Nusa Penida

This island is located just south east of Bali and it’s a small paradise that hasn’t yet been ruined with too many tourists.

We left Amed coast relatively early, meaning we could beat most of the traffic and get to Padangbai in time for the ferry to Nusa Penida. We wanted to take our scooters to Nusa Penida since we thought it would be cheaper and safer than leaving them in Bali. I have to say I really didn’t like Padangbai, various people were pestering us all the time and when we got to the ferry terminal the guard requested a bribe since we didn’t have an international driving licence (our own fault…). However, there something good happened as well -here is where we met our best friend for the next few days – Thorsten.

We then were told that the ferry wasn’t running and that we should take a fast boat. There were quite a few foreigners at the port trying to do the same thing, so we didn’t believe the ferry wasn’t coming anytime soon. We thought it was a scam and they were just trying to charge us more money. Various guys working at the port were pointing at the poster entirely in Balinese and trying to convince us we had no other option but to take a fast boat. Someone eventually managed to confirm that the main ferry, which was taking cars and scooters, was indeed broken down and we had to think what to do next.

We had to leave the scooters in Padangbai so we found a random hostel owner who agreed to look after them. He seemed quite trustworthy so we felt much more confident in leaving our vehicles with him instead of at the port. Craig, Thorsten and I jumped on the fast boat and I tried really hard not to get seasick since I forgot to take the tablets with me.

Once we got to Nusa Penida it turned out that all the scooters rentals were struggling for vehicles since there was a massive celebration on the island. People from all over Bali mostly dressed in white were making their way to Nusa Penida. I think the celebration was called Nyepi Laut and the island really felt busy. Loads of temples had long ceremonies every evening and there people in white everywhere.

We managed to get a car to our accommodation close to Crystal Bay and the owner found a scooter for us. Our accommodation was newly built – like the majority of places on this island. Nusa Penida is only just getting ready for tourists and therefore the infrastructure is still lacking. We were quite away from the ferry area and the majority of shops and restaurants, so had to do a long(ish) trip everyday. The poor quality roads scared me a bit, especially after seeing couple of accidents.

On our first evening we explored the Crystal Bay and walked to the Pandan beach which is next to it, you just need to hike over the big rock that’s inbetween. There was nobody there, apart from huge waves and loads of beautiful shells.

We agreed to go exploring with Thorsten the next day. The lack of infrastructure I mentioned earlier showed its face around the first corner. I ended up having to walk for a bit until the guys got the scooters out on the tarmac road. The photo explains more than I ever could.

The first place we visited was Peguyangan waterfall. You have to wear a sarong to enter (there are locals renting them out) and then it’s a steep hike down on blue metal stairs. It’s extremely beautiful but need to take care not to slip especially because it’s so easy to get distracted and you’ll want to take a lot of photos. Once you head down you will reach the sacred water temple, a pilgrimage site for locals, which was busy that day because of religious celebration on the island. The views, waves hitting the rocks and locals coming to pray really created a magic atmosphere.

We also visited a really beautiful beach Atuh, which felt relaxed and a bit hidden from the rest of the world. Spent some time chilling there and decided to head back.

The ride back was really scenic and we ended up spending our evening in a nice bar on the beach.

The next day Craig decided to go scuba diving and I booked a snorkeling trip. It turned out on the boat that the company didn’t have the correct size fins for me, but I thought I probably didn’t need them anyway since I’m a decent swimmer. Oh god, I was so wrong.

The waves at the first stop were so strong that it was hard to swim. I only spent a few minutes in the water since that was a manta ray stop, but they were nowhere to be seen. The second spot allowed to see a bit more variety, but because the waves were strong,they were pulling me from one side to the other and I ended up accidentally brushing my foot against the rock and making it to bleed. The third snorkeling site was pretty cool, we got into water and allowed to be carried by the current while exploring the amazing water life around. I really enjoyed it and it was definitely a highlight of the snorkeling trip.

The last spot made me promise to myself that I’ll never do snorkeling boat trips ever again. We stopped in deep water and there were quite a few different boats around. I wasn’t sure if I still wanted to jump in the water since I felt a bit tired, but the guide said there were loads of big fish around. I probably didn’t see a single fish because as soon as I got into water the current started carrying me away and I whatever effort I put in to swimming was useless. I started freaking out a bit since I was carried towards other ships and had no control. Really wished I had some sort of fins at that point, but I didn’t. Luckily the guide saw what was happening so he came and helped me to get back to the boat. Later when I told this to my boyfriend he said their ship picked up someone doing snorkeling since he got separated from his boat. My fear of water has always been around and this accident slightly worsened it…

The next day we went exploring with Thorsten again. The roads were quite pleasant and scenic and we got to Kelingking (also known as T-Rex) beach. It was quite crowded so after taking a few photos we decided to move on to the next place.

However, once we got back to the car park Thorsten’s scooter was missing. We were in denial for quite a while so searched the car park twice but had to admit the scooter was stollen. Thorsten then contacted his accommodation and scooter owner and explained the situation and arranged a ride back. We didn’t feel like exploring anymore so went back to our place. Later on, when we saw Thorsten, he said that the scooter was found sitting in the port. Since the main ferry wasn’t running nobody could get it out of the island.

Perhaps I’ll finish the post by saying that we got a bit paranoid about our scooters left in Bali so contacted the guest house owner to whom we left the scooters (and their keys). Obviously everything was fine and the scooters weren’t even touched when we came back from Nusa Penida. But I would probably be a bit more careful now, especially after knowing that thefts do happen.

Otherwise, Nusa Penida is an amazing island with some beautiful beaches, funky roads and sense of adventure. Go, enjoy!

Amed Coast, Bali

The ride from Mount Batur to Amed Coast was one of the most stressful I have ever done. We decided to take a shortcut instead of going on the main road and, of course, shortcuts always have their own challenges. We headed north east from Black Lava hostel near Mount Batur hoping to save some time compared to taking a longer route. At first, the road was really busy and not in a great condition, which should have been a sign we needed to turn around and go back. We carried on and soon arrived at one of the villages. As I was driving through, the local lady stepped in front of me when she decided to cross the road without looking around. I was moving relatively slow, but quick breaking resulted in an emergency stop with a skid, so I managed to scare her and to scare myself. I didn’t even touch her but she shouted at me for a bit and I shouted something back and I eventually drove off. When she was out of sight I had to stop to breathe and get myself together. My god, I was terrified.

I moved on again and I had to tackle the steepest hill ever – my (sort of) lack of confidence in driving a scooter really made me question what on earth I was doing there. The road was really winding, steep and narrow, so whenever I ran a bit wide on the corner I was hoping nobody would be coming from the other direction. I was really stressed out but had to keep moving. Craig was out of sight for a while so I knew I just had to rely on myself.

Eventually, I reached the top of the hill, which I’m guessing was about 1000m above sea level (hard to say where exactly I was even from looking at the map) and the road started turning into a sand and tarmac mix. Leftover patches of tarmac weren’t really helping and the road started getting busier, so loads of traffic was coming towards me. A complete total hell. It didn’t help that the bunch of locals on their scooters overtook me and told me to be careful. Not sure if I could be anymore careful than I was.

I finally caught up with Craig who decided to get some fuel. I have to say I was so stressed and almost shaking from thinking death might be waiting for me on every corner, although I knew it was probably not the right attitude! Anyway, when I stopped worrying for a few minutes, I looked around and I have to admit the views from the top were absolutely stunning. I have no photos from that road trip though, it was the last thing on my mind.

We then started descending. Same story – crappy, narrow and winding roads, but at least we were going down. At some point I nearly started enjoying it. And then we reached the main road… after what felt like hours of being really focused and after a sleepless night, I was exhausted and the main road was too much. There was loads of traffic and it was scorching. We had to stop to get some food and rest.

It was a good idea to get some rest and we managed to reach Amed coast. We stayed close to Jemeluk beach and it was such a relief to park a scooter and get up to our room with an amazing view and go for a swim in the pool.

The plan for the next few days was to chill and explore the ocean. Craig arranged some scuba diving and I decided to go for some snorkeling. The first day I just joined the scuba diving group but I soon realised it was much cheaper way to do it. I could just rent a snorkel from one of the many shops along the coast and take my time exploring.

I have to say snorkeling in Amed was an absolute treat. The variety of fish was overwhelming and I even managed to see a lionfish, enjoying its life a few meters below me. Jemeluk beach also had a small underwater temple and there were giant fish around it looking like they were guarding it. I don’t have any underwater photos but I have to say it was spectacular.

I also jumped on the scooter and traveled a bit further down the coast to see a small Japanese ship wreck. It looked pretty cool, but I preferred Jemeluk since you could observe the fish from so much closer. I also did a short ride further down the coast, which was really scenic. You could tell the tourists weren’t seen there very often and when I passed the villages the people there were keen to say hello. It was a beautiful coastal ride.

In the meantime, Craig did quite a few different dives with Amed Jepun Divers and he said it was one of the best companies he ever dived with (and he’s done a lot of diving in the past). Just a recommendation if you’re braver than me and looking to do some scuba diving.

The area we stayed in wasn’t exactly busy, only the bar with a viewpoint of Jemeluk beach was alive before sunset and the rest felt quiet after the sun was down. Perhaps, the combination of peace, colours, sense of freedom and variety of fish were the reasons why I really loved staying in Amed.

Next stop – Nusa Penida.