4 days on Nusa Penida...
Day 1 in Nusa Penida and Day 37 in Bali
Just a short boat ride away from Bali, Nusa Penida is increasingly gaining attention for a few of its instagram famous spots.
We arrived here yesterday evening after an exhausting 5 hours waiting at the harbour and another 90 minutes public ferry ride.
We needed to get here with our bike so went to Padang Bai. Padang Bai is the only port where there is a ferry that takes scooters and cars. Knowing that there isn’t a fixed schedule, we got to the port at around 10:30 am (ticket booth opens at 10 am), bought our tickets for a total of 119.6K IDR (8.50 USD) and asked what time the boat would be leaving which no one could really answer not even the cashier.
All we knew that departure time is roughly around 12:00 am (though the ferry left Padang Bai Port at 3:30 pm!) so we just settled down in a shady part under a bridge where other tourists and locals had gathered.
We got into a chat with two sisters from Quebec here and shared loads of stories of both our travels.
Once we got to the island and settled in our accommodation that is only 5 minutes from the port, we were back out again.
We started off by going to a beach at Buyuk Harbour, that is only a short ride away. We were looking for a good sunset but didn’t quite meet our expectations though the beach offers a beautiful view over Mount Agung.
So we drove and drove to higher grounds until we got to a point which seemed to be the highest area. The sun had almost disappeared and we only managed to get a glimpse of hues in the sky.
Day 2 in Nusa Penida
We got up super early and had a bunch of things planned. We started off from the instafamous Kelingking view. The rock formation that has an astonishing resemblance to the T Rex.
We got here just as the sun started to rise. All warungs in the area were still closed and apart from us there were only a few workers and monkeys.
The view from the top is stunning but to me honestly, I can’t really understand why all the hype. Firstly, it’s a challenge just to get here. Part of the route is over worn out roads some of which don’t even have any sign of tarmac left on them. I was amazed when I found that even short distances on this tiny island can take hours.
After spending some time here and took so many photos it was off to the next spot.
We intended getting to a Panoramic Viewpoint that overlooks Diamond and Atuh beaches. After 2 hours of riding which included a couple of stops for pics, we still hadn’t made the 29 km journey. Not sure about this but maybe google passed from the wrong route. The route google gave us was over dirt roads with drops on one side into the jungle. For a dirt bike these roads would of been good but for a scooter, hell no, this was one bumpy tiring journey and I’m surprised we’re still in one piece.
After all this we thought that we had nearly made it to this viewpoint. Again we were wrong. We still needed to trek for around 1 hour which initially we agreed upon doing. But, I was feeling quite sick and walking on uneven paths through rough, dry terrain and in the heat of the day wasn’t helping.
Realizing that if I walk down, obviously I will have to walk back up, I decided to turn around and go back for the bike. Also, we noticed that the path lead to an area close to a home stay so we were positive that an easier way to reach this point exists.
At first we decided to go to a beach to cool off and hopefully I would feel better. But most beaches on this side of Nusa Penida are along the cliffs, thus all would require some sort of trek which I really wasn’t willing to do.
We eventually settled on going back to our bungalow.
I’m writing this post just laying on the bed, Jacqueline is by my side on the laptop and geckos are making their strange sounds. In the meantime I’m thinking, “What is my impression of Penida”. Well, to be honest, I don’t really think Nusa Penida is worth all the hype. This is just my first impression which I will later on update in the next daily blogs.
The island isn’t that easy to get along therefore a lot of time is consumed travelling. 3 things I am quite sure of are: the island hasn’t yet caught up with tourism demand, there isn’t so much greenery even on higher grounds, the island is FILTHY, once out of the touristic parts rubbish is just dumped anywhere.
Day 3 and 4
On day 3, I was feeling sick so I didn’t work on the daily blog. So today I will also include yesterday’s events and challenges.
We started off day 3 by visiting Atuh beach. We were hoping to get the sunrise but this didn’t quite work out.
We can now confirm that google maps are outdated regarding Nusa Penida. The map lead us over dirt roads which would have been a challenge for an off road bike, let alone our poor scooter. To add to this, when we finally reached the point it wasn’t right.
Atuh beach is nestled in a valley with mountains on either side and we ended up on the wrong side.
So we got up at 4:00 am for nothing. Looking around in frustration and not really knowing what to do, I saw a tarmacked road which seemed to lead to the opposite cliff. So we just ignored the mobile app and tried to get to the road.
But getting out of this location was one of the worst challenges so far. We arrived at this point down a really treacherous downhill path. At points Jacqueline even had to get off the bike and had to put my feet down on the ground to not make so much weight on the scooter and also to stabilise myself. But now it was uphill and I was doubting we would even manage getting the scooter out. Eventually we managed to get the bike out but only by driving the bike alone and both helping to push.
At last once off the path and side street we were on the smooth tarmac.
This time we got to the exact location by simply using our navigation skills and just riding along the road hoping we’re heading in the right direction.
By the time we got here the sun had completely risen so we decided not to go down but instead just went to a few viewpoints on top of the cliff. Atuh beach is beautiful but doesn’t look like it would be any good for swimming at least not during low tide.
Right in front of the bay is a small island and has an arch formation facing the beach. We had read that from here the sun can be seen rising right through the archway. Not sure about this as the sun was quite far away.
Next stop was Diamond Beach and we got to without any problems, just needed to avoid a load of potholes.
We reached the parking area, paid a small donation and started our way down the concrete passage. We decided that instead of heading straight down to the beach, we would first stay on the cliffs. The views from the top are impressive.
We started our way down to the beach through the flight of stairs that has been carved out of the rock. The stairs are safe enough but some points are a bit tricky and there are ropes to grab onto.
Just a few palm trees, white cliffs and 2 huge diamond shaped rocks are what make the beach stand out.
When we come across a bay as pretty as this, we want to take full advantage of it. But diamond beach has a downside, which is that although pretty the sea is rough and would be dangerous trying to swim.
On the way out of Diamond Beach we took a short deviation to go check out the One Thousand Island Viewpoint and some tree houses.
We got here late in the morning and the place was literally packed with tourists and their guides. The place is a nice spot but honestly not so much that you would expect this amount of people.
Basically the viewpoint is pretty much the same as what view we had from on top of diamond beach and I don’t get why it is called 1000 islands. We managed to count just a handful.
After walking down a never ending flight of stairs we reached the part where the treehouse is.
Our 4th day is where everything took a turn in the right direction. I woke up feeling much better than the previous days and both of us were determined to make the most out of this day.
We started off from the most stunning natural pool that we have came across so far, Angel’s Billabong.
We were stunned by the pool and also couldn’t really believe how something so beautiful could have such a dark side.
Through some research we came to know that quite a few people have died here and many others had near death experiences. The reason is simple, the pool is right on the ocean.
Apart from the pool, what caught my eye was that right behind the pool the ocean looked very unstable. It seemed some kind of weird storm going on. Most waves didn’t make it to the pool but then comes a huge wave and would definitely be dangerous if in the pool especially at the edge. Anyway the pool is now closed off, sort of.
After being amazed by both the pool and the weird ocean, we walked about 5 minutes to reach Broken Beach.
No need to say, this place is once again a beautiful gift from mother nature and we could not help but be amazed.
We later on went to Crystal Bay for some snorkeling.
I tend to get excited over insignificant things and this time was because I had bought a new mask and snorkel.
Once we got to the beach we were quite disappointed that the water wasn’t clear. I went in and out about 3 times mostly just to try my mask as I couldn’t see a thing. Many people went in, snorkeled a bit and came back to the beach so we sort of concluded that it wasn’t the best day to see the underwater life.
After some time a few boats came and everyone jumped off and started snorkeling. Obviously we were in the wrong place so we quickly got our things and went to this side of the bay. And wow, we would have done a huge mistake if we had just left.
A few metres from the shore on the further left side of the bay, marine life is thriving. Plenty of gigantic corals in all colours and shapes, fishes some over 60 cm and all in very clean and clear water.
Day 5 on Nusa Penida
After 4 days waking up at 4am and not resting during any part of the day we must say that we’re exhausted. We weren’t sure about getting up early once again but decided to do so when the crowded tree house spot came to mind.
That’s the thing about Nusa Penida, along with the tourists staying on the island, in the mornings Penida is flocked with even more tourists from Bali. Therefore by 10:00am everywhere gets crowded. I can’t really complain because we too are tourists but certain places are too crowded and visiting a beautiful place that is full of people spoils the whole point of going.
We started off from Banah Cliff. As any other cliff viewpoint Banah didn’t disappoint. For the first time we got to our destination just before the sun started to rise. To be honest, we felt that we’d made an accomplishment.
Views from here are breathtaking and travel for long distance along the cliffs.
Next we were heading to Tembeling Beach and Forest which should of been just a short ride but as google once again was outdated on the right direction, it took us longer than we expected.
We eventually found a route which lead us part through jungle and finally we ended up on the official road.
The trek took us about 20 minutes to reach the beach and forest and were rewarded with a beautiful wonder. The highlight of the forest is a natural pool just a few metres off the beach.
Being here all alone really made this place feel magical. The pool is crystal clear and nestled within the jungle right beside the roaring waves on the beach.
We were surprised that until we were leaving no one came but on our way out at least 20 people passed by, some on scooter others on foot.
We considered going to a couple other spots during the day but once we saw all the tour vans passing by we decided to give a miss.
We wrapped up the day with what must be Penida’s best sunset spot.
We came to Peguyangan for the sunset which is most popular for a long set of blue stairs that lead down a cliff to reach a temple.
We actually didn’t go down the stairs but instead stayed above the cliffs where the views are just WOW.
That was our final day in Nusa Penida and must say that was our best.
At the moment we are in Padang Bai on the ferry waiting to leave for Lombok.
Penida didn’t live up to my expectations for the first couple of days. But now that we have explored lots of the island I can say that it does offer unique experiences.