Golden Eggs of Bali
    Category: Forbes Life By : Anton Muhajir Read : 675 Date : Thursday, January 04, 2018 - 15:06:33




    Anggaramahendra for Forbes Indonesia

    The Indonesian government has talked of creating 10 new Balis. It’s almost a cliché to call some place the “next Bali.” Ironically, the “next Bali” may be just next to Bali—specifically, the Penida islands just off Bali’s coast. This group of three islands, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida (the largest of the three) is emerging as a hotspot in Bali’s booming tourism industry.

    As the Lonely Planet website describes Nusa Penida island: “Just beginning to appear on visitor itineraries, Nusa Penida still awaits proper discovery. It’s an untrammeled place that answers the question: what would Bali be like if tourists never came? There are just a handful of formal activities and sights; instead, you go to Nusa Penida to explore and relax, to adapt to the slow rhythm of life here.”

    One of the reasons that the islands remain largely undeveloped, was in part because of their reputation for being unwelcoming “black” islands (see box). That reputation is now changing fast. A better nickname now is Bali’s “golden eggs,” taken from a comment made by former Bali governor Dewa Made Beratha several years ago, a reference to the fact that islands look like small “eggs” laid by the larger Bali, but also due to the tourism potential of the islands.

    Being so close to Bali, with Nusa Lembongan about half an hour by fast boat, and around 45 minutes to Nusa Penida, it is natural that tourism would eventually find its way to these islands. The Wikitravel entry for Nusa Lembongan, for example, declares: “Quickly becoming one of Bali’s most popular attractions, this island paradise is a world away from the hassle and hectic pace of South Bali.”

    The islands are part of the Klungkung district in Bali, whose regent I Nyoman Suwirta has been actively trying to promote the islands. “Nusa Penida is the most popular tourism place in Klungkung district, so we put more attention and focus to develop Nusa Penida as our main tourism destination,” says Suwirta.

    To that end, he introduced the Nusa Penida Festival in 2014 to promote the islands. The event has since grown into one of the largest held annually on Bali. The 2017 event was held over four days last December on both Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan. The festival, subtitled “Blue Paradise Island,” included surfing competitions, cultural performances and live musical performances, and even an underwater event, where scuba divers replanted coral to help restore the reefs.

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