As you probably already know, Nusa Penida is an island located southeast of Bali, Indonesia. It is known for its scenic landscapes, crystal clear waters and diverse marine life, making it a popular destination for tourists, especially for scuba diving and snorkeling.
Travel to Nusa Penida
To get to the beautiful island of Nusa Penida in the Indonesian Ocean, you need a flight to Denpasar on Bali or to Lombok. From Bali, the fastest way to get to the beautiful island is by speedboat from Sanur or Padangbai. A crossing from the Gili Islands is also possible. From Lombok, speedboats depart from Bangsal in the direction of Nusa Penida. As everywhere, there are different providers at different prices, so it is best to compare and bargain. You will also get a good and fair price if you book directly from your last accommodation. Especially as soon as a transporter takes place at the respective departure ports, a combination ticket makes sense.
If you plan to return to the same port, it is a good idea to buy a return ticket directly. For the crossing you should bring some patience, unless you have caught one of the first boats in the early morning. Furthermore, if there is a strong swell, wind or storm, it can also be very shaky and uncomfortable.
If you arrive with a speedboat, you have to leave your shoes before boarding and walk a few meters to the boat, or to the harbor through the sea. On Nusa Penida itself there are two moorings. Speedboats usually dock at the smaller harbor Pelabuhan Toyapakeh. If you have to change in Nusa Lembogan, you can dock at the port Buyuk.
Bangsal – Nusa Penida 2,5 hours 350.000 IDR (25 USD)
Gilis – Nusa Penida 3 hours 400.000 IDR (27 USD)
Sanur – Nusa Penida 30 minutes 150.000 IDR (10 USD)
Padang Bai – Nusa Penida 45 minutes 200.000 IDR (14 USD)
Transportation on Nusa Penida
Depending on which port in Nusa Penida you land, you will already find countless cab drivers or scooter rental stations. It is best not to take the first cab driver who approaches you. Rather walk 10 meters further and talk to someone who does not attack the tourists like a vulture at the jetty. Depending on the distance, you will pay between 50,000 and 100,000 IDR (3.5 USD to 7 USD) for a cab ride.
If you are confident to ride a scooter with luggage and want to explore the island on your own, you will find countless scooter rentals at the port, which rent scooters for 70,000 rupees (about 5 USD) per day. However, you should have good driving skills for this, because the “roads” in the east, south and west are disastrous. An abruptly ending road, deep potholes, sand, gravel or a rocky surface are not uncommon
You should also plan enough time, because for a few kilometers you need sometimes hours. It is also recommended to ask for a scooter at the accommodation. Most accommodations conjure up a scooter as if by magic. But please make sure that you always wear a helmet and take a look at the brakes. Unfortunately, many scooters are not in good condition.
If the road conditions are too unsafe for you or you don’t trust yourself to explore the island with a scooter, it’s not a big deal. You can hire a private driver for about 700.000 IDR (49 USD) per day. It is advisable to be at least four people for this, so that you can share the costs. If you would like to have a driver, it is also best to inquire at your accommodation.
Accommodation on Nusa Penida
On Nusa Penida there is a huge choice of accommodation, ranging from cheap to expensive. It is recommended to choose an accommodation in the north of the island. The Box Paradise has only opened in early 2019 and is a small but beautiful accommodation with small cottages and a pool.
The Cave Beach Bungalow is a simple accommodation with relatively large rooms and a small pool right by the sea. At Batan Sabo Cottage you stay in a small cute cottage. And there is also a beautiful infinity pool with a wide view.
Green Valley from 15 USD
The Box Paradise from 34 USD
Cave Beach Bungalow from 30 USD
Boga Segara Villa from 42 USD
Ogix Cliff Paradise from 46 USD
Batan Sabo Cottage from 66 USD
The most beautiful beaches on Nusa Penida
There are countless great beaches and many that have not yet been discovered or are unfortunately not accessible. Since there are a lot of rocks and cliffs on Nusa Penida, you really have to be very careful. There are several accidents every week and unfortunately regular deaths because tourists underestimate the current or fall down the cliffs while taking the perfect picture.
Chrystal Bay Beach is one of the few beaches on Nusa Penida where you can go directly. From there the snorkeling tours to Manta Bay started. With a little luck you can discover manta rays underwater. But also sharks and dolphins can be found in this bay. If you plan to go snorkeling or take a boat tour on Nusa Penida, I advise you to do it in the morning.
The cost for the snorkeling tour at Manta Bay is 250,000 IDR per person (18 USD) with a little negotiation. From the beach you can also snorkel beautifully. However, you should not swim too far out here. This beach is also a great place to enjoy the sunset.
One of the worst roads on Nusa Penida leads you to Kelingking Beach. Therefore please drive carefully! Take your time and do not underestimate the distance. In order not to have to share this place with countless other tourists, it is recommended to start a tour to Kelingking Beach early in the morning or later in the afternoon. From the top you have a beautiful view of the whale-shaped bay. And with a little luck you can see small black dots in the water. These are manta rays.
Please be careful not to step too close to the abyss when gazing at the bay and taking the perfect photo, as there have been people who have paid dearly for the perfect photo here as well. If you want to go down, you will have to take a short hike, which should only be done with sturdy shoes, enough time and enough to drink, please. Along the way there are only limited railings and you should also plan at least two to three hours for the way there and back.
Angels Billabong & Brooken Bay
The next highlight are the bays Angels Billabong and Brooken Bay. Both are located only a few minutes away from each other. At Angels Billabong bay, there is a possibility to swim in a small bay. However, you should pay attention to low tide and high tide here as well. Brooken Bay is a beautiful bay, which can be circumnavigated once. Bathing and descending to the water is not possible here. Watch out for the cliffs here as well!
Other nice beaches: Suwehan Beach: The way there, as well as the way to the beach are very bad. However, the beach itself is very nice. Kutampi Beach: Not exactly a beautiful beach but one of the most
popular destinations to discover the underwater world. Pandan Beach: About 20-25 minutes away from Chrystal Bay is a lonely great beach. However, the way there is also not the easiest.
The last 2 kilometers to Diamond Beach are exhausting, because the road conditions are already getting worse. Theoretically there is a large parking lot, but practically it is not really suitable for scooters. Better to walk the last meters and park the scooter on paved road. The view from the top is definitely worth it and is really a dream. The descent to the beach takes about 20 minutes and the last meters are more of a climb than a stair climb.
It’s best to wear sturdy shoes here and tuck your flip-flops under your arm. Once at the beach, you can swing on the beach (IDR 100,000 for 4 minutes), take pictures in a nest (IDR 75,000 for 4 minutes), or grab a bite to eat at the adjacent kiosk. Even though the beach is beautiful and the sea is inviting for a cool down, you should definitely not go swimming here. The current and the rocks have already cost one or two lives here.
Rumah Pohon “Tree House”
On the way to Diamonds Beach is the infamous Instagram highlight – “The Tree House”. The approach is very sandy and the last meters you have to go down some stairs. On the way to the tree house there are some nests where you can take a great photo, but as already written, only against payment. If you arrive at the tree house, you have a beautiful view in the direction of Diamonds Beach.
For a photo on the tree house stairs you pay again also a few rupees. If you plan your vacation well in advance or are very lucky, you can treat yourself to a night in the tree house via Airbnb. A little tip on the side: At sunset, there’s not much going on here and you don’t have to pay anymore either.
Atuh Beach is located in the east on Nusa Penida. It is easy to get there by scooter. When you arrive, there is a small parking lot in the sand and there are probably a lot of monkeys waiting for you, hoping to get something to eat. From the top you have a really great view and with luck you can spot some turtles. Directly opposite behind the next cliff is Diamonds Beach.
If you want to walk about 20 minutes downhill to Atuh Beach, you can walk uphill again on the other side and come directly to the next highlight. However, both the walking distances and the duration for this should not be underestimated. If you like it less sporty, take your scooter and cruise within 40 minutes to Diamonds Beach.
Nusa Penida Sights
There is a lot to see on the island and I am sure that there is still a lot that I have not seen. Therefore I have summarized for you my personal highlights on Nusa Penida. Tip: Most day tourists come to the island between 10 am and 4 pm. If you don’t want to share the most beautiful places with a lot of other tourists, it is recommended to start very early in the morning or in the afternoon.
Trip to Manta Point
Manta Point is located on the southwest of the island of Nusa Penida and is famous for the many beautiful manta rays. It is said that it would be impossible not to see one of these beautiful creatures here. Enjoy this sight as the rays glide along and float through the water as if weightless. Some of these rays can have a wingspan of up to 3 meters, so they are not that small. If you go diving there, you can even find octopuses, reef sharks or moon fish. A tour to Manta Point starts at around IDR 450,000 per person ( USD29).
Trip to Nusa Lembogan/Nusa Ceningan
Nusa Lembogan and Nusa Ceningan are connected by a bridge and can be reached by ferry from Nusa Penida. The infrastructure, especially the roads, are much better on Nusa Lembogan and Nusa Ceningan. There is also a lot to discover like the “Blue Lagoon” or the north with some great snorkeling spots. Bolle and Marco were themselves 3 days on the island and have explored with the scooter all Gegeneden. Have a look at their travel report. Travelogue Nusa Lembongan.
Temple Cave Goa Giri Putri
How about a visit to the fascinating temple cave Goa Giri Putri? This sight of Nusa Penida is located on the north coast, which you can easily reach by scooter. Once you have reached the parking lot and parked your scooter, there are about 100 steps up until you reach the entrance to the temple. For a small donation of about 1.50 USD you can enter the cave. Marvel at various shrines, temple elements and smaller statues.
Viewpoints from Nusa Penida
There are some beautiful viewpoints on the island, such as the view from Saren Cliff Point. This is located in the southwest of the island and awaits you with a truly spectacular view of the sea and cliffs. The approach to this viewpoint is difficult, because the roads are not in good condition. Here, pothole follows pothole. Drive carefully with your scooter so that you don’t get a flat tire either. But in the end you have to say that it is worth the journey.
Another beautiful viepoint with a bumpy approach is Banah Sunset Point, which is not far from Saren Cliff Point. Now follows something bizarre, namely the so-called Teletubbie Hill of Nusa Penida. Here you can expect a green hill landscape in the mountains, which reminds you of the TV children’s series. The views from up there over the rolling hills are very beautiful and invite you to relax. Drive by and see for yourself if this scenery reminds you of the Teletubbies.
If it’s not the dry season, you’ll find Peguyangan Waterfall, a beautiful waterfall with a strenuous and not entirely safe descent. Around 500 blue steps will lead you to your destination. But don’t be disappointed when you get there. More shrines than waterfalls await you here. Nevertheless, the visit is worth it because you will be greeted with a beautiful natural pool and an incredibly beautiful view over the blue sea.
My best travel tips for Nusa Penida
Bathing & steep cliffs
I have already mentioned some information about bathing. I don’t want to scare you, but be aware of the current and don’t underestimate the waves on the beach. Furthermore you should keep in mind that there are sharks as well as jellyfish in the water. So far there has been no shark attack, nor has there been an incident with a cube jellyfish.
But never say never. Also, never risk your life for the perfect photo. Pay attention to the distance to the cliff’s abyss. Nusa Penida is a beautiful island that has many great cliffs. However, in most cases, there is no railing here to protect tourists from the abyss.
Money & Refueling
Never underestimate the sun on Nusa Penida, especially if you are on a scooter or in the water. Take enough money with you because there are only two ATMs on Nusa Penida. Always ride your scooter carefully, test the brakes and always wear a helmet. If you are traveling with a scooter: There are two large gas stations near the harbor.
Here you can fill up for about 7000 IDR (0.45 USD) per liter. At small gas stations you usually pay 10000 IDR (0.64 USD) per liter. In the kiosk you pay with 25000 IDR (1.60 USD) per liter definitely too much. In case of emergency you can buy a liter in plastic bottles at the kiosk. However, there is a risk that the gasoline was adulterated with water.
Monkeys & Tsunamis
Like many other places in Indonesia, there are wild monkeys on Nusa Penida. Watch your food, don’t leave anything unlocked on the scooter. Also avoid contact with these monkeys and do not feed them. To avoid crowds, tour before 10am or after 4pm. Parking fees range from 3000 to 5000 IDR between 10am and 4pm.
Another important note: When you arrive, ask about the escape route in case of a tsunami. You will find this either directly at your accommodation or at the roadside. Since Nusa Penida is very mountainous, you have less to worry about here. No matter what you buy, always bargain, otherwise you will definitely have to pay too much.
There are countless restaurants and bars on Nusa Penida. A few really great restaurants, which I can recommend to you, I have listed below:
Penida Colada Beach Bar: a bit more expensive, a reservation would be useful here
Lido Beach Bar: normal price and you have a great view
Warung Lonto: really tasty and very cheap
Amok Sunset: a bit more expensive, but you have a great sunset here
Best time to visit Nusa Penida
Between November and February is the rainy season in Nusa Penida, so there is a possibility that it could get quite wet at this time. June to the end of August is considered the peak travel season and it can get extremely hot during this time. The best time to travel to Nusa Penida are the months of March, April and May and September, October to November.
Conclusion about Nusa Penida
Simply put, Nusa Penida is a beautiful island. The infrastructure often leaves a lot to be desired and is much worse than on Bali. Tourism is also mainly limited to day tourists and therefore there are not as many supermarkets, stores or restaurants as on Bali. However, it is definitely worth spending a few days on this beautiful island. To have enough time it is recommended to stay at least four or five days on the island.