Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Mon August 03 2015

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  • A Cruising Couple | August 3, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    5 Reasons To Love Padang Bai, Indonesia

    5 Reasons To Love Padang Bai, Indonesia

    Photo via Flickr/infanticida

    Padang Bai, Bali, is primarily known as a gateway to the magical Gili Islands and the ferries that shuttle travelers to nearby Lombok. But for those adventurers who are ready to slow down and experience a slow and quiet fishing village, Padang Bai warrants a bit of exploration. Before you pass through this seemingly unimportant town, here are a few reasons you'll be glad you hung out for a few days — I know we're glad we did.

    The Diving

    Nembrotha chamberlaini 

    Photo via Flickr/pacificklaus

    One of the best ways to hang out in Padang Bai is to head underwater. We hired a charter and dove a few times alongside amazing sea walls. We spotted lionfish, eels, colorful nudibranchs and countless fish and corals on each dive. You'll also have the chance to spot reef sharks, rays, pygmy sea horses and the world famous oceanic sunfish. The dives here are for all levels.

    Top spots include the Ferry Channel or a nighttime dive in the Blue Lagoon. Our personal favorite was a drift dive where the current carried us along like we were watching an underwater parade.

    The Seafood

    New Years spread on the beach at padangbai 

    Photo via Flickr/fups

    After you've gotten a chance to experience the underwater life with your own eyes, indulge your taste buds as well! With so much abundant sea life it makes sense that Padang Bai would have stellar seafood. Many of the restaurants are right along the main road across from the beach. You may even see the fisherman bring their catch straight off the boat and into the kitchen.

    You really can't go wrong with many of the restaurants in town. The fish of the day is whatever happens to come straight off the boat, which could be anything from the morning's catch of mahi-mahi to barracuda.

    The Off-The-Beaten-Path Vibe

    Far from the crowded beaches of Kuta and Jimbaran Bay, Padang Bai is a quiet and calm town. Most visitors will come straight from another part of Bali and jump straight on a ferry for the Gili Islands. Here you won't have to worry about being haggled and your primary beach companions will be the local fishing boats that line the bay.

    The Authenticity

    Barong Dance Crowd

    Unlike many other towns in Bali that have been completely overrun with tourists, Padang Bai still maintains an authentic charm. During our stay we happened upon a Barong ceremony in which the whole town attended while dressed in traditional robes and costumes. The residents were very excited to have us attend, and we made fast friends with those who were sitting around us. We had seen a few staged Barong shows before our arrival in Padang Bai. However, this was no ordinary ceremony thanks to a few special attributes that could never have been expected.

    The Beckoning For Exploration

    Blue Lagoon Beach, Padangbai 

    Photo via Flickr/petergarnhum

    Once you've had your fill of the main strip, head to the hidden coves of The Blue Lagoon and Bias Tugal Beach. The Blue Lagoon is just over the hill from the left side of the main beach. It's a great place for snorkeling and swimming. Bias Tugal Beach is the nicest beach in Padang Bai and the walk there will offer a view of Bali's highest mountain, weather permitting. The current here is a bit stronger, but the long white sand beach is worth exploring. If you haven't yet had your fill of temples, there are five in town, with Pura Silayukti on the east end of town being the most notable.

More Indonesia, Bali


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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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