Located on the northeastern coast of Bali, is the small village of Candidasa. A tranquil coastal area nestled between the Lombok Strait to the east and mountains to the west, Candidasa is within close proximity to many historical landmarks of Bali including Bali's mother temple, Pura Besakih, Tenganan (the aboriginal people of Bali) as well as the ferry terminal to Lombok.

Some of the best diving and snorkeling areas in Bali are also within the Candidasa area. As Candidasa has become more popular with day-trippers, the demand for accommodations and eatery places has grown to wide selection that ranges from star rated properties to simple homestays. All in all, Candidasa is a great place to go for a few days of relaxation.

For serious students of culture, a visit to Ibu Gedong’s Gandhian Ashram is suggested. Started in the 1970s as a self-sufficient community based on Gandhian principles, the ashram was the only structure along this isolated beach. There are bungalows here for rent, or one can stay in simpler accommodations while volunteering here (there are strict rules on behavior).


The each at Candi Dasa has been marred by T-form jetties protruding into the water to try and help stop the erosion of years of coral blasting. However, the lack of beach has saved Candi Dasa from over development. These structures make it impossible to walk more than 50 m (160 ft) on the beach, once truly lovely landscape.

Now the beach is only visible at low tide. There are some wonderful places to eat in Candi Dasa as fresh fish is a speciality. Candi Dasa Temple is on the opposite side of the road from the lagoon. There are good walks in the area, either round the headland east to a deserted black-sand beach, only possible at low tide, or up over the hills of Tenganan.

You can also climb Gumang Hill, by following the main road out of the town to the east, for spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and across the strait to Lombok. The small Temple at the top of the hill is the site of a major festival every two years at the time of the full moon in October.

The Meaning of Candi Dasa

Candi Dasa gets its name from the temple on the hill overlooking the main road and the fresh water lagoon.

The ancient relics in this temple indicate that there has been a village on this site since 11th century. The word ‘dasa’ means 10 and refers to the 10 holy teaching of the Buddhist ‘tripitaka’.

There are in reality two temples, one dedicated to Siva and the other to Hariti, giving rise to an unusual situation whereby one sites served both Hindus and Budhists. Childless couples come here to pray to Hariti for children.


Just east of Candi Dasa lies the village of Bugbug, more like a Bali Aga village in structure. Here, once every two years, on the full moon of the fourth month (October) the “War of the Gods” (Perang Dewa) takes place on top of Gumang Hill. Villagers from four surrounding villages gather here, carrying offerings of suckling pig which they hang in the trees. They also bring their gods (as pratima), which then battle each other; many of the men go into trance during the ritual.