Bagus Bali Part 2: Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida isn’t always on everybody’s itinerary and that’s okay because this gorgeous island is only for those who really want the experience. Kelingking Beach was the main reason why we wanted to go.
It’s easy to go for the ‘gram, take the shots you need, post it and go. That could really be just your experience of places but for me and my friends, Nusa Penida was more than just breathing shots for the ‘gram. This island and its beautiful people reminded me of how real life can be.
This was originally written last March 4, 2019. Majority of these photos were taken by K Macrohon and JL Padero. (Thanks guys!) Enjoy!
Angels Billabong and Broken Beach
Our quick getaway to Nusa Penida in Bali was nothing short of spectacular. From the sights and sounds that welcomed us upon arrival, I could never get enough of this place. One day on the island isn’t enough, but it was just right that would make me come back and spend at least two to three days to explore every inch of it.
There were idyllic beaches we haven’t had the chance to feast our eyes on like Diamond Beach and Atoh Beach. We got to visit Crystal Bay and bask in the last few hours of sunlight before the darkness covered the ocean and our surroundings.
Driving around Nusa Penida was a mix of thrilling suspense because of the small roads and lack of barriers from the edge of the roadside cliffs plus an enthralling sense of awe as almost every house had a spell that just made us stare at each statue and temple god.
I’m amazed at how their religion was a huge factor in shaping and preserving their culture. Our driver, Ketut, and his son, Bayu took turns driving us for the duration of our stay. We learned so much about their culture and how the whole island was home for them. We got to eat nasi goreng (my favorite) at his aunt’s warung which was beside his school where we also got to meet his ten-year-old half-brother, Wayu.
They were an adorable family whose primary source of income now is what tourism brings to their island’s shore. Surprisingly, Nusa Penida is quiet at night. You’d hear the rev of a few motorbikes and cars from time to time, but relatively, solace is found here if that’s what you are looking for — quite the opposite from my experience in Kuta and Canggu.
After the rain ceased in Kelingking Beach, we then went to the next stops of the tour—Angel’s Billabong, Manta Point and Broken Beach. Doesn’t it sound like a handful? It is! Broken Beach breaks every expectation of what it could look like. Picturesque view with an arched tunnel in the cliffs, allowing the ocean to flow into a pool of blue water and crashing waves. How we’d love to get a chance to go down, but there wasn’t any way to go!
Manta Point on the other hand still wowed us with a point and cliff where we could see the whole bay and the waves crashing. Sadly there were no manta rays that time, but my heart and eyes were full of being enchanted by these fantastic views.
Here is the thing about expectations, when they don't meet yours, it can get nasty. What travel and surfing have taught me is to never hold on to expectations too tightly. When we visited Angel's Billabong in Nusa Penida, it wasn't the mesmerizing blue pool that we saw on Instagram because it rained quite hard a few hours ago. But instead of making that define our trip, we focused on what else was there to see like how the rock formations shaped this cliff and how everything still is beautiful when you choose to see beyond the usual.
One would think that spending 10 days in Bali would be enough for you to say that you’ve seen everything and there would be no need to come back for another visit. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
There is just so much that desires to be explored in Bali. Let alone the whole of Indonesia, especially the Nusa Islands. Among the three islands, we chose to go to the bigger Nusa Penida to stay one night after five nights in Canggu where I’ll share the story in another article.
From Canggu, we hired a private driver, Mura, to take us to Sanur which is the port or jump-off point from the mainland to the Nusa Islands. Similar to Samal Island in Davao City, the Nusa Islands take around 45 minutes by boat, and the trips are hourly up until 4:30pm.
Compared to other ports in the Philippines with smaller marine vessels, this was on-time. We boarded by 10:00am and found ourselves in quiet, unpopular Nusa Penida, the biggest island of three. The most popular is Nusa Lembongan since it’s closest to Bali, followed by Ceningan which is connected to the former by a cute yellow bridge.
Thanks to Instagram, our primary goal was Kelingking Beach (Secret Point) in Nusa Penida. This majestic work of nature enchanted me the first time I saw it on Instagram, and I knew, I really want to see this for myself.
Kelingking Beach is a hidden beach in the village of Bunga Mekar, on the southwestern coast of Nusa Penida island. It’s been told to have one of the most breath-taking views over the hills, with a small strip of white sand from atop a hill of the same name.
The view offers a limestone headland covered in green, against the deep blue waters of the open Indian Ocean. This unique formation is reminiscent of a Tyrannosaurus Rex head, hence its nickname ‘T-Rex Bay’ though for me you’d have to refresh yourself on what a T-Rex looks like once you do, you could easily see its mouth and tail wrapping the whole point!
Those who aren’t fond of heights should ready yourselves for this view because getting the desired photo means having to dangle to the edge of the 400m cliff and it is quite a long drop down. There were safety precautions in place like bamboo railings, but I would strongly suggest you don’t go crazy for the Instagram shot of perfection if you can’t handle heights.
It is a 30-minute to an hour downhill hike to get to the Kelingking’s beautiful secluded beach. I thought I could handle the steep hike, but upon seeing the conditions, this is definitely recommended only for the fit and adventurous. I am adventurous, but I had to admit I wasn’t that fit for something extreme like this. Instead, I took it upon myself to make sure that my next visit to Bali would allow me to go down the cliff and enjoy the purity of this island’s wonders.
I’d go back again and stay maybe half a day in Kelingking and wait for the sunset. It rained after were taking photos from the cliff viewing deck and there were a lot of tourists that day but still, the view alone was too beautiful, it left me speechless. I am definitely going back and to make a point, this place is not overrated because it got famous on Instagram, you have to check it for yourself.
Words escape me when I try to justify how Nusa Penida enchanted me. It was every inch of beautiful, from the locals to its scenic destinations and I can’t wait to be back. If you ask me, I’d visit again without a doubt.