Padang Bai is best known as a sleepy port town and fishing village on the east coast of Bali. It is a beautiful spot that many people visit all year around. You will notice a lot of backpackers or travellers here as the town serves mainly as a ferry port to many other islands including Lombok, The Gili Islands and Lesser Sunda Islands. Being a travelling gypsy is made very easy in Bali as the ferries are usually pretty regular and fast.
As the town has many people coming and going every day, there is a certain vibe that makes you feel like adventure is in the air. The beaches in this area are pretty awesome too so you may want to stay for a few nights if you have time before jetting off to explore another of Indonesia’s beautiful islands. In Padang Bai itself, there is a small curve of beach and it tends to get pretty busy with people killing time before their transport arrives.
In terms of ferries to other islands, there are a few options – the most popular by far would be the fast boats; a little more expensive than the public outrigger boats but definitely the most comfortable and safe of the two. You can shop around for prices and package deals and then book your ticket when you get there as there are several different companies that act as merchants for the boats.
If you need to stay in Padang Bai, there are several accommodation options to suit everyone no matter the budget. A backpackers hostel by the sea is probably the cheapest option or there are villas and hotels, but not as many as in more heavily populated areas like Kuta or Seminyak. As far as eating goes, there are a few cute little cafés around but don’t expect fine dining, this area is still developing. There are ATMs around but make sure you have the money you need for your ferry ride before you arrive, and also be wary of ticket touts who you will meet where the boats dock.
If you do fancy staying in Padang Bai, there are plenty of things to keep you occupied especially if you like the water. Snorkelling and diving in this location is said to be incredibly beautiful with loads of marine life and vibrant reefs to explore. If you are more of a land dweller then a quick hike up the hill to view the stunning panorama may be more of your type of activity, it is so pretty and well worth the walk.