Indonesia 2019: Bali Nusa Penida Tour

Our Day 2 tour is an ‘island tour’, a day trip to visit Nusa Penida (Penida Island). Bali is famous for its pristine beaches so we decided to take a tour to visit some of the most famous ones in Nusa Penida.

The car picked us up at 6:30. We drove about one hour to the port city of Sanur. There we met our English speaking guide Aji, an very energetic young man in his 20s. Aji was completely the opposite of the lady guide we had in the ‘green tour’. He talked a lot, made jokes, kept tour on schedule and explained things well. After introducing myself to him, he smiled and replied “No, you are Captain Jack” and that was his name for me the rest of the day. There were 7 of us in our tour group, a lady from the UK, a muslim couple living in UK but was from UAE I think, and an older Australian couple.

Around 8:30AM we got on board our fast boat to Nusa Penida. There was no dock so everyone had to step into the knee-high water and walk to the ship. The ride was about 45 minutes and was smooth. At Penida port we were greeted by two local drivers. Our group split onto two buses; we got to ride with the UK lady and our guide Aji. The lady was recently laid off with a package, and had been traveling in Bali for the last six weeks (must be nice!).

The first beach stop is Kelingking Beach (‘Pinkie finger’) in the village of Bunga Mekar, on the southwestern coast of Nusa Penida. It was not that far, but soon after we left the harbor, the narrow roads became so bumpy that Aji jokingly called the ride a ‘car massage’. I think the torrential tropical rain throughout the years must have washed roads out and left only the bare rocks. The 5km (3 miles) trip took us about 30-40 minutes. However, we were rewarded by the breath-taking views of Kelingking Beach. The green hills dropped sharply into into the deep blue waters of the open Indian Ocean. We could see people sunbathing on the pristine white sand beach. But the trip going down to the beach would have taken 1 hour round trip and our tour didn’t have time. So we walked around the ridges for 10-15 minutes. There we saw wild monkeys. The alpha male intimidated us trying to protect his clan so we soon turned back.

Our next stop was Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach (More bumpy roads). Angel’s Billabong was another popular attractions on Nusa Penida with natural infinity pool framed by black volcanic rock cliffs. The pool was beautiful emerald-colored and crystal clear. However the path down to the pool was closed. We did see some people ignored the sign and went down anyway but we didn’t. It was near noon and the site was crowded with tourists. We decided to move the broken beach, which is just walking distance from Angel’s Billabong. The broken beach was an incredible little cove with an archway that wraps around the bay allowing water to flow in and out from the ocean. Both Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach were so amazing that one must be awed that what mother nature could do.

Then we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant. Nothing fancy and I ordered fried rice with chicken. It was quite good, much better than the buffet the day before. After lunch we rode another 30-40 minutes “car massage” to Crystal Bay. We had huge downpour during the trip and we were worried that we couldn’t do much in the heavy rain. Luckily the rain soon passed. It was still cloudy when we got to Crystal Bay but at least we could go snorkeling. Snorkeling gear rental was included in the tour. Nick had to put on a life jacket so he could feel comfortable to swim in the deep ocean. The underwater corals and fishes weren’t as impressive as those in Hawaii. The corals were spotty and didn’t fully cover the seabed. Maybe it would have looked better in a sunny day. But still it was nice to see those colorful tropical fishes. I loved chasing after the school of fishes. It was a lot fun. We were in the water about half an hour till we got cold.

That was the end of our trip. We went back to the harbor. There we regrouped and took the speedboat back to Sanur. Our driver from this morning was already waiting. We got on the car and were back to the hotel in an hour.

Overall the trip was well organized. All the transportation worked fine. However like the tour the day before, we spent most time in transit. The 3 beaches we went were quite beautiful. We would enjoyed much more if we could spend more time at each site, rather than the check-list type of tour we did. Something like hiking down to the Kelingking Beach, swimming in the tide pool at Angel’s Billabong or walking the whole loop of the Broken Beach. If we were to come back, we would stay in the island for a couple days so we could enjoy these nature beauties more.

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