Whilst my solo week in Bali was mainly a post-op recoup mission I wouldn’t be me if I travelled somewhere without taking an extra little adventure 😉
I may have temporarily lost my voice but my sprit was still the same and though I was only in Bali for a week, I travelled to a few different places. One of which took me entirely off the mian island itself; an overnight stay on Nusa Penida.
Nusa Penida is an island off the coast of Bali accessible only by boat. It’s a popular tourist destination because of the beautiful landscape and beaches and it’s home to some of the most postcard perfect viewpoints in all of Asia. One of these view points at Diamond Beach and having seen the beauty of this spot captured on so many travel inspo accounts I had to see it for myself and so……..to Nusa I ventured!
With my end mission in mind (to take the exact picture inverted above) I searched on to Booking.com for one night’s stay. The island is quite large so it’s possible to see Diamond beach and more in just one day but I wanted the freedom of travelling overnight in case of bad weather (February is rainy season in Bali). My wonderful friend Tania is currently living in Bali and she decided to join me on the trip. As an experienced scooter rider we planned to rent a bike on arrival so we weren’t too focused about the location, we were on the hunt for somewhere that provided a pretty backdrop for some intended R&R and insta-worthy moments 😉
La Roja Bungalows stood out to me aesthetically and reading positive reviews about the resort I booked one night’s accommodation (including breakfast for two) for £50.
It was super easy to get to the island of Nusa Penida, from Canguu we travelled south of Bali to Sanur with a Gojek (Bali’s equivalent of Uber) and bought open return Ferry tickets for 200,000 IDR (Roughly £12). You can book these cheaper in advance online but we wanted the freedom of showing up at port and just booking the next available boat. It was a difference of a couple of pounds and we thought worth it for us for the freedom 😉 It took 40 minutes to get from coast to coast and then on arrival to Nusa we negotiated a taxi price with a local to the resort.
When we arrived at La Roja Bungalows we were so pleased to see that the resort does in fact look just as delightful as the pictures potray. It’s nestled amongst the chaos of the street and just steps from the beach but despite the location, stepping inside the resort you feel as though you are in your own little ‘tucked away’ haven.
The pool is far larger than I expected and the entire communal space is spacious and clean with authentic and trendy furniture, pretty parasols and gorgeous art pieces.
The rooms, which are all a hut of their very own, are super large with high ceilings and a spacicous basic bathroom. There’s all you need and expect from a 4 star resort with amenities in the bathroom (soap, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and toothbrush kit) and a hair dryer with additional plug socket. The shower was powerful and hot and if you are lucky you may make friends with a gecko whilst you’re washing 😉
There’s a TV, wardrobe and mini bar. Fresh water is also provided and refilled and the bed was great in size and comfort. There’s a small veranda outside each room where you can dry your clothes and enjoy your morning breakfast or a coffee. The breakfast was very limited for a Vegan but that’s so common for Asia. Those without dietary requirements can chose a couple of options from a set menu and then also enjoy fruit & coffee within the inclusive spread.
The beach is just steps away from the hotel which is great for views sake though it’s not somewhere to spend the day or even go for a swim in the ocean for that matter.
Though fabulous in photos in real life it was less of a pretty picture, there’s a heavy collection of abandoned and working boats on the coastline and the stretch of sand is sadly covered in rubbish. It’s a real shame but luckily the pool provides that much needed escape from the heat. Should you just need that moment on the beach though (like I did) it’s nice to have it so close.
As discussed at the beginning of this post the island has so much to offer when it comes to exploring and the water that surrounds it is bountiful with marine life. We purposley set out to see Diamond Beach and other than stopping off to watch the sunset in a cute bar on the way back, that’s all we got up to on the isle!
We rented a bike from the hotel, it was parked right outside so super handy for us to get going immediately. There was no need for us to even fill out a form we just paid 60,000 IDR for the day’s rental, grabbed a couple of helmets and set off! With both of us on one bike I was able to navigate for Tania and it took us close to an hour’s drive to get to Diamond Beach. It was one of the most amazing rides through the palm trees and along the coastline. We had been warned about having two of us on one bike but although there were a few steep hills and windy roads to be careful of it wasn’t a route to be put off by in my opinion.
Diamond beach is incredible, we arrived on a rainy day and the beauty still shone through the grey clouds.
If you, like us, make your own way there be sure to type in ‘Diamond Beach View Point’ into google maps and NOT Diamond Beach itself as you’re looking at a travel distance of 40 minutes to where google reconizes it.
Once up top you can park your bike for free or offer a small donation upon entry. Depending on the time of day you might have to wait your turn for the money shot of standing on the staircase but you’ll all be in the same boat and it’s not a bad place to be queueing!
If you have the strength and agility to walking down to the beach itself is quite sectacular. It’s not for the faint hearted as a lot of the stairs are narrow and steep and without any form of hand support but if you have the balance and/or are happy to take a few breathers along the way you’ll be fine. It’s SO worth it!
These photos are all taken in the blooming rain guys, can you just imagine the beauty of this place in the light of a sunshine fillled day?
The Chill, Penida
That trendy beach bar I mentioned on the way back to the bungalows was called The Chill. We just rode across it and thought it looked cool so stopped off for a nosey, tunred out it was great!
There’s a fabulous vibe here with cool eclectic music playing, chic décor, a small pool and though the beach below was a little grotty like the one in front of the hotel, the view out to the water for the sunset was stunning.
The food was delicious here with so many vegan options which was fab! We had to make a speedy escape as the rainy seasons brings far to many flying friends for dining outside by the beach but this would be somewhere I’d flock back to during summer.
Overall I’m glad we stayed a night on Nusa Penida Island, La Roja Bungalows were great and Diamond Beach was just as I expected, gorgeous!
I wouldn’t have wanted or needed longer on the island though, I was happy to get back on the ferry to Bali the next day 😉