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Roughly half way up the east coast of Bali is the small port of Padang Bai which is the main hub for diving the sites on that side of the island. It is also, together with Nusa Dua in the south, one of two main departure points for dive boats heading to the islands of Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan in the Lombok Strait.
Map of Bali showing the location of Padang Bai on the east coast
Diving East Coast Bali – Padang Bai
Padang Bai is a bustling & lively small town with the reputation as one of the best place in Bali to eat fresh & cheap seafood.
The town is built around a small picturesque bay, which serves as both the Lombok ferry terminal and fishing boat harbour.
Padang Bai bay is located south-west of the much larger Amuk Bay which is the center of tourism on the east coast of Bali.
The roads in Padang Bai are quite narrow and so the traffic heading for the ferry and all the fishing & diving related activity give the town its busy feel.
There is a nice atmosphere about the place and early morning is a great time to wander around because the town basks in the early morning sunlight from the rising sun in the east.
The early morning local market is also a great place to stroll round and take pictures before the dive boat leaves for the day.
Padang Bai Image Gallery
Diving East Coast Bali – Where to stay in Padang Bai?
This very much depends on your budget and overall intention… I personally stayed in Candi Dasa at the Water Garden hotel and “commuted” the 15 minute drive to Padang Bai, which allowed me to check out the various restaurants and watering holes in the evening.
On the other hand if you don’t have your own transport staying in Padang Bai would make more sense and all the dive operations either have their own on-site accommodation or will recommend somewhere to you.
At the far end of the bay is the Topi Inn which gets a mention in all the guide books and I found was a great place to have an early morning coffee whilst the dive boat was loaded or a quick shower and cold beer when the days diving was over.
In general terms, Padang Bai is more at the budget end of the market but very convenient for divers. Candi Dasa is in the middle of the range and offers a lot of options, while around Candi Dasa there are several upmarket and expensive places to stay…
Diving East Coast Bali – How to get to Padang Bai?
Padang Bai is easily reached as it’s a short 1.5km drive from the main east coast road and is well signposted as you approach Amuk Bay & Candi Dasa.
Travel time from the main tourist areas in the south of Bali is about 1.5 hours and from Ubud, it’s about an hour.
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