Candidasa

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Candidasa (or Candi Dasa, pron. "CHAHN-dee-dah-sah") is a coastal town in East Bali.

Fishing Boats on the beach at Candidasa

Understand[edit]

The stretch of coastline from Manggis through Candidasa town itself and east to Bugbug, is normally just referred to as Candidasa.

This is a laid back and very relaxing area of Bali with a wide range of accommodation options. Many visitors, especially Europeans, combine a stay in the hotspots of south Bali with a more relaxed break here. The black sand beaches are very narrow and often disappear altogether at high tide.

  • Tourist Information OfficeJl Raya Candidasa (close to the lotus lagoon),  62 363 41204. Irregular hours.

Get in[edit]

Map of Candidasa

By car[edit]

Candidasa is 60–80 minutes from Sanur along the recently opened east coast road, and is also easily reached from Ubud. A direct trip from the airport will take about 90 minutes. Candidasa is about 15–20 minutes further east from Padang Bai where public ferries from Lombok arrive.

By bus[edit]

Candidasa is well served by the national Perama bus company [1]. Perama shuttle buses to Candidasa leave from Kuta, Sanur, Ubud, Padang Bai and Lovina. Reserve one day in advance. The Perama office in Candidasa is located on the main road next to the police station.

By bemo[edit]

Regular bemos ply the main east coast route between Klungkung and Candidasa via Padang Bai. Bemos to Candidasa leave from Batubulan terminal in Denpasar.

Get around[edit]

As elsewhere in Bali, motorbikes for rent are easily found in Candidasa. There are very few formal metered taxis but plenty of private cars ready to get you around - fix the charge in advance.

See[edit]

The Bali Aga at Tenganan[edit]

In the hills just 4 km inland from Candidasa at Tenganan, is the most famous Bali Aga (original Balinese) village. There is another (distinct) Bali Aga community in the village of Trunyan on the shores of Lake Batur near Kintamani, but visitors are advised that Tenganan is much easier to reach and far more welcoming of outsiders.

The Bali Aga people have retained an ancient pre-Majapahit Balinese culture, and this is apparent in the many obvious differences from the rest of Bali which you will find in Tenganan. The villagers maintain a strict adherence to ancestor worship, cosmology and other animist beliefs, as well as a rigid social organisation. Villagers must live inside the village and marry from within. Tenganan is closed to outsiders after dark. The dialect of Balinese spoken here is heard nowhere else, and differs substantially from even the other Bali Aga community in Trunyan.

Tenganan village

This is an isolated community in almost every way. The village is separated from the rest of the world by a solid stone wall that entirely encompasses the village. There are four gates in the wall, one for each point of the compass. All houses are exactly alike and aligned either side of natural stone pathways. Each house is accessed by a flight of steps and then a simple gate which opens into a courtyard, around which are arranged the bedrooms, the kitchen and a longhouse which serves as a store. Each house has its own empty shrine where it is believed ancestor spirits reside when they visit their descendants.

The focal point of the village is the 21 m (70 ft) long Bali Agung pavilion, where the village elders meet to discuss matters of concern. This structure is clearly very old but nobody seems to know just how old. The major communal village temple is the Pura Puseh (the temple of origin), and this actually lies outside the village walls just to the north.

Tenganan produces some of the finest woven basket-ware, and a fabled double weave ikat fabric, called Geringsing. This fabric is extraordinarily complex and fine pieces fetch enormous prices in the international markets. Collectors of Geringsing have very deep pockets.

A local custom that has been become a popular tourist spectacle involves ritual blood sacrifice whereby combatants fight using wickedly thorned pandanus leaves. The aim of each participant is to draw blood from their opponent. This ritual combat is known as mekare kare and is scheduled whenever there is an important temple ceremony in Tenganan. An elaborate feast follows.

Beaches[edit]

In Candidasa there is not much beach, especially at high tide. Concrete breakwaters run parallel to the shore for the length of the town.

There is a quiet and little visited black sand beach west of Candidasa proper called Pantai Labuan Amok. Although it has an unsightly Pertamina oil terminal at one end, this is a clean beach in a pretty bay, and the offshore waters offer good snorkeling with live coral in shallow waters. There are many other small coves and bays to explore in this area and all visitors are encouraged to do so.

5 km north east of Candidasa is Pasir Putih (White Sand Beach), one of East Bali's well-kept secrets. It's a 500 m long, isolated, beautiful, white sand beach fringed with coconut palms. There are a few warungs (small shops) who rent sunbeds and umbrellas. Massage ladies make it into a tourist place.

Other[edit]

The lotus lagoon at Candidasa beach

Goa Lawah temple and bat cave is one of Bali's key nine directional temples and serves as a guardian against dark spirits from the ocean. The cave here is a well known bat roost. On the north side of the coast road about 10 km west of Candidasa, close to Padang Bai. Rp 6,000, daily 8AM-6PM.

The lotus lagoon in the middle of town can be a spectacular sight if you are lucky with timing. The main town temple is right opposite and its origins are thought to go back to the 11th century.

The beautiful water palace at Tirta Gangga owned by the Karangasem Royal Family, is about 20 minutes northeast of Candidasa proper just to the north of Karangasem town. There are stunning rice paddy terraces in this area as well.

Do[edit]

A typical piece of Geringsing fabric

Visit the nearby village of Tenganan where a strong community which retains ancient pre-Majapahit Balinese culture and known as the Bali Aga (literally, the original Balinese) resides. The village is signposted from the main coast road in Candidasa. All drivers will know the way here. Alternatively grab a lift from Candidasa on a motorbike or stroll the 4 km track. A small admission charge to the village will be charged.

Candidasa is a good starting point for arranging a climb of Mount Agung. Your hotel will be able to help with arranging a guide. There are also numerous less arduous trekking options in the nearby hills.

Diving[edit]

Candidasa is the place to stay for your diving trips in Bali. Located in the center of the best dive sites of Bali and with renowned diving areas with good sites close offshore as well as around the nearby islands of Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan. The close offshore rocky islets of Gili Tepekong, Gili Biaha and Gili Mimpang offer superb but demanding diving which is only really suitable for more experienced divers. Dive sites like Kubu, Tulamben and Amed are within 1 hour travel time from Candidasa. Boat trips to Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan leave on daily basis with surprising dive sites like Manta Point and Crystal Bay. Always be aware that currents in Indonesia can sometimes be surprising. Expect large manta rays and even mola mola in season.

  • Bali Bubbles Dive CenterJl Raya Candidasa +62 363 42196, e-mail: . The only Instructor Training Center in Candidasa. Offers full range of fun dives, dive courses (SSI, PADI & DAN) and high level professional training. Training in English, German, Dutch and Bahasa Indonesia. Dutch-owned and managed.

Yoga[edit]

  • Gedong Gandhi AshramJl Raya Candidasa (next to the lagoon),  +62 363 41108, e-mail: . Holds yoga classes in English every Tues, Thurs and Sat at 16:30. The Ashram is located between the lagoon and the ocean but the entrance is next to the ATM. Classes are by donation and it is also possible to stay there from Rp 250,000 per night incl all meals.

Buy[edit]

There are more than 8 ATM's in Candi Dasa, who accept all the major Credit Cards and Bank Cards. Otherwise the nearest ATM´s are in Padang Bai and Amlapura.

Most of the finer woven basketware found in Bali is produced in villages around Candidasa. If you buy here you are directly supporting the makers.

The famous double ikat fabric Geringsing is produced and sold in Tenganan village, which is only a 5 minute drive from Candidasa.

  • Candi BookstoreJl Raya Candidasa 45 +62 363 41272. Used bookstore with a large stock. Nearly always has German and French language books as well as English.

Eat[edit]

There are a host of waterside or ocean view cafes along the main coastal road in Candidasa.

A local speciality food is satay lilit, a minced fish satay. Look for streetside vendors.

  • Kubu BaliJl Raya, Candidasa +62 363 41532, e-mail: . 08:00-22:00. Large beachfront restaurant specialising in seafood. Located at the Kubu Bali Hotel. Guests can use the swimming pool.
  • Legong RestaurantJl Raya, Candidasa +62 363 41052. 11:00-21:00. Good quality local food and a nightly Legong dance performance to accompany dinner.
  • Raja's +62 363 42034. 11:00-22:00. Right by the lagoon and is a very popular tourist restaurant for the nightly movies as much as the food.
  • Vincent's RestaurantJl Raya, Candidasa (close to the lagoon, next to Raja's),  +62 363 41368. 10:30-late. Pleasant restaurant and bar serving international and local cuisine. Good vegetarian options. Expect to hear lots of laid back jazz music.
  • Toke Bar-RestaurantJl Raya, Candidasa +62 363 41991. 10:30-late. Specializing in Indian, Balinese & international cuisine. A great choice of international cocktails and wines from France, Australia, South Africa and Bali.

Drink[edit]

Virtually all of the local cafes double as bars but this is not an area in which expect any nightlife to speak of.

Legenda is in the centre of town close to the lotus lagoon and is the only venue in Candidasa that has regular live music.

Sleep[edit]

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under Rp 250,000
Mid-range Rp 250,000-1,000,000
Splurge Over Rp 1,000,000


Candidasa is an area of Bali with a range of accommodation from the most simple of bungalows to world renowned five star resorts.

Budget[edit]

  • Puri Oka Beach BungalowsJl Puri Bagus +62 363 41092, e-mail: . Extremely good value hotel in a great location right on the beach close to the Puri Bagus Resort. The cheapest rooms are not air-conditioned and have no hot water, but this is a really good value option for the budget traveller. From US$15.
  • Sindhu Brata Inn +62 0363 41825. Fantastic location right on the beach, just to the east of the lotus lagoon. Air-conditioned and fan-cooled bungalows with a simple restaurant attached. About Rp 200,000.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Alam Asmara Dive Resort (formerly Pandawa), Jl Raya Candidasa, Karangasem +62 361 8528521. Beachfront dive resort with swimming pool, spa and a good restaurant. All twelve bungalows have air-conditioning, semi open-air private bath and shower, bathtub, TV, hairdryer, mini-bar, in-room safety deposit box and individual terrace. Friendly and helpful staff. Deluxe bungalow US$115.
  • Balina Beach BungalowsBalina Beach, Mangis +62 363 42164, e-mail: . This was a rundown property but has a new lease of life with new management and a sparkling renovation. Individual bungalows and restaurant very close to the beach with a bar right on the beach. Lovely quiet spot and a good choice in this price bracket. From €46.
  • Lotus Bungalows +62 363 41104. Small resort aimed especially at divers with an in-house dive operation called Gangga Divers. On the main coast road. From US$65.
  • Nusa IndahJl. Pura Segara +62 363 41062. Small, friendly resort for a maximum of 12 guests. Run by a German couple with a Balinese manager. From €50.
  •    Puri Bagus Candidasa (puri bagus candidasa), Jl. Raya Candidasa +6236341131. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Sea view and tropical garden villas, 47-bungalow beachfront resort at east end of Candidasa beach. From US$95.

Splurge[edit]

  • Alila Manggis (formerly The Serai), Buitan, Manggis +62 363 41011fax: +62 363 41015, e-mail: . Five-star resort property with 55 rooms on the waterfront at Manggis, but without a beach. Superb ambience and a great restaurant. With swimming pool, spa and cooking school. From US$155, discounts for early booking and for long-term stay.
  • Villa GilsMendira Beach +62 812 3879961, e-mail: . 3-bedroom private villa (all with ensuites), stunning 25 m private lap pool. Snorkelling over coral gardens right off the beach 50 m from the villa. Lovely staff. From US$255.

Jasri Beach Villas, Karangasem. [2] From US$200, on the beach with swimming pool, kitchen and clubhouse. Superb staff.

Go next[edit]

  • Amed is approximately 30 minutes further east from Candidasa and many visitors combine these two destinations for their visit to east Bali.
  • Padang Bai which is about 13 km west from here, is a nice stop in itself and starting point for boat services to Lombok.
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