Padang Bai offers some excellent diving with a kaleidoscope of colourful tropical fish and a variety of hard and soft corals. It’s possible to see among others: sharks, turtles, mackerel, frogfish and scorpion fish. We were advised, however, that there are not so many big fish, sadly due to overfishing.
There are five dive sites in the immediate vicinity, and dive shops offer daily trips to Candi Dasa and occasionally further afield to Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, Tulamben and Amed. Strong currents avail in these waters — particularly during the new moon. Some of the sites are only suitable for more advanced divers. Generally visibility is good, but waters can be a bit cold. Conditions are generally better in the morning. All the dive operations offer introductory dives and open water training.
Ferry Channel is 200 metres from the main Padang Bai Beach, just a two-minute trip by boat. The Ferry Channel can have very strong currents and is recommended for advanced divers only. There are plenty of sharks and if you are lucky, mola molas.
Blue Lagoon is the most popular dive site in Padang Bai. It’s the place you’ll be taken for a fun dive or dive course. The sandy bottom has blocks of hard corals and fields of soft corals. Popular for night dives.
Tanjung Sari is not far from Blue Lagoon and can sometimes be done as part of the same dive. It’s ideal for spotting tiny sea critters and macro photography and also good for night diving.
Tanjung Jepun is an easy site for beginners and good for night diving. One area has an artificial reef and a small wreck. Sometimes it’s possible to see blue spotted stingrays, and the rare coral cat shark has been seen here on night dives.
Currents at Bias Tugel can vary — sometimes it’s suitable for open water level, other times when currents are very strong diving is only recommended for very advanced divers. Excellent for sharks and turtles.
There are a plethora of dive operators in Padang Bai. Below are a selection.
OK Divers: 6 Jalan Silayukti, Padang Bai; T: (0811) 385 8835; (0811) 385 8825; www.okdiversbali.com; email@example.com.
Western operated. Friendly and seemed professional. OK Divers have package deals for divers stay at their attached resort. Two dives including lunch: 950,000 rupiah; introductory dive: 1,130,000 rupiah (two dives).
Absolute Scuba: Jalan Pantai Silayukti, Padang Bai; T: (0363) 42 088; www.absolutescubabali.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
These guys gave the hard sell a bit, but in a very friendly way. They seemed professional.
Instructors speak English, French, German, and Scottish. Two dives including lunch: 1,020,000 rupiah; introductory dive: 850,000 rupiah (Pool and Blue Lagoon dive).
Paradise Diving Indonesia: 9B Jalan Silyakuti, Padang Bai; T: (0811) 393 515; www.b-a-l-i.com; email@example.com.
Western operated. Very friendly and seemed professional. Two dives: €45.
Water Worxx: Jalan Silyakuti, Padang Bai; T: (0363) 41 220; www.waterworxbali.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Western operated. Very friendly and seemed professional. Two dives: US$60-US$65 (depending on site).
By Sally Arnold
Last updated on 5th March, 2016.