Jan 28

Daihatsu Feroza Rental CarHaving a few days at hand and nothing better to do, we decided to explore Bali’s East Coast a bit and go for a 2-day ride.

How to get there?

Nothing easier then that: hop on your bike or rent a car and off you go. As we were 2 couples and in the mood for chatting all-way-long, we went for the latter option.

Our car was a Diahatsu Feroza, a slightly bigger kind of “Jeep” then a Suzuki Jimney. It offers enough space for 4 people and some luggage and with a price tag of Rp 100.000/day – a quite affordable one as well.

After sunset in Padang Bai's harbour areaAfter just 3-4 hours of relaxed driving we reached the ‘harbour kampung’ Padang Bai, which is a port town for ferries from Bali to Lombok and to the Nusa Penida Island, which lingers between them. You can get cheap accommodation here (Billabong Hotel: Rp 50.000 per fan room/night, very clean, friendly staff) and a good choice of western and local food. The hotel price even included breakfast, which consisted of Coffee or Tea and Omelet or Pancake (Banana or Pineapple) plus a fruit platter (melon, banana, papaya, orange, pineapple).

That’s what I call value for money!

Padang Bai Beach, East BaliThe best thing about Padang Bai is a bit hidden away. But it’s well worth looking for it! You can only reach it via a short hike through the jungle west of the harbour. What you will find is a perfect little bay with powdery white sand and crystal clear waters. Smooth waves clashing to the shores and besides a few bamboo huts, where you can buy drinks and some local dishes like ‘Nasi Goreng’ or ‘Mie Ayam’, there is just nothing else. What a great bay! We spent the rest of the day lying in the sun or floating in the salty sea. You can snorkel here as well, as there are a few lava rocks, but better bring your own snorkel gear.

I would rate that small beach at Padang Bai even better than Dreamland Beach on Bali’s Southern Bukit, which I thought before cannot be topped.

In the evenings, Padang Bai is pretty quiet, basically only the restaurants are open and the Ozone Bar, which seemed like a great place to hangout, with some relaxing background music and drinks on sale. Here is the place, where you meet everyone else who is in town and not sleeping yet.

The next morning saw us on the way further east: to places like Candidasa, Amed and Tulamben.

Candidasa Beach - Concrete BlocksCandidasa was part of a real estate boom in the 1980’s, during which most of it’s coral reef was dug up and plundered as construction resources. As a result the whole beach front eroded and later had to be protected by huge concrete blocks in front of the beach.

It still looks okay, but actually nothing where I would like to spend more than a few hours. The overpriced Lotus Restaurant directly at the coast charged more than triple the usual price of a standard coffee or cappuccino in Bali. Not that they offered any outstanding service for that, but then; you probably pay for the sea view here.

Gunung Agung as seen near CandidasaThe best thing about Candidasa was approximately 5 kilometres outside of town – an unspoilt and impressive view to Gunung Agung – Bali’s highest peak mountain and volcano. The weather was pristine and no clouds blocked the view.

Following the road further you reach Amed at the far-east coast of Bali, much of it still unspoilt and less developed than the rest of Bali. You even still have fishing village after fishing village here and time really moves slower, when talking to locals. This is the place where the famous Fire Arak is produced, an 80% Rice Alcohol, which is mixed 0.5 liter Fire Arak to 3 liter juices or coke to make it drinkable.Stony Coast @ Tulamben, Diving the LIBERTY

Even further up to the North-East Coast there is the Kampung Tulamben, which is mainly famous for diving. The coast here was full of black lava stones (see picture); a few Japanese and Caucasians got ready to dive the ‘Liberty’, Bali’s most famous ship wreck and diving spot, resting on the ocean floor.

The ‘Liberty’ is a 150m long American Cargo Ship, which is resting in about 30m depth here, making it a great target for divers. Besides the Liberty, there seem to be a lot of other interesting dive sites, as the divers, which came out of the waters at the time we stopped by, where quite impressed. The waters are clear and visibility seemed to be good.

So far so good.

After having some food at some beach hawker stalls, we went on our way back to direction Denpasar, which we reached about 4-5 hours later.

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written by Chris

35 Responses to “Exploring Bali’s beautiful East Cost”

  1. NealeNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Great article I allways pictured bali as a tiny island densely populated. obviously I was wrong :) can you confirm the suzuki was just $11 a day ?

  2. dodong floresNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Excellent narrative there, Chris. I wish I was traveling with you, Hahaha…

  3. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hey guys!

    Yes, the rental prices are that cheap here. You can have a Suzuki Jimney (more for 2 persons) for Rp 80.000/day, which is about 7 Euro. That’s roughly the equivalent USD 11.

    The mentioned Feroza (up to 4 persons) goes for about 9 Euro per day (Rp. 100.000), the bigger Toyota Kijang (6-8 persons) goes between Rp 120.000-160.000/day.

    If you don’t need a car, a small bike (scooter) sets you back currently Rp 25.000/day.

    1 litre gasoline costs Rp 4.500.

    Great, isn’t it? ;-)

  4. Nuri WidhiNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Hey, Chris!

    Yea, East Bali is a wonderful place to go. I had enough of South Bali’s crowdedness hehe. I like Amed a lot! Its so quite and peaceful. The presence of mt. Agung and the mt. Rinjani was very stunning hehe.. cant wait to travel there again. But next time up all the way up to north.

  5. malynNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Which would you recommend: Philippines, Thailand or Bali for beaches?
    And which is your favorite beach?

    Thank you so much!!


  6. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hi Malyn,

    for beaches I would recommend Philippines and Thailand (Phuket, Khao Lak and Ko Phang Nga).
    I even wrote a post about the gorgeous Philippines Beaches. You can read it here:


    Bali has a few nice beaches too, but not in that abundance than the ones above. If you look at Sulawesi, the Riau Islands, Lombok, Ambon and other islands in Indonesia – you will find great beaches as well.

    Maybe I will post some more about that topic soon soon.

    Thanks for reading and all the best @ your travels! ;-)

  7. AnnaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Nice place, I wanna go to Bali. Can you give info about transportation from Jakarta?

  8. Travel Minx Carnival Of Travel Articles #4 | Travel Minx UNITED STATES Says:

    […] Chris presents Exploring Bali’s beautiful East Cost posted at nomad4ever. ** […]

  9. RamaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hi Chris, nice to find your article…i plan to goto padang bai area for honeymoon, how do you recommend padangbai for honey moon? would be great or? did you see any great cottage around the beach area? thanks.

  10. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Anna, oops I missed out on your question here for a long while. I’m sooo sorry! The best mode of transport from Jakarta is of course to fly – Garuda, Adam Air or Lion Air are the biggest airlines. There are plenty of flights daily. Checkout this link for some news regarding Lion Air.

    , nice choice for sure! Just be aware that at Padang Bai there is construction ongoing at the moment directly at the ‘hidden’ Laguna to the west of the town. A Japanese Hotel Chain will build a 5* Hotel over there. In the long run, the access to the Laguna will surely be restricted.

    There is of course always the chance to go to the main beach next to the ferry harbour in Padang Bai or to the Blue Laguna just across the hill to the east.

    Anyway – cottages are aplenty in Padang Bai, starting at Rp 50.000 for a small room per night. I can understand, that you don’t just want to walk around for your honeymoon and check out what suits you best. But it’s not easy to recommend one, I stayed only in 2 different ones so far, all pretty basic – as almost everything in Padang Bai.

    The only hotel a bit better I can remember, is the one next to that 2 storey restaurant in the middle of the small beach strip with the fishing boats. But I can’t for the sake of it recall the name. Can anyone else help?

  11. Need Alternative to Kuta Beach during Wet Season? Read this… | nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

    […] Here is some information about exploring other attractions at Bali’s beautiful East Coast. […]

  12. MichaelNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hi Chris!
    We are presently in Ubud because we tried to escape the Kuta region.
    Exploring the East Coast of Bali in a rental car seems a very good idea!
    One Question though: where did you rent the car?

  13. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Michael – I rented with a Rental Shop in Jalan 66 in Legian, but there are plenty of others offering basically the same at almost every corner in the main tourist areas (including Ubud). I’m not so familiar with Ubud; but just ask around and stick to the prices mentioned above. There is soooo much competition at the moment, so currrently (low season) there is no need to pay more. Good luck and have a nice trip! ;-)

  14. MonicaNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Came upon your article as I was surfing the web for more details of Padangbai. Was only thinking of doing a day trip to check this place out and escape Kuta. But after reading your article do you think it will be adviceable to stay aday or two there?Will be in Bali on 24Dec.

  15. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Monica, I can only recommend to take at least 2-3 days for Bali’s east coast, if not even more. You have here affordable accommodation and great food and the nature is simply breath-taking!

    Padang Bai is a good choice to use as a base to explore the whole north-eastern coast of the island and way inland up to Gunung Agung or Batur.

    You can even go from here to Lombok or Nusa Penida via ferry or speed boat.

    If you only stay in Kuta you won’t see anything of Bali’s natural beauty. ;-)

  16. BerniceNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hi Chris, Where did you rent the car from?

  17. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Bernice – I rented with a Rental Shop in Jalan 66 in Legian, but there are plenty of others offering basically the same at almost every corner in the main tourist areas. Simply ask around and stick to the prices mentioned above. There is soooo much competition at the moment, so currently (still low season) there is no need to pay more. Good luck and have a nice trip! ;-)

  18. BerniceNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Thanks Chris. Do you think it’s easier to rent a car or a driver? We will mostly be diving while in Bali but on our days off, we plan to visit some temples, do some hiking and perhaps go to Bali Barat National Park.

  19. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Bernice – that really depends on your preference.

    Most people say that driving in Bali is quite tough (more here), especially if you are not used to left-side driving. While that is somehow true for the touristy areas and the capital Denpasar – where traffic is pretty heavy – driving around the countryside is pretty straightforward and rewarding. It’s not so much traffic and you are completely independent from other people.

    A driver offers the same luxury, but it will cost you more (around Rp300.000-500.000 per day plus gasoline) and some people complain, that some Balinese drivers think they compete in a Formula One Race. Drivers can of course be a good source of insider information and maybe even bring you to locations you wouldn’t otherwise never know about. Some simply do their job, as anywhere else. While most Car Rentals offer Driving Services as well, I would recommend renting a Driver from a Hotel for (driving) security reasons.

    In all cases you probably have to deal with Traffic Cops, if you get stopped. A driver will most likely pass through his ‘donation‘ to them to you, when driving yourself it’s up to you how to handle them.

    I would prefer the privacy when driving myself over a Driver, but that’s only me. :D

  20. MonicaNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Hi Chris, hope you don’t mind me passing this little info here for Bernice.
    You may like to try contacting Rico 81239822230. He works at Poppies Restaurant and he has got 2 vehicles depending on the size of your group.Car with driver at Rp400-450,000 per day inclusive of gasoline. I have used his vehicle a few times and it is very good and reliable. Hope this helps.

  21. BerniceNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Thanks Monica & Chris

  22. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Thanks for helping out, Monica! ;-)

  23. BerniceNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hi Chris, We read somewhere that we can get a Indonesian driver’s license for cheaper than getting an international driver’s license. Is this true and do you know how we can get an Indonesian license?
    I read that we would need help filling out the Indonesian Driver’s license form since it’s in Bahasa Indonesia.
    My husband is English and is used to driving on the left and I’m Malaysian
    (living in the US) so I can understand Bahasa Indonesia.
    Which would you recommend we get?

  24. Long Plea about Corruption, Freedom of Speech and Indonesia’s road towards ‘real’ Democracy | nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

    […] In Bali paying the right Official or Banjar currently still ensures that you can build your own Villa development project at unspoiled beaches or in natures reserves, neglecting construction or environmental laws, as currently happening in Dreamland or Padang Bai. […]

  25. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Bernice, you have some good questions there. I’m not so sure about that whole Indonesian license thing. I knew a guy who got a local license for about Rp200.000 or 300.000, but he left already. Anyway it was only valid for a year.

    Here is an article on how that works in Jakarta, but I’m not so sure how up2date it is and how it works in Bali.

    There must be a department somewhere in Renon in Denpasar, where most official governmental institutions work. Maybe someone else knows more and can help out? You might want to check out as well the following article about Traffic Cops in Bali.

    Best of luck! ;-)

  26. paulNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:


    What was the name of the beach you went to in Padan Bei if you know it…was it a cove?



  27. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    paul, there are mainly 3 beaches near the Padang Bai village and they are basically all small coves. The main one is where the ferries to Lombok and Nusa Penida start. It’s calm and quite pleasant to swim there, although many boats and plenty of vendors who want you to buy something. Just right of the harbor beach is a nice small bay, it goes by the name Pantai Putih/White Beach, but there is construction ongoing for a new resort, so access to the beach might be limited.

    To the left of the harbor bay, there is a beach known as Blue Lagoon, which has shallower waters and offers great snorkelling, although there are plenty of sharp stones and the waves could make it difficult to get to the better spots. Further east of Padang Bai there are plenty of other beaches as well, all the way up to Amed or Tulanbem in the North East, with more yellow or even stony/pebble shores.

    Better plan at least 2 days to explore the whole area. You could take Padang Bai as your base, as it offers cheap accommodation and explore from there. Have a great trip! ;-)

  28. Deb VogNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    :(( Bad news about Pasir Putih Beach in Padang Bai. A developer has purchased the land and they are building an all inclusive resort right on the beach! The hillside and jungle in back of the beach has been destroyed and nothing is left except raw open ground! The warungs have been forced to close down by the local town goverment, I feel so bad for all the ladies who ran these warungs, they will be missed. Once the resort opens there will be no way to get to the beach, it will be closed to the public. This is so sad! I nearly fainted when I went there a few weeks ago! You can hear the earth moving machines all the way into town, it is just so upsetting! A little bit more of Bali destroyed for the pleasure of a few!

  29. Living the Good Life in Bali - a Wrap up after 2 Years | nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

    […] Do sports here: dive, snorkel, surf, kite, trek, bike, hike, play beach games. Ride a bike or car around the island and explore its hidden gems. Check out its neighboring islands like Lombok, Nusa Penida or Nusa […]

  30. MelissaNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Thanks for pulling this post out of the archives. My husband and I have been thinking about planning a trip to Bali. This information is very helpful.

  31. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Melissa, the archive post is random, you will probably see another one, when you visit the page again at a later stage. But you are most welcome anyway. Glad it helped you a bit to form an opinion. ;-)

  32. Damon JamesNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hi Chris,

    I am in Bali at the moment and am looking for that beautiful small beach near Padang Bai. I was taken there once for a sunrise and now want to take my new bride (honeymoon) back there for the experience. Google maps indicate two beaches nearby, one to the East and one kind of south west of the harbour. Please could you tell me which one yuou went to as this sounds like the same one we had fresh fish cooked for our breakfast in a hut on the beach.

    Many thanks,

    Damon James (& Kate!)

  33. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Damon James, the picture above is of the beach to the southwest of the ferry harbor. Just ask the locals, how to get to ‘White Beach’. It’s actually pretty easy to find, although much harder to explain. They wanted to build a Japanese or Korean hotel there a few years back, but I heard that construction was halted. That’s good news. Let me know, how things look there right now. When you go swimming there, watch out for strong currents.

    The other beach in Padang Bai is also very nice, it’s called ‘Blue Lagoon’ and just a 5 minute walk from the harbor lagoon to the northeast. It’s better for snorkeling than bathing, as there are many stones and corals near the shore. Also it gets very shallow during low tide near the shore. The water here is more calm and less currents, so it’s ideal to just float with a mask on and watch corals and marine life there. On the left side of this bay is a small canal which leads through the corals towards the deeper water. They have also a restaurant there overlooking the bay, which serves decently priced local food with a western touch.

    Have fun! ;-)

  34. Damon JamesNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your reply. We’ve just returned from Padang Bai from where we went island hopping on the Lombok Gili’s for a few days.

    Stayed at Bloo Lagoon eco resort above blue lagoon beach. Blue lagoon beach is a nice 150m alcove with, as you said, a couple of beach restaurants and some nice snorkelling.

    I can’t help thinking that the beach would have been so much better if not for the junk and jetsam strewn up its length, and of how much more of an international reputation it might garner for the small effort of walking it’s length and cleaning it up once a day. In fact I’ll pass this idea to the resort in case they’re interested.

    Unfortunately we did not make it to white beach as we were in Padang Bai for 24 hrs and figured we’d watch a sunrise from the islands anyway. But we saw the resort in construction phase from the opposing hill. Sorry I can’t tell you if it’s stalled or not.

    Padang Bai is a cute fishing village where the pressure to buy is restricted to calls for “transport” or “taksi”, but the rest is pretty easy going.

    I can also highly recommend taking a break from the usual Bali formula in Padang Bai and seeing the Gili islands even if you’re not into scuba diving. The three or four days you spend there will put a different spin on the Bali experience, and you get to see small island life up close and get carried around on a cidona (mini-horse drawn carriage). The complete lack of any motor transport was worth it in itself.

    Now if they could just get rid of the phones….

  35. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Damon James, wow – glad that you liked Padang Bai. Yup, the junk at beaches is a common phenomenon in Indonesia, hard to change that habit. I also often see locals just throwing their empty plastic bottles or bags out of the car windows at full speed. It will probably take some time to educate here better and change behavior patterns, hopefully before it’s too late and everything is completely messed up and unlivable.

    Thanks for the updated information about Padang Bai and the Gili’s! :D

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