Friday, 14 March 2014

Padang Bai, Bali, Indonesia, March 12th 2014

Padang Bai, A Ferry Port

Padang Bai, a village situated on Bali's east coast and is the Islands ferry port and fast boat launch. According to research the place is quite pleasant and there's even a beach - so what better reason to jump on a bus and check the place out. £4 for a return ticket on the Perama bus, infact the only bus, leaving at 7am and returning at 4.30pm. Up early  then, even got an early breakfast from the landlady at Warini Home-stay, so we're off to an encouraging start and all is going to plan as the bus rattles out of Ubud.

Rumbling through Giayang then Kilungkung - familiar names from last years visit. Lush greenery on the left, those rice paddies in the shadow of mountainous terrain and on the right, sea with a few of those bamboo shacks outlined on the horizon. An hours ride on this Perama bus comes to an end, right outside the gate to the ferry port and thus begins a period of hard bargaining for those passengers hoping to bag a bargain ride on the fast boat to the Gilli Islands - adopted by Westerners as an all day, all night booze up destination. As for me, I'm staying here in Padang Bai and exploring to see how the information gleaned from various respected Internet sources stacks up.

Well, since I'm here right outside the gate let's take a stroll around this little ferry terminal. No security, no one asking to see a ticket just walk on in and negotiate a host of woman selling among other stuff, pot noodles. An old, tired looking ferry is berthed, taking on a coach of tourists. These are the ferries plying the Lombok route, about 5 hours on a moderate sea. It's certainly not the mayhem of Sape experienced last week! Quite relaxed actually, the whole thing is very pleasant to see, even some nice marine life is observed in the clear water below - those black and yellow stripy fish and the eels with long noses.

A plethora of signboards offering diving trips, snorkelling outings and of course deals on the fast boat to Gillis, it's all here on the tourist strip, a short few yards of road set back from the beach. A handful of hotels and those pricy tourist eateries all add to the touristy feel here but one thing is lacking and that's tourists! Very quiet, just the odd one or two having that expensive breakfast in a largely empty cafe. A quick glimpse of the beach reveals a typical Indonesian scene - fishing boats and garbage, shame about the garbage.

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