Padangbai is perhaps best known as the port you’ll pass through on the way to Lombok and the Gili Islands. But slip away from the traffic choked streets of the port area and you’ll find a couple of nice beaches and a laid-back little beach town. On my recent trip to Bali I went searching for the best beaches in Padangbai — join me on the journey!
Bias Tugel Beach
There are three main beaches in Padangbai and I’m going to start with the best one. I realise you’ll probably stop reading after these next couple of paragraphs but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. Bias Tugel Beach is, in my opinion, easily the best beach in Padangbai. I walked there from town and it took around 20 minutes — head up the hill on the right side of town and you’ll (possibly) see the entrance. I missed it the first time and got a little lost, but I eventually made it. Bias Tugel Beach is small and there are a few places to eat and drink. It’s a great beach — far better than I expected to see on mainland Bali (also considering there’s a port a couple of bays over)
You’ll find some rocks on the right-hand side of the beach which you can walk around. I walked as far as I could, past local Balinese obviously on dates, until I reached a little hidden cave beach. There are a couple of different entry points to Bias Tugel Beach and it depends if you’re walking or riding a motorcycle. I walked back the “road way” and it was quite a bit further — definitely go (and return) via the entrance on the hill above town (close to where the road photo below was taken).
Blue Lagoon Beach
Walk up the hill on the other side of town and you’ll soon reach Blue Lagoon Beach. Again, there are places to sit, eat and drink there but the beach suffers from a common Indonesian beach problem — trash! It’s annoying and kind of ruins an otherwise excellent beach. I’m not sure if it’s always like this but considering its proximity to the busy port I’m assuming it’s common.
The walk to Blue Lagoon Beach is nice enough and it’s a bit closer than Bias Tugel Beach. Still though, Bias Tugel Beach is a lot nicer and when I was there it was spotless. I’m not sure if it had been cleaned or it just misses the trash that piles up on the other nearby beaches. It was quite a bit busier as well, so it seems like I’m not the only one recommending it.
The Town Beach
The beach in front of Padangbai village is a classic case of wasted potential. It was probably a beautiful, pristine beach at one point but it’s now full of trash and boats. It still looks cool from a distance though, so you could potentially mislead your friends into thinking it’s paradise if you’re into that kind of thing.
Getting to the beaches in Padangbai
I walked everywhere I went in Padangbai (it’s a tiny town) but you can also rent motorbikes for a small price or jump on the back of someone’s bike in a taxi-like situation.
Should you stay in Padangbai?
I can see why Padangbai might appeal to people who are put off by the busier beaches such as Seminyak and Kuta. It has a very low-key vibe but there are still plenty of places to eat, drink and sleep. I ate at Martini’s Warung a few times (it’s where the minibuses leave from so gets quite busy) and the food was great — the woman working there was also really friendly. I stayed at a small guesthouse in town (can’t remember the name) which was good enough for one night. There didn’t seem to be a lot of nightlife compared to other parts of Bali but that’s to be expected.
So, whether you stay there or not depends on your situation. If you’ve just been to the Gili Islands the beaches will be a little disappointing in comparison and if you want to be in a lively place, you’ll want to move on quickly. That’s the beauty of Bali though — there’s a beach town for pretty much everyone. I’m not entirely sure who Padangbai is for but I’m sure they are out there!
It’s just a shame the main beach is so dirty. It could be worth staying a night in Padangbai before or after a trip to the Gili Islands, especially if you’re taking the local ferry. Most of the fast boats include transport to and Seminyak / Kuta etc in the price so if you want to save money it’s probably best to skip through. You can catch a tourist minivan to and from Padangbai for around 50,000 IDR.
Are you planning a trip to Bali? Would you like to explore the beaches in Padangbai? Let me know in the comments below!
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