Mention Bali and luxurious villas with coastal view pools come to mind. Hence, this top holiday and travel destination is ideal for those who enjoy soaking up some sun in the tropics. This Indonesian archipelago also provides an excellent base for surfers to ride the solid waves on the Southern Indian Ocean. All of these factors draw even more tourists to the already-popular island. So if you are crowd-adverse but want to experience a real getaway surrounded by nature, take a detour to Nusa Penida instead.
Although separated by the Bundung Strait, this quaint island southeast of Bali is accessible via boat. And paradise is only 45 minutes away. Topography-wise, Nusa Penida is hilly with a maximum altitude of 524 metres. That'll get hikers and trekkers excited. Besides taking in the breathtaking landscapes while you're at the peak, naturalists can also take a dip in many limpid pools or just sunbathe on the serene beaches if adventure is not your thing. Wanderlusting already? Start by creating a sticky note for these must-see locations at Nusa Penida.
1. Viewpoints and Lookouts
It's exhilarating to take in the sights of the many scenic coastlines around the island but you'll have to earn it through trekking. Kill two birds with a stone by travelling to Angel's Billabong. There, marvel at the one-of-a-kind rock formations and natural clear tide pool if you arrive at low tide. Round the corner is Broken Beach, another top location that has a good photo spot. The arched tunnel allows the ocean to flow in, resulting in a natural pool. Both attractions are the closest to the ferry port, hence they are popular with tourists. Tip: Avoid the generic Nusa Penida tours and arrive around mid-day when the area is not too busy.
Other notable vantage points include Kelinking Cliff Lookout (dinosaur-shaped!), Blue Stairs Nusa Penida at Penguyangan Waterfall (spot some manta rays if you're lucky), Banah Cliff Point (incredible coastal rock formations), Abangan Hills (lush terraced rice fields), Pulau Seribu viewpoint (it means 'Thousand Island', courtesy of its rock formations), and Teletubbies Hill (sounds dubious, but the location features different contours, valleys and canyons of Nusa Penida).
So you've donned on your beach gear. What now? Sunbathe and recover at the white sandy Crystal Bay Beach after hiking. Find a vacant hammock amongst the tall palm trees and unwind with a fresh coconut on hand. Ah, this IS life.
If it gets too packed, head down to Kelingking Beach. Adventurous souls who brave the steep staircase will be rewarded with an unspoiled plot of sandy haven. Hop over to Atuh Beach afterwards. Its surrounding gorgeous rock formations and pristine sand made it as one of the best beaches on the island. Lastly, Diamond Beach is now accessible via a locally-made magnificent stairway. Inspect the detailed chiselled construction marks on its walls and you'll ignore the intimidating hanging cliff above your head on your way down.
3. Diving and Snorkeling
Put on your goggles and explore the clear oceans if getting sweaty is not your thing. Manta Ray snorkelling on Nusa Penida is a must. Favour corals over fishes? Plot your map to clear waters of Gamat Bay. There, sublime coral structures and rock formations await beneath the dry surface. The depth, ranging from 5-20 meters, is ideal for free-diving too. If lady luck is by your side, you can spot a sea turtle!
Toyapakeh is another excellent dive site to consider as it partially protected from the current flowing through Ceningan Channel. The pure waters provide good visibility to marvel at the rich coral reefs and marine life, including the Mola Mola ocean sunfish.
Float calmly at the Tembeling Natural Pools if you're not a strong swimmer. Check out the forest from within the canyon before heading down the spiral stairs towards the blueish waters. Among the two pools, the first is located below a large cliff wall and significantly larger which allows cliff jumps from ledges. Exercise caution as depth and debris in the environment can change over time. The smaller pool features small pipe fountains akin to a jacuzzi and you can even spot the beach from an angle too.
Contemplating on where to stay at Nusa Penida? Check out Airbnb and its listings to experience island life.