Candidasa (or Candi Dasa, pron. "CHAHN-dee-dah-sah") is a coastal town in East Bali. 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.
The stretch of coastline from Manggis through Candidasa town and east to Bugbug, is normally just referred to as Candidasa.
- Tourist Information Office, Jl Raya Candidasa (close to the lotus lagoon), ☏ . Irregular hours.
Candidasa is 60–80 minutes from Sanur along the 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.
Candidasa is well served by the national Perama bus company. 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.
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.
The Bali Aga at Tenganan
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.
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.
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.
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 08:00-18:00.
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.
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.
Candidasa is a good 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.
- 1 Bali Bubbles Dive Center, Jalan Raya Candidasa, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 08:00 - 20:00. 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, French, Dutch and Bahasa Indonesia. Dutch-owned and managed.
- Divelite, Jl Raya, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Dive operator serving Japanese visitors. Website and instruction is in Japanese.
- 2 Diving Candidasa, c/o Candi Beach Resort & Spa - Mendira Beach, Sengkidu (take a cab to Candi Beach Resort & Spa (formerly known as Candy Beach Cottages), ask at the reception), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 07:30 - 17:00. Part of the diving.DE network. The German-owned and -operated dive centre offers the full range of dive courses (SSI and PADI) and professional training including Emergency First Response and DAN courses and daily fun dives at Candidasa and other good diving spots. All courses in English, German, Dutch and Bahasa Indonesia.
- Shangrila Scuba Divers, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. PADI dive centre offering full range of courses and fun dives. Dive shops are located at Bali Palms resort & Bali Shangrila Beach Club. British owned and managed.
- Gedong Gandhi Ashram, Jl Raya Candidasa (next to the lagoon), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Holds yoga classes in English every Tu, Th and Sa 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.
Most hotels seem to rent out mopeds. They are a cheap and fun way of exploring the local area. Expect to pay around Rp70,000 for 24 hours hire.
There are more than 8 ATMs in Candidasa, who accept all the major credit cards and bank cards. Otherwise the nearest ATMs 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 a 5-minute drive from Candidasa.
- Candi Bookstore, Jl Raya Candidasa 45, ☏ . Used bookstore with a large stock. Stocks German, French, and English language books.
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.
- Aquaria Bali, Jl Puri Bagus, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 08:00-22:00. A small beachside restaurant specialising in light, healthy food.
- Legong Restaurant, Jl Raya, Candidasa, ☏ . 11:00-21:00. Good quality local food and a nightly Legong dance performance to accompany dinner.
- Lotus Sea View, Candidasa, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 08:00-22:00. Part of a well known chain in Bali. Superb waterfront location just to the west of Candidasa proper. Local Balinese specialities and western staples at mid-range prices.
- Raja's, ☏ . 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 Restaurant, Jl Raya, Candidasa (close to the lagoon, next to Raja's), ☏ . 10:30-late. Pleasant restaurant and bar serving international and local cuisine. Good vegetarian options. Expect to hear lots of laid back jazz music.
- La Rouge - Toke Bar-Restaurant, Jl Raya, Candidasa, ☏ . 10:30-late. Specializing in Indian, Balinese & international cuisine. A great choice of international cocktails and wines from France, Australia, South Africa and Bali.
Virtually all of the local cafes double as bars, but this is not an area with expansive nightlife.
Legenda is in the centre of town close to the lotus lagoon and is the only venue in Candidasa that has regular live music.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
|Budget||Under Rp 250,000|
|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.
- Fajar Candidasa Hotel, ☏ , . Simple and pleasant bungalows in an excellent waterfront location. From US$25.
- Puri Oka Beach Bungalows, Jl Puri Bagus, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, ☏ . 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.
- Amarta Beach Cottages (Amarta Beach Inn Bungalows), Jl Sengkidu, Candidasa (on Sengkidu Beach), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. The cottages are in a quiet, peaceful village.
- Bali Santi Bungalows, ☏ . Individual waterfront bungalows. A charming established hotel with a decent oceanfront restaurant. From US$60.
- 1 Dewa Bharata Candidasa, Jalan Raya Candidasa, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Two-storey buildings with the cheaper rooms downstairs. Nice pool and decent restaurant, direct beach frontage. Good location on the beach just to the east of the lotus lagoon. From Rp170,000.
- Lotus Bungalows, ☏ . Small resort aimed especially at divers with an in-house dive operation called Gangga Divers. On the main coast road. From US$65.
- Nirwana Resort and Spa, Candidasa Regency, Jalan Raya Sengkidu, Amlapura, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Resort with spa, restaurant and 18 bungalows with sea view. The facilities include a king size bed, a private bathroom with hot and cold shower and bathtub with amenities, air-conditioner, TV with satellite, complimentary daily mineral water, wireless connection, safety box, mini bar, coffee and tea making facilities, hair dryer and a writing table with the chair. The villas feature laundry services, in-villa dining service from breakfast until 10 pm, 24-hours security, daily housekeeping, doctor on call and activities arrangement service. From US$80.
- Nusa Indah, Jl. Pura Segara, ☏ . Small, friendly resort for a maximum of 12 guests. Run by a German couple with a Balinese manager. From €50.
- 2 Puri Bagus Candidasa, Jl. Raya Candidasa, ☏ . 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.
- Rama Candidasa Dive & Spa Resort, Jl Raya Sengkidu, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Eighty rooms with contemporary Balinese décor, wide-screen LCD TVs with international channels, air conditioner, mini-bar, tea and coffee makers, hot & cold water, free Wi-Fi. From US$75.
- Pondok Bambu Dive Resort (the place to stay), pondok bambu jalan raya candidasa karangasem (in the centre of Candidasa), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Pondok Bambu is a beautiful and comfortable dive resort in the centre of Candidasa. It is 1½ hours drive from the International Airport Ngurah Rai. Surrounded by nature and tropical gardens, Pondok Bambu dive resort features rooms with balconies overlooking the gardens or the sea. The dive resort offers free private parking. Facilities include the Bambu Divers dive center, restaurant, swimming pool, bar and 24-hour front desk service. Its restaurant, with a view of the beach, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with a variety of options ranging from Asian to Western food, and with a special Dutch snack menu. The bar provides a place to relax while enjoying a drink. Take a few dives, or take a PADI Open Water certification course.
- Alila Manggis (formerly The Serai), Buitan, Manggis, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- Amankila, Manggis, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Resort in the village of Manggis, just west of Candidasa proper. From US$750.
- The Watergarden, Jl Raya, Candidasa, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Individual bungalows set in lush tropical water gardens. From US$125.
- Villa Gils, Mendira Beach, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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. On the beach with swimming pool, kitchen and clubhouse. Superb staff. From $200.
- 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.