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Candi Dasa Village, East Bali

Candidasa Lake
The seaside lake at the center of Candidasa.

Candi Dasa (also spelled as one word - Candidasa) is one of those surprising 'unknown' destinations around Bali. It doesn't figure large in most guidebooks, but it does have a surprising number of small resorts and an even more surprising number of great restaurants. More importantly, for me, it feels more like the 'real' Bali, with lots of locally owned businesses with local employees (the majority of workers in South Bali tourist businesses are from elsewhere in Indonesia) and Balinese people going about their daily life, more or less ignoring the few tourists. In the early morning, you can see the little traditional fishing boats land on the small boat ramp near the lake, where the wives of the fishermen take the catch up to the sidewalk for sale. The one significant drawback to Candidasa - for some at least - is that there's no beach to speak of. The coast here is very rocky rather than sandy, so while many of the resorts have an ocean view, they don't have a sandy beach to lie on. For me, the other, positive, aspects of Candidasa far outweigh this one shortcoming.

Still, the area remains popular with people looking to "get away from it all" in POSH surroundings. Some of the island's most exclusive resorts are nearby. As mentioned above, some of Bali's major cultural attractions are close by Candi Dasa. These include the Besakih "Mother Temple", the Goa Lawah bat cave, the Tenganan Bali Aga village and the water palaces at Tirta Gangga and Ujung.

For those seeking a bit more adventure, the offshore islands of Mimpang and Gili Tepekong has some of the best scuba diving to be had in Bali, plus, you're just a short drive away Tulamben with its wreck of the Liberty. See our related site, the SEA Undersea Guide for a complete run-down on Bali scuba diving.


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