At the eastern end of Amuk Bay is Candi dasa, a relaxed resort that appeals mostly to older visitors, with a wide choice of accommodation and restaurants. A good centre for snorkelling, diving and exploring the east, it makes a nice change from some of the more frenetic resorts in the south of the island. The main beach has suffered serious 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 pretty lagoon in the centre of Candi Dasa, just across the main road from the temple, is a useful landmark. Most of the accommodation in Candi Dasa is spread about 1km along the main road running just behind the beach both east and west of the lagoon. East of this central section is which Forest Road has some quiet guesthouses.
The group of tiny islands lying just off the coast (Gili Tepekong, Gili Biaha and Gili Mimpang) offer excellent sites for experienced divers (currents can be strong), including walls, a pinnacle and the dramatic Tepekong Canyon. All the operators also arrange trips further afield to Padang Bai, Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, Amed, Tulamben and Gili Selang.
For fantastic views over the coastline, follow the headland trail that forks off the road leading east in the direction of Amlapura. Beyond the headland there are some pretty beaches, with wide stretches of sand.
The reef along the coast is gradually rejuvenating and there is some decent snorkelling just offshore, stretching for about 1km westwards from the area in front of Puri Bagus Candidasa hotel. Take care not to venture too far out and be aware of your position as the currents can be hazardous. You can also go on snorkelling trips to more distant spots with local boat-owners, and dive operators also take snorkellers along on dive trips; always be clear whether or not equipment is included in the price.