Tulamben is a small fishing village on the north-east coast of Bali. It is among the most popular dive sites on Bali since the wreck of the Liberty, a US Army Transport ship torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942 lies just off shore. During high-season, up to 100 divers descend to the wreck each day.
The town's name is derived from the word batulambih, which roughly translates as "many stones" a reference to the destructive eruptions by Mount Agung that have effected this part of Bali from time to time. The beach in Tulamben is not made of sand, but entirely covered with fairly large, smooth stones. The modern name evolved over time, first to "Batulamben" and finally settling on the contraction Tulamben ("batu" means "stone" in Indonesian.
Scuba diving along the USAT Liberty wreck in Tulamben Bali, Indonesia.
The wreck lies in shallow water and is considered appropriate for divers of all certification levels. The ship rests in 30 meters of water, is roughly 25 meters from shore and can be reached with a short swim from the beach. The highest point of the wreck tops out about 5 meters from the surface. The ship was torpedoed by the Japanese off the nearby Island of Lombok and the ship was towed to the beach at Tulamben for salvage operations. The 1963 eruption of Mt. Agung, which devastated much of the eastern side of Bali, drove the ship into the water just off shore, where it became encrusted with coral and a home to other sea life.
The best conditions for diving here are during October and November, when the weather is generally calm and during the start of southeast monsoon, which typically extends from May to July. In addition to a wide variety of corals and invertebrates on the wreck itself, large fish frequent the wreck in some seasons, most popularly Mola mola and whale sharks, as well as Black-tip reef sharks. Professional divers have praised local residents for minimizing local fishing activity.
Amed refers to a long stretch of coast running from the village of Cucik about 14 km eastwards incorporating the seven villages of Amed, Jemeluk, Bunutan, Lipah, Selang, Banyuning and Aas. The pace of life here is slow and the coastal scenery quite stunning making Amed the perfect place for a relaxed holiday in Bali.
Amed is the most recent tourist development area in Bali. It was only in 2000 that tarmac was laid on the roads. Telephone lines were installed in 2003 and it took until 2007 for a bridge to be built over a section of the main road that regularly washed away during the rainy season.
This is the most commonly used base for visitors wishing to dive the USS Liberty wreck at Tulamben and that area is also covered by this article. There are other good dive sites close at hand and a thriving dive industry has developed all the way along the coast here.
Amed's inhabitants live from fishing, salt-making and tourism. The lack of tourism-based revenue, its remote nature and the generally harsh environment for farming, meant that this area was very much one of the poorer areas in Bali. Amongst others, the East Bali Poverty Project drew attention to the plight of the local villagers in this area and that, together with recent tourist development, has gone a long way to improving general standards of living, health and education.
Tirta Gangga is a village and palace in eastern Bali, Indonesia, about 5 kilometres from Karangasem, near Abang. It is noted for its water palace, owned by Karangasem royalty.
Tirta Gangga literally means water from the Ganges and it is a site of some reverence for the Hindu Balinese. Strictly, the name refers to the water palace built here in 1946 by the Raja of Karangasem, Anak Agung Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem. It is, however, widely used to refer to the general area which includes the water palace and the lush rural areas around.
The primary draw in this area for visitors is the Tirta Gangga water palace, a maze of pools and fountains surrounded by a lush garden and stone carvings and statues. The one hectare complex was built in 1946 by the late King of Karangsem but was destroyed almost entirely by the eruption of nearby Mount Agung in 1963. It has been lovingly re-built and restored and has an air of authentic royal magnificence.
The centerpiece of the palace is an eleven tiered fountain and there are many beautiful carvings and statues adorning the gardens.
The area around Tirta Gangga is noted for its rice paddy terraces. Lempuyang Temple (Pura Lempuyang Luhur) lies about 10 km east of Tirtagangga on the slopes of Mount Lempuyang and is one of the key nine directional temples on the island. Taman Ujung is also south-east of Karangasem and is another water palace built by the predecessor of the King who constructed Tirta Gangga. Taman Ujung was built in 1909 as a relaxation and recreation palace by the then King of Karangasem, I Gusti Bagus Jelantik. It was largely destroyed by the eruption of Mount Agungin 1963, damaged again by an earthquake in 1979 and has not been restored on the same scale as Tirta Gangga.
Taman Ujung, a Water Palace for the King
Taman Ujung, a place from which you can see the blue ocean of east Bali as well as the majestic Mount Agung and the surrounding rice terraces and expansive lush rolling hills. Taman Ujung is a heritage site of the kingdom of Karangasem, which had just been restored by the government, along with hectares of gardens and two huge ponds.
Taman Soekasada Ujung, also known as Ujung Water Palace or Taman Ujung, is in the eastern most area of Karangasem Regency, in Tumbu Village, which is about two and half hours from Kuta. The palace was constructed in 1919 by the late King of Karangasem, I Gusti Bagus Jelantik, who reigned in Karangasem between 1909 and 1945. The eruption of Mount Agung in 1963 destroyed the water palace and it was further damaged in the great earthquake of 1979. But the government has restored the area.
A water palace was built for the king to welcome important guests and kings of others kingdoms as well as a place of recreation for the king and royal family. In those days the spacious gardens echoed with the laughter of the king's wives and children as they relaxed, dipping their feet in the ponds. Now the area is silent and filled with emptiness. Some local tourists and foreigners were busy capturing the remaining beauty in photographs and enjoying its serene ambience.
A long concrete bridge connects the parking area and the palace area. At the end of the bridge is a vast garden. On the north side there is a small white square building in the middle of the main pond connected by two bridges on its left and right. The building previously functioned as the king's bedroom, meeting room and family room, etc. Here you can see an old photograph of Taman Ujung and also some pictures of the royal family.
Next to the main pond, there is another pond with a bale, a traditional Balinese open air building, in the middle of it. Taman Ujung complex combines Balinese and European architectural features. On the top of a hill there is a dilapidated building that looks like a chapel but has Balinese style engraving on its wall. On the other side, there is a huge statue of a rhinoceros and a bull below it. From this spot you can enjoy a view of the shimmering blue ocean, lush green forest and of course the mighty Mount Agung that dominates the sky.