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Nusa Penida Island is located on the Southeastern side of Bali and is an island of rugged beauty, spiritual myth and folk law providing an arresting sense of adventure for its visitors. Part of the charm here for trippers to the island is that it is without modern tourist facilities. This is a destination for those who like to get off the beaten track, trek and experience the hospitality of a friendly local population.
Covering an area of 200 square kilometers, Nusa Penida is the largest of three islands resting just a few kilometers from the Sanur beach line. Facilities here are basic but restaurants offer good local dishes and fresh seafood is always on the menu. Basic local homestays are available for accommodation on the island. Getting about is either with the use of a hired motorbike, on foot or local bemo. There are however some visually interesting walks or rides on dirt tracks to be made through the 500-meter rise of the island. The locals here are tourist friendly and visitors will be charmed by smiles and greetings. Moving about the island visitors will come across small fishing villages populated by seaweed farmers working off pristine beaches. Nusa Penida can be reached by boat from Sanur, Benoa Harbor, Padang Bai or the easterly third of the three islands, Nusa Lembongan. There are no flights to Nusa Penida.
There are several excellent diving sites just off the island and the area has been acknowledged as a premier world diving destination. Hundreds of coral reefs and fish species inhabit the sea around Nusa Penida and recommended dive sites include Crystal Bay, Toyapakeh and Sanur Bay named from the island side as Malibu Point. For snorkeling enthusiasts both Toyapakeh and Crystal Bay are free of strong currents.
Nusa Penida, along with Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan are collectively designated as a bird sanctuary. Back in 2006 a group of 35 local villages under the wing of Friends of the National Park Foundation (FNPF) pledged to observe and enforce the ‘awig-awig’ regulations protecting island bird life. It was here that the endangered Bali Starling was introduced with hopes of saving the species from extinction.
There are several ancient historical sights around the island and traditional Balinese Temples indicate the spiritual folk law of Nusa Panida that is unique to the island. On Bali it is believed that the people of Nusa Penida have strong spiritual powers. There is also a cave where a Buddhist temple was established in the ancient past.
Visitors to Bali should not miss the opportunity to visit Nusa Penida, the island of spirits good and bad. Those viewing the island from Sanur Beach will feel the mysterious and beckoning pulses of Nusa Penida.