A tiny, charmingly scruffy port of transit
for the neighboring island of Lombok and beyond, Padangbai
is northeast of Gianyar (29 km), Kuta (62 km), and Denpasar
(56 km). One of the most relaxed beaches on Bali, the port
faces the Bali Strait and Nusa Penida. From Denpasar, take
a bus from Batubulan or Amlapura, from Klungkung take a
'bemo'. Or just hop on any bus out of Batubulan heading
for Amlapura, get off at the turnoff to Padangbai, then
hitch a ride down to the port.
The area offers varied and exciting hiking. Hidden coves
a short distance down the coast. The hills behind the bay
present gorgeous views of Nusa Penida across the Bali Strait.
Climb the paved road at the bay's northeast corner above
the port to visit the headland on which perches Pura Silayukti,
once a hermitage of the 11th-century Javanese priest Empu
Kuturan, Erlangga's contemporary who purportedly introduced
the caste system to Bali. Pura Telagamas is nearby and Pura
Tanjungsari is about 100 meters farther along the headland.
Watch fishing boats chug out at night and return with their
catch in the morning.
You can sunbathe on the beach stretching north of the Pantai
Ayu Restaurant, though the water is too polluted for swimming.
A 15-minute walk over a grassy hill will bring you to quiet,
sandy, beautiful Pantai Kecil in the quiet palm-lined village
of Biastugal. Walk along the seawall, following it until
you see a big tree, then take the flight of stairs, walk
on the road past a temple on a bluff, and descend to the
small, uncrowded white beach.
To the southwest are more gray-sand beaches. The idyllic
beach to the north, on Blue Lagoon Bay, is a longer walk,
but has better snorkeling because of shallower water (but
not the best swimming). The variety of fish and the hard
coral outcrops on the sandy bottom are outstanding. Several
places in Padangbai rent snorkeling equipment.
At least three dive spots are found off Padangbai, all
a 10-15 minute 'jukung' ride out into Amuk Bay. The water
is cold. Use a wetsuit. Pura Jepun, only 50 meters from
shore, is a mixed reef with a flat, sandy bottom and a visibility
of 10-12 meters, teeming with a great variety of fish, including
On the way to Pura Jepun you'll pass a lighthouse on the
north point of Padangbai Bay, then the rocky headland marking
the entrance to Blue Lagoon Bay, with its brilliant white-sand
beach and 25-meter-dropoff. Charter a boat from Padangbai.
South of Padangbai's harbor is Tanjung Bungsil, where the
sloping bottom flattens out at between nine to 10 meters
and the fish are numerous and varied.
Travel and transport services sell tickets to all over
Bali and to the neighboring island of Lombok. Arriving from
Lombok, a line of 'bemo' waits in the main car park at the
end of the jetty to take passengers to all the major points
on Bali. Walk 100 meters from the harbor gate to catch 'bemo'-blue
for Klungkung, orange for Amlapura and Candidasa.
After 1800, it's difficult to find a 'bemo', unless you
walk out to the main road and flag one down. There are also
buses to Probolinggo (East Java), Surabaya, Malang and Yogya.