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Exploring Nusa Penida 

Nusa Penida is the biggest and also the least touristic out of the three islands south-east of Bali. Like I wrote in my previous post, Penida was the highlight of my trip for different reason.

Unexplored ground

Bali being the hot spot for tourists in Indonesia, pretty much everywhere else in the country feels like an undiscovered island. Might be a little exaggerating here, but Nusa Penida is definitely one of those places. One of the things that keeps the travellers away from this  paradise is the lack of infrastructure for tourists. This might make it a little harder to plan your visit there, but if you have time and you just get on a ferry, you will figure out the rest once you’re there.

When I decided to visit Penida, I was with my mom and we had only 10 days all together in Indonesia. That’s why we decided to book a 2 day tour of the island that included our transfer from Ubud,  the ferry, our accommodation, the food and the activities (island tour and snorkeling). The tour cost us 300$ for both of us, which is not that expensive considering that everything was included, but it would have definitely cost us a lot less if we would have gone without a tour. Here is the link to the 2D1N tour on Nusa Penida that we chose.

The tour turned out to be pretty good even though the people organizing it look like they didn’t know what they were doing. In the two days that we were there, we saw a lot of stuff on the island and also went to four different snorkeling spots. The lack of organization and the improvisation really added some charm to our visit and made a great experience. The only thing that disappointed us was that we didn’t get the chance to swim with the manta rays as it was described on the website. To be fair, on the day that we were supposed to snorkel, the sea was really rough and it wasn’t possible for us to get to manta point.

Beautiful beaches

In my previous post on Bali, I mention something about Indonesian beaches being hard to access. Well, Nusa Penida beaches are the best exemple, but they are truly the most beautiful and wild beaches I’ve ever seen. They are worth every sketchy step of the way. We visited a couple of beaches on the island, but my personal favorites were Kelingking beach and Suwehan beach. Both of them are reachable by stairs or, in Suwehan beach case, a wall of rock and a rope. We didn’t make it down to Kelingking beach as it was too long of a way down and I’m not sure my heart would have survived the really steep descent, but we did make it down to Suwehan beach.

It took us 30 minutes and a failed attempt to reach the beautiful paradise. It literally felt like we were the first ones to get there, no signs of humans around, pure white sand and crystal clear water. We were getting pretty worried when we noticed the tide coming up at us dangerously fast, so we didn’t stay on the beach very long. On our way back we went a lot faster then before and decided to stop for a break half way. When my mom first told me that there was a monkey in the middle of the path, I didn’t realized what was happening. When I looked up, I immediately understood that this one wasn’t happy. One furious monkey suddenly turned into 25 monkeys circling us and we were definitely not going anywhere. The big one started running towards us with it’s teeth out and stopped a meter away. We tried a couple of things to scared them away, but we finally decided that staying still and waiting for them to go away was the best option. 25 minutes later, we were finally able to walk away without any scratch and climbed up in a hurry to make sure the little monkeys were not following us.

Even though we almost got attacked by a group of monkeys, Suwehan beach is probably the most beautiful beach I have ever been to in my life as it is truly wild and untouched, something pretty rare to find these days.

Ocean wildlife

Nusa Penida is known to be one of the best place in Indonesia for diving and snorkeling. The water surrounding the island is crystal clear and the wildlife is really diversified (sharks, turtles, manta rays and hundreds of colourful fish). We unfortunately didn’t have the chance to swim with the manta rays as it was written in our tour description since the sea was really rough that day and Manta point was unreachable. However, our driver brought us to 4 different dive sites that were amazing. I can talk for both of us when I say that this was an amazing dive.

Discover the local culture

The island being a lot less touristic than Bali, it is easier to mingle with the locals and talk to them. On our island tour, our guide could barely speak english so it was quite hard to engage a conversation with him but he taught us a couple of words in indonesian and bought us some local food. We also had the chance to visit a Hindu temple in a cave and attended a small ceremony. As a sign of respect , during these ceremonies, men and women have to cover their legs. It was truly special to experience this! We had a good chat with our guide after the ceremony and once again, I have to say that Indonesian people are incredibly nice and generous people.

If I had to go back on Penida, I would probably stay a lot longer and go without a tour. The island is the perfect place to explore by scooter as their is a lot less traffic on the road than in Bali. It’s also a great place to just relax and enjoy the beautiful beaches. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to.


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