Dominated by the holy mountain Gunung Agung, east Bali is one of the island's most beautiful and traditional regions. It remains largely unspoiled, with not one factory marring the landscape. Here vistas of terraced rice fields and bamboo forests take the place of bars, cafes, and trendy shops. Several tourist areas are wound together by the coastal road: inland Sidemen, with its beautiful scenery and lush stepped vistas; Tulamben, Padangbai, and Amed, all known for their great diving and snorkeling; and Candidasa, a long established, if slightly tired resort.
The locals here are descendants of the Majapahits who first settled and established a court here after their flight from Java. The Regents of Klungkung were the last of the Balinese to hold out against the Dutch in 1908 and a towering monument in Semarapura commemorates the final battle. As you travel through the east, you might notice a rich variety of older customs that have managed to resist modern Javanese influence ever since their initial arrival after the 15th century.