How long to walk from Crystal Bay to Broken Beach ?
Each time I was asking how long it would take to walk from Crystal Bay to Broken Beach I was getting a different answers. Some told me two hours, others an hour. Two hours to go, because you get lost and an hour to return because then you know the way back. Two hours with children, one hour without. In short, nothing completely conclusive. I knew the starting point, the stairs at the end of Crystal Bay beach. And the end point, Broken Beach. But between the two, not a clue. And none of Sakti local people to whom I asked had ever tried !
So one day I was looking for something nice to do in Nusa Penida and I decided to go for the adventure. Departure around 3:30 p.m. to aim to return before dark. But big mistake, I did not take proper shoes and I left home in flip-flops…
The hike from Crystal Bay to Broken Beach
The starting point is very clear. You climb the steps that leave from the left of Crystal Bay beach to go to Padang Beach. A nice warm-up. You climb the staircase up to the he small hill and down to Pandan Beach. Up there you can see red arrows which seem to mark out a long-distance hike. And I candidly thought it would be a piece of cake to follow the red marks until Broken Beach.
After 20 minutes of climbing up and then down the concrete steps you reach Pandan Beach And then starts the first difficulty. Where’s is the path ?
I ask a young woman at the end of the beach who tells me that her Ukrainian husband and son have climbed the next hill. I meet them mid way while they are climbing down from the top of the hill. The son is a dozen years old, but he’s obviously already trained for commandos. I ask them how long it takes to reach the top, and they answer 7 minutes. I understand that it will not be so easy (especially in flip flops).
When you reach the top, no more red arrows, nor any sort of path. I follow my instinct and end up crossing cows, then a path that goes down to a second valley.
When, opportunistically, I cheat a little bit
I continue the path and I come across local people who collect wood. They ask me what I am doing there and where I am going. One of them laughs saying that this is the way. And that I can even reach Kelingking and Temeling if I walk further. Obviously he feels sorry for me and he takes me by the hand. Literally. He drives me on the trail and takes me to the small road where he parked his scooter. And don’t let go of my hand until his son arrives. I can’t say no, his son is going to drive me on a scooter to Angel’s Billabong. That’s how one hour after leaving Crystal Bay I reach Angel’s Billabong. Along the way we come across tourists on scooters. Their face express pure pain. Because now they know that the road to go back to their place is a nightmare.
Reaching Broken Beach
Angel’s Billabong in the late afternoon is in the shade, it may not be the best time to go. But Broken Beach remains enlightened. And extremely rare fact, there is no one left. It brings me two years back, when there were no tourist on the island.
The shops are still open, it’s time to regain strength with a coconut and some fried bananas.
Walking back from Broken Beach to Crystal Bay
Google Map is my friend. At least he tells me where I am on the map of Nusa Penida. The start is quite easy. You walk along the cliffs, the views are superb. The terrain is flat and there is even a small path. I cross a good distance in 15 minutes, I meet cows again and everything is fine.
Then it gets a bit tricky
Trails generally lead to the sea. They have been traced by anglers but are most often dead ends. So you try each one … The only advice I can give, if you don’t have a guide, is to target Pura Poh Gading Temple. It is not particularly beautiful but it is on the right path to walk back to Crystal Bay.
I ran into another local who waved at me and told me that I couldn’t walk back to Crystal Bay. But who calmed down when I told him I wanted to go to Puyung Beach. And from there I knew I could reach Crystal Bay. The only question was whether I would be able to get home before dark…
The sunset was magnificent but there was still a long way to go. I found the place where the wood cutter had held my hand, I went up on the hill overhanging Padang Beach, and I found a small path to descend towards the valley. But once arrived in the valley, I had a small panic attac. No more trails, no more light, the vegetation was very dense and I cut my foot on a rock (thanks to the flip flops). I guided myself to the sound of the waves and I was able to reach the beach, very beautiful at dusk.
Then, it was a piece of cake ! Some panoramic photos, staircase to Crystal Bay, and return to Crystal Bay before dark. Duration of the hike back : 1h40. Those who said between an hour and two hours were therefore not so wrong !
Tips for walking from Crystal Bay to Broken Beach
- Take a guide, you will avoid having to find your way like me.
- Wear real shoes, and even long pants instead of flip-flops and short pants
- Leave before 3 p.m. or early in the morning
- Bring water and cover your head if you go there in the heat
My iPhone application tells me that I have walked 10.7 kilometers, taken 15,310 steps and climbed the equivalent of 96 floors (and I made a quarter of the way on a scooter …). So, nice walk, hike or obstacle course, I let you judge ! But this experience will remain a great memory among all the nice stuff I did in Nusa Penida !