If you are going on a trip to Bali and you want a slice of real island life then please visit Nusa Penida. In this blog post I tell you everything you need to know about this magical island and while reading and looking at the pictures you will understand why this was one of my favorite places I traveled to in 2017. All the highlights, amazing places to see, things to do, where to stay, instagram spots and handmade itineraries will be be discussed and even some Nusa Penida tips if you take a day trip. Enjoy this fabulous island before mass tourism takes over!
As you know I have traveled extensively around the world the last years and I am all about adventures and islandlife. Although I ended up in Bali multiple times last years I totally overlooked the magical Nusa Penida just a 45-minute boat ride from Bali. This summer though I finally found my way to this magical place.
Nusa Penida Blog
A couple years ago a trip to Nusa Penida was not on many travelers to do list but times are changing. I actually hopped on a boat and did a Nusa Penida day trip, but only drove around the island, snorkeled to see if we could find Manta Rays, had a barbeque on the beach and left again. Biggest mistake ever! This island is so much more than beaches and exploring Nusa Penida on a motorbike is a must. Please only take a Nusa Penida day trip if you have very limited time, otherwise reserve 3 days and take a trip to Nusa Penida. You will thank me later for my tips, trust me!
Things to do in Nusa Penida
This island is all about exploring its great nature and rough terrain. Almost all the amazing places to see in Nusa Penida are either on the coastline or underwater. ;)
To get here is a pain in the ass, but after you suffered for at least an hour on your motorbike you found a magical spot. This natural pool seems the perfect spot to swim but be careful. Unfortunately a bunch of people died here already when massive waves slam into the natural pool and drag people back into the ocean down below. Try not to come here in the morning or at the end of the day as this spot is always part of a Nusa Penida day trip, around mid day this place is not too busy.
Just a couple minutes walk from Angel’s Billabong you will find the remains of what once was a massive cave. Long time ago the roof collapsed and now this walled bay can only be accessed through a hole in the rockformation. This spectacular place is definitely one of the best places to see in Nusa Penida. If you have time continue your hike along the rough coastline with its massive cliffs.
Instagrammable spots Nusa Penida Bali
This place is may be not something spectacular but definitely a great photo spot. You wont really find it on a standard list of what to do in Nusa Penida but I think it deserves a mention as when I did research I found this instagrammable spot and had no clue where it was. You can take this photo close to the parking space for Kelingking Beach Viewpoint and there will be provided a ladder to get you up in the tree.
Kelingking Beach viewpoint
When it comes down to most instagrammable spots in Nusa Penida the dinosaur shaped Kelingking Beach or Secret Point Beach is for sure number one. When I reached this spot I had no clue what was coming and then I suddenly looked down on that beautifully green rockformation sticking out of the deep blue ocean, the white sand beach 100 meters down below and the massive limestone cliffs on my right! Damn I totally understand why this is one of the best places to see in Nusa Penida. Take a look at the breathtaking photos…
Kelingking Beach hike
Admiring the view from above and taking endless pictures is already a fantastic experience but it can get crowded up there. I arrived around 3.00pm and only left after sunset and these times it was not too bad. There is an incredible steep staircase down to the beach and as this hike is not for the faint-hearted you understand it is not busy down at the beach at all. Once you reach this incredibly unspoiled spot you have the beach for yourself. What to do in Nusa Penida? Hike down to Kelingking Beach! It will take 45 minutes one way but it is one of the best things to do in Nusa Penida.
This is the highest point on the island and more than 500 meter above sea level. It can be reached by scooter and a short hike. It is located in the middle of the island and a cool thing to do when you pass by. The views across the island and the ocean are great on a clear day. There is also a temple that can be visited.
Peguyangan Waterfall or Blue Stairs Nusa Penida
Back in the days this must have been a waterfall, but it is more famous for the Blue Stairs of Nusa Penida. This amazing photospot is one of the best places to see in Nusa Penida when you ask me. The narrow and steep blue stairs will lead you all the way down to the the ocean about 80 meter below where they built a temple. There is an underground river that drops into the ocean and there are a couple man made pools to chill in. When I climbed down the stairs I saw over 50 manta rays from up here! Stay focused on the ocean and you will for sure spot a couple if they are around.
Crystal Bay Beach
This is one of those things to do in Nusa Penida that I did not do. This is the number one place on the island to relax in style. A picture perfect white sand beach, tall palm trees, hammocks, fresh coconuts and there can even be found local Nusa Penida accommodation. Definitely a winner!
Banah Cliff Point
There are a couple incredible rock formations sticking out of the ocean and from Banah Cliff Point you have a spectacular view. Definitely another instagrammable spot and also a great place to watch the sunset and spot manta rays. The roads to get here are unfortunately in a bad condition.
Saren Cliff Point
By accident I discovered this incredible viewpoint. You can only get here by scooter and the roads are terrible, but the views to the East are incredible. This is probably one of the most romantic places to see in Nusa Penida as it is almost guaranteed that you will be alone. You can also spot manta rays from up here if you are lucky.
All the way on the East side of the island there is the popular tourist spot Atuh Beach. It is one of those amazing places to see in Nusa Penida that you can’t afford to miss. There are a couple beaches that are accessible but one of the best Nusa Penida tips is to rent a tree house and spend the night high up on a cliff and watch the sunrise the next day. Head over to Airbnb via this link and if you sign up (or create a new account) you will get $40 off on your first night. That means you sleep here for free! Check it out now… The roads to Atuh Beach are completely new and within an hour from the jetty you can reach it on a motorbike.
I would have loved to show everyone these amazing things to do in Lombok on Facebook Live, but unfortunately at that time I had the wrong indonesia sim card. There is one provider that has pretty good 4G coverage, read about it in my article Indonesia Prepaid Sim Card.
What to DO in Nusa Penida
Visiting all the above-mentioned places to see in Nusa Penida will take some time as getting around on the island is not always that easy. If you still have time and are wondering what to do in Nusa Penida then it is time to jump in the water and add some epic adventures to your trip to Nusa Penida.
Swim with Manta Rays
For many scuba divers this is a wet dream, but here on the island you don’t even need to gear up to get up close and personal with these gentle giants. There are many snorkel trips that can be booked around the island. Sights of manta rays are common and there is even a place called Manta Point, but don’t forget that this is their wild habitat. Spotting manta rays is not guaranteed! I was lucky enough to even spot them from the cliffs at the Blue Stairs, zoom in on the next photo and you can spot 34 manta rays.
Already excited to visit Nusa Penida? Check out these accommodation deals!
Spot the Mola Mola
I have been diving with whale sharks, saw manta rays, dolphins, bull sharks and even whales but another creature of the depth that I would really love to see is a Mola Mola. Here in Nusa Penida they arise from the deep blue in the months July, August and September. Fingers crossed and don’t panic when you see this huge monster! ;)
Check out this video compilation of amazing thigs to do and see in Nusa Penida with me in a prominent role. I traveled through the island with my Dutch friend Joey who made this awesome video. For sure you will recognize me! ;)
Itinerary Nusa Penida and how to get around
For ticking off all the amazing places to see in Nusa Penida you have to travel around for at least 3 days. As it is not far from Bali I recommend only coming with a daypack and hire a scooter when you arrive. For around $4 - $6 a day you should be able to get one and to me there is only one way to travel Nusa Penida: on a motorbike! Click on the link to read about my 4-day adventure. The roads are bad yes, but drive slowly and you will manage. Actually improvements are coming rapidly, the road towards Atuh Beach is for example completely new and it is amazing to drive your motorbike along the winding coastl road. The road to Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach is still a disaster but with these places gaining so much popularity the road conditions on the island will soon be better.
Itineraries for Nusa Penida
To help you out I created this Nusa Penida itinerary for a couple days. Ideally you take 4 days to travel to Nusa Penida but I can understand not everyone has time to spend 4 days on the island. It is easy to combine these itineraries for Nusa Penida into 2 days. If you only have 1 day you either have to make choices or join a Nusa Penida day trip from Bali, more about that later.
Day 1: Broken Beach, Angel's Billabong & Crystal Bay
You arrive by boat from Bali where the red line starts. Rent a scooter and head straight to Angel's Billabong and Broken Beach. You have plenty time here so hike around along the coast if you feel like. Then get back on your motorbike and drive to Crystal Bay and stay here for the night, enjoy the splendid sunsets and beaches here. There are some Nusa Penida accommodation options here, book ahead to be sure to have a bed.
Day 2: Banah Cliff Point, Kelingking Beach and Puncak Mundi
Drive in the morning to Banah Cliff Point, surely you will be alone. Banah Cliff point is not a popular spot as it is a little harder to get to and day trips to Nusa Penida often don't even make it here. Afterwards go to the best place to visit in Nusa Penida: Kelingking Beach. Hike around and find Kelingking viewpoint, the instagrammable spot with the tree you can climb and hike down to Kelingking beach to enjoy a day at this deserted beach, where hardly any tourists come because of the challenging hike. Find accommodation in the middle of the island and if the weather is good climb up to Puncak Mundi.
Day 3: Peguyangan Waterfall, Saren Cliff Point and Manta Point
In the morning go to Manta Point and see if you can spot manta rays, if you are unlucky don't worry. Today you also go to Banah Cliff Point and Peguyangan Waterfall where you can also spot manta rays. At Peguyangan climb down the blue stairs of Nusa Penida and dip into the natural pool. This day I would recommend you to choose your Nusa Penida accommodation at the North shore, the commercial center of the island, where you can find markets and many places to stay.
Day 4: Atuh Beach
The road to Atuh Beach is completely paved nowadays and it is easy to get there. This utterly amazing spot is too beautiful to just go for a couple hours and its fabulous sunrise cannot be missed either. Stay here on your last night in Nusa Penida.
Nusa Penida Day trip from Bali
As I said before I would not recommend you to do a day trip to Nusa Penida, simply because there is too much to see and you will hardly be able to enjoy the best places to see in Nusa Penida. On the other hand I can completely understand that there are people who don’t have that much time to travel around Nusa Penida for a acouple days. Therefore joining a Nusa Penida day tour is a great option to at least catch a glimpse of this incredible place. Nusa Penida day trips will leave in the early morning from Bali, expect a pick up from your hotel around 07.00am and catch a boat around 08.00am from Sanur to Penida. You will be assigned a tour guide and after you arrive you will get into a van and be driven to the highlights of Nusa Penida: Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong then off to Kelingking Beach, snorkel at Crystal Bay and back to Bali on the 4.30pm boat. I have seen tour operators asking up between $90 and $140 for this! Excluding tips, etc.
PLEASE DO NOT PAY THAT MUCH!!!!!
How much does a Nusa Penida tour cost?
Lets assume you want a day trip to Nusa Penida from Kuta:
- Uber/Grab/Go-Jek from Kuta To Sanur Beach: $5
- Return ticket boat from Sanur to Nusa Penida: $25
- Rent a scooter on Nusa Penida: $5
- Gasoline: $2
- Lunch: $3
Total price if you do it yourself: $40 per person only!!!
Plus you could even share the taxi and the scooter and gasoline if you want. If you don’t feel comfortable driving a scooter in Bali then you can arrange a van yourself upon arrival in Penida. As soon as you get off the boat there will be a dozen people asking you to join them: costs for a van tour: $20 per person.
I know it is easy to just book a Nusa Penida day trip, but at least I told you how much you would spend if you would do it by yourself. Trust me arranging your own Nusa Penida tour is super easy as long as you have Google Maps and an internet connection you can easily get anywhere in Nusa Penida. There are only a few roads anyway. Traveling is not the same as a holiday and that is one of the reasons how I can afford to travel forever! ;) If I can do it, you can do it! Good luck and safe travels…
Best Nusa Penida tips
When I arrived I chose to have a base close to the jetty so I fixed cheap Nusa Penida accommodation through this website and rented a motorbike to get around. The island’s infrastructure is non-existing and to get from one place to another expect to be a lot of hours on your bike. The best way to minimize hours traveling on your bike is to pack ultra light and crash everu night in a different place close to the action. That means you travel from one place to another with all your belongings. Leave your big bag in Bali and only come here with a small daypack. A trip to Nusa Penida is all about its natural beauty and the adventure.
Tips on what to do in Nusa Penida: Bring a daypack, jump on a scooter, explore the island, admire the beauty, find local accommodation to crash, wake up and repeat!
Kelingking Beach at sunrise!
Kelingking Beach during the day!
Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan
People ask me this question often and it is not really fair to compare these islands. Nusa Lembongan is a place where many travelers meet and therefore there is more to do when the sun goes down. Nusa Lembongan is more about those beach and summer vibes where Nusa Penida is for the adventurer that wants to explore the magical sights and spectacular nature.
- Beautiful beaches
- Party hostels
- Lounge bars
- Stunning nature
- Rough terrain
- Off the beaten track
- Local life
To me the question Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan is easy to answer: I am blown away by the incredible places to see in Nusa Penida and therefore it is more my kind of island. The island vibe from Nusa Lembongan can also be found on the Gili islands. Click here to read here more about my adventure with Magic Mushrooms in Gili Trawangan.
How to get to Nusa Penida
This is fairly easy as you just have to hop on a boat to Nusa Penida from Sanur.
- Make your way to Sanur Beach in Bali, go to the Ananda Beach Hotel.
- Haggle the price for a one-way ticket down to 150K ($12) or an open return ticket for 280K ($22), no need to reserve up front!
- Wait for the boats to leave. There are several companies leaving at different times, but these are the times according to the official schedule: 10.00, 12.00, 14.00, 16.00.
- Enjoy the ride you are on your way to the amazing places to see in Nusa Penida.
Local boat to Nusa Penida
There is also a local boat that only cost 40K ($3) but that only leaves at 10.00 in the morning and locals are not likely to sell you this ticket as they want you on the tourist boat. Be in time and just ask around there is always a friendly local that genuinely wants to help you. He might even give you some insider tips on what to do in Nusa Penida.
Nusa Penida Bali accommodation
Constantly people ask me about travel tips, where to go what to see and a place that is not yet ruined by mass tourism. Bali is definitely a favorite spot although mass tourism kind of ruined the island. So why visit Bali? Nusa Penida is the answer! Click on the link for more reasons to visit.
With so many cool places to see in Nusa Penida I tell people nowadays that this island is my secret travel tip. This though applies to people who love adventure, as the island is not yet a standard tourist destination. If you want to escape mass tourism you have to keep in mind that once you go off the beaten track traveling becomes an adventure. That said there can still be found upscale Nusa Penida accommodation, but you are not spoiled for choice. Click here to see a list of all Nusa Penida accommodation options!
This house on the hill is the ultimate spot to watch the sunrise in the morning at Atuh Beach. Facing East you will have the most spectacular view and guess how much this place cost you? FREE! The only thing you have to do is to sign up for an Airbnb account through this link! If you already have an Airbnb account than create a new one, so simple is that. I can give you $40 credit towrds your first booking and a night in this house on the hill cost you even less! Dont waste time, live now and make memories...
Nusa Penida travel guide
I hope you liked all my travel tips for Nusa Penida. I am sure once you visit this magical island you will understand my enthusiasm for this place. Take a trip to Nusa Penida fast as I think that social media and blogs like this will boost the tourism to this undeveloped island rapidly. If you want to read more about this adventure then head over to my weekly blog, where you can read how I made my way to the island, dropped my stuff and how to travel Nusa Penida on a motorbike! Remember that this is my secret travel tip, go for it as soon as you can…
Bali is a great island and I really love it, but there is more than Bali so please consider to explore the islands around. As you have seen this island is magical, but what about a beach escape and may be some magic mushrooms in Gili Trawangan. Click on the link to read about my 'trip'! LOL. From the Gili Islands it is only a 20-minute boat ride to Lombok and there is so much to explore on this island as well. Read my Mount Rinjani Trekking Blog if you are up for a lifetime adventure and discover great waterfalls along the way! Heaven on earth...
Where to stay in Bali? Read my Canggu Bali Travel Guide or check out where to go in Ubud. These places are still kind of authentic. Please skip places like Seminyak and Kuta, it simply is way to crowded and not fun anymore! Need Bali tips for traveling on a budget? I got them for you in the link...
If this Nusa Penida travel guide was helpful would you help me by pinning it to Pinterest or share it on Google+ or the best would be in a Facebook Group for me? This would mean a lot to me, thank you very much…