Karangasem or sometimes Karang Asem, is one of regencies in Bali Province. The capital city is located in Amlapura. The biggest temple in Bali, Besakih Temple, is settled in this regency.
This regency situated in the eastern most point of Bali Island, which bordered at the east by Lombok Strait, at the west by Klungkung, Bangli and Buleleng Regencies, at the south by the Indonesian Ocean and at the north by the Java Sea. The capital of this regency is Amlapura. In this regency is dominated by the mighty Gunung Agung. The east has many places of interest and some great beaches. Bali’s highest mountain is Gunung Agung (3142 meters), towering majestically over eastern and northern Karangasem.
In the past period time, Karangasem was devastated when Mount Agung erupted in 1963, ultimately killing 1900 people. Karangasem formerly was a kingdom before Bali was conquered by the Dutch.
People of Karangasem make their living in various ways. Some of them are farmers, fishermen, traders, craftsmen, and even active in tourism field. People in majority are Hindu followers, who live in a very religious life, thus ritual activities can be seen almost everyday in this area.
Like Bali in common, Karangasem is also has some ceremonial schedule that become tourism interest relating art and social culture. One of the ceremonial in Karangasem is Magibung and Otonan.
Magibung is some unique tradition about how to eat in certain event where shows a gathering of the society in sadness and happiness, which has some rules. There must be one portion rice put in a plate made of leafs called “aled”. One more aled contains of lawar, sate komoh and sambal embe ( fried union, fried chili and salt ), water or palm whine and basehan (water put in a bowl to washing hands). Usually enjoyed the last is drinking water or palm wine. Magibung usually held in some activity such as ceremony or other traditional work in Karangasem Regency.
It is ceremony held by the parents to their children to ask for salvation to Gold ( Ida Sanghyang Widhi Wasa) practiced once in six months (based upon Balinese Calendar calculation ). Another purpose of this ceremony is also to pay homage to Sanghyang Ibu Pertiwi expecting to the children have long and lucky life.
As one of tourist destinations in Bali, Karangasem has so many potentials to support the development of its tourism industry. Its rich nature with mountains, hills, rivers, lush rice fields and lovely beaches abound with the unique daily life of the people and their culture make Karangasem worth to visit.
There are at least fifteen tourist destinations developed in Karangasem, even more, they are Bukit Jambul, Besakih, Telaga Waja, Iseh, Putung, Puri Agung Karangasem (Karangasem Palace), Tirtagangga, Jemeluk, Tulamben, Sibetan, Taman Ujung, Candidasa, Tenganan Pegeringsingan, Padangbai and Yeh Malet. Those tourist objects are spread in 3 tourism development areas of Candidasa, Ujung and Tulamben.