Padang Bai has some great dive sites accessible just a few minutes by boat. For shark and big fish action, try Ferry Channel or Tanjung Sari. For great coral reefs, plunge into White Sand Beach or the Drop-Off. For macro and muck diving, head to Jepun, Blue Lagoon or some of the secret dive sites.

Padang Bai is also a great access point to other dive sites all around Bali. Gili Mimpang and Tepekong offer great chances to see sharks and the mola-mola. The latter AKA oceanic sunfish is Bali's specialty dive attraction as this is one of the only places in the world where divers can spot it. Crystal Bay, Toyapakeh and PED off Nusa Penida are also great dive sites to see it in season (July-October). Manta Point off Nusa Penida and its almost guaranteed encounters with manta rays are also easily accessible by speedboat. Tulamben and its famous Word War II shipwreck, along with Amed, are also easily accessible by car.

Many local dive shops offer trips to any of those dive sites. They are often cheaper and more friendly than their counterparts in Sanur or Nusa Dua. Some of them are a one-man-show. Others are more reputable. In any case, it's always a good idea to dive with shops that operate their own boats as this normally means greater safety.