Padang Bai (Indonesia)

Mount Agung; taken from the boat Fish LTE (left) and WiFi (right) speed check near the pool Flying Manta at Manta Point

The first week as freshly baked Digital Nomads is almost over and we’re moving to the next location. Here’s my review of the first place: Padang Bai.

Padang Bai isn’t really on the radar for digital nomads, nor anyone else except scuba divers and snorkelers. It’s a small village on the south-east coast of Bali with a few small shops (think ali baba pants and “I ❤️ Bali” tourist shirts, don’t expect anything more). My main objective to come here was to get a PADI Open Water divers certification and to experience scuba diving, there are plenty of great dive sites around.

Living & Dining

We stayed at OK Divers Resort & Spa which is a nice place with modern and clean rooms. Considering the size of the village and barely any activities nearby, the accommodation was a little overpriced (all expenses are listed at the end of the article). Having the dive school right there and breakfast included made it worth it.

Work

WiFi was slow/unreachable in the room (3rd floor), but decent in the common areas. Most annoying part was constantly logging in to the WiFi over and over again. Given the view, relaxing atmosphere and friendly people around, this can be overlooked.

The time difference to New York was the biggest issue and will probably remain an issue while we’re traveling in South East Asia. Internet calls with Wire and FaceTime to Europe worked well enough and besides short WiFi outages everything was acceptable.

Diving

Tanjung Jepun — was our first open water dive of 30 minutes at 7m depth. There were strong waves and low visibility, so Vitek, our instructor decided to abort the dive after 30 mins.

Blue Lagoon — the second dive was 42 minutes long with a max depth of 10m. Visibility wasn’t great, but at least we got our technical training done.

Blue Lagoon Temple — the next day we got to dive for 54 minutes near “Drop Off” at 9m depth. There’s an underwater sign post installed which is kind of funny to see.

White Sand Beach — this was the last and best dive of the PADI certification. For 46 minutes at max. 15m we completed our training and got to see lots of corals and fish.

Manta Point — a day after the final exams we were invited to join the Manta dive starting from OK Diving resort to “Manta Point”. It was an incredible experience! We encountered 5 mantas the same time, dancing around us. I managed to get my hands on an underwater camera to capture this moment. The dive was 54 mintues at max. 15m.

Crystal Bay — was the second dive this day with our amazing dive master Arya, for 51 minutes. As the name suggests, the visibility was great! We dove down Crystal Bay Wall to 18m and slowly back up, with lots of encounters of clown fish and other aquatic animals.

Costs

At the time of writing this article, 100.000 IDR equal 6€ / $7.45

  • Taxi from Denpasar to Padang Bai (arranged by the hotel): 500.000 IDR

  • Accommodation: 750.000 IDR / night

  • Meals: a main course is ~60.000 IDR, starters range from 40–50.000 IDR

  • PADI Open Water certification: 4.900.000 IDR

  • Manta Point dive: 1.600.000 IDR

Average cost per day for a couple incl. 2 meals per person, drinks and accommodation: 1.100.000 IDR (66€/$81).