The island of Penida, with the two smaller islands of Ceningan and Lembongan off its north-west coast, lies off the south-east coast of Bali. The islanders are mainly Muslims. Across the island from north-west to south-east runs a range of limestone hills rising to a height of 529 m (1736 ft).None of the islands has a very productive economy. The permeable karstic terrain is unsuitable for agriculture, and the inhabitants earn a modest living mainly from fishing. Formerly it was a place of exile for prisoners sentenced in Klungkung.The Balinese, with their belief in spirits, are highly mistrustful of Penida. They believe it to be the abode of a particularly evil giant named Jero Gede Mecaling, who is said to have crossed the Badung Strait on several occasions with his train of spirits and brought terror and destruction to Bali, withdrawing only after the Balinese made a figure of another similar demon and set it up on the coast. And even today, when on New Year's eve the Balinese carry huge demon figures through their villages and then take them down to the coast and burn them they still have in mind the terrifying giant Jero Gede Mecaling. The main attractions of Penida for visitors are the coasts, which offer ideal conditions for surfing and scuba diving.AccessSpeedboats cross from Padang Bai (south-west of Amlapura) to Toyapakeh several times daily; the crossing takes about 40 minutes.Outboard motorboats sail daily (in the morning) from Kusamba (south-east of Klungkung) to Sampalan and Toyapakeh (about 21/2 hours).
The chief place on Penida is Sampalan. The town has no sights of any interest, except the busy market which is held daily near the harbor.
To the west of Sampalan, at the port village of Toyapakeh, can be seen the temple of Pura Ped, in a square artificial pond.
5 km (3 mi.) south-east of Sampalan the cave of Goa Karangasari contains an underground freshwater lake. The entrance to the cave system is not easy to find, being only 2.50 m (8 ft) across. It consists of a large and imposing chamber with a number of small caves opening off it. A powerful electric torch is essential; it can be hired from one of the locals who cluster outside the cave offering their services as guides. It is possible to continue through the cave system to another exit in a steep rock face.
LembonganAccess The little neighboring island of Lembongan (landing-stage at Jungutbatu) can be reached from Penida (Toyapakeh) or Sanur (Bali) in outboard boats or small motorboats. The fare should be negotiated in advance.The main attractions for visitors are the beautiful beaches and the reefs, which offer excellent conditions for swimming and snorkeling. Wind-surfers favor the bay at the village of Jungutbatu. The Sea Temple at Jungutbatu is of interest only to specialists.
On the west coast of Penida are a number of beautiful bathing beaches; the beach at Toyapakeh in particular offers good bathing, snorkeling and scuba diving. Swimmers should remember that the tides are strong, that there are sometimes dangerous currents and that sharks are occasionally sighted here.Bathing is not possible on the south coast of the island, where there are impressive cliffs up to 200 m (650 ft) high falling sheer down to the sea and lashed by fierce surf.