As you can imagine after the massive beach erosion, the Candidasa tourism numbers dropped.
Candidasa, not the most popular of the Bali beaches but still very pretty
To bring the Candidasa beach back to life the local government has recently built several breakwaters to trap the sand but it will take many years for the beach to return to its former grandeur.
Same counts for the numbers of travelers, it's a quiet sleepy town now that funny enough appeals mostly to Golden Girls ;-)
Nonetheless it is still a nice little town to spend a couple of days when you are traveling around the eastern Bali.
It is pretty easy to find your way around. If you don't look at the signs properly chances are you've passed this little fishing village already. The busy main road through town is called Jalan Raya Candidasa and links the city of Klungkung with Amlapura. This village is so small that it lacks a town center but if you take the big lotus lagoon you are pretty much in the 'center'.
Since Candidasa consists only of one main road the accommodation, shops and restaurants are stretched out along it. There is a pavement where you can easily walk but if you don't want to walk too far then you can always travel as the locals do and use the local public transport.
Every now and then a bright red bemo will pass either going to Padang bai located west of Candidasa or to Amlapura, which is located to the east. Just wave when it approaches you and hop on...
Sunset a the lotus lagoon
Another comfortable option is to rent a motor bike. There are many shops who rent bikes, but you can also approach the reception of your hotel who will be able to arrange one.
And of course you can arrange a driver who can take you to all the highlights of this area of Bali. When we are in there we meet up with Sugiyo, also known as John.
He is a very good driver and he will bring you safely to your destination without any nonsense. So no sudden stops at factories or shops, unless you want to of course ;-)
You can contact him by phone +61 081336219373 or by email which is email@example.com. He is also the owner of an Indian restaurant in Candidasa, hence the email address.
Our driver John with his car in the back
Important addresses and handy phone numbers
For emergencies or small accidents: Amlapura hospital at Jalan Ngurah Rai, contact through 363-21-011.
All other important services are located along Jl. Raya.
Perama tourist shuttle bus, which links to the major places of interest such as Ubud, Kuta, Singaraja etc, is located on the west side of town (tel: 0363-41114). The Police office is around the corner from here.
The official Post Office doesn't really look like one. Anyway it's located next to the lagoon in the center of the village. Try to go early in the morning since they tend to close after lunch.
The main cultural sight in Candidasa is the Pura Candidasa, the village temple. It is believed to originate from the 11th century. It is located across from the lagoon along the main road and is dedicated to the Gods Shiva and the fertility goddess Hariti.
Her statue in the temple is surrounded by children hence the name Candidasa which is derived from Cilidasa which in turn means 'ten children'. In front of the temple you can see motor bike drivers stop to place offerings and to get their blessings before they hit the road again.
However in the surroundings of this little village there is enough to do as the Karangasem regency is considered one of the most cultural parts of the islands making it ideal for sight seeing day trips. The most important temple Besakih is not far away and after visiting this temple you can easily make a stop at the royal pools of Tirta Gangga or Taman Ujung.
Another nice village is Tenganan. This traditional village is located nearby and its inhabitants, called the Bali Aga are considered to be ancient pre-Majapahit Balinese (just like the villagers Trunyan) who still live according to their own traditions.
Visit the Bali Aga at Tenganan village, located near Candidasa
The Bali Aga community are known for their unique ikat weaving fabric and palm leaf calendars. If you plan to visit, go early in the morning before bus loads of visitors arrive.
More of an active type?
Candidasa is surrounded by mountains so you can also easily go hiking. There are a couple of great trails that take you through the rice fields and the mountainous terrain in the area.
The hike from Tenganan to Macang and Ngis is a great way to explore the area. The Tenganan-Tirta Gangga trail is another great option. Start off at the temple complex at Tenganan and from there head for the forests. There is a stone wall that will guide you to a school in Gumung. There are beautiful views on the rice fields from this village. Continue your walk by passing a dam, a shrine and by crossing a shallow river.
Candidasa has great hiking possibilities
At the village Kastala head towards the main road and walk to the village of Bebandem. From here you can continue your hike to the village of Budakling and after hiking along the country roads you will end at Tirta gangga.
For those who prefer to go scuba diving then Candidasa is also the place to be. There are some excellent spots such as Tepekong Island and the Mimpang Islands, the tree rock islands in front of Candidasa's coast. This dive site has several walls and a good variety of sea life.
There is even a shark junction so you will likely see numerous sharks and sometimes even manta rays and the Oceanic Sunfish. Visibility is 30+ meters. Diving and snorkel tours can be organized from Candidasa and Padangbai. If you prefer to just jump straight into the water with your snorkeling gear on, then you can do so at Blue Lagoon located right next to Padangbai.
Candidasa is one of Bali's divers destinations
Despite the lack of stunning beaches, there are luckily a couple of great ones not far away. Head to Pantai Pasir Putih (meaning white sand beach )if you want to relax on one of the sun lounges by the beach. If you drive a bit further you will come across the black sand beach of Jasri. At Bias Tugal near Padangbai you will find the 'tropical-deserted-beach-feeling'. It is possible to go swimming here too, but check the currents first before jumping in.
In the past Candidasa didn't offer that much culinary excitement. Most of the restaurants in Candidasa have the same menu, the same background music and the same Legong dance performance.
Today you can however find more places that stand out. They might not serve organic food or mainly focus on preparing delicious local food but they are different from the other places in town. Some of them even are that welcoming that you will even want to stay a bit longer, sit at their bar or in their lounge and sip a beer.
Great atmosphere at Vincent's Restaurant Candidasa
One place in particular is Vincent's Restaurant located nearby the lagoon. Here you can enjoy lunch and dinner with warm voices of jazz legends Diana Kral or Ella Fritzgerald in the background. You can either sit comfortable inside or head to the back to their garden terrace.
Another option is to head to Rendez-Vous, a pretty little restaurant right at the ocean. This restaurant is part of the Alam-Asmara beach resort and serves all kinds of dishes of which the Balinese and fish dishes are the best.
LeZat Restaurant has a similar wonderful setting. Here you can dine with ocean view and enjoy a large selection of Indonesian dishes. They offer cooking classes too if you want to make some of them once home.
Enjoying a Nasi Campur with a sate Lilit at Rendez-Vous
For more local dishes have dinner at the Joglo Restaurant, located near the lagoon. Here they take pride in the Indonesian cuisine and also focus on serving delicious fish dishes. Something you would expect when staying right at the ocean.
While this little town is an ideal place to stay at we haven't found a large range of accommodations we can highly recommend. We will continue to search for characterful hotels in Candidasa that are slightly eco conscious or show efforts in contributing to the surrounding community.
So for now we have added two alternatives, which are also our favorites.
The Alam Asmara Candidasa Resort & Spa
The Alam Asmara dive resort that is located at the waterfront is a fantastic mid-range with value for money. The small scale resort has only 12 deluxe bungalows set among tropical flowers and fish ponds, while each accommodation has their own entrance and verandah giving you even more privacy..
Their Rendez-Vous restaurant serves delicious food, smoothies and cocktails. Besides their great pool with nice views over the ocean, you have easy access to the ocean for some swimming as well. Also a great option for a nice stay while following one of their diving courses.(US$56 per night)
Ida's home stay:
This home stay is a wonderful place to stay and it is one of our favorite budget hotels along the ocean front.
The only drawback is that it's located on the busy main road that runs straight through Candidasa. Nonetheless its location is close to restaurants making it easy to find something nice for dinner.
The best thing about this home stay is that it is covered with huge palm trees and from their pavilion you have fantastic ocean view from where you can see the local fishermen. Be aware that there is cold water only. Restaurants are (US$15 per night per night (single bungalow for 2) or US$27 per night (double level)
Home > Candi Dasa Ins and Outs
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Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
WOW...what an awesome website. I could only dream that there would be a website like this for all our travel destinations! You guys have done an fabulous job and now, I am sooo excited about our upcoming trip to Bali. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure Bali was the place for us considering some of the travel warnings (we are Americans). But I can tell from your experiences that the Bali people are so very kind and peaceful.
hi and congratulations on the blog it s brilliant and helpful....we are going to Bali in September with my family (including 2 little girls) so we need to have nice spaceous rooms garden and pool access rooms preferably in Semikyak but not too far from it all...I hope you can recommend a great place thats not full of Australian crowds as we like meeting people from other countries.
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