[BALI] Blue Lagoon Beach, Karangasem - The "Nearest" Snorkeling Hotspot

Blue Lagoon Beach, my new favorite!

Of all water sports, snorkeling is probably my most favorite. It's rather easier to do, it's not as exhausting as others (especially, ahem, kayaking), and it requires simple equipments. Sadly though, in Bali, the lacking point of snorkeling is the number of spots. Well, sorry. NEARBY spots.

Bali gives too much favors to surfing community. Surfers can effortlessly pick one out of plethora beaches with beautiful waves -- some even accessible on foot! While for snorkelers, the best spots are spread out far away from the central visitor area. Amed, for instance, is like three hours drive from Denpasar. Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida are two hours away. By speedboat. Menjangan is on another level of distance. It's even closer to go there from Java than from Canggu. I've been to those places, yes, and it was such an amazing snorkeling experience, but God it was really THAT far, so I've only been there once each.

Padangbai Beach, just near the speedboat docks to Gili islands.

So when I found out about Blue Lagoon Beach, this seemingly perfect-looking snorkeling spot "only" 50 km away from my lodge, I know I could not skip the opportunity. A friend of mine said that if I could endure a trip to waterfalls in Gianyar (which yea I did!), I could definitely reach Blue Lagoon, even by motorbike. Of course I wouldn't want to miss this one! And when another friend of mine offered to have a road trip to Karangasem to his favorite Virgin Beach, conveniently passing Blue Lagoon Beach, well, I must say the universe is with me this time. I finally went there, and not alone.

It took about one hour and fifteen minutes by car from Canggu to Blue Lagoon Beach, driving along the southeastern highway of Bali island (named Jl. Prof. Dr. Ida Bagus Mantra) -- which was amazingly well maintained and totally convenient for motorbikes too. The trip to Blue Lagoon Beach would also bring you to Padangbai pier where the speedboats to Gili islands are docked. After passing the boat-dotted coast, you'd drive a bit uphill, and arrive in a small parking lot where a set of stairs are waiting by the corner. And the view of the breathtaking lagoon would greet you.

How can I not rush down there when seeing this kind of beauty??

Eastern Bali hills seen from Blue Lagoon Beach.

It's the best a snorkeler could have, within somewhat fair distance. The clear blue water is very inviting, and even from above you could totally tell that visibility of what's underneath the surface would be so high. The waves are friendly, fun for kids to just play around by the beach. And the view far off there, with hills of eastern Bali and Mount Agung standing just behind the cove, are lovely for them who are just in the mood to sit and chill.

There are three snorkeling spots you can explore in Blue Lagoon Beach: the central pool, the left shore which end will bring you all the way north to Amed, and the right shore which end will bring you back to Padangbai. These shores are of rocky texture, where under the sea surface you'd see amazing collections of coral reefs. Though beautiful and offers more things to see, the current here in both sides of the lagoon are pretty strong so don't get too carried away (otherwise you'll be literally "carried away").

Generally, the reefs are shallow here in Blue Lagoon Beach. You don't actually need to swim far to start seeing corals and  fishes -- all can be seen inside the lagoon perimeter, and all are beautiful (well it's either that, or it's because I hadn't gone snorkeling for a while). Honestly, it's not the cleanest body of water because once a while I saw trashes floating around but the very existence of colorful and vibrant corals down there, with all its inhabitants swimming about here and there, totally distracted me.

The lagoon's left shore is where I met the sea turtle!

Fishes of Blue Lagoon Beach are generous in terms of number, and they're not shy as local fishermen regularly come to feed them. You'll definitely get to see a bunch of tropical species ranging from angel fishes to blowfishes (yes I saw one, but in its flat form), the small regular ones like clownfishes to the medium weird ones like unicorn fishes. And if you're lucky, like I was, sea turtles too!

I bumped into one when I was near the outer part of the lagoon, just before the open ocean. The seabed was already far below at that point, and maybe that's why a sea turtle was roaming there freely. Sorry for not being well prepared, I got no underwater action cam (which I myself am not sure why I never considered to have one given the fact that I like snorkeling) so all I could do is just showing through words, which I hope it's good enough for you to imagine. But I swear I saw a sea turtle!

Blue Lagoon Beach is also famous for diving, but mostly for beginner divers. While snorkeling here, you'd most likely bump into local boats carrying divers from Padangbai. If you're up for this, I'd recommend you to find an operator in Padangbai or even back in Sanur because Blue Lagoon Beach itself only offers snorkeling gears, and no boats for divers.

There's a small local restaurant by the cliff where you can rent snorkeling gears (yes, you don't have to bring them all the way from the hotel!) and keep your stuff safe while swimming. It also sells food of fair prices and young coconut as well. They have daybeds too if you're up for more beachy vibes, but just don't expect it to have an atmosphere of Canggu's beach clubs.


Address: Padangbai, Manggis, Karangasem Regency, Bali
Entrance fee: Rp5.000 ($0.35)
Snorkeling gear fee: Rp50.000 ($3.5)