Karangasem regency in eastern most bali is dominated by the towering cone
of Mt. agung, the island's tallest and most revered volcano. Dormant for
a century, agung erupted with devastating force in 1963, killing over
1,000 people and destroying many antiquities.
Evidence of this cataclysm can still be found along the regency's
north-east littoral, where volcanic boulders pepper the countryside.
After Mt. Agung erupted in 1963 the capital changed names to amlapura.
The "Puri Agung Kanginan" palace features a blend of Balinese,
Dutch, and Chinese architecture. To the south are the ruins of the "Taman Ujung"
pleasure palace. On Karangasem's south coast, 16 km past the "Padangbai"
and the Lombok ferry terminal, the small fishing village of "Candi Dasa"
has experienced a tourist boom of its own and now boasts a number of
restaurant, hotels and even discos.
It was in this area that the first European explorers "discovered" Bali,
and 400 years later, despite the erosion of her beaches, Candi Dasa
remains a beautiful and pastoral spot.
The diving in this area can be good and a couple of exclusive resorts
offer idyllic seclusion from the better-traveled parts of the island.
Outside the town is the coastal tourist area of Candi Dasa, named after
and old temple on the hillside, across the lagoon is Gandhi meditation
Snorkeling around a shipwreck is superb up north at Tulamben. Tenganan
is the only place in Indonesia where double ikat gringsing cloth is
Festivals here and in Dauh Tukad in June-July feature wooden ferries
wheels and ritual battles with thorny leaves. Nearby villages of dauh
tukad, bungaya, asak, timbrah, perasi, bugbug, jasi, ababi, seraya,
sengkidu, ngis, bebandem and padangkerta have colorful rituals with
ceremonial dances for women and men, trance battiest, and spectacular
Beautiful brocades are woven in sidemen. Winding mountain roads through
salak snakeskin fruit farms and terraced hills lead to besakih, bali's
most important temple from the outside, but the view is gorgeous and the
air refreshing. Mount Agung should only be climbed by experienced hikers
with a guide.