Padang Bai Is The Best Place to Stay in Bali
To say that the entire Geko Dive Team has grown very fond of Padang Bai is an understatement. If you ask any member of the team whether they like Padang Bai, they will invariably answer: 'No, I don't like Padang Bai! I LOVE Padang Bai!'.
Most of the people working here at Geko Dive come from or live in this very village. So we might be a little biased... However, Padang Bai is a real gem in Bali's touristic landscape. Here is why!
Padang Bai Above Water
We hear of more and more visitors to Bali disillusioned with their choice of holiday destination. Bali would be noisy, traffic-ladden, dirty and over-populated! While this may apply to spending a holiday in the large touristic complex that have sprouted all along the South Cost of the island, none of those attributes correspond to a Padang Bai experience.
Padang Bai has remained a small, typical Balinese fishing village. While there are many facilities catering for tourists' needs, such as hotels and restaurants, Padang Bai remains Balinese first and foremost! According to those who have known Bali for many years, the Bali one can encounter here is still the real Bali.
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A Day in a Traditional Balinese Village
This is evident when one wakes up early to visit the local market, where freshly picked fruits and vegetables are on offer along with the daily fish catch. Religious ceremonies also take place often here at either of the three village temples (Pura Desa, Dalem and Segara) or the Silayukti temple. The latter dates back to the 11th century and is one of the oldest Hindu temple on the island. Pura Silayukti attracts fervant Balinese from all around the island. They are frequently seen heading to the temple in a procession, dressed in traditional clothes and armed with colourful offerings in order to pay tribute to the Gods.
Being a harbour town, Padang Bai can be busy early on in the day. In the morning, trucks embark the public ferry boats towards Lombok, while backpackers and party-goers board speed boats to the Gili Trawangan group of islands. After lunch, the village´s tranquility and harmony resume. Men are often seen resting, talking or eating under the traditional bales (gazebos) located all along the main beach, while children go for a swim in the sea.
Beach or Excursion in the Afternoon
This is the time when many visitors are enjoying the beauty and exclusivity of one of the three beaches that are located in Padang Bai. Close to the market is the White Sand Beach or Bias Tugul Beach. With its fine sand, coconut trees and small restaurants serving grilled fish, local dishes, fresh fruit juices and frozen cold beers, it truly is a holiday-goer's paradise. At the other side of the village, Blue Lagoon is also a popular destination.
More adventurous travellers may choose to use the afternoon to visit one of the many favourite attraction of Bali, which lay less than an hour away. Ubud with its Monkey Forest, temples and traditional shops is one of those. So is the water palace of Tirta Ganga. Because of this ideal location, Padang Bai is the perfect place to use as a base for daily excursions to popular spots. Many of our guests choose to do dive in the morning and visit great places in the afternoon!
Padang Bai Hotels, Restaurants and Bars
There are many restaurants to enjoy in the evenings in Padang Bai. Many choices offer a great price to quality ratio. From budget shacks serving local food and grilled fish, to options with European food on the menu, most restaurants here reflect the general feeling of relaxed and laid-back atmosphere found everywhere else in Padang Bai.
Although there are no clubs in town, bars serve cold Bintang beer and fresh fruit juices. Some of them are located right on the beach, while others can be found close to the main parking area. Those are opened until late in the night and often offer a great atmosphere. Some of them even have live bands playing in the evening.
Accomodation options are also plenty in Padang Bai. From luxurious houses with sea views on top of the hill, to small bungalows by the beach, through to mid-range hotels and even youth hostels. You can easily find accommodation to suit your needs here. Have a look at our accommodation page for more details on how we can help you.
After a day so full of activities, you'll be all set for a good night sleep, before coming back to Geko Dive for another scuba adventure to some of our stunning dive sites. Click here to find out more about Padang Bai's underwater wonders.
What Others Say About Padang Bai
"Located on a perfect little bay, tiny Padangbai is the port for ferries between Bali and Lombok, and passenger boats to Nusa Penida. It is also a popular place to break a journey and relax while you plan your assault on Bali or Lombok (depending on which way you´re heading), and it´s a smaller, quieter, more beachy option than Candidasa. It takes about 10 minutes to walk from one end of town to the other. Take time to choose one of the many places to stay and eat; they´re all very close together."
"Most visitors to Padang Bai are there to catch a boat to Lombok. It is though a charming little place in its own right and many people cancel their trip in order to spend more time in this lovely village. Spending a night or two here will certainly not be time wasted."
"This is also a fairly convenient base from which to explore some of the wider attractions of East Bali."
"You do not really need any transport within Padang Bai as everything is within walking distance. If you want to explore the surrounding area, motorbike rental and car rental are widely available."
"The main beach is generally awash with colorful double outrigger fishing boats in the shape of a marlin. The front of the boat is shaped with the point of its mouth open wide and large eyes looking to the heavens. Either side of the main beach are two other hidden coves with nice, quiet white sand beaches."
"Padang Bai offers some stunning diving and snorkelling opportunities. Much of the diving is arranged through dive shops along the beachfront whereas snorkelling can be undertaken by simply walking to Blue Lagoon beach and renting the necessary gear from the beach vendor. Another beach to the west of town offers an even better beach experience and is virtually deserted aside from a few vendors who will make sure you don´t go hungry or thirsty."
"Scuba Diving in Padang Bai is one of the best around Bali. There are several very good diving sites just a few minutes away from the main beach. Most of them are perfect for beginners or for diving courses. But there are also more challenging diving sites with current and great chances to spot Reef Sharks, various Rays, Pelagic fishes and large schools of fishes!"
"It is a really sought after destination for macro lovers and underwater photographers! They will be delighted by wonderful night diving in the Blue Lagoon. They can find there leaf scorpion fish, ghost pipefish, pygmy sea horses, many rare nudibranchs, frogfish, the famous Spanish dancer and the very rare Cat Shark and Wobbegong sharks! And all that in shallow and calm water!".
"Fifteen minutes south of Candidasa is the little fishing village of Padangbai, with a beach aglow with the colors of wooden prahu boats. Simple fish restaurants and dive shops line the main road, while behind the village are dozens of small homestays and simple eateries. Just to the north is the perfect little Bloo Lagoon Beach."
"Deriving from two languages: padang is Balinese for grass and bai is Dutch for bay. PADANG BAI nestles in a white sand cove crowded with fishing boats. Laid-back village in a pretty bay; perfect for chilling out whether or not you are en route to Lombok."
"The majority of visitors choose to base themselves here purely for the excellent diving and snorkeling which is among the best in Bali. If it is peace and quiet you crave, nowhere is more relaxing with very little traffic in town and hawker-free golden sand to lie on.