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Published: January 23rd 2012
We arrived in PadongBai by taxi from Sunar - $12. Padongdai is a pretty small village and from what I can see their main economy is fishing and tourism mainly boat transport to the Gilis and snorkeling/diving trips. Apparently there is pretty good snorkeling in this area.
We only stayed here one night and spent most of the day planning and exploring. We did stumble onto a Bali funeral from our balcony where we saw a 100 people marching by our hostel to the ceremony up the hill. They were carrying the body and the mood was happy almost festive. Bali funerals are different because it is a celebration of life, so everyone was smiling and no tears were shed.
We spent most of the night trying to figure out transport to the Gillis Island. There are two choices - fast boat and slow boat. If you are on a budget slow boat will cost you $6 and take 5 hours. I guess they must have small children rowing j/k
The better choice is a fast boat which only takes an hour. The prices vary so you have to negotiate. The asian gene's kicked in so we wheel and deals and got it for $23 one way. This other guy got it for $45 so he was a bit annoyed. I have to say the only dishonest people that we had to deal with so far are transport people, you have to shop around. A lot of them get greedy and if they can get a way with it they rip you off and even switch underwear with you in broad day light if they can. It pays to know what you are paying and what the market value is for the service in high or low season
zenning in: Most Bali hostels are not familiar with the basic business 101 rule - supply and demand, they would rather sometimes not sell anything for days or have their rooms empty for days than give you a discount to fill some of it. But I think it' because most of these business are owned by foreigners who are not around and they let locals run it that are not very motivated to fill the vacancy - zenning out.
Sometimes cheap isn't always better because a couple years ago a few fast boats have capsized trying to reach the Gillis during rough weather. Everyone on board died because there wasn't enough life vest. I would recommend choosing a fast boat with a 36 person capacity and enough life vest. There are literally a dozen of fast boat companies to choose from - don't get suckered into how fast the boat can go. The smaller boat can shave 10 minutes off your trip but it can also shave 10 years off your life, it is very prone to capsizing in rough seas.
The boat usually leaves in the morning. We were again late and almost missed the boat....the fast boat looks like one of those drug smuggling boats - they have 5 massive propellers attached to them. This baby can fly but when it hits a big wave it's like a car slamming into a wall. You can feel the impact...you just hope to god the boat will hold up. Lucky for us the sky was clear, however I would not recommend sitting upstairs on the deck because 100% you will get completely soaked, along with your camera.
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