Information before you go
Padangbai is an other village in East Bali that doesn't attract a large crowd. Whether it's the location or the lack of action, somehow most people just come here to catch one of the ferries to Lombok and the Gili islands or to arrange diving trips with one of the many dive operators.
Unlike nearby Candidasa, this little fishing village doesn't have many holiday resorts. Instead it has little guest houses and some dive resorts tucked between shops and local houses.
The main beach in town
In our opinion we think that this little village is very much under appreciated. If travelers knew about all the great things this little place has to offer then I bet it would be pretty busy here. And if you want a better taste of the cultural side of Bali then you can easily do a day trip from here to sights such as Besakih, Tirta Gangga, Rendang and Sidemen rice fields etc.
But that all said, perhaps it's good that Padangbai isn't in the top 5 'places you need to visit in Bali' so it will remain an ideal place for those who want to relax and enjoy the quiet laid back atmosphere.
Padang means 'grass' in Balinese and 'bai' is from the dutch word 'baai' which means 'bay'. Basically the name of the village describes a bit how it looks like as the village is concentrated around a bay where most of the activities take place.
It's a tiny and pretty quiet village with one big square and a couple of small streets. There is one bank in town, but just to be on the safe side bring enough cash with you because the ATM is known to be unreliable.
When you have just entered to village you will find most of the shops and the police station. And that's basically it, because before you know it you find yourself right at the beach. As you can imagine, you can easily walk from one place to another.
The harbor is located on the eastern side of the village. It is easy to spot the harbor with trucks and busses boarding the massive ferries.
Besides the very slow ferries that leaves Padangbai daily, every hour for Lembar harbor on Lombok or when it has enough passengers, you can take an faster option to the Gilis or Lombok.
Not surprisingly the fast option is also more expensive, as the ferry is only around Rp. 35.000 (around USD 3,50) one way.
The massive and slow ferry leaves Padang bai daily...
The speedy Gili Cat (+62 361 271680) has daily departures to Gili Trawangan, the biggest of the three Gili islands just off Lombok's west coast.
From Gili Trawangan harbour it heads for its final stop at Teluk Kode (Lombok). Gili Cat leaves from the harbour at 9 am or 2 pm (high season only). The trip takes about 2 hours.
For the way back you can take the 11.30 am or the 4 pm (high season only) boat that leaves from Gili Trawangan. The boat also stops at Teluk Kode where it then speeds off for Padangbai at 11.45 am or 4.15 pm (high season only).
A return ticket costs Rp. 1.200.000 (around USD 120) and one way is Rp. 660.000 (around USD 66).
Buy snacks at the harbor before going to Lombok
Perama Express (+ 62 361751551) leaves Padangbai daily from at 1 pm and after 6 hours reaches the Gili islands. Tickets can be purchased at any Perama office around Bali.
When coming back from Lombok, the Perama Express leaves Trawangan at 7 am and Sengigi at 9 am.
Diving is the main attraction here. Most dive operators are located at the beach where they also offer accommodation. You can also arrange diving or snorkeling gear and a boat to take you to the best diving spots.
These dive operators not only offer diving tours by boat but also PADI courses. As you can imagine it must be a wonderful place to take your first dive...
Popular dives around this quiet village is Blue Lagoon (where there is a 40m coral wall) and Teluk Jepun, which is located about 2.5km from the village. While the diving conditions are good in this area, the water can be very cold and visibility is not always crystal clear.
Other dives spots that are located further away are Teluk, Amuk, Gili Tepekon, Gili Biaha Tulamben and Nusa Penida. Expect to see soft and hard corals and a diverse marine life including sharks, turtles and wrasses.
The city of Amlapura is north of Candi dasa and has one dive site called Biaha Islands where you can encounter barracudas, tunas, cuttle fish, napoleon wrasses, hard and soft corals, deep walls and white tip reef sharks in a shark cave at just 12 meters below the surface.
Snorkeling is good and easy accessible at Blue Lagoon. However be aware that there can be a strong current and snorkeling can be dangerous. Other sites you can jump in to see colorful fish is at Teluk Jepun which can be reached by local boat or you can join the dive boats.
Snorkel, dive or sunbath at Blue Lagoon
The main dive operators in Padang bai are Geko Dive (+62 (0)363-41516), Water Worx (+62(0)363-41220), Absolute Scuba Bali (+62 (0)363-42088) and Scuba Duba Doo Dive Center (+62 (0)363-42088).
The dive instructors at these dive centers are all English speaking, but often there is a possibility to have an instructor that speaks Dutch, German, Japanese or any other language.
So don't forget to ask about this if you would like to have a course in another language besides English.
Besides the soft sanded beach at Padang bai there are two other nice beaches on both sides of the bay. First of all you have the white sand beach of Bias Tugal, also known as Pantai Kecil.
This beach is located on the east side of the village. Swimming is possible depending on the time as currents can be very tricky here too. If swimming isn't advisable it is still a very pretty beach so worth stopping by to admire its view.
The typical tropical beach picture...
Bias Tugal beach is so beautiful that a hotel chain is building a resort right at the hill overlooking this gem. In my opinion a real shame because it should be kept the way it is: quiet and pretty much deserted.
To get to the beach turn left at the post office and go up a steep path.
The other beach is Blue Lagoon on the western side of the village. It is a small beach, but there is a sun terrace where serious sunbathing can be done. Small restaurants offers refreshing drinks and snacks.
My sister and I enjoying the beautiful Blue Lagoon beach
To get there pass the Topi Inn restaurant and then climb up the stairs on the left side in the direction of the Bloo Lagoon resort. If you miss the wooden sign indicating the way to the beach, you could end up at the resort. So make sure you spot the wooden sign...
Not surprising Seafood is the specialty at Padang Bai. The beaches are filled with the colorful traditional fishing boats which come in every morning to unload a fresh fish. A great place to try out grilled fish or a fish satay is at Grand Cafe PB Harbor . It is located along the street at the beach. If you feel adventurous choose the garlic sauce which has fresh chunks of cloves in it. It might sound too much be trust me it's delicious.
An other place you should head to is Topi Inn. This restaurant is one of those places that always attract a crowd of travelers. It has a relaxing atmosphere, view on the beach and most importantly healthy yet good food.
It might not be an organic restaurant but they do choose products which are free of chemicals and they don't use food enhancers. This is also the place for water refills. Forget buying new plastic bottles, instead use the one you already have.
This colorful restaurants isn't hard to miss
It is located right at the bay under the palm trees, so plan to sit here for hours, relax and try out all the nice things they have to offer. If you want to learn something too, you can join courses organized by Topi inn.
Feel like some live music head to Omang Omang cafe at Padang bai square. Local artists perform here regularly.
Candidasa isn't that far either. So if you feel like a change of scenery and a different menu hop on the red bemo that will take you there in now time.
Since this beach village is mostly oriented on divers most accommodations are linked to dive operators. The most popular are found along the beach. There are several home stays in this villages but to honest they often lack character.
If you want to avoid staying at a dive resort have a look at Topi Inn. They offer budget accommodation.
Planning to fully experience Padang bai? Then highly recommend checking out Bloo Lagoon.
Bloo Lagoon villa complex
This a villa complex is situated right on the cliffs which offer amazing views over the ocean. However it isn't an ordinary villa complex as the owners have created Bloo Lagoon with a different aim in mind.
It not only provides a place to enjoy your holiday, but it's also a place for mutual exchange of knowledge, skills and customs between international visitors and the local residents. So expect a different holiday experience here...
Home > Padangbai Ins and Outs
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Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
WOW...what an awesome website. I could only dream that there would be a website like this for all our travel destinations! You guys have done an fabulous job and now, I am sooo excited about our upcoming trip to Bali. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure Bali was the place for us considering some of the travel warnings (we are Americans). But I can tell from your experiences that the Bali people are so very kind and peaceful.
hi and congratulations on the blog it s brilliant and helpful....we are going to Bali in September with my family (including 2 little girls) so we need to have nice spaceous rooms garden and pool access rooms preferably in Semikyak but not too far from it all...I hope you can recommend a great place thats not full of Australian crowds as we like meeting people from other countries.
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