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Nusa Penida

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.

The population of around 37,000 is predominantly Hindu, although there is a Muslim community in Toyapakeh. It's an unforgiving area: Nusa Penida was once used as a place of banishment for criminals and other undesirables from the kingdom of Klungkung (now Semarapura), and still has a somewhat sinister reputation. Yet, it's also a centre of rebirth: the iconic Bali starling is being reintroduced here after being thought nearly extinct in the wild. And there's a growing visitor scene near Ped.