Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Cycling In Indonesia Bali 2018 Days 6-7: Nusa Penida - Of Cave Temples & Diamond Beaches

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Cycling In Indonesia Bali 2018 Days 6 & 7: Nusa Penida - Of Cave Temples & Diamond Beaches
Bali, Indonesia: Monday & Tuesday, 26th & 27th November 2018
This is part of a multi-mode tour Bali & Nusa Penida:
Day 6 Route at Nusa Penida:
Motorbiking Distance (At Nusa Penida): 56 km.     |     Level: Medium even for motorcycles.
Motorbiking Time : 8:45am to 4:45pm
Motorbiking Time Taken : 8 hours (including stops for breakfast, lunch, visiting temple, swimming at beach, treking down to beach, and lots of photo opps).
Day 7 Route:
Speedboat Ride from Sampalan Port To Sanur Port: approx. 45minutes.

This is page 6 of a 6-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
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Route Recommendations :
1. Traffic Directions!
    Traffic in Indonesia, is right-hand drive, so cycle on the left. Same thing applies when crossing the road, take note of the direction in which traffic is approaching from!
    
2. Route & Traffic Conditions  
    At Nusa Penida, the roads between the towns are okay, but the roads leading to the outlying beaches can be full of pot-holes or even untarred. These roads can be very rough even for driving, and it is advisable to rent a motor-bike to get around, good motor-cycling experience will come in handy. Cycling is possible at towns but would definitely be difficult on the untarred roads which can be rough and steeps at certain sections.
     We took a Grab Taxi from Kuta to Sanur Port at a fare of IDR73k as they are cheaper than the commercial taxis. There is an additional charge of IDR5k for cars entry into Sanur Port. Do note that the commercial taxis are rather monopolistic and have the Grab Taxi drop one a bit away from the boat piers. If one has ordered a Grab Taxi to return to Kuta, tell anyone who asked that it's a pick-up sent by the tour agency to avoid any conflict.

3. Weather
     Bali & Nusa Penida during end November can get quite hot, with temperatures averaging 31°C and 25°C for day and night respectively, so do re-hydrate regularly. Do expect some rain during this time too.
     Useful weather forecast sites for the Indonesia is AccuWeather. For more detailed weather, including cloud cover and wind speed, use Weatherspark and Ventusky.

4. Boats Fare - Nusa Penida To Bali
     Several companies operate fast speed boat (travel time about 45 minutes) between Bali & Nusa Penida. There are several options:
     - from 
Sanur Port (GPS: -8.7069, 115.2627) in Bali to Sampalan Port (GPS: -8.67205, 115.55893) in Nusa Penida. It is better to pre-book the boat tickets and this can be done through this website: Sky Penida. Return fare per pax was IDR300k. Show the booking receipt to the respective operator (in our case Idola Express) and they will issue the actual tickets, one for each way together with collar tags. Do not lose the return ticket.
     - from Sanur Port to Tayopakeh Port (GPS: -8.68165, 115.48756). Click here for booking website.
     - For the more adventurous, there are public slow boats from Bali to Nusa Penidaclick here for the link.
     Tips on riding the speed boats:
     - At Sanur Port, there are no boat piers and one would have to wade in the water to get to the boats, so wear shorts and keep your electronic stuff in water-proof bags. At Sampalan Port, the boat will dock at a proper pier.
     - The speed boats have two levels, the covered upper deck has better view but cannot seat only about ten. One can also sit at the uncovered front of the boat at the upper deck, but do note that getting up is via a external side ladder from the lower deck to the upper deck, AND once the boat moves one cannot climb down the ladder as it is dangerous. OR one can't get back from the uncovered front of the boat to the covered upper deck - I sat at the front and was exposed to the sun for the whole of the 45 minutes ride duration ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜‚.

5. Motorcycle Rentals At Nusa Penida
     Upon arrival at Sampalan Port, many touts will approach tourists to rent motorbikes as this is the favourite way to get around the island. Do not be pressurized by these touts as they may not give the best pricing.
     We rented a motor-cycle from a Mr. Wayan (Phone: +62-0821-4752-4841) of OKA SUKA MOTOR who has a nearby yard of Honda Scoopy for rental at IDR70k per day (24hours). They came with full tank of petrol, but on return one has to fill up the tanks too.
     As there were three of us, we rented one bike for two of us and had Mr. Wayan fetch the other to Manik House at IDR30k. For short distances for meals, three of us fitted on one bike ๐Ÿ˜ƒ. The locals are very straight-forward & trustworthy, there was no need for us to pay a deposit or leave a passport behind as collateral. 
     For later touring of two of us went on one bike, and we hired a motor-cycle with a guide at IDR250k per day with our third riding pillion with the guide. Mr. Gebe of Manik House arrange for the motor-cyclist guide for us.

6. Places of Interests
    Along the route at Nusa Penida were several places of interests, some of which we visited, and others we did not for lack of time:
- Goa Giri Putri Cave Temple (GPS: -8.70895, 115.58611). Note: There is a need to wear proper clothing cover one's legs before entering temples. We brought along our own sarongs for this purpose.
- Diamond Beach (GPS: -8.77569, 115.61928).
- Atuh Beach (GPS: -8.77569, 115.61928).
Atuh Beach Temple (GPS: -8.77343, 115.62065).
- Suana Point Beach (GPS: -8.72729, 115.59948).
Pura Desa Segara Kukuh Temple (GPS: -8.68173, 115.4885).
Toya Pakeh Beach / Harbour (GPS: -8.68163, 115.48727).
Toyapakeh Market (GPS: -8.68221, 115.48836).
Sampalan Port (Pelabuhan Tradisional Sampalan) (GPS: -8.67205, 115.55893) has very clear water. (Note: Diamond Beach & Atuh Beach needs walking down some steep cliffs to get to, and there are parking charges.)
- Krisna Duty-free Mall (GPS: -8.74210, 115.17823at Kuta.

7. Food
Although Nusa Penida is an island, seafood is hard to come by. Most shops serve chicken dishes, other meats are seldom served.
Day 6:
Breakfast: Noodles Soup & Fried Rice at Dapur Kue Hamzah (GPS: -8.68088, 115.48876).
Lunch: Fried Rice & Fried Noodles Warung Kubu (GPS: -8.77597, 115.6144) near Atuh Beach.
Dinner: Rice with dishes at The Krusty Krab Penida (GPS: -8.67439, 115.49244).
Day 7:
Brunch: Fried noodles at Warung Sisin Pasih (GPS:-8.68209, 115.48745 ) at Toya Pakeh Beach.
Dinner: Babi Guling with Pork Cracklings at Warung Sari (GPS: -8.73446, 115.16726), a side lane stall in Kuta.
Supper: Nasi timbel from road-side stall in Kuta.

8. Accommodations
Day 6:
Accommodations in Nusa Penida were two rooms at Manik House (GPS: -8.67667, 115.49385near Tayopakeh.
Rate: IDR470k per twin sharing room for two nights.
Address: Jl. Pendidikan, Ped, Nusapenida, Kabupaten Klungkung, Bali 80771, Indonesia.
Phone: +62 817-9791-217 / +62 823-3963-1263
Day 7: 
Accommodations in Kuta were two rooms at Swandewi Homestay (GPS: -8.73452, 115.16628) prices per twin-sharing room per night were at IDR170k (Gr. Flr) & IDR150k (1st Flr)
Address: Jl. Kartika Plaza, Samudra Lane, Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali 80361, Indonesia.
Phone: +62 878-6137-7983

9. Communicating with Each Other
    When travelling in a group it's important to be able to communicate with each other, especially if one got lost from the rest. There are booths selling these just after exiting the arrival hall of Bali (Ngurah Rai) Airport. We opted for Telkomsel's at it provides the best coverage even at many of the remote areas of Nusa Penida, and got their Simpati prepaid sim cards with 10GB of data valid of 30 days at 250k rupiahs. 3G internet is available in the more populated areas but can drop to the slower GPRS or even Edge in remote areas.
    Most hotels, motels, home-stays, restaurants, and airports have free Wifi; do note that these free wifi may not be secure and registration could be required. But one can safe on one's mobile data by using these especially for uploading or downloading videos.

10. Communicating with Locals
    As Bali, is a favorite tourist destinations, many locals speak fairly good English. At the smaller towns, locals speak some rudimentary English. The older generation speak very little English, so knowing some basic Bahasa Indonesia (or even better - Balinese language) will come in handy and also warm one up to the locals.
    
11. Navigation
    We used Google Maps in Driving Mode for navigation but there is a lag when starting off, so one would have to cycle a bit to get the orientation right. Google Maps is also useful as it shows updated places of interests that may not be shown on GPS units.
    Alternatively, download the MAPS.ME app together with the relevant country maps. This app can be used offline.
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PRELUDE

A day earlier we had arrived to the charms of a beautiful Nusa Penida; an island with humble, charming locals and great scenic green hills and panoramic beaches with crystal clear bright blue waters. We had left our bicycles behind and rode motorcycles to explore the rugged west side of the island. Today, we go the other direction to see what the east side  of Nusa Penida has to offer.
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THE ROUTE


This above is a motorcycling route of the east side of Nusa Penida. It is one goes on rough roads leading to a reward of beautiful hidden beaches. Zoom out to see the route from Sanur Port to Kuta.
Motorbiking Distance (At Nusa Penida): 56 km.     |     Level: Medium even for motorcycles, as certain stretches of roads leading to Diamond Beach were rough.


That's the three of us, squeezing onto a motor-bike. This was not how we got around the island, it's just for short trips out for meals. Yesterday, we went to the west side of the Nusa Penida on two bikes - Fenn & me on this bike, with Anne on another bike rode by Gede, our home-stay, host who had the time to guide us around. Today Gede was busy and he got a friend called Ketut to "chauffeur" Anne and guide us to the east side of the island.

8:45am - We started the day by riding to Toyapakeh town to visit their wet market. It was the start of our day, but it was almost the end of market day and most of the stalls were closing up, so we did not get to see much. We adjourned for a breakfast of noodles soup & fried rice at Dapur Kue Hamzah. As mentioned earlier, surprisingly the island don't have much choices in terms of food, there is not much seafood around and most dishes are chicken dishes; so I won't be posting much foodie photos here.

From Toyapakeh it's a fifteen kilometre ride to Goa Giri Putri Temple; fortunately the coastal road leading to the temple was smooth one and it took us only thirty minutes to reach the temple which sits on the side of a hill.
As a sign of respect, it is good protocol to wear proper clothing and have one's legs covered up. We wore the sarongs the we had brought along and climb up the short stairs leading to the entry shrine of the temple. There a temple helper blessed us with holy water to cleanse us spiritually before we enter.

Just past the shrine, access to the temple proper is through a small opening between rocks!

It's through that opening and down several natural rocky steps.....

..... that leads to a small "foyer" cavern. Then with a bit of crouching walk below low overhanging ceiling..... and .....

..... and we are into a long cave which is fairly wide and about 4-7 metres high. The floor of the the cavern is earth but there is a paved central pathway to walk on. At times it looks like the cavern split into two, but actually to sides were lit up sections highlighting a shrine or an ancient cave drawing.

Along the way were several Hindu shrines and altars. Most were well lit up and offerings had been made to the gods and deities.

Although it was a weekday, some of the shrines already had devotees congregated in prayers, so one can imagine the larger crowd here on a weekend.

I linger on, taking photos of the shrines, the devotees; and once in a while stray of the paved pathway to look at the cave drawings. Ahead, my buddies seemed to have reached a split in the cavern.

There was indeed a side stairway that led up to another shrine. We wanted to go up, but for today there was some religious ceremony being celebrated and the shrine was only opened to devotees.

At the far end of the cave, just before the exit, was an interesting shrine. Instead of the sober colours, this one was decorated in red and bright orange. It's a Buddhist shrine in a Hindu temple! At the altars were statues of Buddha and Guanyin and to one side devotees, dressed in white and wearing Udengs, were praying. Their dressing were the similar to those of the Hindu devotees.

We lined up in a queue to receive blessings from the Buddhist priest. When it came to Fenn's turn, the priest said some prayers, dot her forehead with a bindi. He then had a helper stand behind Fenn, said some more prayers (which got her into a light trance) gave her a slight push and she fell backwards to be caught by the helper. She had been "slain in the spirit" while in the trance.

After being blessed, each of us had a coloured string tied to our right wrists. This is the practice in most Buddhist temples, and each temple have a distinct colour string. Anne found this out a week later, when back home she met a European man in Kuala Lumpur wearing the same coloured string; he was a this temple just a day before us. Talk about coincidences!

Just outside the temple after our blessings; each of us with a "bindi" on our forehead.

11:50am - We head further east on a 13-km journey that will take us to some hidden beaches on the east coast. The route hugged the coast for 3-km and just after Suana Point Beach it headed inland cutting through the hills along undulating winding roads. Unlike the previous days, fortunately the roads here had just been repaved and it was a much smoother ride....

.... only several short sections had pot-holes.

12:30pm - Luch stop at Warung Kubu. Can't say much about the food but there is a lack of choice as there were not many food stalls here. It's a cozy place but is located next to some farmland so there were lots of flies flying around and half the time we were swatting the flies away from our food!

Ahead the road slopes down slightly and to our left was Atuh Beach.

Almost at the far end was the motor-bike parking with a signboard welcoming visitors to Atuh Beach.

Beyond the road, hiking trails lead downwards, on the left is Atuh Beach filled with hutted restaurants and shady parasols....

..... But Ketut took us on a right trail which led to another beach, a shorter, quieter and more secluded beach called Diamond Beach on account of two diamond-shaped islands guarding it's left and right. Looking down, the sea water was crystal clear bright blue with rolling waves coming in to break against the white sandy beach.

The way down were steps carved into a steep cliff side. Ketut mentioned that it was newly hacked out from the cliff and that we were one of the first visitors to Diamond Beach.
The way down looked steep, with a roped handrail on the left outer side... look safe enough?

... but it DID LOOK SCARY!
It's narrow and turned around tight corners... Ann a bit stumped and scratching her head wondering how to proceed ๐Ÿ˜•!

I took a chance and stepped near the outer edge to look down the sheer cliff; it's a beautiful rocky coast below... but vertigo sets in and a bit dizzy I quickly pulled myself back in.

Almost at the bottom, there was a stretch with no railings. Ann found it prudent to sit down and inched here way down step by step!
Better to be safe than sorry!

Our reward: a white sandy beach, with blue waves slowly rolling in to break into a white.
Ann, enjoying her reward, flying her wrap-round sarong in a modeling pose.

Fenn playing in the wet sand and waves .....

..... and me shouting out in joy, trying to be heard above the crashing waves.
We're so lucky. It was like a private beach; together with some other visitors and local lads there we just about ten of us on Diamond Beach. It was a real find.... a diamond of a find!

Ecstasy time was over, and it was time to climb up that steep slope. But this time we took it on more heartily, having enjoyed what it took us down to.

At the top, we looked at Atuh Beach again. Just behind it was a the Atuh Beach Temple, sitting serenely behind that busy beach.

In the evening, dinner was at The Krusty Krab Penida. Food was better but still not something to shout about. So here's a cheery poster of Krusty Krab with SpongeBob SquarePants and the rest of the gang.
_________________________________________________________________________

The following morning, we had no plans of where to go and rode out to Toya Pakeh Beach .....
AND GOT STUCK THERE!
Just became beach bums lazing in the sun the whole morning .....


... doing Butterfly jumps .....


..... eating brunch and idly watching local life pass us by.


11:30am - It's time to say Goodbye to Manik House and Nusa Penida. With Anne riding pillion on Gede's bike, and Fenn & me on the other bike we rode off for back to Sampalan Port. Nope, we did not ride three to a bike, it was too far too risk it.


Back at Sampalan, our motor=bike renter Wayan was getting a bit worried. He had called me, but riding in the wind I had not heard his call, and we had told him we would be taking the 1:00pm Idola speed-boat back to Bali. That's the thing about the Balinese, they are so trustworthy - he had rented the bike to us without taking any deposit or taking our passport details. Boy, was he glad to see us!
Anyway this time round, all of us decided to sit up on the roof, and like monkeys we climbed up the side ladders.


A CARTOON view from the top. I was fiddling with the various photo capture mode of my camera... this cartoon style one with accentuated colours came out quite well.


2:00pm - On arriving at Sanur Port we took a short walk to Jalan Kusuma Sari, away from the ferry jetties and called for a Grab Taxi. We did this instead of getting the Grab to pick us up at the ferry jetties so as to avoid any friction with the conventional taxis.
Back in Kuta, we checked into two rooms at Swandewi Homestay. After freshening up, the girls got another Grab to go shopping at the Krisna Duty-free Mall. I was still in a lazy beach bum mood, idled around at the room a while before going out to do a bit of shopping a the nearby shops.
While many of my buddies had got this round rattan hand-bag while at Sukawati Art Market in Ubud, I missed out on that as I was busy admiring the artwork there. I got mine in Kuta but at a slightly higher price.


With all the extra luggage from the shopping, we decided not to cycle to the airport and packed our bikes into one Dimpa bag and the shopping into the spare Dimpa ..... called for a Grab ..... AND IT WAS

GOODBYE BALI!
WE WILL BE BACK AGAIN FOR MORE ADVENTURES!

Matur suksma!
(That's Thank you in Balinese)

(For more photos of day 6, Click Here)
(For more photos of day 7, Click Here)
This is page 6 of a 6-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
 Go to D5 Penida 1            |         Go to Other Days       |     Go to Bikes On Planes >

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