Most guidebooks overlook Padang Bai and only mention it as a ferry and speedboat harbour for travellers heading to Lombok or Gili Trawangan. Although Padang Bai's sheltered bay makes it a perfect natual mooring area for ships, this is sad news since Padang Bai is a great destination in its own right.

Padang Bai is first and foremost a traditional Balinese fishing village. It is one of the rare places left on the East coast of Bali that is not overwhelmed by mass tourism. There are hotels, restaurants and dive centres present in the village in order to complement the three beautiful, white sand beaches. However, it is a place where one can still witness Balinese life as it once was.

Local ladies head to the vegetable and fruit market while men heead out fishing in the morning. Ceremonies take place here on a daily basis. You may even be lucky and be here when the tradional Barong dances or the much appreciated puppet shows take place. In the evening, entire families head to the main beach and children enjoy a sim while parents are relaxing on the beach

Padang Bai is also visited frequently by entire delegations of Balinese people  from other villages in traditional dresses, thanks to the Silayukti temple. This is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Bali as it was erected by Empu Kuturan, a priest from Java, in the 11th century. It dominates the headland North of the Padang Bai main beach and offers great views on the sea and village.