Padang Bai is an exciting destination because the area mostly accommodates to advanced divers, next to a few beginner-friendly spots. Many dive centers like ours recommend Padang Bai as one of the destinations in your dive package.
You might recognize the names of the sites here: Ferry Channel, Gili Biaha and Gili Tepekong. These are no secret dive sites – chances are you already know their names.
But do you really know what’s in them. Gili Tepekong, for one, is quite a challenging site to explore. Will you be one of the few to venture there?
Here are the top three dive sites that hold many secrets in Padang Bai.
1. The Ferry Channel
We featured the Ferry Channel in a previous blog. Two of the three sites we covered before are better suited to beginners while training. Ferry Channel is more challenging and suited for intermediate-level divers.
The unique topography of the Ferry Channel allows a large variety of sea life to call it their home. After not more than 5 minutes of crossing from the harbour or the beach, you’ll arrive here. The shallow 5-meter coral-rich sea bed slopes ever so steeply into a wall that drops down to 30 meters.
The biodiversity is astounding. Immediately you’ll encounter rare nudibranchs, cuttlefish, pipefish, dragonets, flying gurnards, and the curious scorpionfish endemic to Indonesia.
From the surface, it may not look like much – it’s an ordinary passageway for jukung boats and ferries (hence the name). Diving here may require permission and is limited to certain time windows where the traffic is not busy. Consult us if you want to visit Ferry Channel.
2. Gili Biaha
Gili Biaha is a small island about 25 minutes north of Padang Bai. The island itself is one of the five dive sites that we cover in the Padang Bai package.
We consider Gili Biaha as the home of the white tip reef sharks, and during the day, they sleep inside the Shark Cave. The sleeping quarters lie at about 12 meters, in the eastern section of the crescent-moon shaped island.
You will find a healthy ecosystem of corals with many famous sea life varieties – sea turtles, lionfish, moray eels, tuna, barracudas, cuttlefish, octopuses, and lobsters.
The medium to strong current makes the cave tricky to reach, testing your advanced diving skills like reef navigation, buoyancy, and streamlined swimming. The soft coral and gorgonian decorated cave is certainly worth a visit. Especially since you can see the whitetip sharks quietly sleeping in their comfortable crevices.
3. Gili Tepekong
The island furthest away from the harbour is a small landmass resembling an inverted bowl with an uninhabited garden of dense trees. But to experienced divers, Gili Tepekong has a reputation as one of the most dangerous and most difficult dive sites in Bali.
This is because of the strong downward current that many experienced divers have feared and respected, namely The Toilet, in the southwest area. The only way to safely navigate around The Toilet and explore its hidden treasure is by following an experienced guide, such as the ones on our team at Blue Season Bali.
The Canyon is the crown jewel of Gili Tepekong. Expect to see spires of reef, overgrown with rich and healthy coral. Not only do the local fish have a great home to belong to, but they also receive a steady serving of plankton-rich water from the Indonesian Throughflow. These attract larger sea life, such as manta rays, octopuses, pelagic fish, and even Mola-molas.
Padang Bai offers an exciting playground for advanced divers. Check out our Diving Package for more details on the logistics.