It is usual for visitors to Bali to pass through Pandangbai on their way to nearby islands. This charming fishing village makes a perfect stopover for anyone who is looking for a relaxing break. The local beaches are the main attraction, but there are also plenty of bars and restaurants where visitors can relax and enjoy the ambiance.
Transportation to Padangbai
Padangbai (also written Padang Bai) is located on the east of Bali. It is approximately 41km (25 miles) from Denpasar, and 37km (23 miles) from Ubud -it is only 11km (7 miles) from Candi Dasa. The transportation options for getting to town would include:
- There is a Perama Shuttle Bus Service from Kuta (60,000 IDR), Sanur (60,000 IDR), Ubud (50,000 IDR), Lovina (150,000 IDR), and Candi Dasa (25,000 IDR) – prices given here are correct as of early 2013.
- It is possible to catch abemo from Batubulan Bus Station in Denpasar to Padangbai. There is also a bemo coming from Candi Dasa.
- There is a ferry arriving every hour from Lembar on the nearby island of Lombok. Padangbai is a popular stopping off point for tourists going to or coming back from Lomobok. There are also boats connecting to town to Gili Islands.
- It should be possible to pick up a taxi from Ngurah Rai Airport (DPS) in Denpasar to Padangbai for about 340,000 IDR (as of early 2013).
Getting Around Padangbai
Pandangbai is a small town, and it is easy to navigate by foot. It is also possible to rent cars, motorbikes, and bicycles locally. There is a bemo route that passes through the town and goes to Candi Dasa in the east, and Klungkung to the west.
The main attractions in Padangbai would include:
- Padangbai Town is a friendly and laid back kind of place – it is still at heart a fishing village. There are a few small shops, restaurants, and places to stay.
- Little Beach/Secret Beach (Bias Tugal or Pantai Kecil) is the nicest of the local beaches, and it is a good place for swimming but care is required as there can be strong currents. Little Beach is southwest of the ferry terminal, and it is signposted.
- The other popular beach in Padangbai is Blue Lagoon, and this is a good choice for people who want to go snorkeling because there is so much coral here. Swimmers need to take care here because the seabed can be a bit treacherous when walking on it because of stones and coral.
- Black Sand Beach is about a twenty minute walk away from the town, and it gets its name from the color of the sand. The locals recommend that people do not go swimming here because the tides can be strong.
- There are a number of interesting temples in the local area that are worth visiting including; Pura Tanjungsari, Pura Dalem, Pura Silayukti, Pura Telagamas, and Pura Segara – these are all in walking distance.
- Goa Lawah is another temple, but it is away from the town on the road going towards Kusamba. This temple is particularly interesting because it is surrounded by caves, and there is a huge bat population.
Things to do while staying in the town would include:
- Snorkeling at Blue Lagoon Beach. It is possible to rent or buy snorkeling equipment from the nearby shops, and there are also snorkeling tours where people can be taken out in a boat to the best local areas for marine life.
- Many visitors come to the town to go scuba diving, and there are at least 8 diving schools in the town. All of these schools can arrange diving trips, and they can also provide courses for complete novices – this can be a good place to do the course for the Padi Open Water Course.
- Most tourists who come to Pedangbai will end up visiting the nearby island of Lombok or the Gili Islands. The ferry terminal is right in the heart of town.
- The local market is worth visiting. The main product on sale is fish (it is a fishing village), but there is an assortment of other goods – including things that might interest tourists.
Padangbai restaurants are likely to be a real treat for visitors who like seafood. Some of the most popular eateries would include:
- Martini’s Warung offers local as well as international dishes and it is located in the main square of the town. The food is tasty and reasonably priced, and the staff members are welcoming.
- Cafe Papa John has a good selection of western food in comfortable surroundings.
- Omang Omang Cafe specializes in barbeque and traditional Indonesian food, and they also have a good drinks selection. It is located on Jl Silayukti, and opens all day and late into the night.
- Cafe Kerti is inside of Kerti Beach Resort Inn, but even those who are not staying at the resort will come to dine here because the food is tasty and reasonably priced. It is located in the middle of the main beach area in the town.
- Grand Cafe Padngbai is located right across from the beach. The food here is a bit more expensive than elsewhere, but there is a nice ambiance to the place, and they have an excellent seafood menu as well as western food.
- The restaurant at the Zen Inn is a good option if people are looking for something fancy. They have regular BBQ nights, and they also have a well stocked bar – they also have free Wi-Fi.
Padangbai is a small town, but it still has a surprisingly good selection of bars to choose from including:
- Buddha Bar has a swim-up bar area. There is a good selection of beers and cocktails here, and a fun atmosphere – it closes at 22:00.
- Kinky Reggae Bar is a small but lively place on Jl Silayukti. There is also another reggae bar close by on the same road called Babylon Reggae Bar.
- Ozone Bar is the most popular of all the bars in the town, and they have a good selection of beers. It is located on Jl Silayukti.
- Sunshine Bar offers good music, and they encourage customers to join in on musical jams – it can get noisy here, but it is great fun.
- Topi Inn has a small bar that can be a good choice if people are looking for something sedate. They have cocktails in the evening.