Amlapura is east Bali’s major transport terminal and so, well connected to all parts of Bali. It was known as Karangasem until 1963, when the mighty Agung volcano unfortunately, erupted with spectacular force and even more spectacular damage. So, Karangasem underwent a name change and was “reborn” as Amlapura to rid itself of any “unlucky” association, which might provoke a much-feared recurrence. The old Puri Agung Karangasem Palace was once the seat of the past King of Karangasem. The visitors can walk around the old palace. The ruins of the Taman Ujung water Palace are conveniently located 3km south of Amlapura. When visiting Amlapura, it is best to stay at Tirta Gangga, not because of any spectacular eruptions, but for the sake of comfort and luxury.
The main attraction of Amlapura is its traditional palaces or puri. There is a western, a northern, a southern and an eastern puri as well as several others, all still occupied by members of the royal family. Of these, only the Puri Kangin (the eastern palace) on the main road to the market is easily visited. This is worth a look, as it gives a vivid impression of how local royals used to live. The palace buildings themselves are in fact an eccentric blend of Chinese and European details set in what is essentially a traditional Balinese compound with several pavilions and room surrounded by pools and connected by walk ways. The main hall is called the “Bale London” and the furniture curiously bears the crest of the British royal family. One can even rent rooms here the perfect accommodation for the aspiring aristocrat.