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“Once a year go somewhere you have never been before.” – Dalai Lama
I have put this wise advice into practice since 4 years ago. I usually do it for my birthday shenanigans week, which was this past week.
This year, my destination was Nusa Penida. I was a bit hesitant about this trip in the beginning because Mount Agung, the largest volcano in Bali, had been restless weeks prior triggering a massive evacuation of people living in the area.
I didn’t even book my ticket until the day before the trip in case the eruption did happen. Luckily, the volcano was behaving while I was there. (One day after I got back home, it did have a minor eruption sending black clouds into the sky. It is still ongoing at the time I am writing this. Whew…)
Nusa Penida is a small island about 30 minutes away by speed boat from Sanur, Bali. Development has reached this once isolated island, but you can still find untouched natural beauty. Tourists flock to this island to get away from the hustle and bustle of the main island of Bali. Along with its sister island Nusa Lembongan, you can find a slower pace of life here to take a break from your hectic life, get in touch with nature and re-center yourself.
The roads in Nusa Penida are still rugged. Around the center of the villages, the roads have been paved. But, once you are heading to the outdoor places to visit, you will need to endure rough road conditions (potholes, rugged uphills and downhills) in most of the places.
If you are taking a car tour, it might not bother you so much. But, if you’re braving the roads on a motorbike, be prepared to have the adventure of your life to navigate through the rugged roads. I was glad that I was a passenger on the motorbike. But, let me tell you that I was holding tight for dear life the whole trip and prayed that we didn’t swerve into the cliff next to us. My behind was sore and my legs cramped after each trip.
The beauty of nature was incredible though.
My first stop in Nusa Penida is Karang Dawa.
You can get down the side of the cliff through a naturally carved pathway lined with bamboos to get to the pristine white beach at the bottom. It rained couple hours before we got there, so it was a bit slippery and no one was braving to go down the path.
The crazy, adventurous girl in me wanted to go down to that white beach in the bottom. So, with my guide, I tested some steps down. It was slippery in some spots and the bamboo handrails were not so sturdy in some places. Looking down was not helping either (To tell you the truth, I am scared of height. I don’t even do roller coaster).
We got down 1/3 of the trail and we got to this sort of flat area where we could take pictures and marvel at the beauty of the surrounding. The trail from that point on was pretty dry. So, with a little nudge from my guide, down the cliff we went.
Once we got to the bottom, this beautiful, pristine white beach awaited us. There was not a single footprint on the beach. For the next 15 minutes (till the others who followed our steps caught up with us), we were the only ones in this beautiful paradise with the high up cliff surrounding us, the clear blue sky stretching above us and the ocean waves rolling into the white sands. It was a magical moment.
Things like these are the things that make life worthwhile. It reminds us how small we are in the grand scheme of the universe.
Awhile later, the dark clouds were rolling in. It is rainy season at the moment, so pop-up showers are common every day. But, it meant that we needed to get back up before it started to rain and the trail got slippery. The hike up was not fun.
I always struggle on the way up on a hiking trip. So, I had to stop a lot of times to catch up with my breath and I tried not to look down while doing it. “Why in the world do I do things like this?” always crosses my mind on such occasion. But, I managed to get back up. Shortly afterwards, the sky opened up and dumped pretty heavy rain on us.
My second stop in Nusa Penida is Angel Billabong and Broken Beach.
Angel Billabong is a natural infinity pool where you can swim in when the tide is low. Be cautious if you decide to go down to the pool. There have been stories of tourists being swept up to the sea.
Do you see the yellow spots on the cliff on the first picture above on the left? Can you believe that the sea level will rise up that high from time to time? There is a really cool rock formation above the cliff from the natural erosion of the sea water.
Broken Beach is the top right picture. The “hole” bridge is all natural.
I wonder what else on the other side. Hmm…
My third stop in Nusa Penida is Pura Goa Giri Putri (Cave Temple).
Let me tell you first off the bat that there are about 100 stairs involved in getting to the temple.
Pura Goa Giri Temple (Cave Temple) is a Hindu temple inside a natural cave. To get inside (and out) you need to crawl through a hole. Maybe after about 10 feet in crawling on a tight space, it opens up to a huge, spacious area. The scent of incense fills the air. They have set up a temple inside this amazing cave. We got to watch a ceremony happening when we were there.
My last stop in Nusa penida is Atuh Beach.
It was quite a motorbike ride to get to this place. I was glad that I wasn’t the one who was driving.
Yes, there are stairs involved in getting down to that beach down there. I learn that stairs are all around in Nusa Penida. You will get your workout when you are here. It is definitely not the kind of beaches that you want to take your kids to.
You can lounge on the white beach while enjoying the cool rock formation and the clear water. When you have your fill of nature here, you do need to work your way back up.
Nusa Penida is famous for snorkeling and scuba diving too. Since I don’t do water sport, I don’t cover it here.
All in all, Nusa Penida has been a wonderful adventure –memories I would definitely treasure till it’s time to venture out again.
I hope this will inspire you to dream up a new place to visit. Where would you like to venture out next?
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