Posted by Bali Hai Cruises on Jun 30, 2016 in Blog | Comment
Nusa Penida is one of the three islands that makes up the coral triangle alongside Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. It is the largest of the three islands, and much bigger than the well known Nusa Lembongan, but is often regarded as the least developed in a tourism sense.
You can get to Penida via Padang Bai, Benoa Harbour or Sanur. Or you could take a cruise to Nusa Lembongan and then hire a local boat to take you across the strait to Nusa Penida. At some points on Lembongan you can see straight across the water to Ceningan and then over to Penida – so the boat trips doesn’t take long at all.
The easiest way to get around Penida is by motorbike, although if you are coming from Lembongan you can take a pushbike but always make sure you have permission first. It’s also good to note that not all spots are easily accessible whether by motorbike or foot so be prepared for some walking and even a little climbing to reach your destination. For example Goa Giri Putri is an incredible sacred cave on Penida. However to reach the enormous cave inside which features several different temples or praying sites for several religions, you must first climb stairs up to the entrance, then wait for the local priests permission to enter (you must wear a sarong – Indonesian skirt/garment often wrapped around the waist, men and women alike!) and crawl through a relatively small opening into the cave. Once you are through the small ‘doorway’ the cave is vast and an amazing sight to see. It’s sure worth the trouble as you will be rewarded with an experience of the ‘aura of peace’ within the cave. Once you are inside it becomes obvious why the cave is also known to have been a place for meditation for as long as anyone can remember.
Angel’s Billabong is similar in that you need to leave your motorbike about 10 minutes away from the billabong then proceed on foot. A short climb down the cliff and you are at the stunning billabong, but please be careful during the climb as the limestone can be temperamental and give way. There are local guides who can help you and as they know all the best spots to visit, it’s a great idea to ensure your trip is safe and so that you don’t miss a thing!
Penida is a well known bird shelter so naturally bird watchers flock (no pun intended) to the island to visit the National Park Bird Sanctuary. This sanctuary creates shelter and protection for many birds including the endangered Bali Starling which has seen its number diminish rapidly over the years due to poaching. The locals on Penida however have created an island law that now determines it is an offence for anyone to steal, poach, capture or intend any harm to the birds. The Friends of National Park launched a program several years ago to help increase the numbers of the Bali Starling. They were able to release 64 birds back into the wild, in a protected environment, which resulted in 58 new chicks being born. It’s a difficult task ascertaining the exact numbers now however results are showing an increase in the bird population and in particular the Bali Starling population that is staying on the protected island of Penida. I’ve actually seen a Bali Starling on Lembongan – an island hopping bird from Penida perhaps?
There are also stunning beaches like Crystal Bay, a favourite with divers and day trippers looking for a beautiful beach to relax on. And the waters here are full of stunning marine life like the famous manta rays and mola-mola (huge ocean sunfish). In fact from some of the cliffs around here, you can actually see mantas and enormous sea turtles swimming – that’s how clear the water is!
Broken Beach is another favourite for those wanting to experience true ‘castaway’ life as you can only reach the spot by boat. However this is another beautiful place to see the marine life. The tides around this area can change quickly so again a guide is recommended. Broken Beach in fact gets its name because of a cave roof that fell in and the tides creating the cave walls and cliff walls so that no land access is possible. You could also head to Puncak Mundi which is the highest point on the island and while it does take time to get there, the views are more than worth it.
Nusa Penida is also known for its culture and while tourism is certainly starting to grow, Penida still has a very rich village and religious life. We’ve already mentioned the Goa Giri Putri Cave but another significant site is the Pura Penataran Temple, one of the most important Hindu temples in Bali. In fact on certain significant Hindu days in the calendar, people from all over Bali will go to Penida to this temple as it’s said to be the place to pray for your family, to seek salvation or release from disease and illness, and offer peace to those who have lost loved ones.
As Penida is just starting its own venture into tourism, accommodation can be limited so it’s always a good idea to call ahead and make sure you have somewhere to stay. Then you just need to worry about how to fill yours days….tours, trekking, mountain bike riding, village tours, temples tours, diving, snorkeling, taking part in the culture, enjoying great fresh food, walking the cliffs for the views, lazing on beautiful beaches, enjoying the natural environment and protected animals….well with all that to choose from and more, we think you’ll find plenty of ways to fill your time on Nusa Penida!
Make sure to contact our team to find out how we can help you plan your Penida experience and options on how to get to Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida.