The tiny port town of Padangbai in East Bali has a habit of holding visitors captive. Most people come here to take boats to neighbouring islands but find themselves staying a few nights and soaking in the tranquillity of the atmosphere and the charms of the coastline. Padangbai is also a starting point for exploring other destinations in East Bali.
The town is small, with a couple of streets that lead down to the port. Pleasant beaches can be found outside Padangbai, stretching out from the main beach next to the port. Blue Lagoon Beach and White Sand Beach are considered the best and are also good places to go snorkelling. Various shops in the town rent out snorkelling equipment, and there’s a variety of dive centres along the beaches. Padangbai is considered one of Bali’s finest diving destinations, with most dives being from the boat in the surrounding waters.
Boats arrive and leave from the Main Pier, besides the ticket office. There are hourly boats to Lembar in Lombok, plus daily fast boats to the Gili Islands, Sampalan, and Senggigi on Lombok. Padangbai is 65 kilometres east of Ngurah Rai International Airport, and a private car journey from the beaches of South Bali will take around 90 minutes. “Bemo” vans connect the town with other destinations in East Bali. Most of the town and its different beaches are within walking distance.
Part of the town’s charm comes from its backdrop, a sumptuous collection of hills that are carpeted with forest and rice paddies.