Oddly, most only go to the latter as that is the one that you can see from the bridge that passes it by.
There are also plentiful food vendors and umbrellas for rent. The surfing break is offshore, but the waters in close are calm and there's a good shallows area by the overhang. There's also often stacks of butterflies.
The little beach is reached by following the stairs around a close fitting overhang — it is almost a tunnel — and once you're through you're right on the beach with the food off to your right. You can actually walk a fair way along to the right and the further you go the better you can see Dreamland and its hideous glass diamond.
The prime surfing at Padang Padang is not for beginners. It's a fast long pipeline on a shallow reef and has a reputation for being one of Bali's nastier waves. Better for beginners is the gentle right hand wave — it is very forgiving.
You don't need to be a surfer though to hang out at Padang Padang — the water is turquoise and the sand soft and yellow — it's very pleasant and peaceful. While the vendors can get a little annoying, it really does feel like a perfect beach while lounging under the shade of a big umbrella and staring out at the gentle blue waves lapping at the shore.
For the lesser visited beach, if coming from Uluwatu, keep an eye out for the signs for the very long-running Thomas Homestay. A cheap guesthouse perched on the cliff, the main asset here (aside from the lovely views) are the stairs down to their beachside restaurant. From there the beach is long, the swimming good, there's ample sand and, well, next to nobody.
Last updated on 16th June, 2011.