Offbeat Bali – Trip to Nusa Penida Island

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Why Bali’s Nusa Penida Island Should Be On Your Travel To-Do List

Nusa Penida Sea View

Nusa Penida Sea View

If you have stayed in Bali for long enough and have done through the best attractions of Bali, it’s time to look little outside.

The three Indonesian isles of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan are a picturesque trio that collectively boasts instagrammable shorelines, towering limestone cliffs, icy blue waters, unique temples, and unmatched landscapes. Of the three, Nusa Penida is the largest and the most pristine, with natural sceneries that you have to see to believe.

Nusa Penida’s most appealing aspect is the fact that its natural beauty is raw and untouched, and the island, in general, is rather uncommercialised. Consequently, those looking for a nature-infused trip will definitely make a pit stop here, whereas the more touristy bunch tends to visit Nusa Lembongan instead.

I was drawn to the offbeat, unexplored appeal of Nusa Penida and decided to visit on a whim, while staying in Nusa Lembongan. The trip was quite a last minute decision but as there were a number of tour operators on Nusa Lembongan who offered full-day tours at budget rates, it made the decision all the more easy to make. If you too are planning to visit Nusa Penida, all you have to do is find the one that suits your requirements, and maybe manage your transport to get there especially if you plan to visit the island by yourself. If you can ride a motorbike or a scooter, you can hire one and make your way around the island quite easily.

Quick Tip: Nusa Penida is a very big island and there are no clearly chalked out roads or street lights after dark, so it’s easy to get lost. If it’s your first visit, I would recommend that you tour the island with a guide and not on your own.

I opted for a guided tour with a local, who would take me around the island on a motorbike. The tour included a pick-up from my hotel to the pier, a ferry ride from Yellow Bridge in Nusa Lembongan to Toya Pakeh Harbour in Nusa Penida, and a full day tour of the latter. We booked this at a price of 5,00,000 IDR or 2,500 INR or 35 USD.

Quick Tip: The island can be explored within one day. If you aren’t staying there, start your day early and wrap up by 4 pm, so you can catch the last ferry out of Nusa Penida.

Nusa Penida Arch

Nusa Penida Arch

On the morning of the tour, I was picked up by a local guide on his bike from my hotel and finally reached Nusa Penida after a 20-minute ferry ride. My guide spoke broken English, which made it quite difficult to converse in the beginning. But soon enough, we turned to hand gestures and simple words to communicate.

My first pit stop was at Kelingking viewpoint, which offered the most spectacular sight I had ever laid my eyes on. The ocean was rich blue in colour near the horizon and stretched into infinity. Closer to shore, it turned to a clear gemstone blue and then frothy white on the coast.

The peninsula was jutting out from one end of the island, resembling a T-Rex’s head. It created a beautiful contrast and some beautiful photo opportunities at different times of the day. The view was clear and unhindered, and we could even see Manta rays swimming in the ocean below. What surprises most tourists is that even though this is such a beautiful spot, there are only a few people here at one time. But that’s the beauty of Nusa Penida!

At the base of the viewpoint is the Kelingking beach, which is a fairly tough hike down from the viewpoint. Adventure lovers will especially enjoy the hike, which involves traversing along raw stairs made of tree roots and wooden planks with a bamboo railing for support.

The next two stops on my list — Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach — were quite close to Kelingking viewpoint and equally popular among tourists. Angel’s Billabong is a natural bowl-like pool surrounded by cliffs, with one outlet for the waves to come crashing in and slowly retreat. You’ll have to walk down the side of a cliff to the base and slowly lower yourself into the pool. During low tide, the waves are soft and marginally thrilling whereas the pool is a gleaming meld of emerald and blue, and replete with marine life.

Important: Do not go swimming in Angel’s Billabong during high tide as the waves can be very rough. There have been unfortunate incidents of visitors being pulled into the ocean by the current. Check with your guide before going in.

Just a five-minute walk away from Angel’s Billabong is Broken Beach, a naturally formed broken bridge with a hidden beach and stunning ocean views. Nature-lovers will definitely like spending some time here, trying to get the perfect picture to capture this enthralling spot.

Nusa Penida Cliff Beach

Nusa Penida Cliff Beach

A visit to these three primary spots took up my entire morning and a little bit of the afternoon. After a quick lunch, I made my way to the last stop — Crystal Bay. A paradise for water sport lovers, this place is best known for its diving and snorkeling spots. From this point, dozens of boats regularly head out into the ocean with geared-up, enthusiastic divers while the beach bums sunbathe on the beach. As I entered the beach, it was quite crowded compared to the rest on the island. But, after a while, I began to enjoy the serenity that was all around the island.

The sea life of Nusa Penida is vibrant and thriving, and you can easily get a dive in if you get to Crystal Bay on time. Since I had to take the ferry back that same day, I spent some time relaxing on the beach, before making my way to the pier.

Although the remoteness of the island is great for solitary sightseeing and to experience nature at its best, staying on the island will pose limited accommodation options. If you wish to stay for a night or so, book your hotel well in advance. There are only a few good hotels and resorts, and during peak season, there is a chance that they may be full.

Nusa Penida, Bali

Nusa Penida, Bali

Quick Tip: The Rumah Pohon Tree House is a lodge that offers fantastic vistas of the island’s beautiful shoreline and breathtaking sunrises.

Things to keep in mind while touring Nusa Penida:

  • Though Nusa Penida is little away from other top things to do in Bali, you will definitely not regret this side trip.
  • The roads are extremely bumpy and raw, so you have to get everywhere on a motorbike or scooter, which is also an uncomfortable ride.
  • Since the island is very large, moving around on foot is not always feasible. Carry comfortable shoes and beach slippers for the ride.
  • Wear sunscreen and a hat when on tour, as it can get extremely hot in the afternoon. Comfortable clothing is also a must.
  • Carry a swimsuit if you want to swim at Angel’s Billabong or any of the beaches.
  • Potable water is not easily available, so carry enough for a whole day.
  • Most sightseeing spots have a small entry fee, which is covered by the tour guide. But if you’re on your own, carry some money and loose change.
  • It’s best to avoid the island if it’s raining. The bumpy roads, high tide and gloomy weather can make it an unpleasant experience.

 


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