Nusa Penida Solo Exploration: Atuh or Kelingking Beach, Which One?

If you’re an avid traveller, what sort of travel destination that attract you the most? Cityscape? Or, nature? Mountain or beach? As for me, I’m always attracted to nature. Mountain or beach, it’s still way more enjoyable than being stuck in the city.

Last March, when I was in Bali, I took an impulsive day trip to Nusa Penida. Never been there before, never took a solo boat ride, didn’t know what’s the recommended place to rent a bike there. I woke up quite early one morning, and I just left to Sanur beach, riding a rented motorbike.

There were plenty of booths selling boats ticket to Gili Trawangan, Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan – I’ve been to the later one, it was a much smaller island and very beautiful. It was not even 9 am and the beach was packed with probably thousands of tourists, you can find almost every race on earth (I’m not exaggerating) waiting for their boats.

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Spot the logo to find the booth that I mentioned below.

I picked one stall randomly, the name was El Rey Junior. They charged a one way tricky for IDR 100k, and their last boat from Nusa Penida was on 5pm. The boat ride to Nusa Penida took about 45 minutes. It was a fun ride for me, sitting on the very front seat, with an occasional water splash from the ocean slapping my cheek, keeping me awake.

First thing I did when we finally arrived at Nusa Penida was finding a place to rent a motorcycle. I found one very quickly, because apparently El Rey also provides motor-renting service, only IDR 75k for 12 hours. I filled up the gas, and began my adventure.

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Crowded

Nusa Penida is always famous with the T-rex shaped Kelingking Beach. It was so near, about 20 minutes away from the port. But the day before, some locals told me that I must go and check out the hidden Atuh Beach, which was about 1 hour and 15 minutes ride from the port. Not many tourists are aware about the existence of Atuh, so the beautiful beach will most likely to be less-crowded.

The motor-cycle ride was fun. Beyond fun. I passed a village where the locals were officiating a traditional Balinese ceremony. I passed through a forrest and a long line of beaches. It was all fun, until my destination got nearer, and suddenly I lost my GPS connection. All I could relied on was these mini signages (I guess, the local made it to help out tourists from getting lost) that made quite a helpful trail of bread crumbs.

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The road to Atuh.
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And another one.
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Aaandd another one.

 

The road to Atuh Beach was surprisingly only increase in level, I started to think that the beach was actually located on a hill. But it was not. At one corner, after spending half an hour (which felt like hours) I finally spotted the glimmering beauty of Atuh Beach from a bird view.

Upon seeing that breath-taking view, even if it was just a sneak preview, I quickly understood what people meant when they said that Atuh Beach is Nusa Penida’s  divine hidden-gem. Pinky sands and turquoise water welcomed my arrival. The only thing I wasn’t so psyched about the beach was the unaccountable steps I had to go through. Going down through that so many steps was already painful, I couldn’t imagine going back up when I’m done enjoying this beauty.

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The sneak preview.

There was only me, a little family, and a group of Korean (or maybe Japanese, I can’t tell the difference) tourists, enjoying the soothing waves of Atuh Beach. How I wish time that time could be stopped so I could extend this moment. Sadly, goodbye was inevitable. I still had more beaches to explore.

I climbed the stairs back to the parking lot drenching in sweat because the sun was right above my head. I had to open my tanks and covered my head from its scorching heat. The moment I got to the very last stair, I almost vomited haha. Head was dizzy, and all I knew was that I needed to fill my tummy.

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Before going down to the beach.

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I thought I could wait until I got to Kelingking Beach to grab a lunch. But, it was already past lunch hour, and my tummy was groaning. Plus, the heat was starting to feel a little bit unbearable. The moment I saw a comfy coffee shop, I stopped by and had my lunch. Plus, I even ordered coke just to cool down. If you know me, I don’t drink soda, particularly coke. But, this one was definitely exceptional.

Once I finished my lunch and drank my last gulp of “once-in-a-million-year” coke, it was already past 2pm. I had to hurry. Because, according to Google Maps, Kelingking Beach was about 30 minutes away. Another 30 – 40 minutes ride from the beach to the port. I had to be back, at least, by 4.30. Because the boat sailed at 5pm. If you’re not really into mathematic, you can actually skipped this whole paragraph haha.

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Hello, Mr. T-Rex!
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Beautiful.

Anyways, the ride to Kelingking Beach was also another enjoyable ride. The moment I got there, plenty of tourists were chilling, having beers or fresh coconut, and of course taking photos. Kelingking Beach was pretty similar to Atuh, but somehow Atuh had this more intimate, private and exclusive vibe. As an introvert, Atuh is more suitable for me.

The beach was so enchanting, especially because the golden hour was already started. But, seeing the endless stairs to get to the bottom of the beach immediately shut off my excitement. I haven’t fully recovered from climbing all the staircases at Atuh, my whole body wouldn’t let me re-experiencing it in less than 24 hours.

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Thank you for a random girl who helped me capture this photo.

So I had to be content staring at the waves and enjoying the breeze from far above before going back to the port. The ride back to the port was another story. I rushed back to the port feeling over-worried that the boat would sail without me. I got a little bit caught up with Kelingking Beach’s beauty and lost the track of time. Gratefully, the ship was delayed for another 30 minutes.

Overall, the impulsive solo trip to Nusa Penida was definitely remarkable. I would surely go back to explore more beaches. Probably even stay on the island for one night.

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Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

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