As a first-time traveler to Bali, the chances are that you have never heard of Padangbai. However, this quiet, coastal town located in the east of the island has actually a lot to offer. If you wish to skip the busy touristy spots, you should head to Padangbai instead and here’s why:
1. Bali’s most famous diving locations
Doesn’t matter whether you are an experienced diver or only a diving newbie, the bustling underwater life here will surely amaze you. You can appreciate the beautiful coral reefs full of mesmerizing marine creatures, exotic fishes, and if you are lucky you might even spot a shark. Never tried diving before? Don't worry! OK Divers Bali offers the Discover Scuba Diving experience where you can try the life of a diver for one day and even get into the depth of 12 meters. On the other hand, if we have convinced you to get your diving certification, you can do a 3-day course and start exploring the ocean to the fullest. For more information about these possibilities click on one of these links: Discover scuba diving or Open Water Diver Course
2. White sand beach
Even though Bali has many beaches, it is rather difficult to find one where you can swim without having to struggle with huge waves, or walk too far to get into deeper water. Luckily, Padangbai has an exception – the White sand beach. It is not a secret spot, but definitely a hidden one. After walking up the hill for 15 minutes, you can relax at the white sand, swim, and snorkel, or take some cool pictures at the rock pools and reef formations.
If you wish to visit a typical Balinese temple but do not want it to be spoiled by dozens of other tourists, head to Silayukti temple. This 11th-century building belongs among the oldest ones in Bali. Interestingly, every 210 days it becomes a meeting point of pilgrims from all over the island, doing their prayers over a course of 4 days to celebrate its anniversary. This is an impressive event to witness as you might even be lucky and join the traditional Balinese cleanse involving holy water and blessings from a local priest. What's more, there are also two other temples along the path - Pura Telaga Mas and Pura Tanjungsari, so a day trip here is definitely worth it. To read more about the temple, click HERE.
4. Befriend the mantas
You don’t have to be the biggest ocean enthusiast to appreciate the majestic manta rays. These amazing creatures can measure up to 5,5 meters and meeting them eye-to-eye is surely a breath-taking experience. Did you know that you can dive or snorkel with them all year round in Nusa Penida? Your best choice would be a Manta point trip with OK Divers as they can take you to their cleaning station where you encounter these amazing creatures from a close distance and in a very calm mood. Learn more about diving or snorkeling with mantas HERE.
5. Boat to Gilis
One of the main reasons why travelers come to Padangbai is good access to the famous Gilis. These islands are known for turquoise water, and coconut trees along white beaches are easily reachable by ferry going from the Padangbai port several times a day. Gilis can please every kind of traveler – if you seek a calm paradise with no one around, head to Gili Meno, especially beloved by honeymooners. On the other hand, a young backpacker looking for entertainment should head to Gili Trawangan, known as a party island. The last of them, Gili Air offers a golden mean of these two.
6. Blue lagoon beach
In case you are into beach and chill, we have some good news for you! Blue Lagoon Beach is one of the finest relaxing spots around. Surrounded by the green and rocky hills and palm trees, it provides a calm and private place for sunbathing either on the sunbeds or sand. More active travelers can enjoy a good swim here as the water is mostly calm.
7. Rooster fight
Balinese culture is famed for its unique traditions and customs, and a cockfight is certainly one of them. Without a doubt, it requires an open mind as it will be uncomfortable scenery for a typical western eye. To make the fight more dramatic, each rooster has a very sharp spur attached to their leg which in the end results in deep and often fatal cuts on the loser. What’s more, the fight is usually accompanied by loud screaming of local men often betting huge amounts of money. If these words did not put you off and you are keen on seeing a rooster fight, then the chances are that you might encounter one in Padangbai. To learn more about the cockfight click HERE.
If you feel like diving is not really your thing but you would still love to see marine life, then snorkeling is the right choice for you! This is especially true in case you don’t have the time or desire to pursue a diver license. Padangbai offers numerous snorkeling locations where you can easily see corals, colorful fishes, and other ocean creatures. Take a look at the best selection of snorkeling tours HERE.
9. East Bali tour
This small town has a perfect location for exploring all of the gems of east Bali in one day. In case you are interested in culture and traditions, the East Bali tour with OK Divers is something for you. First off, you can visit the well-known Pura Luhur Lempuyang, famous for its spectacular view on the Agung volcano inside its main gate.
Next stop is the royal bath of Tirta Gangga, build in 1946 as former King’s summer residence. This complex got its name from the word Tirta which means holy and the Ganges river in India. It combines statues and ponds with carps that you can feed, making it a perfect place for a family relax.
Lastly, they take you to Tenganan village. It is one of the few places where the Balinese still hold on to their ancient traditions such as weaving and managed to preserve the traditional houses. Click on the link to find out more information about East Bali tour.
10. Nusa Penida sunrise tour
Are you a morning person? If yes, then what about a spectacular snorkeling tour with a stunning view on rising sun above the east coast of Bali? On a trip with OK Divers, you can sail on the traditional boat called jukung while seeing truly magical morning hues at the sea and then stop either at Gamat Bay, Mangrove Point, or Gili Toyapakeh all of which offer wonderful marine and coral life. Seeing the beauty of Nusa Penida in the golden morning sun while exploring the underwater world is definitely worth waking up early!