NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART

hellobali - - ONSHORE - DEISHA TA­MAR

Ifirst heard of NEW­bali a few months ago when a friend of mine posted a pic­ture of her­self in front of a gor­geous wa­ter­fall. When I asked her where this was she sim­ply said it was at Se­cret Gar­den, and that I would have to join a tour com­pany called NEW­bali to find out more.

Fast for­ward to a few months later, and I was mak­ing my way to Sa­nur har­bour at 8am in the morn­ing to cross over to Nusa Penida for a once-in-a-life­time ex­pe­ri­ence. I was go­ing beach camp­ing, hosted by the NEW­Bali crew.

NEW­bali it­self is a three-yearold tour com­pany that of­fers ex­cit­ing tours to off-the-beat­en­path des­ti­na­tions in Bali. The name NEW­bali stands for North, East and West Bali, in case you’re won­der­ing.

DAY 1

Let me first warn you that this ad­ven­ture is prob­a­bly not for the faint of heart or those with a fear of heights. Hav­ing said that, I en­cour­age any­one to go on this ad­ven­ture, be­cause nowhere else will you find views as ma­jes­tic as those of­fered by NEW­bali on Nusa Penida.

I was trav­el­ling with eight other peo­ple on this one-night camp­ing ex­pe­di­tion, which was hosted by NEW­bali owner and founder, Martin Tirta, along with an­other friendly and en­er­getic host, Mario Adri­an­syah.

We left Sa­nur har­bour on a fast boat at 9am and ar­rived an hour later at Toy­a­pakeh har­bour on the quiet Nusa Penida – nusa trans­lates to is­land. Com­pared to its sis­ter is­land of Nusa Lem­bon­gan, Penida is less touristy and not as de­vel­oped. It’s per­fect for those wish­ing for a quiet and ru­ral get­away, a place where cell­phone re­cep­tion is hard to find.

Ar­riv­ing on Penida, we were taken to Warung Pon­dok at Jalan Raya Ped, a charm­ing semi al fresco warung right by the beach. First on our list of ad­ven­tures was snorkelling. Most of the peo­ple on Penida make a liv­ing from sea­weed farm­ing, and it took an ef­fort to swim past the sea­weed farm – jump­ing in and swim­ming over nets – to make it to deeper wa­ter and fi­nally be able to see colour­ful fish and beau­ti­ful co­rals.

Af­ter about 30 min­utes of play­ing around with Nemo and Dory, I got back to the shore for a quick brunch. At about 12pm, we started mov­ing to our first at­trac­tion, Guyan­gan Nat­u­ral Pool.

I fell asleep dur­ing the 45-minute ride to Guyan­gan, only to find my­self hav­ing to go down lots of flights of stairs once I woke up. The nat­u­ral pool site is a hid­den gem that only lo­cals know of.

But those stairs were con­ve­niently perched right on the wall of a cliff. Some have only small steps and look very crooked, ready to fall off at any time.

Af­ter about 30 min­utes mak­ing our way down, we fi­nally ar­rived at the gor­geous nat­u­ral pool at the bot­tom of the cliff. There’s also a small pura (Ba­li­nese Hindu tem­ple) near the pool. Ac­cord­ing to Martin, the lo­cals pump fresh wa­ter from this source into their homes.

It was def­i­nitely re­fresh­ing to just chill in our own “pri­vate” la­goon while en­joy­ing a breath­tak­ing ocean view, al­though after­ward we had to climb all the way back up, and move for­ward to the camp­ing ground.

DAY 1.5-2

Five hun­dred steps later we made it to the top. My friend and I were al­most zom­bie-like with ex­haus­tion when we caught up with the other guests wait­ing pa­tiently for us. It took an­other 45 min­utes by car to get to the camp­ing ground, which was at Atuh Beach in Pe­juku­tan.

When I thought we were done with stairs, I dis­cov­ered that reach­ing the camp­ing spot re­quired go­ing down more steep steps. How­ever, the view from the cliff top was sim­ply mag­nif­i­cent. I could see a white sandy cove on one side and the vast blue ocean on the other.

The team from NEW­bali was set­ting up our tents as we fi­nally got to the beach. All the sweat and tears fi­nally paid off when we took a quick dip in the ocean af­ter a long day.

Two hours later the sun set and it was fi­nally time for a tra­di­tional In­done­sian din­ner made by the lo­cals, who are part­ners of NEW­bali. Martin ex­plained that the com­pany builds and main­tains a re­la­tion­ship with the lo­cal peo­ple.

Af­ter din­ner, the group sat around the bon­fire and en­joyed live mu­sic en­ter­tain­ment pro­vided by the lo­cal Penida young­sters, jam­ming along to top 40 songs. At about 9pm ev­ery­one called it a day and re­treated to their tents.

The ad­ven­ture didn’t stop there though. The high winds shook our tents all night, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for us to get a good night’s sleep.

The next day we woke up to a fresh sea breeze and got ready to leave by 9am. Af­ter tak­ing down our tents, we climbed the aw­fully steep stairs, which I have to ad­mit it weren’t as tir­ing as the ones to Guyan­gan.

We ar­rived back at Warung Pon­dok at 11am, and we re­laxed and had lunch be­fore tak­ing the boat back to Sa­nur and bid­ding farewell to the adrenaline rush of our Nusa Penida camp­ing ex­hi­bi­tion. All thanks to NEW­bali team.

OTHER AD­VEN­TURES

NEW­bali of­fers other ad­ven­tures such as hik­ing to Ijen Crater in Java, snorkelling in Amed, a Se­cret Gar­den ex­cur­sion and wa­ter­fall jump right here in Bali, and a rice field jour­ney. I was told that next year, they’re plan­ning to of­fer trips out­side of Bali and Java. More in­for­ma­tion and book­ing de­tails are avail­able on­line at new­bali.info or con­tact@new­bali.info.

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