Padang Bai: Experience A Genuine Slice Of Life In East Bali

Padang Bai is best known for the access it brings to the Gili and Nusa Islands but the harbour town is worth staying in for a night or two in its own right.

Here’s what you need to know about Padang Bai to have a great time in this corner of East Bali.

Where Is Padangbai?


Padang Bai (or Padangbai) is in East Bali about 13 kilometres away from Candidasa (the most popular town in the region). It’s in the Karangasem Regency.

How To Get To Padang Bai?

Unless you’re coming from Lombok or offshore, the best way to get to Padang Bai is to drive – you can use the ride-sharing apps Grab or Gojek or book a private car and driver very cost-effectively.

We don’t recommend that you take a scooter though as the roads can be quite dangerous and getting road-legal is a bit of a challenge.

If you’re not road-legal, your insurance won’t take care of you if you get into an accident, so it’s best not to chance it.

The Beautiful Beaches Of Padang Bai

Blue Lagoon Beach

The Nusa Ceningan Blue Lagoon

It’s fair to say that the most popular destination in Padang Bai is the Blue Lagoon Beach and the white sand and clear waters here are near legendary.

The big draw is the natural lagoon which glistens in the sunlight and is great for a bit of snorkelling (you can almost reach out and catch the fish here, fresh seafood doesn’t get much fresher than that).

You can rent a snorkel nearby but we’d recommend buying your own for a better fit with your mask.

Bias Tugel Beach

This is a lovely white sand beach that is a short walk out of Padang Bai, it’s just 130 meters wide and is just to the South of the busy port and harbour.

It’s a great place to go snorkelling as the water is very clear and the waves tend to be fairly gentle compared to some other beaches.

Though this is a very attractive beach, it doesn’t get a huge number of visitors compared to the main beach, which is good news if you visit as it means you’ll have more of the beach to yourself.

Kusamba Beach (Black Sand Beach)

Kusamba Beach offers a very pleasant view of the Indian Ocean from the shoreline and if you’ve never seen any black sand beaches before then this black sand beach is a great place to start.

However, it’s fair to say that it’s not a great place for swimming, though you can see the local salt mining operation at work, which is fascinating.

The Temples Of Padang Bai

Pura Dalem

This is a simple downtown temple that comes alive during the temple anniversary but is otherwise, not really a standout temple for interested tourists.

Pura Segara

This temple is between the main beach and the centre of Padang Bai and it’s worth a quick look but it’s very much a local temple for worship and prayer rather than tourism.

Pura Telagamas

This is just around the corner on the grassy hill just outside of town from Silayukti Temple and it’s worth a visit if combined with a trip to Pura Silayukti and Pura Tanjungsari (which is on the same hill).

Pura Silayukti

This is the most important historical site in Padang Bai and dates back to the 11th century. The thatched roofs on the temple buildings look awesome in your shots.

Pura Tanjungsari

Another pleasant local temple, that is within a short walking distance of Sialyukti Temple.

Things To Do In Padangbai


Above view of couple snorkeling in sea water

Perhaps, the biggest attraction in Padang Bai is the chance to go snorkelling as the local waters are really clean and the white sand beaches are very visually appealing too.

The port attracts various marine life that can’t be found in waters elsewhere in Bali and it makes this corner of the island very appealing to nature lovers.


Mesmerizing view of a female scuba diver swimming underwater

You can also join a dive school here and go on boat trips out of the small town and into the Indian Ocean to discover more of the local marine life.

If you want to get PADI qualified, Bali is a great place to learn and it’s quite a bit cheaper than learning in Australia. Just make sure to save the cold beers until you get back to shore, safety first.

Massage/Spa Services


Body Temple Spa Canggu Bali Best Spa In Bali

There are a number of very pleasant spa services in town where you can get a great pamper session for much less money than in some of the other beach towns.

Take A Trip To The Nusa Islands Or Gili Islands


Manta Bay or Kelingking Beach with huge waves on beach on Nusa Penida Island, Bali, Indonesia

Perhaps, the number one draw to this part of Bali is the chance to jump on a ferry and visit the Gili Islands, Nusa Islands or even the island of Lombok!

Boats run from the harbour/port daily and it’s quite nice to get off the island of Bali and explore some other parts of Indonesia during your holiday.

Where To Eat In Padangbai

There are plenty of places to get a tasty bite to eat in Padang Bai including:

  • Omang Omang Bar Diner – they have regular live music in the evenings and the food is a nice mix of Indonesian and international fare. The staff are very pleasant to deal with.

  • The Colonial – this is a fine dining restaurant with a real hint of class about it, the only downside is they don’t ever seem to have any fish on the menu.

  • Ozone Cafe – the food here is very good and the staff are quite charming but it’s a little pricey for what you get. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re staying in town for a long time.

  • Warung Bu Jeno – if you want a lovely no-frills warung with exceptional local seafood dishes, this is the place to come.

  • Warung Lesehan Bali – this is an awesome local place with a focus on seafood BBQs and the view over the sea from here is just fabulous.

  • Helix 64 – if you want something a little more contemporary, you can’t wrong with Helix 64, the grilled mahi-mahi is great and they have vegan options.

  • Talk of the Town – vegetarians should waste no time in heading to the Talk of the Town which is cheap and has a great view.

  • La Cabana Restaurant and Cocktail Bar – this brand-new restaurant delivers quality Italian food in a lovely location.

Where To Stay In Padangbai

There are some lovely places to stay in the area too and they include:

  • OK Divers Resort & Spa – this full-service diving resort is one of the best hotels in the area and it has everything you need for a good time among the exotic marine life of the local seas.

  • Bloo Lagoon Village – if you love elegant, private villas with spectacular views of the ocean, this is the place to be.

  • Zen Inn – a small budget-friendly hotel that has recently come under new management. It’s basic, but it’s cheap.

  • Bamboo Paradise Guesthouse & Hotel – this is a charming homestay-style deal with a Western owner. It’s a short walk from town and the beach.

  • Absolute Scuba Bali Dive Resort – this lovely resort is in a traditional fishing village and it’s almost on top of the jetty for the fast boat. They have a training pool onsite for divers.

  • Harmony Guest House – a pleasant locally owned guesthouse within walking distance of the beach and some of the temples.



Is Padang Bai Worth Visiting?

Yes, in fact, the area is famous for the Blue Lagoon Beach but it has plenty more to offer the discerning traveller.

Padang Bai is also a great staging post for seeing some of the smaller islands of the coast.

How Far Is Padangbai From Bali Airport?

The Ngurah Rai International Airport (or Denpasar Airport) is the only airport in Bali and it’s about 56.3 kilometres from the harbour at Pdang Bai.

It takes about 2 hours in a car, however, as the traffic is usually quite hectic on the route.

How To Get From Ubud To Padangbai?

There’s only one way to get from Ubdu to Padangbai and that’s by road. It’s about an hour in a car or on a scooter (depending on traffic, of course) and if you wanted to walk it (and we really don’t recommend that you do as Bali’s roads are not designed for pedestrians) it takes about 8 hours.

How Much Is A Taxi From Padang Bai To Canggu?

If you’re coming to Canggu, then we hope to see you at FINNS, the world’s best beach club.

And if you’re coming from Padang Bai then you should expect to pay 150,000 – 200,000 IDR depending on which service you use and what time of day that you travel.

How Much Is A Taxi From Seminyak To Padang Bai?

It depends on which taxi service you use but we’d expect to pay around 150,000 IDR for this journey from Seminyak on Grab or Gojek.

The ride-share apps are better than taxis because they ensure that you travel for a fixed price and can’t be cheated when you get to your destination.

Where Is The Prettiest Water In Bali?

This is, obviously, a matter of personal opinion but many people argue that Blue Lagoon Beach has some of the most attractive water in Bali.

However, whether you’re on a black sand beach in East Bali or on a white sand beach in a resort town, we’ve always found the Indian Ocean to look pretty awesome everywhere.

The beaches at the Nusa Islands also have some great water to enjoy.

What Is The Nicest Beach In Bali?

There are some nice beaches around Padang Bai but it’s fair to say that most people would say that the beach in Nusa Dua (which is not on the Nusa Islands but on the mainland) is the nicest in Bali.

It’s an expensive place to stay, however, with a focus on family resorts from big international brand names.

You don’t have to stay in Nusa Dua to visit the beach, though.

How Long Is The Boat From Padang Bai To The Gili Islands?

The fast boats from Padangbai take about 90 minutes to reach Gili Trawangan, they can then drop off people at Gili Air before moving on to the Bangsal Harbour in Lombok.

We’d recommend that you book your tickets in advance for the fast boat as it can get sold out quickly.

Be careful which company you book your tickets through (we recommend the Bali Res Centre for all your travel needs in Bali, their contact details are below) as we’ve seen some extraordinarily high prices on some sites, including those based in Australia.

You need to arrive at Padang Bai in the early part of the day if you want to catch the boat service and the last boat departs around 2 p.m.

If you miss the boat, you can always stay in Padang Bai for an evening, it’s quite pleasant.

How Long Is The Ferry From Padang Bai To Nusa Penida?

The fast boat from Padangbai to Nusa Penida takes around 20-35 minutes and the ferry takes a bit longer (50 minutes to an hour).

There are only two ferries each day and one leaves at 10 a.m. and the other at 2 p.m.

However, on Sunday, you will find there’s no 2 p.m. ferry and if you’re not on the morning ferry, you will need to wait until Monday to get to Nusa Penida.

Again, be careful what you pay for the trip between these two places as we’ve seen some incredible variations in prices online.

It’s important to note that these services are all the same, no matter which company you book through, so you don’t want to spend a fortune that you don’t have to spend.

How To Book A Holiday In Padangbai Or A Trip To Padang Bai?

We always recommend that you book any Bali travel through the awesome Bali Res Centre.

That’s a locally owned and managed travel service that specializes in Balinese holidays.

They get very competitive prices and using them helps you to support the local economy! Win-win, right?

Final Thoughts On Padangbai

Padang Bai in East Bali is often overlooked except as a gateway to other islands but we think it’s worth stopping and appreciating the natural beauty of the area.

If you love snorkelling, then Padang Bai should be on your Bali itinerary for sure.