Bali was an amazing kaledoscope of traditional and cultural performances and celebrations this weekend – which coincided with Ramadan, Cremation ceremonies and the Olympic games. (Bali and badminton are synonymous and their other entry is in wind surfing, their national pastime.)
During Ramadan, the fasting Muslims do not cook or sell food from their stalls, and hungry tourists must eat fruit or processed snack foods. During this same time, the annual cremation ceremony is held in every village. Families bring the dug-up bones of buried relatives to the open, public crematorium at the village temple and celebrate with parades and offerings the day long.
To escape the crowds and concrete and big ceremonies, I chose to stroll sandy beaches and digitally capture dramatic sunrises and sunsets – and was not disappointed underwater or onshore.
On Nusa Penida, life is good, with plenty of accommodation, attractions and adventures. Divers and snorkellers from every part of the world already know about the ravishing reefs surrounding the isle...”shorely extraordinary.” In Crystal Bay there's a plethora of coral, fishes and underwater creatures in crystal clear water. The other eco dive spots, full of Mola Mola and Mantra Rays, shall remain nameless and secret.
My friend and driver Nyoman Sweta took me to his home village, high in the hills on Nusa Penida. It took us an hour by car and another hour by ferry to get there, then a few 4WD-kilometers on a motorbike. We chose a new budget motel with a restaurant as our base, and elected to go four-wheel driving on a scooter to Crystal Bay in the morning and Monkey Forest Temple in the afternoon. About 25 kms, but because of the poor to non-existent roads and potholes, it felt like a 100 to my posterior!
Visiting villages to observe traditional culture is trendy. Going with an insider for a look at the family farm and making dinner from the garden is tasty.
Could you handle a getaway to Nusa Penida? No ATMs. No nightlife. No Wifi. No cars. No asphalt roads. No stress. There's Some mobile coverage, some TV, some air conditioning, some hot water showers.
Unspoilt, uncrowded, uncommon.. If this suits your pace and style, get there before tourism evolves. See the video.