Nusa Penida is the largest of the three Nusa Islands that are off of the southeast coast of Bali that are a short boat ride away. It draws in visitors with its breathtaking blue waters that are so many different shades you’ll lose count, its incredible underwater life from manta rays to loads of colourful fish and its out of this world viewpoints.
On Nusa Penida you’ll find secluded beaches and be able to gaze over the edge of cliffs, climb to waterfalls and explore the roads through the jungle. Palm trees and lush greenery line the roads and waves crash against the islands edges, leaving you in awe and with plenty of things to do in Nusa Penida.
There’s no doubt that Nusa Penida is beautiful or worth your visit. This stunning island is one place worth being on your itinerary and is an island that I highly suggest you make time for in your Bali itinerary.
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What's in this article
- 1 How to Get to Nusa Penida
- 2 Getting Around Nusa Penida
- 3 Nusa Penida Itinerary
- 4 Nusa Penida Tips
- 5 Bali Essentials
- 6 Things to do on Nusa Penida
- 6.1 Kelingking Beach
- 6.2 Angel’s Billabong
- 6.3 Broken Beach
- 6.4 Manta Bay Viewpoint
- 6.5 Crystal Bay
- 6.6 Banah Viewpoint
- 6.7 Atuh Beach
- 6.8 Thousand Island Viewpoint
- 6.9 Go scuba diving
- 6.10 Night Market Nusa Penida
- 6.11 Chill Out at Penida Coloda
- 6.12 Go Snorkeling
- 6.13 Suwehan Beach
- 6.14 Peguyangan Waterfall
- 6.15 Seganing Falls
- 6.16 Temeling Natural Pools
- 6.17 Pandan Beach
- 6.18 Visit the Car Temple
- 7 Nusa Penida Accommodation
- 8 Must-Reads for Bali!
How to Get to Nusa Penida
From Bali there are two ways to get to Nusa Penida: a local slow boat/ferry or a fast boat.
Fast Boat: The fast boat from Bali to Nusa Penida is the most common way and also the most expensive. These boats depart from Sanur in Bali. It takes approximately 30-40 minutes and there are a number of companies that offer boat services that also include pick up. Maruti Express and Caspla Bali Boat are two such companies, prices range from 300,000 – 350,000 one-way. Boats leave at multiple times throughout the day.
Slow Boat: The slow boat is the local ferry and sets off from Pandang Bai which is quite a bit further than Sanur. The slow boat has no set times as I’ve been told that it changes weekly. 11AM, 1PM and 2PM seem to be the most common times that it leaves. A one-way ticket costs 31,000 and it takes approximately 1.5 hours. Bathrooms are on board and you can also buy drinks on the boat. Buy your tickets inside the building located in the harbour after 9AM. If you need to hang out around the area until your boat leaves I recommend Omang Omang cafe, good prices and good Wi-Fi.
From Nusa Lembongan head down to the harbour at the yellow bridge and hop on a local boat. Price is 50,000 per person.
Getting Around Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida island is large, especially in comparison to its neighboring islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. The entire island is 200 square kilometres and the roads are in such bad condition that is makes getting around a lot slower than normal.
The best way to get around is by scooter. As mentioned above the roads are terrible but they are improving. You will find long patches of paved road but a lot of your riding will be done on roads with so many potholes you’ll be cursing.
Do not rent a bike if you have never driven one before or have very little experience. It’s too dangerous and you will need to go on these roads to get to all of the best spots. The roads are also narrow, very windy and there are a lot of hills! I was riding with my friend on my scooter and we made it only falling once! (Neither of us were injured we were going so slow we basically just fell over when we hit some loose gravel).
Renting a bike costs 50,000-75,000 per day but hiring a private driver is also very affordable (especially if you’re in a group).
If you can’t drive you can always hire a guide to drive you on a scooter or you can have a guide drive you in a car. It’s quite the ride in the car so watch your head from hitting the windows!
Nusa Penida Itinerary
Many people do a Nusa Penida day trip if they are limited on time. If one day is all the time you have or you can’t drive a scooter then a tour is a great option. Options are available that include all transport from Bali. Tours will show you the east, west or north parts of Nusa Penida, it’s your choice and you can opt to join in with a group already going or choose a private tour.
If you have time or want to tour on your own the first day covers the must-see things on Nusa Penida while the following days include more awesome stuff. So if you only have one day follow the day one itinerary!
DAY ONE: Explore the west side of the island. This includes Kelingking Beach, Angel’s Billabong, Manta Ray viewpoint, Broken Beach, the car temple, Banah viewpoint and Seganing Falls. All of this can be done in one day however I recommend staying on the island for the night because it is too tight to fit it all in the boat times. If this is your only day on the island then add in Crystal Bay too.
DAY TWO: This day will require a lot of climbing and explores the south and east side of Nusa Penida. Start by heading to Peguyangan Waterfall then make your way to Thousand Island viewpoint before heading for some relaxing time at Atuh Beach. In the evening check out the night market or chill out at Penida Colada. If you get going early you can also beach hop over to Suwehan Beach before hitting up the Thousand Island viewpoint.
DAY THREE: If you want to snorkel then hop on a tour this day to see the colourful fish and manta rays. Or if you want to do some more exploring head to Temeling and then spend the afternoon relaxing at Crystal Bay. If you want a beach to yourself then take the short hike to Pandan Beach from Crystal Bay.
DAY FOUR: Spend the day scuba diving and opt for a chance to see manta rays!
Nusa Penida Tips
- Spend more than a day, a day will only show you a small fraction of the island
- Have experience driving a scooter before you do so on Nusa Penida for your own safety and for others
- Get going early to avoid the tourists that come over for day trips
Things to do on Nusa Penida
Get adventurous, lounge on beaches, see incredible viewpoints and get ready for some wicked rides on a bike to the best Nusa Penida attractions. Discover what to do in Nusa Penida!
Kelingking is the main attraction on Nusa Penida that draws visitors in because of the unique shape of the land that juts out creating a shape that many claim looks like a dinosaur, a T-Rex to be specific. From the top you get the incredible view of this land that is totally Insta-worthy. If you’re brave enough you can trek down the stairs (if you can call them that) and have a perfect white sand beach with turquoise waters all to yourself. I’ve been told that it’s worth however I never checked it out for myself!
Kelingking translates to Pinkie in English, referring to your pinkie finger because the land is supposed to look like a pinkie finger reaching out. A pinkie finger or a T-Rex, you head there and be the judge!
Keep in mind that the road to get here is very bad, so bad that I will never complain about potholes again! Take it slow and be careful folks!
After Kelingking Beach, Angel’s Billabong is one of the best things to do in Nusa Penida. This hot spot is stunning for pictures and has crystal clear water. It’s a tide pool that is best visited at low tide. You can snorkel here or just spend some time marveling at the waters where manta rays swim. Be cautious as when the tide is high waves crash over the edge and people have died from being pulled into the ocean.
On top of which time is best to visit for the tide it is also the busiest in the morning and late afternoon as it is often apart of the day trippers who come to the island. Trust me, you’ll want to visit when there aren’t hordes of tourists since the area is small and I know you want good pictures!
The main road to get here is the same as Kelingking Beach so it’s best to do both of these in the same day.
Broken Beach is another famous cove on Nusa Penida and despite its name there is not actually a beach here. It is definitely worth checking out though and is right around the corner, a few minutes walk, from Angel’s Billabong. Here you can gawk at the beauty of the archway that lets the amazing blue waters surrounding the island in. It’s stunning to see the erosion of the rock to create this archway that influenced the name Broken Beach because this cove is not fully enclosed.
Manta Bay Viewpoint
Manta Bay is known for snorkeling because it’s a prime spot to find manta rays but you don’t actually need to get into the water to see these gentle giants. If you’re afraid of everything underwater like I am then you’ll be happy to know that from Manta Bay Viewpoint you just may be able to spot them swimming close to the surface. It gives you a good idea of how large they actually are because you can see them from the top of a cliff!
Manta Bay viewpoint is just on the other side of Broken Beach, just walk around and keep your eyes peeled!
Driving on Nusa Penida is tough and you’ll want a break at some point. Crystal Bay is the perfect place to do so. It’s the best beach on the island to chill out on that’s not hard to get to. It’s smooth roads all of the way in. You’ll find bean bags, lounge chairs and some stalls selling local dishes, snacks and cold drinks while you relax in the white sand. The water is crystal clear and it’s another prime spot for snorkeling. Snorkel gear and boats can be rented from here.
Nusa Penida is full of viewpoints that do not disappoint. Banah viewpoint is a bit of a trek to get to but I think totally worth it. When I rolled up with my friend we had the place completely to ourselves (minus the couple of cows who were grazing nearby). After the drive you’ll be rewarded with a view of yet more of the jaw-dropping blue waters and a few inlets popping out of the water.
There are a few spots were fences have been put up where the best views are. There is a steep hill just before arriving at the viewpoint so I parked my bike at the top and walked the last 400m. I was glad I didn’t have to drive back up it!
This Nusa Penida beach is the best on the island. You’ll be rewarded when you get to this beach as it’s a climb down! The views on the way down are so worth it though. The white sand here is literally perfect, the water is cool and clear and the beach is small with some lounge chairs set up. You can also get food and drinks here.
The easier way to get to the beach is from the south side which has stairs though you won’t get as good of a view and you’ll need to pay for parking (around 10,000) on this side. The north side is what Google Maps shows you and is more of a half climb/walk down. But it is doable, just a bit harder! Parking is free on this side and you’ll get great views of the arch walking down this way.
At low tide you can’t swim because there are too many rocks and at high tide there is almost no beach. I was there during high tide and still had a spot on the sand where water didn’t hit and swimming was possible when the waves were calm and if you hopped over the rocks.
Thousand Island Viewpoint
Another great viewpoint! Thousand Island viewpoint is close to the southside of Atuh Beach and is worth popping over to so you can get some shots of the gorgeous coastline. This viewpoint is also called Pulau Seribu (in Indonesian) and it translates to thousand island. It’s down some stairs to get to the viewpoint, but nothing too crazy. There are railings made out of sticks to help you from falling, but I wouldn’t lean on them!
After the first viewpoint continue going down the steps and you’ll find the famous Instagram treehouse. You can actually stay the night there and wake up to these incredible views!
Go scuba diving
Nusa Penida is a well-known spot for scuba diving in Indonesia and especially around Bali so if you’re already a diver why not jump at the opportunity to get up close with some of the manta rays!
This viewpoint can be found on Google Maps but it is labeled as ‘Atuh King Five Nusa Penida’.
Night Market Nusa Penida
Though I never made it to the Nusa Penida night market I did have a friend who went and raved about the local food. It’s small and is located on the main street across from the largest temple.
Chill Out at Penida Coloda
Penida Coloda is a little trendy restaurant serving a mix of Asian and western dishes, smoothies, juices and cocktails. You can catch a gorgeous sunset here while overlooking the beach and Mount Agung in the back on Bali. There is also a happy hour with 2 for 1 cocktails, bean bags, tables and lounge chairs.
Nusa Penida island has amazing spots for snorkeling. Most of the boats you’ll see actually come over from Nusa Lembongan because it’s best around Nusa Penida. You can book a snorkeling day trip pretty much anywhere on the island and at most accommodation. All go to Crystal Bay, Manta Bay and some other hot spots around the island. What’s so special about snorkeling in Nusa Penida is that you’ll be able to swim with manta rays!
You can also snorkel yourself in Crystal Bay.
If you’re craving some alone time then this beach will give you exactly that. This is still considered a hidden beach in Nusa Penida and is where you’ll find more white sand and a large stone in the water shaped like a triangle. Afternoon is the perfect time to visit and you can swim here though certain spots have been marked as zones for no swimming.
Puseh Suwehan Temple is located above the beach and locals believe the nine wells here are holy springs. You also have to walk down stairs to get to this beach.
Be warned that you may not actually see a waterfall here! The stairs are definitely somewhere to take pictures but your legs will be screaming at you later. At the bottom of this cliff with very steep stairs is a temple that is nothing spectacular but it is simple. You will need a sarong to visit at the bottom as you will need to pass through the temple to get to the waterfall which is actually very small and can not be accessed when the tide is high. The walk down certainly gives you some great views though.
I completely skipped this waterfall because I read that it’s quite steep and that there is a tiny wooden fence stopping you from falling to your death down the cliff. Oh and that the path and is also quite narrow. The falls are nothing to be impressed by as they are quite small but if you’re up for an adventure the trek will give you some stunning lookouts and pictures.
Temeling Natural Pools
Waterfalls are supposed to be here as well but they may not be depending on what season you’re visiting in. The real draw here though are the natural pools that have water so incredibly clear. You’ll have a good chance of having the place to yourself (maybe with some monkeys) and you can cool down in the pools surrounded by limestone rocks and jungle after the hard ride in (the road here is bad too).
Keep in mind that there are pools for men and ladies that are separate. The larger is for men and the smaller for ladies. This is also a sacred site and women are not supposed to enter when menstruating.
If you want a beach to yourself this is where you need to go. Tucked away on the southside of Crystal Bay are some stairs that seem to lead up into the jungle. They do, but there is also a path that leads you to Pandan Beach where there is nothing but the sand and the water. The waves are quite strong here so swimming is not recommended but there are shady areas where you can chill out for a few hours.
Visit the Car Temple
Scoot just a little further along from the entrance to Kelingking and you’ll find the car temple. It’s free to entry, though you will need a sarong. The temple is medium-sized and is unique because it has two cement cars in the back right-hand corner. Kind of odd, weird and totally different!
Nusa Penida Accommodation
Finding where to stay in Nusa Penida on a budget can be difficult, though the prices aren’t ridiculous. If you’re with a group or friends I recommend renting a room in a bungalow or homestay. There is 1 hostel and some places have dorm rooms though not a lot!
- Bintang Hostel and Homestay | BOOK NOW: Booking.com
- Singabu Bungalows | BOOK NOW: Booking.com
- The Mel Homestay | BOOK NOW: Booking.com
- Coco Resort Penida | BOOK NOW: Booking.com
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