- Snorkelling and Scuba Diving
- Boats to Lombok, Labuan Bajo, etc
- Quiet atmosphere
- Traditional villages nearby
- Beautiful beaches
Popular Dive Sites in Bali
Padangbai is the biggest port for boats travelling between Bali and Lombok, to and Indonesia’s eastern islands. It means that most travellers visit on their way to another place. Parts of Padangbai can be interesting, however, as the harbour is always full of local boats of all shapes and sizes.
Away from the terminal is a pretty bay with plenty of interesting watercraft, and there are some beautiful beaches within walking distance to the north and south of the town, where the snorkelling and diving spots are wonderful.
The area near the main ferry terminal is grey and rundown, but farther to the north, there are pleasant places to sit and watch the action, and the seaside village has some charm of its own. It’s possible to swim here, and even to surf on some rare days, but the water can be dirty and oily.
The real attraction of Padangbai, however, is the two beaches on either side of the cove that holds the harbour. To the south is a beautiful sheltered white sand beach where the water is surprisingly clean, and it is possible to snorkel. To the north is Bloo Lagoon, a great place to hang out, which offers fantastic snorkelling and diving opportunities, and is a favourite stop for dive operators, and is often used to train learners. It is a shallow area where sea turtles and all forms of marine life can be seen. There is also a reef wall a bit farther north that can be excellent. The water close to the beach is gentle, and kids will enjoy swimming here.
The bars and restaurants on the waterfront serve basic Indonesian food and some western dishes. Fresh seafood grills are a local speciality.
Padangbai has several little reggae bars and cafes, some of which have live bands at night. These cafes are ideal for relaxing and grooving with a drink, rather than all-night dancing.
Transportation in the area is somewhat difficult—no other public transportation available except local taxis. Most of the tourists are coming using a car rental with driver on Friday and being picked up on Sunday.
While staying in the hotels, you might need to rent a scooter or hire a car with a local driver to explore nearby attractions.
There are many pleasant guesthouses and mid-range hotels in Padangbai. Luxurious villas and hotels are mostly located further north from the port.
Blue Lagoon is a pleasant white sand beach just over the hill to the north of the town, which is great for sunbathing and has good snorkelling and diving. To the south of Padangbai, over another ridge, is an even quieter beach with clean water and pristine sand. For marine enthusiasts, it can be interesting to sit in a warung or café in the main harbour and watch all of the different kinds of ships come and go from other islands.
The snorkelling and diving spots around Padangbai, and particularly at Bloo Lagoon, is some of the best that you can find in Bali without a long drive or boat ride. Currents can sometimes be strong, but it is not a challenging area for diving, and learners are often taken here. Snorkelers can also see a wide range of sea life in the waters around Padangbai, although the location near the ferry can be oily and polluted. When there is a huge swell hitting Bali, surfers may be able to find a mellow wave in the harbour, although it is very erratic, and probably only worth checking out on the way to Lombok, Sumbawa, or Sumba.