The Kusamba Salt Mining Village of Bali

Colorful outrigger prahus line the black sand shores of this fishing village, directly across from Nusa Penida, an island of 40,000 people. The strait between the two islands is filled with fish, and when the weather is calm the seas are bespeckled with white sails.

Twice a day fishermen set out for Nusa with cargoes of peanuts, fruit and rice, for that dry, hostile island is only sparsely cultivated. The sailors of Kusamba boast that their large prahus with crews of five, can carry up to one and a half tons of cargo. They also carry passengers across who wish to visit the coral gardens and white sand shores of Nusa.

Another trade of east coast villagers is salt panning. Where the road nears the sea, rows of brown, thatched roofs emerge from the sands. These huts are small factories for making salt. Wet sand is gathered from the sea and spread in sand banks along the beach. After drying, it is dumped in a large bin inside the hut.

Slowly, a pure water of high salt content drains through the sands, which is then poured into bamboo troughs to evaporate in the sun, leaving the salt crystals, The entire process takes one day, and on a good day the salt panner makes five kilograms of salt which he sells in the market of Klungkung. Although Kusamba is a fishing village, the people live a bit inland because of the old Balinese fear that the ocean is magically dangerous.

A trip to Nusa Penida is for the traveler who can appreciate out-of-the-way places without comforts. The Kusamba prahus come in at Sampalan, the fishing center for Nusa, particularly beautiful in the morning with Bali looming across the strait. All the terraces in this rocky island are faced with stone. Several villages weave a reddish ikat cloth that can also be bought at Klungkung. If you’re going to take a trip to Kusamba then make sure you book yourself into a luxury villas bali.

With its own peculiarities of language and art, the island has interesting temples— Pura Ped on the north coast, and one at Batukandik where the sun-seat takes the form of a woman.