The next few articles will be dedicated to several places that we went to in Bali. These are all places that we enjoyed discovering and that brought us a lot of memories..
Our previous articles about Bali’s beautiful places talked about Amed, Sidemen and Ubud. This next place was our first stop in Bali : Nusa Penida.
Let’s talk about this island together : Some basic informations on the island, our more personal opinions on this place and our experiences there (where we stayed, what we did the most, who we met).
BASIC INFORMATION ON NUSA PENIDA
Nusa Penida is a small island (200km²) located at the southeast of Bali. It is a beautiful, hilly island, where you can explore everything by scooter. Nusa Penida -as well as its neighbouring islands- is a bird sanctuary. The island has used traditional balinese village regulations to protect and rehabilitate birds. There are also wild monkeys on the island, so you might even see one crossing the road ! 🙂
Nusa Penida is slowly starting to be a touristic destination but it isn’t as well-known as the other Balinese islands for the moment. However, it is quickly catching up the other islands and more and more touristic infrastructures are being built in anticipation of the years to come.
To go on the island, we took a boat from Sanur. It is a 30 minute boat ride, that can be quite bumpy as they use old boats and drive at full speed ! There are several companies that make boat trips to and fro both islands. It is easy to find a company just by looking on the internet or simply by walking at the Sanur port (they each have their own street booths).
⇝ What can I do on Nusa Penida ?
• Admire the scenery : On this small island there are beautiful cliffs (such as the South Coast Cliffs), forests, beaches (such as Crystal Bay), caves (such as Karangsari Cave or Broken beach). There are a lot of areas that you can discover and be amazed by nature ! Thankfully, most of the touristic infrastructures give you a small map of the island with all the beautiful places that you can visit. Everything is written on this (very approximate and childlike) map and you even have small drawings to show you what type of activity it is.
• Visit impressive temples : We visited a lot of temples on the island but our favourite one was the one situated at Peguyangan Waterfall. To arrive at the little waterfall and the little temple, you have to go down hundreds of steep stairs that were built at the edge of the cliff. While we were climbing down and climbing back up these stairs, we couldn’t help but wonder how safe this could really be as you are literally walking at the edge of the cliff. The stairs go on for a long long long time and the climb back up is exhausting, especially when you are not used to the Balinese hot weather yet. The temple and the waterfall aren’t very impressive but there was something about the place and the tedious walk to go there that really stuck with us and that we liked a lot ! There was also a small cave with a small pool, a bit further away from the temple and we were able to freshen up and admire the view as long as we wanted as we were completely alone.
This temple is far from being the most impressive one though and you have many other temples to visit on the island such as Goa Giri Putri, a temple inside a cave.
• Diving and snorkelling : If you love diving and snorkelling, Nusa Penida is a perfect island to visit for you ! There are several spots all around the island where you can dive : Crystal Bay, which is probably the most famous spot; Manta Bay, where you can see manta rays; Malibu Point; Toyapakeh and a few more. You can spot turtles and sharks in some of these locations, if you are lucky !
OUR PERSONAL OPINION AND EXPERIENCE
We enjoyed Nusa Penida a lot and we were really happy that this was our first stop in Bali. Indeed, it allowed us to discover the Balinese culture on a beautiful island that wasn’t a huge touristic spot yet. The locals were all very nice to us and most of them spoke english fairly well.
It was also a great place to start because the landscapes in Nusa Penida were very beautiful and it immediatly made us feel like we were in paradise, being on this small island, surrounded by the sea, cliffs, animals and a new culture ! We had a homestay on the main road of a small village, which allowed us to walk around the village sometimes instead of always taking the scooter to go from one place to another. Our homestay was called Green Palace Homestay and it cost us about 10$AUS/7€ a night. The family was very kind with us and they are the ones that gave us a map of the island. We rented our very first scooter with them.
Nusa Penida was the first place where we rented a scooter and as we weren’t used to scooters yet, we were able to drive throughout the island at our own pace and get used to the scooter without any traffic, which we felt was important. The roads in Nusa Penida aren’t always easy to take, a lot of them are very very bumpy gravel roads but on the other hand, there aren’t a lot of cars or scooters going around so you feel a bit safer while driving than on the main island.
This was also the place where we discovered small warungs. There are several touristic restaurant and touristic places to go to on the island but there are also a lot of warungs a bit everywhere on the island. Which was great, because when we just finished driving on a bumpy gravel road, it was such a good reward for us to find a small warung and just settle down for a minute to eat or drink something fresh ! We also went to the more touristic restaurants to see what it looked like, some of them were amazing for us (like the one on the picture down below) as we had never been to places like this that make you feel luxurious, but they were often a lot more expensive than more local places and although we enjoyed a lot our first visits there, we didn’t feel the need to go back to places like this.
⇝ So much positivity, what are the downsides of the Island ?
We were very cautious around beaches as we found several times pieces of glass laying around on the beach, especially at Atuh Beach. Also, the current could be very strong and quite dangerous (at Atuh Beach especially, once again) so we were always very careful on how far away we went in the sea.
Another downside would be maybe the big holes in the gravel roads if you are not used to it, because it can be very tedious and you might take a lot of time to arrive to one place because of that. But we got used to it in the end and it is good to have small roads like this on this beautiful island instead of big roads that cut through the forests. 🙂
Apart from that, we enjoyed Nusa Penida a lot and were happy to explore the island with our little scooter, take a swim in the sea and get to admire beautiful views !
A completely different kind of place awaited us next, with its waterfalls and mountains : Munduk !