Situated in the east of Bali, Candidasa is a treasure trove of Balinese temples and hidden beaches. This former fishing village is a tranquil alternative to the busy southern beaches with narrow volcanic sands and a relaxed seaside ambience. It is also a good base from which to explore the remote east of the island.
The main beach has suffered from erosion in recent decades due to over-construction in the area (the offshore coral reefs were harvested to provide lime for building tourist resorts in the 1980s), but there are several small pockets of white sand along the waterfront where hotels have created artificial beaches. The town itself is pretty much one long road that runs the length of the bay and is lined by hotels, guest houses and restaurants. A focal point of the town, sitting between the main temple and the sea, is a pretty lotus-filled lagoon with a small garden island at its centre.
Candidasa's offshore islands – Gili Biaha, Gili Kambing and Gili Mimpang – are only a short boat journey away and offer excellent snorkelling and diving, although the currents can be strong so are more suited to experienced divers. Other attractions in the area include Goa Lawah Temple, Lempuyant Temple, Taman Ujung Water Palace and one of the oldest villages on the island, Tenganan Pegringsingan.