Nusa Penida Day Tripping Adventures
Nusa Penida Day Tripping Adventure
Blog by The Nomadic Shopper
If you haven’t discovered the island of Nusa Penida that lies a stones throw from Nusa Lembongan then you are resting on your laurels!
A popular diving destination, Nusa Penida is promising to be latest hot spot and is now attracting more day trippers from Nusa Lembongan looking for land based experiences with natural beauty and earthy ruggedness. Relatively undeveloped from a tourism perspective, Penida should be on your bucket list if you are chasing an unspoilt and breathtaking taste of Indonesia that just can’t be found on Bali mainland any longer.
With a little prior organisation, a sense of adventure and some form of skill on a scooter you can easily jump across to Nusa Penida and have what is truly a spectacular day. If the views themselves are not enough to get you there, throw in a pinch of cultural exposure and if you are feeling really adventurous, a treacherous, cliff hugging stair descent to get your blood pumping. I promise you will return to your accommodation at the end of the day weary but buzzing from stepping out of your comfort zone.
Our first visit to Penida was in a group of 7 friends and I promise that if we only experienced half of what was on offer we would have been blown away. We arranged our transport on and to Penida a few days prior with The Lembongan Traveller and set off via long boat for the short sea crossing to Penida where we ‘transferred’ to our scooters (privately owned by local residents and “hired” for a small day fee).
First stop was the small local market. Whilst the customary Indonesian local market is not exactly a shopping mecca, it was wonderful to wander the aisles and be greeted with smiling (and scowling) locals and observe the weird and wonderful fruits, herbs and spices, together with ducks, chickens, jewellery, sarongs and cooking utensils that are part of the Indonesian lifestyle. Whilst you may not be tempted to purchase a local treasure, I strongly recommend taking some small change to purchase some bananas or mangoes for the journey ahead. It is a small gesture but means you have some yummy fresh sustenance for the day whilst removing the voyerism aspect and leaving a token of goodwill with the locals!
Swinging our legs back over our scooters, we headed through winding roads (sometimes more like tracks) and up and over hills, all the while surrounded by incredible views the higher we climbed. You don’t see much in the way of traffic so you really can relax and take in the visual feast of rural Indonesia. Small huts, sometimes groups of huts forming small villages, cows tethered, chickens fossicking, pigs lulling, seaweed farmers gathering, there are countless photo opportunities. One local saw me observing her pig from a distance and with excited gestures beckoned me over so I could meet the pig! Whilst the pig was not the highlight, her excitement and pride was simply delightful.
Next stop: Giri Putri Cave Temple (Giri means hill and Putri means princess) which refers to the cave as the holy site of Siva, a hindu goddess who is represents living and existence. Climb the structured steps to the entry and mouth of the cave and if this is as far as you make it then again a spectacular coastal view will make the small climb worth it. Be prepared to be cleansed with water on your face and to contribute a small entry fee before accessing the cave. You will also need to be respectful of the local customs and beliefs, and cover your legs with a sarong. The entry to the cave is a small man size hole you climb down and completely under estimates the size of the cave beyond. I am incredibly claustrophobic but the well lit passageway is only a few metres long allowing me to enter without panic, before I find myself in the most expansive, beautiful, cool cave with massive scopic ceilings, complete with stalagmites, trickling water and bats! I recommend you stand still and take a quiet moment to observe the culture and beauty in ritual as local Indonesians pray at one of 4 temples that are spread out within the cave. The exit is on the opposite side of the cave and we are surrounded by an expanse of trees and greenery, complete with monkeys.
We make our way down the track back to where we left our scooters at the base of the cave entry stairs and buy an ice-cream from the small shop based here (you can also “borrow” sarongs for a small fee here to enter the cave).
We are now heading to perhaps the jewel in the crown as far as vista photographic opportunities and we meander on our scooters on rough roads and dirt tracks to continue on foot to Pantai Atuh. Be prepared to be wowed at this spectacular coastline view that is not found in most popular guide books. This vista will blow you away and to add to the amazement there is not another person in site. There are no railings here to prevent falls down the sheer cliff so remember to exercise caution, although the lack of human structures and involvement really do add to the beauty. WOW to drink in this drop dead view (the perfect pun ? ) with the sparkling azure sea and have it all to ourselves is nothing short of a magical!
We are weary and hungry so grab a quick refreshment on our way back out and on to the next destination; Peguyangan Waterfall. Water cascades out of the steep, perilous cliff face and pools in natural springs at the bottom of the cliff. These natural springs are accessible by steep, treacherous steps that cling to the cliff face. Our group of seven became only four as we braved the climb down, as vertigo, fear or sensibility kicked in for those left behind. (Please note this descent requires a good level of fitness, is not for the faint hearted, nor would you find any tour operators recommending you try it). The ascent and descent is extremely perilous with broken steps and missing railing – one wrong step and you are in trouble, if not toppling to a spectacular end. Of course, this just added to my desire to reach the springs at the bottom! Making it to those springs and immersing myself in the clear, cold water was close to a religious experience. To be immersed in a natural spring whilst the adrenalin abided, with not another tourist in sight, with the surf pounding on the rocks below, a gorgeous temple perched on the rocks and looking out at yet another mind blowing view was truly a special moment.
Nusa Penida will take just a day to discover but will have you on a high for many days to come. Get there before the rest of the world discovers its undeveloped natural beauty.
- Take some food or snacks with you as you won’t really find any restaurants.
- Remember to take a sarong for covering when you visit the cave.
- Small denominations of Rupiah for the markets and cave entry.
- Wear closed shoes as some of the tracks you access can be rough.
- The usual sun protection is required.
Words by The Nomadic Shopper
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For more information about day trips offered by The Lembongan Traveller, CLICK HERE
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