Want in on a local secret? Snorkeling in Amed, Bali.
As snorkeling enthusiasts who live in Bali, we can tell you this is the best place to snorkel on the island!
There are very good reasons Amed has long been considered a hidden gem in Bali. Within a short drive there are mind blowing temples, jungle clad mountains, and views of Mount Agung to die for.
But the real magic of Amed lies in its waters. Imagine pristine black sand beaches, thriving coral reefs, unique shipwrecks, and an ocean rich in marine life.
Located on the east coast of Bali, it is just far enough off the beaten track that most tourists don’t make it here. This means you will experience some of the best snorkeling in Bali without the crowds. Spend a few days here, and you will see why Amed is our ‘go to’ snorkeling destination in Bali.
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Is Amed Good For Snorkeling?
Asking if the snorkeling in Amed is good is like asking if croissants in Paris are good. Amed snorkeling is easily accessible from the beaches (which is a huge bonus) and perfectly situated for ideal conditions.
The northeast location protects Amed from Indian Ocean swells and the south-east trade winds, resulting in gentle currents and glassy water perfect for snorkeling.
The visibility is best in dry season (April through October), where it can reach anywhere from 50ft to 80ft (15m to 25m)! Wet season is more hit and miss since heavy rains can decrease visibility to as low as 15ft. However, we have been in both wet season and dry season and had fantastic experiences in both.
As if crystal clear water wasn’t enough, the ocean is consistently warm in this area with a temperature of about 82-83°F (28-29°C). So you can snorkel Amed comfortably in just a swimsuit year round.
Best Snorkeling Spots in Amed
The snorkeling is generally good all along the coast near Amed, but there are five standouts for the best snorkeling spots: Amed Beach, Lipah Beach, Jemeluk Bay, Japanese Shipwreck, and Tulamben Shipwreck (U.S.S. Liberty).
Amed beach is the most reliable place to find sea turtles in Amed. Last time we were there, we spent an enjoyable afternoon lazily following an unconcerned Hawksbill Sea Turtle as he munched his way among the coral.
We’ve found the best snorkeling at Amed Beach is between Warung Bobo and BARracuda. We like to set up at Warung Bobo, where they allow you to leave your stuff while you snorkel. After we’re done, we like to relax at the bean bag tables with cold mango juices and french fries. Warung Bobo also has snorkels, fins, and a few life jackets to rent if you need them.
While not terribly strong, there is a current at Amed Beach. So you will definitely want fins in case you find yourself swimming against the current.
While visibility is always hit or miss, we have found that the morning is usually the best at Amed Beach for snorkeling.
Lipah Beach may be the best beach for snorkeling in Bali. The sand is soft with fewer rocks than other beaches. There are also beach loungers for rent near Vienna Beach Resort, along with snorkeling gear and kayaks. It’s always fun to switch off snorkeling and kayaking around, especially if you have kids!
The best snorkeling at Lipah Beach is on the east side near Vienna Beach Resort, which makes sense since all of the snorkeling gear to rent is here. There are less waves in this area and healthy coral with abundant sea life.
The coral at Lipah Beach is relatively shallow, so you feel like you are right in the middle of the fish! However, this also makes it important to remember not to damage the coral with your fins or with standing up.
The visibility is generally good all day, so this has become one of our favorite afternoon and evening snorkeling spots in Amed.
After we are done snorkeling, we hose off and head up the stairs to Warung Asri for their amazing fresh caught garlic butter tuna steaks. We love to time it so we catch the sunset at Lipah Bay and enjoy the fairy lights in the trees after.
In our opinion, Jemeluk Bay provides the best snorkeling in Amed. And our kids agree!
Its half moon shape protects the bay, which allows the water to stay calm and clear more consistently. This is especially great for kids whose smaller snorkels are more likely to get swamped in choppy water and whose little bodies get worn out by swimming in currents and waves. Add all this to the abundance of fish and the excitement of finding an underwater temple, and Jemeluk Bay just became the best snorkeling beach for kids in Bali!
When you get to Jemeluk Bay, we recommend choosing a beach warung to set up. For the price of a few drinks, you can have the use of a couple of loungers for a few hours.
Facing the bay, if you look off to the right side, you will see a buoy out in the water. This marks the Jemeluk underwater temple. Everything to the right of the buoy is the best snorkeling in Jemeluk bay.
Now don’t be confused if you hear the underwater temple referred to as “the post office” by tourists. This is because the underwater temple truly used to be an underwater post office!
Apparently after it was placed in Jemeluk Bay in 2010, you could buy waterproof postcards and place them in a net in the middle of the structure. They were collected and mailed every couple of days!
While you can no longer send letters at the Jemeluk underwater temple, it is still a unique and fun thing to see! Our kids love diving down to look more closely and see what fish are lurking inside.
If you swim further to the right, the coral and fish just keep getting better! We recently took grandparents, and they said it was one of their best snorkeling experiences to date.
Little known to most, there are actually several other submerged statues by local artists on the opposite side of the bay, as well. These were placed as part of a coral restoration project. The hope is these statues will provide a place for coral to settle and flourish.
The coral reef is much smaller on the left side, so it is not as popular. However, if you have the time and energy, it makes for a fun activity to search for the other statues. We recommend going at low tide for the best chance of seeing the statues clearly.
Also, adult snorkeling gear is available to rent at all of the warungs along the beach. As an added bonus, we’ve had good luck finding kids fins and snorkels to rent at the dive shops at Jemeluk, too!
Japanese Shipwreck Amed
We rate the Japanese shipwreck as one of the best places to snorkel in Bali simply because it is so unique! Most shipwrecks are located deep in the water and are really only accessible to divers. However, the Japanese shipwreck is located literally just off the shore (~15 yards) and only a few yards below the surface.
This is said to be the wreck of a Japanese patrol ship that was sunk in World War II. It is now literally covered with coral, which attracts plentiful fish.
It is important to go early, because the visibility decreases as the day progresses. The Japanese shipwreck is located in Banyuning Bay and is well marked on google maps.
There is a parking area where 25K IDR (~$1.66 USD) each will get you parking, a drink, access to a shower to rinse off, and someone to watch over your stuff while you snorkel. There is also snorkel gear available to rent and food options to order. If you prefer to pass on this, you can park for free just up the road.
The beach is made up of large, smooth rocks. So you will want to wear water shoes or wear your flip flops as close to the water as you can. But on the plus side, the rocks can be a great babysitter! The first time we visited the Japanese Shipwreck, our youngest was 2 years old. After a quick snorkel, he had the time of his life playing with the beach rocks while the rest of us took turns snorkeling.
We like to snorkel the Japanese shipwreck in the morning and then head a couple minutes up the road to Trattoria Amed for lunch. They have the best pizza and pasta in Amed, and the view is beautiful!
Tulamben Shipwreck – U.S.S. Liberty
Officially named USAT Liberty, this shipwreck is actually really famous in diving circles. While not quite as shallow or close to shore as the Japanese Shipwreck, the USAT Liberty is still considered among the best snorkeling in Amed.
Tulamben is a village about 30 minutes west of Amed. There is a 20K IDR (~$1.33 USD) parking fee for cars (5K for scooters) with plenty of space.
Apparently, the USAT Liberty was a cargo ship carrying supplies from Australia to the Philippines during World War II. It was torpedoed by the Japanese but thankfully didn’t sink. Destroyers towed it to Bali in order to salvage the cargo and fittings.
Unfortunately, the USAT Liberty was taking on too much water and had to be beached at Tulamben instead of making it to Singaraja. It was stripped and sat on the beach until 1963 when Mount Agung erupted. The tremors associated with this eruption caused the ship to slip into the ocean, where it has become one of the best dive sites in Bali.
Decades later, the USAT Liberty is a haven to coral and home to abundant marine life. Because of this, it is a very popular diving destination. It is really important to snorkel Tulamben early. By 10am, the site is quite busy!
There is another important reason to snorkel USAT Liberty early. Visibility is variable at this spot, but the earlier you come the better chance you have of calm, clear water.
Another variable to take into consideration is low tide. The ship will be closer to the surface at low tide making it more visible to snorkelers.
Adult snorkel gear is available for rent on this beach. There are snacks and drinks for sale, but there are no real food options at the beach.
If you feel like you want more, most dive shops in Amed will do introductory dives at USAT Liberty for divers who are not certified. We have personally really enjoyed diving here! There is even more to see and experience under the water.
Other Beaches to Snorkel in Amed
We’ve outlined the best spots to snorkel in Amed Bali, but these are certainly not the only places to snorkel! There is decent snorkeling along the whole coast near Amed. So wherever you stay, it’s worth throwing on a snorkel and fins and investigating what there is to see.
One of our favorite places to stay is Aquaterrace Amed, and the snorkeling right off the beach here is great! We often have it totally to ourselves, too.
Selang Beach is a less popular snorkeling spot in Amed, but there is still decent reef here. People also occasionally report seeing black tip reef sharks at Selang Beach. Don’t worry, these sharks are generally considered safe to humans. If you see one, count yourself lucky!
Ibus Beach is another great option for snorkeling in Amed. While the snorkeling is good, the biggest selling point at this beach is the powdery soft sand. It’s also nearly always quiet.
Amed Snorkeling Tips
- Our biggest snorkeling tip for Amed is to take your time – Explore leisurely and take the time to look at the little stuff. The fish and coral are amazing, but there are so many other incredible things to see if you are patient and attentive.
- Be aware of boats in the water – Amed is a functioning fishing village, and there are also many dive and snorkeling tours happening. You may want to snorkel with a swim buoy to make you more visible to passing boats. Either way, be cognizant of your surroundings while in the water.
Tips for Snorkeling in Amed with Kids
It is a little trickier to find kid’s snorkeling gear in Amed. You can usually find masks and snorkels that will work, but you often have to search dive shops to find fins in kid’s sizes. Honestly though, our kids usually snorkel without fins and do just fine.
Finding life vests in kids sizes can also be hit and miss. If snorkeling close to shore and the water is calm, we prefer using the small toddler tubes or arm floaties for snorkeling with kids.
Little kids have way more fun when they are able to move around in the water more easily.
If you are a good swimmer and an experienced snorkeler, snorkeling with kids is so rewarding. Hearing squeals of excitement under the water is one of the best sounds ever!
Our hack for snorkeling with toddlers is to put the adult in a life vest too. Then if the toddler is nervous or tired, we have them climb on our back and stick their face in the water over our shoulder. It helps them feel safe and gives them a break while you both can still enjoy the underwater world!
If you are not an experienced snorkeler, we recommend hiring a snorkeling guide specifically for the kids. That way you will both have a better experience in the water.
Amed Snorkeling Tour
It is not necessary to hire a snorkeling tour in Amed as all of the snorkeling sites are accessible from the beach. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider one!
These tours are usually by boat, which is really fun in and of itself! The water is so clear that you can see fish and coral even from the boat, and the view of the island offshore is breathtaking with Mt Agung looming in the background.
Tours are also very efficient. Snorkeling multiple sites in Amed can be time consuming in a car as you need to drive to each site, park, unload all your gear, and figure out where to get in and where to swim for the best snorkeling at each site.
Taking an Amed snorkeling tour allows you to drive the boat right to the best spots. The snorkel guides are local and know right where all the snorkeling is at each site. This allows you to do a lot of really good snorkeling in a very short amount of time.
You can also book combination fishing/snorkeling tours through your hotel or host. These are usually done on traditional jukung fishing boats and are really fun!
Our Favorite Snorkeling Tours in Amed
Best Time to Snorkel in Amed
The best time of year to snorkel in Amed is during the dry season (April to October). The days are generally sunny and there is significantly less rainfall. However, we have been during the rainy season and had good experiences, too!
The best time of day to snorkel in Amed is in the morning. The ocean is usually the calmest in the morning, there are less people, and the water clarity is at its best. However it is still possible to snorkel all day. In fact one of our favorite times of day to snorkel in Amed is late afternoon when all the tours are finished and the day feels lazy.
Should I Bring My Own Snorkel Gear to Amed?
It is not necessary to bring adult snorkeling gear to Amed. Nearly every beach and hotel has decent gear to rent for 50K IDR (~$3.33 USD). However, we prefer to travel with our own snorkel and mask and just rent fins wherever we go. If you have room for fins, that’s ideal, but we don’t always have the space to spare. Renting fins in Amed is usually 20K IDR (~$1.33 USD).
How to Get to Amed
Amed is located in northeastern Bali. It is about 3 hours away from the airport and Kuta, Seminyak, and Canggu areas. Amed is about 2.5 hours away from Ubud.
You have 3 options for going to Amed. You can hire a driver, rent a car, or drive a scooter.
With no public transportation options on the island, hiring a driver is a popular option for getting around Bali. Hiring a private driver for the day usually costs between $30-50 (up to 650, 000 IDR) depending on how far you will be going and how many hours the driver is needed.
The benefit of having a driver is that you don’t have to worry about GPS taking you on sketchy roads meant for motorbikes or worrying about the chaotic streets in the more densely populated areas. It also means you don’t have to worry about parking, which if you’ve been to Bali, you know this can be a challenge.
Renting a self drive car is the more economical option. You can expect to pay $20-30 a day for a midrange vehicle. This is a frequent question we get asked, so we actually wrote a whole post on this where you can get all the details here Renting a Car in Bali.
In a nutshell, the benefits of renting a car and driving yourself in Bali are that you have more flexibility and you save a little money. The downside of renting a car is adjusting to driving on the left side of the road, increased liability, and navigating the craziness of Bali’s roads.
The cheapest way to get to Amed is to rent a scooter. These usually go for $5-10 a day. This option is for the adventurous soul with a well seasoned back end, because sitting on a motor scooter for hours is actually quite tiring if you are not used to it! We recommend renting one of the larger 155cc bikes if you choose this option.
The obvious benefit of driving a scooter to Amed is that it is significantly cheaper than other options. It is also much quicker and easier to navigate roads in Bali on a scooter. The downside is the physical strain, the increased risk for injury, and of course the need to carry your stuff on your back.
What Else is There To Do Near Amed?
Snorkeling is hands down our favorite thing to do as a family in Amed. Our diving experiences are just as magical. However, there are some really spectacular things to do near Amed out of the water, too.
If you are wondering what to do in Amed between snorkels, the nearby gates of heaven at Lempuyang Temple are worth the hype. Tirta Gangga water palace, Bukit Cinta, a local fishing trip, morning yoga, and just relaxing with a good book on the beach are a few. Oh and the restaurants are incredible! We wrote a whole a post on the best things to do in Amed.
Also, on the way to Amed consider breaking up your trip with these Bali gems. Rejuvenate yourself with an overnight stop in the rice field mecca of Sidemen. Or make a quick detour to see the famous Besakih mother temple. Or pit stop for an hour or two at the gorgeous Taman Ujung water palace.
Last Words – Snorkeling in Amed
If you are looking for the best snorkeling destination in Bali, you can’t miss a trip to Amed!
Amed is incredibly unique with so many fantastic snorkeling spots all with beach access. Combine this with so many other things to do nearby, and we guarantee you will want to extend your stay like we do every single time we go!
So what are you waiting for? Book your stay so you can experience the joy of life in Amed.