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If you’re looking to escape to an idyllic tropical paradise for a few days, Candidasa might just be the place for you. Situated in the east of Bali, Candidasa has been touted by some as the pearl of Bali.

Also read:

The ultimate guide to Candidasa and Amed accommodation

49 incredible things to do that prove Bali is the craziest

36 amazing free things to do in Bali you never knew existed

It’s easy to see how it earned this reputation. A treasure trove of Balinese temples and hidden beaches, this former fishing village has all the amenities you need for the perfect vacation…without the need to jostle with crowds.

Continue reading to find out what’s in store in Candidasa!

P.S. If you are coming with your family, you may want to consider these beachfront villas with private pool!

1. Discover the unique bamboo house – Rumah Bambu Pengalon

Trust us, we’re as surprised as you that there’s so many amazing things to be discovered around Candidasa – and Rumah Bambu Pengalon just might be the cherry on top.

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Photo via: Agungwik

Although this project has been cancelled, Rumah Bambu Pengalon is still a unique construction of beautifully architectured bamboo houses worth visiting.

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Initially planned as the venue for a music festival, Bali Unite, the views here are surprisingly incredible with a small and beautifully clear lake just around the area.

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Another instagram-worthy location, finding Rumah Bambu Pengalon might be a little confusing, but it will definitely be worth your journey.

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All other photos via: Ewikurus

Rumah Bambu Pengalon

Getting There: If you are coming from Denpasar, turn right after the petrol station at Yeh Malet (after Goa Lawah temple) – right next to the Desa Antiga East office. Drive 400 meters further in from the Amlapura – Denpasar highway, follow the unpaved road, you will be able to reach here.
Address: Bali Unite Festival.Br. Pengalon. Desa Antiga
Price Range: Free admission!

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2. Your ticket to the chocolate factory – Charly’s Chocolate Factory

Have you always wanted to know what the inside of Charlie’s Chocolate Factory looked like? Well, you don’t need a Golden Ticket to get to this Charlie’s Charly’s Chocolate Factory.

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Pirate ship at Charly’s Chocolate Factory (Photos via TripCanvas, Gigahafiz)

The only difference is, this chocolate factory was not built by an eccentric Willy Wonka, but by an American Expat named…(surprise, surprise!) Charly.

15 minutes away from Candidasa, this cluster of wacky bamboo houses situated at the end of Jasri beach look a little out of place. In fact, some visitors even compare the quirky infrastructure to a smurf’s hut!

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Here, they sell healthy raw dark chocolate made from cocoa beans grown on the island. Be prepared for some chocolate tasting as the staff brings you around on a sampling tour.

How could you resist a snack that is both decadent, and guilt-free?
In Charly’s Chocolate Factory, there is also a small soap studio where you can purchase delicious smelling handmade soaps.

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Photo via: travelthisearth

Best of all, there even is a giant swing outside, where you can have fun with your little ones. Swing yourself towards the ocean, or take an instagram photo to end this scintillating tour that engages all your senses!

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Charly’s Chocolate Factory

Address: Jalan Pantai Jasri, Karangasem, Bali. Coordinates here
Price Range: IDR$10,000 ($0.70)

Official Website


3. Find nirvana in your Candidasa haven

Candidasa is also known to have a plethora of affordable beachfront resorts, where you pay 2-3 star price for a 4-star experience.

Also read -> 13 incredible Bali’s beachfront stays for under $100

Try Bali Palms Resort, Segara Wangi Beach Cottages or Pondok Bambu Seaside Bungalows, all for under $50!

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Photos from left to right, top to bottom: Bali Palm Resorts, Segara Wangi Beach Cottages and Pondok Bambu Seaside Bungalows (via dexx nsk)

If you can spend a couple of bucks more, our recommended choice would be Nirwana Resort & Spa.

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It’s only a stone’s throw away from the ocean, and boasts picturesque views of the mountains. There’s also a restaurant that’s right by the infinity pool where you can spend days just lazing and watching the drifting clouds.

Best of all, cocktails can also be delivered right to you, as you laze by the infinity pool, gazing out at the gorgeous views of ocean, and mountains.

But of course, we’d advise you get the most out of your time in Candidasa – and leave this nirwana – to check out all the activities above for the perfect island getaway you’ve always wanted!

Nirwana Resort & Spa

Address: Jalan Sengkidu, Amlapura, Candidasa, Kec. Karangasem, Bali 80871, Indonesia
Phone: +62 363 41136
Price Range: From $80
Official Website

4. Uncover a hidden tropical paradise – Pasir Putih Beach

Pasir Putih, which translates to White Beach, is one of the most idyllic beaches in Bali. Tucked away in a village named Perasi, you’ll have to make a 90-minute drive from Denpasar, the capital.

The scenic view is definitely worth venturing through the rocky trails though. Besides, it’s always fun to take the path less travelled!

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Photo via: My Little Book of Days

The aquamarine water and pristine white shores are relatively untouched by civilization, aside from a small stretch of local restaurants, better known as Warungs.

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Photo via: My Little Book of Days

Because of its secluded location, you’ll never have to worry about jostling with tourists for space.

Simply take a dip in the aquamarine water whenever you want, rent a lounge chair to soak up the sun, or indulge in some delicious local food at a Warung.

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Photo via: Far Sickness

Experience this exquisite stretch of sand, before it becomes a popular tourist spot.

And if you revel in secluded tropical paradises, check out our previous story on hidden beaches in Bali!

Pasir Putih Beach

Getting There: Located off of the main road in Perasi, East Bali, and 4km east of Candidasa. Drive East from Kuta towards Sanur. Take the Kusamba Bypass to East Bali. Follow the coastal road past Candi Dasa. When you come to Perasi, slow down and ask locals for ‘Pasir Putih’.
(Driving time from Kuta, is 2.5 hours) Coordinates here

5. Witness Balinese villagers honor their God of War – Makare-kare Festival

If you happen to visit Candidasa in June, you should make sure to participate in a ceremony known as Mekare-kare.

Also known as Perang Pandan, it’s an annual theatrical fight amongst Balinese men to honor the God of War as well as their ancestors.

This tradition is unique to the village of Tenganan, and the event lasts a month long. During this period, all villagers will dress in traditional Tenganan clothing.

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Photo via: Solo Mango

All males, from young to old, will participate in Mekare-kare by fighting with an opponent. Dressed in just a sarong, two men at a time fight on a central stage…armed with (surprisingly sharp-edged) Pandan leaves and straw shields.

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Photo via: latimes

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Photo via: yandeardana

The purpose of the ceremony is to draw blood from the opponent, so as to honor the God of War. As they fight, there will be a cacophony of sounds – the excited cheers of the other villagers, the native Gamelan music of the Tenganan village, and the grunts of the men fighting…

This match usually lasts less than a minute, and the next match continues until all the males in the village have participated.

Boys, if you’re feeling up for it, you can also participate. Otherwise, sitting amongst the villagers and cheering is also quite the experience!

After the ceremony, all the wounds are treated with traditional medicine – made from turmeric, ginger, coconut oil and other herbs – which the villagers believe to have powerful healing powers. (These Tenganese villagers have really preserved their ancient traditions well!)

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Photo via: Top Indonesia Holidays

During this festival, there is also a traditional ferris wheel made entirely out of wood for children to play with. If you have children, this would truly be an extraordinary experience for them. Afterall, how many of us can say we’ve sat on a handmade ferris wheel?

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Photo via: Anggara Mahendra

Making a visit to to the ancient village of Tenganan in June to experience one of the most exciting village customs will definitely be an enriching experience – as well as indelible memory that you will not be able to replicate elsewhere.

Tenganan village

Getting There: The village is 4km from the turnoff at the western end of Candidasa, or a 90-minute drive from Ngurah Rai Airport
Address: Tenganan village
Price Range: IDR$5000 donation fee (or more if you’re feeling generous!) for entrance to the village

6. Visit (and even stay!) in a holy water palace – Tirta Gangga Water Palace

While we’ve already mentioned one water palace, we simply had to add this in.

Tirta Gangga Water Palace will pleasantly surprise you with its incredible architecture and design – and the cultural significance behind it.

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Photo via: tripcanvas

A unique mix of Balinese and (surprisingly) Chinese architecture, you are sure to get some of your favourite holiday snaps here. Constructed in 1948 by the last King of Karangasem, Tirta Gangga is royal magnificence come to life.

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Photo via: my road

Tirta Gangga (which also means water from the Ganges), is regarded as sacred to the Balinese Hindus – and the holy water of Tirta Gangga is regularly used for religious temple ceremonies.

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Photo via: bettina

With a maze of beautiful pools surrounding the palace, and many fountains (notably, the lovely 11-tiered fountain), sacred ceremonies with colourful processions are often held here – and you just might be able to catch one happening when you visit!

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Ps: If you’re interested, villas are available for rent, and you’ll get to swim in the pool (with holy water) too!

Tirta Gangga Water Palace

From $175

Location : Jl. Abang-Amlapura, Karangasem, Bali 80852, Indonesia
Contact: +62 363 22503

Check Rate on Agoda Official Site

7. Treat your eyes to a visual feast – Taman Ujung Water Palace

Be amazed by the grandeur of this royal abode the moment you step foot on its grounds.

Built in 1919, Taman Ujung Water Palace, also known as the Karangasem palace – was once the recreation and relaxation site of the King of Karangasem.

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Here, endless lush tropical verdure mark out the parameters of the palace, bringing visitors a sense of calm and tranquility.

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Photo via: Stumble Abroad

If you’re observant enough, you will realize that the water palace incorporates elements from Chinese, European and Balinese culture. One of the key features of the palace are the three large ponds, connected by the long elegant European bridges (what great lengths the Balinese royalty go to for relaxation time… ;p).

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While you’re here, take some time to wander around the grounds of the palace, and be transported to a Bali of another time. Additionally, check out the deer roaming the compounds too!

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Photo via: ellafw

Although you most probably won’t be able to tell, this palace was almost completely destroyed from the eruption of Mount Agung in 1963 and a subsequent earthquake in 1979. Restoration works are now almost complete and the palace is a favourite spot where Balinese couples take their wedding photographs.

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Photo via: dennisyap

While you may not be here on honeymoon, or here to take your wedding photos, you need no excuse to take beautiful pictures with your family and friends when you’re in such a beautiful place!

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you could also climb up the stairs for a bird’s eye view of the palace and the ocean. Truly, the view will be worth it.

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Photo via: Bali Indonesia

Taman Ujung Water Palace

Address: Jl. Raya by Pass, Desa Tumbu | Tumbu Village, Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia
Price Range: $2.50

8. Immerse yourself in Balinese history – Kertha Gosa Pavilion

When you enter the gates of the Kertha Gosa Pavilion, you may think that this is just another Balinese pavilion or palace. However, the Kertha Gosa actually first served as a court of law in 1945!

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Imagine if you did something wrong and the police escorted you to the Kertha Gosa pavilion. “Why are you bringing me to a beautiful tranquil place when I just stole 3 of your chickens?”

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Jokes aside, the Kerta Gosa is truly a sight to behold. Every inch of architecture is intricately carved and remember to look up as you walk through the corridors of the grand hall.

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Photo via: Betrand Dupperin

The ceilings of the corridor are painted with vivid wayang motifs depicting the punishments in afterlife. Some say that this was for the viewing (dis)pleasure of convicts, while they awaited their punishment.

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Photo via: Kerta Gosa

While you’re exploring the courts, just take a moment to soak in the grandeur of a forgotten time, and appreciate the beauty of the architecture.

Kertha Gosa Pavilion

Address: Semarapura Kelod, Klungkung Sub-District, Klungkung Regency, Bali 80761, Indonesia
Price Range: $1

9. Catch a glimpse of ancient Balinese culture – Lotus Lagoon

Get ready to be transported back to ancient Bali as you step into the Lotus Lagoon.

Known for being one of the central landmarks of Candidasa, the Lotus Lagoon provides a feast for the eyes with pink and fuchsia lotuses on the water (especially if you’re lucky enough to catch them at full bloom!)

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Photo via: Daaynos

Best of all, it’s also one of the many things you can do in Bali for free!

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Photo via: Миклуха Маклай

While you’re here, why not take some time to visit the temple just across the road? And if you would like to travel further, you can visit the temple that Candidasa was named after. Built on a hill, you may get a greater view of the natural lagoon and seascape.

Lotus Lagoon

Address: Candidasa, Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia 80851. Coordinates here

10. Visit Batman’s hotel – Goa Lawah Temple

Although it may be small, Goa Lawah is one of the most spectacular temples in the world. Built in front of a cave atop the coastal cliff, the beautiful temple overlooks the ocean.

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Photo via: Francesco De Carli

But what makes the temple truly unique, are the fruit bats that reside in the cave.

As devotees pray to the intricate statues placed at the mouth of the cave, thousands of fruit bats deep in slumber are in full view. They’re so densely packed together, that the cave walls actually look muddied from afar!

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Photo via: Featherstone Drax, ippolitova aleksandra

Aside from the natural wonder of the bat cave, the man made architecture of the temple is also quite stunning. Intricately carved and gold plated, one cannot help but wonder how the temple was painstakingly forged a thousand years ago.

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Photo via: setiawan yuana, Alex F

So why not take a tour to the Goa Lawah temple? It is only an hour’s drive from Denpasar – and you could even head over to the beach to take in the scenic view, after soaking in the atmosphere of the temple.

Goa Lawah Temple

Address: JL. Raya Goa Lawah, Klunkung, Bali, Indonesia
Price Range: $0.50 (entry fee), $0.20 (sarong rental)
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm

11. Experience the best local food – Warung Padang Kecag

Once a humble family restaurant, Warung Padang Kecag is fast earning a reputation for delicious Indonesian food. It offers a relaxing open air dining concept, where you get to taste the aromatic dishes amongst lush vegetation.

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Photo via: marzena

One of the dishes that you must not miss – the Bebek Betutu. A famous traditional Balinese dish, Bebek Betutu is a slow roasted duck stuffed with spices and wrapped with banana leaves. The result is an explosion of flavors and the perfect combination of crispy on the outside, tender on the inside.

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However, as the dish is slow cooked over a period of 8 hours, do make sure to let the restaurant know our order one day in advance to avoid a long wait!

And if duck isn’t your favourite choice of protein, don’t worry! They also serve equally tantalising versions with chicken, fish and prawns.

Lastly, if you’re the sort who needs a sweet dessert to round off a perfect meal, then the Chocolate Samosas with ice cream would be the cherry on top.

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With prices starting from an affordable $4, what’s holding you back from having a great Balinese meal?

Warung Padang Kecag

Address: Jl. Mendira, Candidasa, Karangasem Regency, Bali 80871, Indonesia
Phone: +62 813 3820 0482
Price Range: Main courses around $4
Opening hours: 8am – 10pm
Halal?: No

12. Romance the night away – Lezat Restaurant

Overseeing the ocean, Lezat offers a romantic dining experience with a panoramic view of Nusa Penida and Lombok. Imagine the sea breeze wistfully blowing against your face as you sample the wide variety of dishes on the menu… (can we say, utter bliss?!)

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Aptly named Lezat (read: Balinese term for delicious), this lovely little diner serves a truly incredible variety of food.

Simply for breakfast, you may have the traditional Balinese Bubur Ayam (porridge with shredded chicken and egg); Bali cakes and coffee; Nasi Ayam Goreng (fried rice with chicken, vegetables and egg); and even American and Continental style breakfasts – served with a wide range of coffees, teas, fruit juices and fruits

The main attraction though? The candlelight dinner menus specially prepared for any couple looking for a truly romantic night.

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Choose from 2 candlelight dinner menus – Balinese Royal, or Indonesian Ethnic – and anticipate an interestingly delicious Balinese dinner affair.

If you opt for the Balinese Royal – you’ll start off with a fish soup with Balinese spices; move on to the Balinese Royal Risjtafel main course (includes steamed chicken, pork sate, duck tutu and more); Dadar Gulung (Balinese pancake) for dessert; and 2 glasses of Balinese wine.

Interested in the Indonesian Ethnic? Begin the meal with Potage Dubarry (cauliflower cream soup); Papaya Grilled Prawn Cocktail; Tumpeng Nasi Kuning (includes chicken curry, beef rendang, honey ginger prawns and more); chocolate honeymoon cake; and 2 glasses of wine.

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With 2 such well put together menus specially for your romantic dinner, Lezat Restaurant won’t disappoint!

Photos via: Lezat Beach Restaurant

Lezat Restaurant

Address: Jl. Raya Candidasa Beach, Candidasa, RT.Amlapura, Bali 80851, Indonesia
Phone: +62 812-3941-075
Price Range: $44 (Balinese Royal dinner for 2 pax), $48 (Indonesian Ethic dinner for 2 pax)
Opening hours: 7am – 11pm

Official Website

13. Have an underwater adventure – Gili Tepekong / Bali Bubbles

Although this activity is not exactly in Candidasa, it is (as Barney Stinson would say)…close enough.

A 30-minute boat ride away, Gili Tepekong is one of the most popular snorkeling sites in Bali. One of the three small islands near Bali, Gili Tepekong is known for its beautiful coral reefs and colorful fish.

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Photo via: okdiversbali

A transfer boat will bring you out to the snorkelling site before you set off on your own. Swim next to schools of fish, and if you’re really lucky, you might just spot a turtle gliding in the waters.

If you’re tired of snorkelling (but really, who would tire of Mother Nature’s wonders?), you could also float on your back and rock gently to the rhythm of the ocean.

If not, consider taking a ride to Gili Biaha for a spot of cave diving with the sharks. (Only for the adventurous ready for an extreme challenge!)

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Spending a glorious day in the sun snorkelling in the clear waters could never be a bad decision, so be sure to book your underwater adventure when you come to Candidasa.

Bali Bubbles

Address: Jalan Raya Candidasa, Candidasa 80871 Bali, Indonesia
Contact: +62 (363) 42196
Price Range: From $85

Official site

14. Go on a voyage of fantasy – Submarine Odyssey

How do you stay in the ocean for an hour without getting wet? In a submarine, of course!

The submarine Odyssey experience is perfect for the family to explore the magical undersea world in a safe, secure and (may I mention) fully air-conditioned manner.

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Photo via: Tripadeal

6km from Candidasa – the underwater adventure begins at Amuk village. Passengers are transferred to the submarine via a small boat from Amuk Bay.

In this 45-minute underwater tour, you get close to schools of unique fish…watch the divers swim effortlessly in the ocean…and even watch how the pilot operates the submarine. What a neat mode of transportation!

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At $80 per pax, the price alone is more than worth it – being able to enter the submarine, and not to mention, explore the magical underwater kingdom.

What is most unique about the tour is that it appeals to both professional divers as well as weak swimmers.

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Photo via: Juneangel

The immersive experience of being 90 feet under the sea will definitely make for a great family bonding experience – and it’s second only to diving in the ocean yourself (but we all know how much work it takes to become a diver of such aptitude).

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Photo via: Mamashoppe

So, what are you waiting for?

Submarine Odyssey Bali

Address: Jl. Raya Kuta No. 9X Kuta, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Contact: +62-361-759777 / 759888
Price Range: From $80 (adult), From $59 (child 5 to 12 years)

Official site

Special mention: Things to do in Amed

15. Try underwater motion meditation – Apneista Yoga and Freediving

Love water but want to avoid the touristy hotspots? Here’s the perfect solution for you – hold your breath at the beauty of the underwater world with a freediving course in Candidasa!

Candidasa is the departure spot for the most spectacular diving sites in Bali, and the quiet waters of Amed’s Jemeluk Bay makes it one of the best places to learn how to freedive.

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Photo via: happytrailsindonesia

Unlike regular diving, freediving doesn’t rely on breathing apparatus such as scuba gear. Instead, it relies on the diver’s’ ability to hold his or her breath until resurfacing.

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Photo via: apneista

While it is a sport, it is also a form of moving meditation. And it’s not difficult to imagine how gliding through waters seamlessly, could bring a sense of renewed peace to the divers.

If this sounds like your thing, head over to Apneista Yoga and Freediving for a course, and an unforgettable underwater experience.

Apneista Yoga and Freediving

Address: Jalan Raya Jemuluk, Amed, Abang, Bali 80813, Indonesia
Phone: +62 (0) 812-3826-7356
Price Range: From $200 (for Level 1 Basic Freediving Course)

Official Website

Candidasa has almost everything you could imagine – hidden beaches, great food, unexpectedly cool activities, and some of the most beautiful temples.

Now that you know exactly what to do here in this island paradise tucked away from the rest of Bali, there’s only one thing left to do…book your flight here!

Are there any more interesting things to do in Candidasa? Comment below to let us know!

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