What can I say about Nusa Penida, other than I spent nine days on this small island. Most people day-trip or spend one or two days and move on. But once we got there something changed. The original plan was to visit everywhere: more of Bali, Lombok, Gili Islands, but we just stayed – and for good reason.
Amazing beaches and adventuring – this island has it all. The slower pace, and less touristy drive make it good for those who want to relax and enjoy what this part of Indonesia has to offer. It was a nice break from Bali – the taxi drivers, traffic, and tourists everywhere. There’s really no peace, unless you’re deep within a local rice field or hidden temple. I don’t think I’ll be going back soon. But Nusa Penida is a different story.
The highlights included many sunsets, slow mornings without any rush, gado-gado (a local vegetarian peanut-sauce dish), paper triangle lunches filled with rice, chicken or fish, and some spices, the many beaches (one completely to ourselves), navigating the hilly – and bumpy – roads (survived in one piece), and our homestay – Pondok Kana – where the hosts were some of the best people we met in Indonesia. I highly recommend staying there, if you can.
You can visit Diamond/Atuh and Suwehan Beach on the north. Kelingking Beach and Temeling Falls on the south. And find your own private beaches in special spots around the island. The drives up the mountain during the day are spectacular. If you come back after watching sunset elsewhere on the island, make sure to stop and look up at the many stars.