Padangbai (Padang Bai)
Between charming, white-sand beaches such as Blue Lagoon and Bias Tugel and the underwater attractions of Jepun, Gili Tepekong, and beyond, there is more to do in Padangbai than just catch the boat to Lombok. And with accommodation at levels from boutique to budget, it’s easy to spend the night.
Padangbai tours typically focus on diving and/or snorkeling, be that PADI open water or advanced dive courses or multi-day diving packages. The town is well placed for both Tulamben/Amed and Nusa Penida/Nusa Lembongan, and dive courses and dive packages sometimes include dives outside Padangbai itself.
Things to Know Before You Go
A seriously underrated diving and snorkeling destination, Padangbai is particularly recommended for fans of weird underwater life.
While the port itself is relatively flat, Padangbai’s signature beaches—Blue Lagoon and Bias Tugel—are accessed by rough tracks and steps.
For a quieter night’s sleep, away from the port announcements, reserve accommodation on the fringes of the town.
How to Get There
An hour or so north of Sanur on the island’s east coast, Padangbai is one of Bali’s transport hubs. Perama shuttle buses connect to destinations including Ubud, Sanur, Kuta, Candidasa, and Tirta Gangga; ferries run to Lombok and Nusa Penida; and there are fast boats to Lombok, the Gilis, and Nusa Lembongan.
When to Get There
There is no bad time to visit Padangbai, which has ample accommodation, eateries, and dive stores. During late July and early August heavy swells can make diving difficult and force the suspension of the fast-boat routes to Lombok, although the large ferries generally continue to run to both Penida and Lombok.
A wealth of unusual critters and small stuff makes diving Padangbai a must for macro photographers: frogfish, nudibranchs, ghost pipefish, and more are all seen here. Yet with a small wreck, occasionally passed by a submarine, and some lovely reefs offshore at Gili Tepekong, there really is something for everyone. Padangbai dive sites are less busy than big-ticket sites such as the USATLiberty in Amed and more affordable than sites around Menjangan/Pemuteran.
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