We left Ubud city life and headed to a little fishing village on the coast for some Balinese R&R. Most people only stop briefly in Padangbai to catch the ferry to Lombok or The Gilis, but we heard it was a great spot for diving, so we settled into the OK Divers Resort for a few days. John was able to get the one suite with it’s own massage table, so we knew we were in for a treat! Because of the friendly owners and staff at OK Divers, the incredible underwater scenery we got to explore and of course the daily Balinese massages, this town quickly became one of our favorite places.
During our stay at OK Divers we dove around Padangbai – the Blue Lagoon and the Drop Off wall. It was incredibly easy to walk right out of our room, grab our gear and hop on the boat right across the street. The instructors – Chris, Vitek and Hanze – had everything prepared and ready to go each day.
On Day 2 we dove Tulamben, which features the sunken (on purpose) US cargo ship Liberty. Despite the 1.5 hour drive in a non-air-conditioned car to get there, this was our favorite day of diving! The marine life and coral here is almost undisturbed (compared to our previous dives in Belize) – the photos don’t capture the vibrant colors we saw. It truly was an unforgettable dive.
(In an unfortunate turn of events, the GoPro camera that we brought specifically to photograph our dives was stolen out of our luggage somewhere between Chiang Mai, Thailand, and Denpasar, Bali. Luckily our dive guide Vitek had one and snapped some underwater photos for us.)
We enjoy diving for the underwater scenery, but it’s also a great way to meet other travelers. We met several delightful people during our stay at OK Divers, including our new friend Grace from London, with whom we enjoyed dining on our last night in Padangbai.
On our off day from diving, we ventured to White Sand Beach (known to the locals as “Bias Tegel”), a somewhat hidden beach that’s only visible from the ferry. The “easy 15-minute walk” to the beach ended up being quite the uphill workout, especially in the sweltering Bali heat. Once we arrived at the entrance (and paid the 20,000 Indonesian rupiah fee, which we found out later that we shouldn’t have – just a fee for parking), there was a treacherous walk down the side of the hill… then the trees opened up and we saw that the journey was worth it. This beach was gorgeous! We posted up on two beach chairs and enjoyed watching everyone get wiped out in the sizable waves (okay, including me). John discovered his new favorite Bali beach food – jaffles – from one of the beach side lunch vendors. We’ll definitely try to recreate jaffles at home.
It’s no surprise that after this experience, we decided to extend our trip by a few days so we could spend our first wedding anniversary in tropical Bali, instead of the frigid cold of Japan (a decision we definitely did not regret!).
After five days in Padangbai, it was off to Legian Beach to celebrate!