For the second part of our Bali trip we picked a completely different part of the island: Candidasa.
This is a popular beach resort area on Bali’s east coast. Here you can enjoy a quiet seaside escape, far from the crowds and busier traffic of the island’s south. Probably a better option when traveling with kids.
The main road of Jalan Raya Candidasa runs parallel to the shoreline, where you can find many accommodations from basic hotels to five-star resorts. There are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants in between.
In this area you will find mainly black beaches due to Mount Agung’s eruption in 1963 that killed thousands of Balinese and forced many to migrate to other islands. The lava and rocks rolled down to land and into the ocean, destroying everything and making the land unusable for yeas. This is why most of the beaches in East Bali are black volcanic and rocky, except for Padang Bai, Bias Tugal and Pasir Putih.
Here are a few of the things that you can do in Candidasa with your family.
1. Rent a Villa
Just like in Canggu, we rented a Villa here too! We stayed at Villa Sasoon for 8 nights. This property has 4 private Villas, so there is staff always on site. Breakfast was included, they would come in our Villa and make it fresh every morning.
The structure concept was similar to the first one we stayed at. We had only 2 bedrooms though, each completely separate and detached from the other. There was also a separate building for the living area with kitchen and a private pool.
The staff was wonderful and I felt safe because there was always someone keeping an extra eye on my kids! Plus as I said more than once Balinese really love kids and they are amazing with them!
This is Cosimo and Emma’s video, showing more in detail the villa as well as our favorite beach in the area (sign up to our YouTube channel to see more!)
2. Stop and Feed the Monkeys
On the way from Bugbug to Candidasa there is a temple and if you look along the road you will see lots of monkeys! Some might even cross the street!
We stopped, bought lots of bananas and spent some time feeding them. It was interesting to see which monkeys were more adventurous and came up to us, which took the bananas out of our hands from behind and which did it right in front of us!
There were the bigger monkeys that were so arrogant. They would run after the little ones and take it from them! I guess there are plenty of bullies also in the animal world!
My husband tried also to teach them some manners but not with the result expected! By the time we were ready to leave more and more were joining the party.
3. Spend the day at the White Sand Beach
At 5 kilometres north-east of Candidasa is Pasir Putih, also known as White Sand Beach. This is one of East Bali’s most beautiful beaches! The drive from our villa was about 15 minutes and cost us IDR 300 round trip (about $21). We also had to pay a donation of IDR 10 for adults and IDR 5 for kids ($0.70 and $0.35) to access the road to the beach..
The road to the beach is only one year old, before then it took much longer to get there and it wasn’t so easily accessible. The driver will stay there and wait for you all day if necessary, since it is a pretty hidden place and it would be a really long walk back! In fact there is a little area where all drivers hang out, have lunch, drink coffee and wait. This is very common in Bali specially at the most touristy locations.
Pasir Putih is a small, isolated, beautiful, white sand beach fringed with coconut palms. There are a few warungs (small shops) who rent beach chairs and umbrellas. Many offer daily locally caught fresh fish. There are also massage ladies, that will stop by your beach chair and offer their service.
The first day we went there, the driver took us to a little Warung on one side of the beach. We ended up going there everyday after. Finally on the last day we ventured to the other side of the beach and realized that it was much more populated with people and different restaurants. We were much happier with our spot, so much more quiet!
4. Swim in the Blue Lagoon
If you like snorkeling, you won’t want to miss this lovely place! The Blue Lagoon is a great snorkeling spot for families and beginner snorkelers since the waters are calm, when the weather is at normal condition. The area has a sandy bottom and you will have a chance to see one of Bali’s coral reefs and many colorful fish.
We booked a traditional boat to get there from our place in Candidasa. It was about a 25 minute boat ride and it cost IDR 700 ($50) for the 4 of us, including the gear.
The day wasn’t very sunny and the ride over was a little rough because the boats are so tiny and the waves pretty big. Once we got there we started exploring!
There were about half a dozen other boats with snorkelers and as soon as we jumped in we were surrounded by curious fish so it was clear that people feed them here. In fact once we were done snorkeling also our captain started throwing bread to the fish so that they would come closer to our boat.
5. Snorkle at Gili Tepekong and See Dory!
Gili Tepekong is a three-part of an island, around it there is some nice coral and a lots of colorful fish and lots of Dorys!
It was very close to our villa so it took us only 10 minutes by traditional fisherman boat to get there, it cost IDR 600 ($42) for the 4 of us, including the gear.
We weren’t able to stay long though because on that day the water was very rough. The waves were really big, which made it hard to stay in one spot without getting pushed further out. Staying underwater was extremely challenging as well, specially without getting continuously water in our mask.
6. Try a Different Restaurant Everyday
Our villa included breakfast but for lunch and dinner we had to figure out where to go.
In this area we were not able to find a good grocery store to do more home cooking so we were stuck with going out all the time!
Candidasa has plenty of options for dining. We usually spent between IDR 300 and 400 ( $21 and $28) for each meal. In the evenings I would order take out from the restaurant next door though, because my kids just wanted to stay home and relax. As I said before we haven’t been having much of a night life!
7. Walk By the Lotus Lagoon
One of the landmarks of Candidasa is the lotus lagoon. This is a large body of water filled with pink and fuchsia lotuses and a small garden island with statues at its centre. Although we went by it many times, we were lucky to see the lilies open only on the day of our departure. It was early in the morning and I couldn’t take photos because our driver would not stop!
We have seen people fish in it, swim in it or simply walk around it like us!
The lagoon is free to the public, and is accessible from the roadside. Across the road on a higher elevation is the temple that the area is named after. From here, you get a better view of the lagoon and a bit of the sea.
8. Go Shopping
In Candidasa there are plenty of shops where you can buy clothing, flip-flops (Emma broke hers as soon as she got here luckily we were close to a shop!), and all kinds of souvenirs that you might like to bring home!
Whenever we were done with swimming we would go for a walk and check out the shops. Since we are traveling for a year it isn’t a good idea to fill our bags right away, but we couldn’t resist to buy a couple of things!
9. Go for a Scooter Ride
Scooter are the fastest and easiest way to move around pretty much everywhere in Bali. In our case the captain that was taking us on the little boat trip came and picked us up with his scooter, trying to squeeze all of our family in just 2 rides! I’m not sure how he balanced all of us but it was fun!
This is it for our vacation in Bali. Next we will tell you about our adventures on the Gili Islands in our post The magic of the Gili islands where we spent our last week in Indonesia….
Click here to see more of travels in Bali!!!
Check out the lovely hotel we stayed on in Candidasa: Villa Sasoon!!!