It took me 6 visits to Bali to finally make a trip to the islands just off the Southwest coast. Where most people go on day trips I wanted to make the most of it and take my time to explore Nusa Penida myself. I knew the island was an Instagramable spot but somehow it took a little convincing to get me on a boat and my ass to the island.
My travel buddy Joey
Already a year ago a Dutch guy contacted me through social media and told me he was just like me traveling the world and loved to create unique content. Unlike me he was more into videos and looking at his stuff on YouTube I was impressed. He said if some day our paths will cross we should go on an adventure and that time was now. Joey was in Bali and asked me if I would be up for joining him on a trip to find the best places to see in Nusa Penida and a week later we met up packed a little day pack and jumped on a boat to the magical Nusa Penida. Check out Joey’s Instagram: @joes.flow.
How to get from Bali to Nusa Penida
The yet unspoiled island is less than an hour away from Sanur Beach and is easy to get to by speedboat. You just rock up, follow one of the guys on the streets and within no-time you have a ticket for a speedboat. But that is for tourists! I am not on a holiday remember? So I tried to catch the local boat which is only $3, but obviously not an easy job as everyone wants you to pay $16 for the speedboat. After a little while we found out the local boat only leaves in the morning at 10.00 o’clock, bummer! The only one way left to get to the island was the tourist boat and we managed to haggle the price down to 150K INR which is $12. Which boat to take? They are all good, so just the first one that leaves, but double check the time before you pay, it is hard to trust these guys.
Finding accommodation in Nusa Penida
Although this island has some amazing places to see it is still not discovered by mass tourism. Most facilities on the island are not yet tourist class either and therefore is finding suitable accommodation not a matter of going to Agoda and book yourself a nice place. Online we only found 4 options within our budget, but only one of them was close to the jetty. We walked over to that one and although the room was super basic (no hot water) we decided to take it. We basically had to crash here at night only! It got already dark and we sat on the bed discussing what to see in Nusa Penida in the next 3 days when Joey found a little bed bug crawling on his leg. Two minutes later we stood outside, next place! :) We quickly found a place down the road, which looked way nicer and asked the same price 150K ($12) per night. Deal! We take it for 3 nights and will pay you already 2 nights. ‘Yes thank you, I will give the money to the owner’, the little kid said. So this is not your place? No it is not, but all good he said, trust me. Anyway this guy had a key, so should be alright we guessed! Can you give us towels? That would be handy buddy! I am sorry sir I don’t have towels for you! Uhm I really want a towel mate! Ok, I will get you two towels from my house. Whatever! :)
The locals around were super friendly and they told us to come have breakfast with them at no-name restaurant next to the place we stayed. The tasty Gado-Gado was 5.000 IDR which is less than $0,40, baked bananas just $0,07 per piece. This place was lovely, but I would not recommend you to go here. Nusa Penida has 16 villages scattered over the island, one of them is Muslim, all the other Hindu. With all do respect to the local Muslims community, but the call for prayer between 5.00 and 5.30 in the morning makes it that I would not recommend my readers to stay close to the jetty. Come with a small bag, rent a scooter straight away and stay every night close to place you are visiting.
On day 3 we already asked a couple people to pay for our 3th night, but no one knew who to give the money to. Pay tomorrow morning they said. The next morning we tried to pay again, same story. When we had to leave for our boat back to Bali the place was deserted! We tried 3 times, but ended up not paying for our last night as there was simply no one around. Nusa Penida is islandlife to the max! :)
Looking for more budget travel tips?
Did you know that you can book this place on AirBnB? If you did not register yet I can give you a $40 voucher, which means this house on the hilltop is free your first night. Sign now up on AirBnb using this link: www.airbnb.com/c/tgrond. It will give me $20 AirBnB credit as well, so massive thanks! :)
Best places to see in Nusa Penida
The island is quickly getting popular with travelers and no wonder with so many amazing places to visit in Nusa Penida. Social media is helping to put this island on the map and with its location only an hour away from Bali I foresee a massive change in the next years. Joey was very well prepared and put together a little itinerary so we would see the best places in Nusa Penida in a couple days. You can visit the best tourist attractions in just one day in a car, but there is nothing better than driving around on a motorbike. But be aware that some roads are terrible or non-existing. We both rented a motorbike for 60.000 IDR ($5) per day and drove around from dawn till dusk looking to tick off all the cool spots in Nusa Penida. As content creators we really took our time at the best spots of Nusa Penida: Broken Beach, Angels’ Billabong, Kelingking Beach, Blue Stairs at Guyangan, Atuh Beach and Saren Cliff Viewpoint. Yes that is all we did in 3 days!
Without a doubt for me one of the best spots in Nusa Penida were the Blue Stairs at Guyangan. If you have seen my Snapchat story or my Instagram Story that day you know exactly why. It was pouring down rain and we had to seek shelter twice, saw a local pissing on a table next to where we were eating, but finally made the long way to Guyangan. The roads were not that bad this time, unlike the road to hell to Broken Beach and Angels’ Billabong, so we got there safe and sounds around 11.00am. Because of the bad weather conditions there was no one around and as soon as we showed up it started to clear up. Then out of a sudden we spotted a Manta Ray. From this high up I could hardly believe it, but it was very clear and wow there is another one. Finally we counted just over 40 of these amazing creatures from the viewpoint. Joey flew his drone and got some amazing footage! If you zoom in on the next picture you can see them super clearly.
All the above photos are shot with GoPro using a selfie stick or a strap, one of my favorite travel gear!
My scuba dive drama
This experience almost made me shed a tear as there is a chance I will never be able to scuba dive anymore. Since I did my Divemaster training 3 years ago I am suffering ear problems. I have been diving in 13 different countries in the world and it would have easily been over a 20 by now would I not have ruptured my ear drum over 20 times. A sad story but I have now also seen Manta Rays, a scuba divers dream! It made me as happy as a kid! :)
What to see in Nusa Penida? MANTA RAYS! Zoom in and find 32 Mantas in 1 picture!
Nusa Penida on a motorbike
To me there is only one way to see the most incredible places in Nusa Penida and that is on a motorbike. Roads are getting better and better as the government is clearly investing, but there are still some sights that are extremely hard to get to. We went to the worst place to visit on a motorbike in Nusa Penida on the first day: Broken Beach and Angels’ Billabong. Seriously be careful, this is definitely not easy to get to. Other sights like Kelingking Beach were easy to get to and oh baby what a fabulous place was that. As I walked up to the fence were the massive drop is, I still did not know that I was going to this famous Instagram spot on Nusa Penida, I was just following Joey. But as I got to the cliff I was like HOLY F*CK! This place is even more incredible than on a picture. Please take the stairs down if you have time, there are just a few people on that beach, the waves are insanely huge and powerful (I cant swim because of my ear) but it is so damn beautiful down there. If you are afraid of heights embrace yourself, these stairs are like hell! :)
Nusa Penida blog
Nusa Penida totally stole my heart and actually I have to include it in my blog post about the 10 Incredible Islands I Have Been. Though within the next weeks I will dedicate a complete blog post about the best places to visit in Nusa Penida. I will write them all down for you with extra info on how to get there, where to stay and a complete itinerary. By that time Joey most probably also completed the after movie of our trip! I am super excited myself to see it.
For now I hope you already enjoyed these amazing photos! Nusa Penida I will be back for sure.
Thanks for keeping up with Traveltomtom, hope to see you here again next week when I will write about my honeymoon in Bali! ;)