Nusa Penida

Once known as the Siberia of Bali, Nusa Penida was formerly a penitentiary island of banishment for criminals, undesirables, and political agitators fleeing the harsh and unyielding reign of the Gelgel dynasty.

The people have their own 'adat', dances, puppetry, weaving arts, and architecture. The dour and cheerless people of the central plateau live in austere one-room huts built of jagged limestone blocks, surrounded by rustic stables, storage sheds, the family shrine (sanggah), and terraced dry fields.

Most festivals and religious events are devoted to appeasing, deceiving, or exorcising the black-faced demon-king Jero Gede Mecaling and his white-skinned wife Jero Luh. Personified in giant puppets (barong landung), these terrifying deities dance and strut through village streets at festival times. Another popular exorcist dance is sanghyang jaran, held during times of catastrophe in the Sakti area of west Nusa Penida.

Dance costumes, body ornaments, and gestures are less elaborate than on Bali. In Cemulik (near Sakti) and Pelilit (in the southeast), the 'gandrung' is performed on Purnama, Tilem, and Kajeng Kliwon. In this dance two adolescent boys dress as women. The group 'baris gede' dance is staged during 'odalan' at Batunuggul, and the archaic 'baris pati' is performed in graveyards during cremations, and the 'baris jangkang' is occasionally trotted out to welcome officials to Sekartaji.

Nusa Penida's most lucrative export is edible seaweed, grown in submarine pens along the northwest and northeast coasts, off Nusa Lembongan and in the channel between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. After drying on the beach and along the roads the seaweed is exported to Hong Kong for processing into agar, a thickening agent used in cooking, and carrageenan used in cosmetics and in crackers, sauces, condiments, and other food products.

A small-scale fishing industry catches mostly sardines and Bali's largest and most succulent lobsters. On the south coast fishermen descend paths to the sea, where they fish from platforms protruding from the sheer cliff walls.

Road from Batumadeg takes you across a plateau for seven km to Batukandik, which possesses 'male' and 'female' shrines. This unique temple also has a prehistoric stone altar, a heavily eroded woman with enormous breasts supports a stone throne on her head, two roosters standing on her shoulders. The Holy Forest of Sahab hides a temple, said to be the exit of a mythical tunnel connecting Bali with Nusa Penida. The hole apparently starts in Pejeng.

Water Sport
As a dive and snorkeling locale, Nusa Penida is at least as spectacular as Bunaken in North Sulawesi. But it's a long and expensive ride, and, once there, cold, strong, unpredictable swells and currents up to four or more knots make conditions challenging and even hazardous. Not the place for beginners.

No dive operators exist on Nusa Penida so finding a well-organized dive outfit on Bali, a knowledgeable guide with plenty of experience in the area, a reliable craft, skilled boatmen, and a good engine are all necessities. The best dive sites, in the channel between Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan, are close together and you can move to alternate locations as conditions dictate.

Two of the most convenient sites lie off the 'dermaga' east of Toyapekeh. Fish life, particularly pelagic, tuna, jacks, and reef sharks are common; manta rays collect on the southwest end of the island. The variety of coral along the drop-offs and steep slopes is incredibly rich, but because of deep upwelling the water can be uncomfortably cold, dropping to below 19° C during the Balinese winter. Visibility, up to 15 meters, is quite good.

Nusa Penida's weaving style is called 'tenun Bali ikat cagcag', or by the local names 'cepuk' or 'capuk'. Goods are woven by hand on backstrap looms in the plateau villages of Tanglad and Karang. Distinctive blood-red, brown, and yellow traditional cloths with plaid and rough checkered designs are worn by participants in life-cycle ceremonies. The per meter price depends on the quality of the material and the intricacy of the design.

Getting There
Kusamba is a small Muslim fishing village on the southeast coast of Bali, a six-km bemo ride east of Klungkung. Turn in at Jalan Pasir Putih about 1.5 km east of the town of Kusamba and walk 500 meters to Banjar bias, where you'll see small, bullish outboard-powered outriggers taking on cargo. Boats usually leave twice daily, but only when there are enough passengers.

Another departure point, preferred by Nusa Penida residents, is from Kampung Kusamba about 100 meters from the 'pasar'. These motorized outriggers carry passengers to, among other places, Toyapakeh on Nusa Penida. Make sure you're on the right boat. The 10-km passage takes 45 minutes to one hour, depending on the wind and the choppiness of the water. When you arrive in Toyapakeh, there are frequent bemo to Sampalan. Boats must return to Kusamba by 1400.

From Padangbai the charge is the same. Buy your ticket in the 'loket' to the north of the main Lombok ferry ticket office. The first express ferry departs at around 0630, but you have to wait for it to fill up. And you might wait awhile, what with its 45-passenger capacity.

The crossing takes just 30 minutes, docking at Buyuk just east of Toyapakeh. From there you can hop a bemo east into Sampalan. From Jungut Batu on the northwest coast of the neighboring island of Nusa Lembongan, small 'jukung motor' shoots over to Nusa Penida (45 minutes). Landing at the charming fishing village of Toyapakeh.

'Perahu' sail from Sanur to Toyapakeh (25 km, 1.25 hours) very early in the morning. Check out the day cruises offered by Bali International Yacht Club, tel. 62361-288391, in Sanur, Bali Intan Tours and Travel, tel. 62361-752005 or 752985 in Tuban, and many other outfits that visit the south coast of Nusa Penida. The charge includes free transport to the boat, drinks, packed lunch or Indonesian buffet, and fishing and snorkeling equipment.

Getting Around
Roads cover the island. Good roads run from Toyapakeh to Sampalan and on to Karangsari, and from Toyapekeh to Klumpu. The roads from Klumpu to Batumadeg, Tanglad, and Pejukutan are winding and bumpy but asphalted and traversable. Because of the island's rocky, undulating topography, only motorcycles, trucks, or tough canopied bemo can manage the bumpy, dusty roads of the outlying areas.

Bemo run irregularly between the main villages, connecting north coast towns and inland settlements. From Sampalan, 'bemo' begin carrying passengers out to the villages early in the morning, but by the afternoon the terminal is all but empty.

The best way to get around quickly is by motorcycle. As soon as you get off the boat at Buyuk or wander into the Sampalan terminal you'll be approached by motorcycle owners or drivers. You can either drive or be driven. It's cheaper to drive yourself, though the drivers know all the best places, can introduce you to people, and speak better Indonesian.

Expect a per diem price reduction if you take the motorbike for more than a day. Or wait a few days to meet someone, and convince a newfound local friend to drive you around for free (give a 'donation' to his younger siblings afterwards). Make sure your rental agreement makes it clear who pays for gas and oil.

Try to negotiate a free drop-off at your embarkation point back to Bali or Nusa Lembongan. Two good, cautious drivers are recommended: Nyoman Soma Arsana, who can be contacted by telephone through the Kantor Camat (tel. 62366-231.885), and Made Latoni, at Banjar Sental Kawan, Desa Ped.

Getting Away
Take boats to Padangbai (30 minutes) and Sanur (1.25 hours) from Buyuk, one km east of Toyapakeh. Get there by 0700 to buy your ticket at the Departemen Perhubungan office near the pier. Each boat holds about 30 people. If there are enough passengers, a boat sometimes leaves for Padangbai in the afternoon.

From Mentigi Harbor, one km west of Sampalan, hire boats to Banjarbias, then a bemo into Kusamba where other bemo pass by to Amlapura or Klungkung. The Balinese operate an organized transport cartel that fixes all fares to and from Bali-and there's really no way around it if your skin is white. To their credit, most boats offer life-jackets, hard wooden benches, and double 85 hp outboards.

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1 komentar: to “ Nusa Penida

  • Anonymous
    November 20, 2009 at 8:10 PM  

    Nusa Lembongan is one of a small group of islands in addition to Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan who entered the territory of Klungkung regency.Visit for more information .