In Bali, I did not want to go to Kuta or Seminyak or any of the party towns, but I did want to see nice beaches and go snorkeling. So, I did a Google search and found a town called Padangbai that was supposed to have two nice beaches/bays: one for snorkeling and one for swimming. I booked two nights there at Harmony Guest House.
Not many people stay in Padangbai. Instead it is used as a ferry port for getting to Lombok and the Gili Islands. It was a fairly sleepy town, very small and quaint. You could walk the entire town in about 30 minutes. It was not very exciting, actually.
I did go snorkeling at the Blue Lagoon, which was fairly disappointing. I saw some cool fish and coral, but the water was soooooooooo polluted with plastic of every variety. There was also a layer of dirty water floating on the surface, so if you looked up while snorkeling, it was a filmy, disgusting sight. Apparently all the trash from the Gilis floats over and gets stuck in the bay It’s pretty sad that no one ever cleans it up. One entire side of the shore was so covered in trash that you couldn’t even walk there.
Also, the waves while getting in and out of the bay were gigantic. After I was done snorkeling, I was standing on the shore and was destroyed by a huge wave. It knocked the snorkeling gear out of my hand and was gone forever. I spent an hour looking for it on shore and in the water (using some else’s borrowed goggles). No luck, so I had to pay an exorbitant $25 for the gear. Gah!
After the snorkeling disaster, I went over to Bias Tugal Beach (or White Sand Beach), which is a gorgeous stretch of fine, white(ish) sand and sapphire blue waters… and more freaking HUGE waves. It was a little bit terrifying to get in and out of the water there. If you didn’t time it just right, you would definitely get clobbered by a wave and smashed into the shore. I saw it happen to several people. One guy got pretty scraped up by the sand. A girl’s bikini bottom came down with a wave. That was pretty funny. People watching on this beach was a great way to spend the afternoon.
I only spent 1.5 days in Padangbai and that was plenty. It was relaxing, but slightly boring since I was alone and there was no social life in the town. Next stop: Nusa Lembongan.