Chrystal bay in the channel 

Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida is the largest of the 3 islands which are found across the Badung strait on the South of Bali. The Badung strait is known by geologists as the transition zone between Asia and Australasia.

The islands are part of the Klungkung district of Bali, and centuries ago Nusa Penida was used as a penal colony for unwanted and criminal people from this district.
There is one Muslim village at Toyapakeh, but the majority of the island is Hindu.

According to Balinese believe the island is the legendary home of the demon Jero Gede Macaling, the inspiration of the Barong Landung dance, see Barong Dance.

Baris Jangkang dance originated in Nusa Penida

The island has a number of temples dedicated to Jero Gede Macaling and thousands of Balinese visit every year for prayer to please the 'evil' spirits.

Nusa Penida's bottom composition is mainly limestone which drains water and therefore quite barren. The people live form fishing, seaweed farming and growing corn and cassava on the land.
The cycle of seaweed farming is set by two main aspects.
The first is the ebb and flow of the tide; seaweed can only be farmed when the tide is low, so if it needs to be cropped and the low tide is at two in the morning, farmers must work under the light of lamps until dawn.
The second is the duration of the growth cycle, which will vary depending on the type of seaweed.
The fast growing is a brown variant takes 15 days and the slower growing seaweed takes 30 days to harvest.

Seaweed plantations

On the north coast are beautiful white sandy beaches, but you can't really swim because of the seaweed farming. Nusa Penida has old fashioned villages with their own version of weaving, dance and building.
Slowly development is starting on this island, not known to many tourists yet so they prefer to stay on one of the sister islands.
Now you have a couple of home-stays, a hotel, a resort and some restaurants on the island and has a lot to offer.
Rent a bike and take a tour around the island on fairly good roads to enjoy traditional villages and explore the nature of this island.

We can arrange all kinds of accommodation on Nusa Lembongan and now also on Nusa Penida itself!

Dive conditions Nusa Penida

The islands are right in the path of the Indonesian throughflow. Bali and Lombok are divided by The Lombok Strait, the second most important strait where water is exchanged between the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.
The best times to dive is when the tides peak at slack and high tide, when water movement is the least. See also the detailed weather graphs.

Oceanic Sunfish - Mola-mola

During the Southeast monsoons, the tidal flow tends south; during the Northeast monsoons, the tidal flow tends north.
In the area of the strait north of Nusa Penida, the pattern is relatively simple, with a flow, at peak tide, of about three-and-one-half knots.
Tidal streams in Badung Strait occur every 12 hours and are very unpredictable due to the channel's curved shape and because the stream runs under an angel towards the general south to north direction of Lombok Strait.
Therefore most dive sites have often very strong and unpredictable currents and undertows which make this more suitable for experienced divers.

Soft Coral

The water temperature can get as low as 20°C due to up welling currents from the depth, this occurs during the months June-October.
Click here for a detailed map of the water depths around the islands.

The north coast of Nusa Penida contains more Coral, because this area is more protected than the south coast which faces the Indian Ocean.

The diving around Nusa Penida is spectacular and here you can see Manta Rays all year round. They can be found at the South coast at Batu Lumbung, better known as Manta Point, where there are several cleaning stations.
As the Mantas swim close to the cliffs, access is not always easy, especially when the swell is high. Best time to dive here is between November and May (if the weather conditions allow this), although the Mola-mola / Oceanic Sunfish season starts from July until October.

Shark numbers are decreasing at a shocking rate.... What all people, especially divers, should know about the shark population.

Dive sites Nusa Penida

Use the map to jump to the dive site :
Penida dive sites

Sekolah dasar [1] / Ped [2] / Sampalan [3]

These 3 dive sites - stretched over a couple of kilometres - located on the north coast of Nusa Penida, have slopes which are covered with Corals and Sponges, especially beautiful Table corals.
The sites slope down to 30 metres, maybe more, and when the current is strong buckle yourself up for a fast drift dive (when currents are too strong a 'no-no' for beginners).
Visibility is around 20m and more.
These sites are known for sighting of Rays, Tunas, Trevally, Turtles, White and Black-tip reef sharks and if you are lucky, again the Mola-mola (Oceanic Sunfish). On the way to the dive site (2007) we were accompanied by a small family of 6 Dolphins and this happened again in 2012 and this is not a rare event!

jukungs at beach in front of dive sites

Malibu Point - [4]

This is a small site on the east coast of Nusa Penida and has not always the right conditions to dive due to unreliable currents. This is the place to see the big schools of Jacks, Dog-tooth tuna, Sharks and Mantas.

Batu Abah - [5]

These exposed rocks have beautiful hard Corals and is a combination of walls, white sand, bommies and slopes.
Like Malibu Point this is the site to see the big stuff like Sharks, Tuna, big Barracudas and the Mola-mola. For experienced divers only!

Batu Lumbung [6] / Batu Meling [7]

Better known as Manta Point I and II, are two small bays that are a bit protected, with cleaning stations regularly visited by Manta rays. The stations are between 4 and 12 metres deep, but the visibility can be poor!
Manta Ray-Manta birostris First time we saw Manta rays and this is an experience you will not forget!
During our dive (2005) the visibility was so poor that you saw a Manta just dooming up close in front of you, out of nowhere, totally cool. We could approach them quite close and looked how they where getting cleaned by the Wrasses.
Due to the swell so close to the rocky shore this was also the first dive one of us got sea sick under water...
This did not stop us to come back many times to dive Manta Point....with great visibility! Since 2005 the number of dive operators have quadrupled on Nusa Lembongan.
Now (2016) these dive sites have become a major attraction for the dive-operators so unfortunately it can be a bit crowded underwater.