First of all, save the best for last. That’s what I believed when I sat down to plan this trip. And for the first time after a little while, I followed what was in my itinerary. That’s because I embraced the detour of backpacking Indonesia for 2-weeks with an open mind for change of plans, right? Until there I was, about to confirm this journey and see the dinosaur’s head myself!
I only have 2 days left when I arrived in Nusa Penida. And if by any chance you took the boring way of reading the full story (see link at the bottom of this post) of this journey, you will get the idea that I was having mixed emotions when I stepped foot on this island.
Jerome walked me halfway to the port in Gili Air where the speed boat going to this island was waiting. It felt both happy and sad. Happy because it means me-time for the part of me that is introverted and sad because I am alone again (naturally).
WHERE AND WHAT IS NUSA PENIDA?
Nusa Penida is an island southeast of Indonesia’s famous Bali. It is a boat ride away that will cost you 30 to 45 minutes cruising time. There are regular speed boats that operate daily! That’s pretty much all you needed to know from me.
In my case, I took a fast boat from Gili Air.
WHERE TO STAY
I booked a bungalow in a quiet hill view via AirBnB only because I wanted my last night to be peaceful. The place is Ayu Hill Bungalows and yes, even without that 4.92-star ratings, I highly recommend it to you!
Even though it is located quite far away from the others, nothing in this world can top the breeze of the tropical earth as you wake up to a sunrise view. The place is sparkling clean and the superhost, Made, is marvelously accommodating. His family were incredibly hospitable.
All the people I met in the hostel back in Lombok were saying be careful when driving in Nusa Penida especially on Motorcycle. The visible bruised on their skins are enough for me to believe so I decided to not rent a motorcycle here.
Thankfully, Made the superhost managed to get someone to drive me around for a quick glimpse of what this island can offer. There I met with Wayan, who fetched my sad ass in the port when I arrived, drove me to the bungalows then to Kelingking beach.
I would say that the some of the roads are pretty much alright. It was a hilly island so expect many ups and downs. We passed through some rough roads as well. And please be informed that I only saw some parts of the islands so I’m not the right person to talk about the whole geographic road system of Penida.
We drove for an hour to the South West coast of the island a couple of hours before the sun sets to the horizon. And then there it was, the T-Rex shaped cliff overlooking Kelingking beach with all the shade of blue surrounding it from whichever vantage point you look at. Incredibly breathtaking.
This is one of the famous Instagrammable spot and every backpacker’s destination in the tropical South East Asia. It totally lived up to all the Instagram hype! I was quiet for a moment there trying to not drop my jaw to the ground thinking, “I hella made it!” Amazing is not even enough to describe this place but I would say it’s the best spot in Penida.
One of the things I didn’t expect was the steep hike going down and a lot of walking. Based from the people who went down to the beach, the full hike down takes up between 40 minutes to 60 minutes and I will leave it to you to wonder how many more it will take you going up! In my case I only walked the stair halfway – my regret.
MY ADVICE: Go all the way and don’t come in flipflops/barefoot.
Heading to the East, another picturesque site that can be found is Diamond Beach. It is claimed to fame that this is the most beautiful beach on the island. And from a vantage point of standing on top of a cliff I’ll say it could really be!
(My visit to this place was basically just to see it, eat lunch, and go down a few steps through the stairs carved into the side of the cliff. As much as I loved to go down to the beach, my heavy backpack full of dirty clothes was the antagonist in this story. And this is because it was my last day in Indonesia – wearing my last pair of clean underwear, I was scheduled to take a speed boat back to Bali and fly back to Manila in a few hours.)
As you can see from the photos from the web, this place is famous for its huge diamond-shaped rock formation. Other than that, a long stretch of powdery white sand and bright turquoise water is there to entertain your spirit. I even heard that there are also sightings of Manta Rays and Dolphins!
THINGS I WISH I DID IN NUSA PENIDA
- Spend 3 or 4 more days!
- Go down Kelingking Beach
- Spend a whole day down in Diamond Beach
- Rent a motorcycle on my own for zero worries
- Angel’s Billabong
- See Broken Beach
- Teletubbies Hill
- Pura Goa Giri Putri Cave
- Seganing Falls
- Manta Ray View Point
- Natural pool and forest in Tembeling Beach
I have a lot of regrets because I missed doing a lot of things while I was backpacking Indonesia and even though I went to see the scenic Nusa Penida, not spending more days on this island definitely hurt the most. It was totally a save the best for last moment but it seems to me that the best can only be acquired when you get to experience it fully. For now, I guess I’ll save this paradise island one more time for a more meaningful experience.
So my advice for you, spare at least 3 full days on this island, rent a motorcycle and explore it on your own. You might as well discover places Instagram has never seen before.
And you might as well say, Jurassic Park has never been so real.
Read the full story at: My solo travel to Indonesia: Bali, Lombok and Nusa Penida