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The beautiful eastern regency of Karangasem is truly something special distinguishing itself in so many ways from the rest of the island. Physically it is dominated by the towering presence of Mt Agung (3142 m), the island’s most sacred and highest volcano, whose dramatic foothills and lava flows provide some of the most spectacular landscapes found anywhere in Bali. High up on Mt Agung’s southern flanks perches the great ”śMother Temple”Ł of Besakih, while to the south and east lie a number of more or less isolated villages that have played a key role in Balinese history.
Culturally, Karangasem is in fact a very conservative area. Here, for example, the use of the various Balinese speech levels is more strictly adhered to and a number of archaic ritual, dance and musical forms have been maintained right up until the present day. The eastern and northern parts of the regency are quite arid, and overall this is a less denselypopulated area than southern Bali. In fact, it has many affinities with the drier and more rugged islands of eastern Indonesia ”ö more so than any other part of the island.
Altogether Karangasem encompasses ao area of 861 sq km. and according to the 1987 census the population numbers around 350.000 souls, meaning that the average population density is about 400 per sq km. Most the populace, however, lives in central and southern Karangasem, especially around the capital of Amlapura. and population densities here are much higher than the average.
For several centuries after the decline of the great Javanese empire of Majapahit. The King of Klungkung just to the west of here was, at least in name, the paramount ruler of Bali. The other Balinese rulers became more and more independent over time, and by the 17th Century, Karangasem was able to successfully oppose Klungkung.
It subsequently emerged during the 18th and 19th centuries, most powerful kingdom on Bali. Its ruler were particularly influential in northern Bali (Buleleng) and Lombok and frequently allied themselves with other Balinese rajas in times of war and intrigue.
During the 17th century, Karangasem already occupied much of the neighboring Island of Lombok, fighting there against Macassarese from Sumbawa and areas of the island, with the result that today there are large numbers of Balinese living there who regard Karangasem as their homeland. After the middle of the last century, the tables turned and Karangasem became a vassal of the king of Lombok himself a Balinese prince from Karangasem.
After Buleleng and Jembrana, which fell into Dutch hands in the middle of the last century, this was the next Balinese kingdom to be conquered by the Dutch when they invaded and ”ťfreed”Ł the indigenous Sasak population of Lombok from Balinese rule in 1894.
Most hotel accommodation and restaurant suitable for tourist are located in Candidasa. Candidasa boasts all types of accommodations, from simple bamboo cubicles at $5/night to the exclusive $1,200/night villas of the Amankila Hotel. There is little difference, however, between bungalows going for $10 and $20, apart from the distance to the beach, the landscaping and the bathrooms.
Depending on the place, prices may be 10%”ö30% cheaper in low season or whenever there are not many visitors. Most places offer discounts for stays of more than a week talk to the management upon arrival. Watersports, tours and transportation rentals are often readily arranged.
Bungalows are usually medium-size with verandah and electricity. The higher priced units include fan and reading lamp, sometimes AC. No room phones. Restaurant often attached to the hotel. Breakfast always included. The Candidasa resort area has a number of good first-class places with more soon to be completed.
Most provide spacious rooms, western- style baths with hot water, IDD telephone and AC. The majority are beachfront, have seaside restaurants and safety depositfacilities. Those mentioned here are pleasant and well-managed. Prices do not include 21% tax and service. Most credit cards are accepted. Up to two children sharing the same room with their parents can stay free of charge in some.
Candidasa sprouts new restaurants almost daily, so there are always new places to try out. Menus are similar, so we recommend only those that stand out in some way. The typical menu includes salads, Indonesian and Chinese dishes, seafood, sandwiches, and desserts. Some add steak, curry, pasta and cakes. Prices are good, averaging $4”ö$5/person with drinks. Seafood can be a lot more expensive. Most places close by 10 pm.
Arie Bar and Restaurant. Down-to-earth, family-run establishment with a good selection of Balinese, Chinese and Western dishes. Good quality and prices that are hard to beat.
Di Mahkota. This international restaurant has a very Dutch flavor to it, serving smoked fish (salmon, herring and even eel), meatballs, croquettes, imported cold cuts and cheeses as well as more common international and Indonesian fare. Has the luxury of AC and open air settings.
Kedai. Right on the main road as you enter Candi Dasa from the south, this very stylish Asian fusion restaurant is the perfect spot for lunch and dinner. A mouth-watering menu features crab cakes. various curries and fresh seafood.
Lotus Sea View. Next to Toke cafe. Larger and more formal. Enjoy the sunsets and great seafood. Its location near the water gives it a Venetian flavor.
Candidasa is not particularly a place for shopping, but a limited selection of textile bags, sarongs, locally designed clothing, and jewelry, as well as other gear is available. The following places are of some interest:
Ratu Oka is a lontar palm-leaf artist who works in his small shop next to the Sri Artha Homestay. Traditional lontar books are available here for $20.
Bali Ceramics, east of town, has a variety ofuaIity glazed stoneware. Simple bowls, vases, cups, and plates in interesting designs. They also sell shut- tie bus tickets to Ubud and Kuta.
Bali Beachfront Resorts
Location : Sanur
Sanur today is a golden mile of Baliesque hotels that has attracted millions of paradise seeking globetrotters. And yet, within the very grounds of the 11story The Grand Bali Beach Hotel, a war-reparation gift from the Japanese, nestles the sacred and spikey temple of Ratu Ayu of Singgi, the much feared spirit consort of Sanur’s fabled Black Barong.more Bali hotel area details