Although Candidasa itself does not offer any decent snorkeling or diving, the sights of Padangbai and the islands of Gili Tepekong, Gili Mimpang, and Gili Biaha are a short 10-minute boat ride away. Otherwise, the diving at Amed and Tulabem are a short drive away. For trekking, there are plenty of paddy field walks around Candidasa, on the slopes of Mount Agung. If you are staying in the area, ask your hotel or villa to organize a trek with a local guide.
The imaginatively named White Sand Beach is one of Bali's most beautiful beaches. But please, don't tell anyone about this place. It's a secret. The entrance to the beach road is well hidden between Candidasa and Amlapura. A kilometer or so after the hamlet of Bug Bug in the village of Peraci, a very small sign denotes Pantai Pasir Putih. Then a kilometer or two down a rickety track (although the road is improving), through some lush countryside of small villages and beautiful temples, brings you to a stand where you buy a ticket for Rp5,000. Nearly a kilometer of white sand is unmarred by hotels, though umbrellas and loungers are waiting for you. The waters are clear blue and the coconut palms provide shade. At the southern end, a line of fishing outriggers (jukung) prove that this is still a working beach but left to the devices of the tourists for the best part of the day. The fancy hotels on the east coast make special outings here for their guests complete with rather unnecessary picnic lunches and icy cold drinks. About a dozen simple thatched warungs offer visitors cold drinks, beer, and either freshly caught fish or river prawns, barbecued on coconut husk fires served with rice and vegetables or maybe a salad.
Massage & Spa
The secluded dive destination Alam Asmara (body massage Rp250,000-Rp350,000, scrub treatment Rp450,000-Rp800,000, ocean detox Rp350,000-Rp600,000; AE, DC, MC, V; daily 9am-9pm) is for people who want to seriously get away from the crowds and prefer a quiet place to indulge in diving. After your time in the water, head for the spa for a traditional massage using techniques from both Bali and Java.
At the Jaya Spa at the Puri Bagus Candidasa (single treatment Rp275,000-Rp350,000, package Rp550,000; AE, MC, V; daily 9am-9pm), the Royal Balinese treatment attempts to balance body, mind, and soul and leaves you totally relaxed.
If you love catching big fish like mackerel and tuna, then try your hand at spear fishing. Mr. Toron, a Balinese fisherman (contact him through Bali Dives, Denpasar; tel. 0361/412981 or 081/23813994; www.balidives.com; US$250 per person including boat from Sanur, US$175 per person including car to Candidasa, but not boat), is a qualified spear fisher. He knows the water around Candidasa so well that he will guarantee that you find some fish -- the question is whether or not you can spear them. Lunch will be a barbecue of your own freshly caught fish on one of the nearby beaches (remind them about the barbecue before you go as they have a tendency of forgetting small details). All transfers, lunch, drinks, boat, and guide costs are included.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.