Before Bali was conquered by the Dutch, Karangasem -- a regency covering much of Eastern Bali -- was a great kingdom centered on the royal city of Amlapura. In modern times, the crowds have shifted west toward Kuta and Denpasar, making Karangasem one of Bali’s most peaceful regions.
Candidasa, the jumping off point for exploring Karangasem, lies about 90 minutes from the airport. From there, it’s possible to visit the quiet beaches of Bali’s eastern coast or go diving in the waters just off the shores of Amed -- considered to have some of the best dive sites in Bali.
Cultural attractions abound in the region as well. Amlapura is home to the former royal palace, Puri Agung Karangasem. Built during the 19th century, the palace combines Chinese, Balinese and European architectural influences. Also nearby is the water palace of Tirta Gangga, where you’ll walk amid the tiered fountains, stone sculptures and bathing pools of Karangasem’s royalty. Visitors with an interest in Bali’s temples will find the Mother Temple of Besakih in Karangasem as well.