Known for its artisanal-salt production, this fishing village on Bali’s east coast boasts a sweeping black-sand beach and a small port with boats to the islands of Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan. Visitors enjoy Kusamba’s lively and authentic fish market and visits to salt farms to watch the salt being made.The Basics
There’s no charge to visit Kusamba, which lies off the main tour bus circuit. Its location between south Bali and the sights of Karangasem means that it’s an occasional stop on east Bali tours, with visits typically focusing on the artisan-salt operations. However, most visitors to Kusamba come under their own steam or with a private driver/guide who can introduce them to salt farmers and translate their questions.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Foodies will be fascinated by Kusamba’s traditional salt production.
- The fast boats from Sanur and ferries from Padang Bai are a safer way to reach Nusa Penida (or Lembongan) than the Kusamba boats.
- Kusamba is not really a swimming beach, as the black sand can get uncomfortably hot.
Kusamba lies on Bali’s east coast, roughly midway between Sanur and Amlapura, and around two hours’ drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport. There’s no real public transport, so most visitors drive, hire a private driver/guide, or join a tour with round-trip transport. The boats from the offshore islands are best avoided.When to Get There
Salt-making requires sunshine and dry days, so it is practiced during the dry season, roughly May through September. Visit Kusamba during the day to see the salt farmers at work. Fishing happens by night, with the fish market at its liveliest in the very early hours of the morning.
Kusamba Salt Production
Making Kusamba salt is a back-breakingly laborious process. Seawater is first evaporated in black volcanic sand, then crystallized inside hollowed-out coconut palm trunks for up to five days before harvesting and piled into traditional baskets. Fewer than 50 families now work in an industry that once sustained entire villages.