Nusa Penida Things To Do
Nusa Penida is the largest of 3 sister islands just off the coast of Bali with Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan completing the trio.
Although Penida is the largest Nusa island, it is still relatively small.
But don’t be deceived by the size. Nusa Penida is loaded with fun things to do and see around every other corner.
Now that I’ve got you intrigued, let’s move on to must knows about Nusa Penida.
Bali to Nusa Penida
Getting from Bali to Nusa Penida is fairly easy with departure times every hour, give or take a few minutes. Fast boats and speed boats leave from Sanur harbour/beach.
Tickets cost 150k IDR (€9.65) one way (300k IDR for two way) and can be purchased directly from the harbour.
Another option is to buy a joint ticket. This will include hotel pick-up and boat ticket. Joint tickets cost between 400/500k IDR (€25.75/€32.20) for a 2 way ticket. (1 way ride costs 300k IDR (€19.30)). Pick-up will be from nearby towns such as Kuta, Canggu, Ubud, Seminyak, Jimbaran. From Uluwatu there may be an additional cost.
Public Ferry from Padang Bai to Nusa Penida
If like us, you’re on a tight budget and want to get to Nusa Penida with a scooter, then the local ferry is your only option which also happens to be the cheapest.
The local ferry departs once a day from Padang Bai harbour which is just under 1 ½ hours drive from Kuta. Departure time is scheduled at 11:00 am but through our own experience, we suggest not to rely on this time.
Our ferry left at 14:45 pm. Although we still suggest getting here at around 10:00 am. The ferry does sometimes leave on time.
We paid 129k IDR (€8.30) for the 2 of us and a scooter. A single adult ticket costs 31.7k IDR (€2).
Getting Around the Island of Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida is the largest island out of the trio making up the Nusa islands. However, Nusa Penida is still relatively small with a length just over 20km from the furthest points.
But don’t let the size deceive you. Due to a tricky road network, a few rough patches throughout the island and online maps not up to date, it will take you some time to get from point A to B.
We made the mistake of planning our days with 4 or 5 spots. Not a good idea. Even activities close to one another take a considerable amount of time to reach.
I will try my best to explain how the road network actually works.
All activities are located either close or on the coast. The only coast road is along the East to North of the island. But this isn’t where you’ll find Nusa Penida’s hotspots.
Most of the hotspots are located on the Southeast and west coasts with the main road passing further inland. Separate roads lead to individual attractions. Therefore, even if you have 2 spots that are relatively close to one another, you will have to go back out to the main road, find the entry point to your next attraction, and cruise back towards the coast and finally reach your destination.
However, these daily, let’s say challenges, are what make Nusa Penida an adventurous and interesting place to visit.
How to Get Around Nusa Penida Island
Best and cheapest way of getting around Nusa Penida is by scooter. It’s convenient, you’re not fixed to any schedule and above all is cheap. A scooter will cost just a little over what you pay in Bali, around 70k IDR (€4.50). If you do opt for a scooter, definitely wear a helmet. Apart from it being the law, it’s mostly for your own sake.
However, if you’re not confident riding a scooter and along bumpy roads, you may opt for a hire car with driver. You can find hire cars from any touristic area in the North and cost roughly €35 for 10 hours.
Where to Stay in Nusa Penida
Although Nusa Penida has gained much attention over the past few years, it still remains laid back. Yet, you will find accommodation throughout the island. Choosing the right location will help get the most out of your trip. Or if you intend to explore all of Nusa Penida, I suggest to move around.
Down here, will break down Nusa Penida’s areas including what is nearby. And our preferred location where you will find loads of popular spots nearby.
North West Nusa Penida
North west coast is where you’ll find the largest concentration of restaurants, bars and accommodation. Many choose this location for the somewhat lively atmosphere and the many amenities in Toya Pakeh. This area is a good option if you want all amenities within minutes from your accommodation. And want to be close to the fast ferry boats. Closest attraction is Crystal bay, 20 minutes ride away. Other attractions are between 40 minutes to 1 hour drive.
Crystal Bay is Nusa Penida’s amazing coral reef beach. Definitely choose Crystal bay if you want to relax, snorkel, swim and watch amazing sunsets. Accommodation is just minutes away from the beach. Kelingking beach, Broken beach and Tembeling are a 45 minute scooter ride away.
North East Nusa Penida
Another favourite area is the Northeast. Not so urbanised but you’ll still find a choice of great restaurants and amazing accommodation just metres from the shoreline. Downside to this area is it doesn’t have any attractions close by.
South East Nusa Penida
If you want a secluded area yet still within minutes from amazing attractions, then around the south east of Nusa Penida is definitely a great pick. Atuh beach, Diamond beach and the 1000 islands viewpoint are on this side of the island. This is the sleepy area of Nusa Penida. But you will get 3 of the island’s hot spots within a short ride.
Our Absolute Favorite Area to Stay
So, you’re on the way to Nusa Penida yet still don’t know which area to stay. If you intend visiting Nusa Penida’s best spots read this.
We are going to recommend 3 accommodations. All are highly rated and are all in the same area. We have picked this specific area and listed it as our favourite for the great location.
All 3 properties are just minutes away from the West coast’s hotspots. And although this is a rural area, I guarantee you’ll love it. True, you won’t have a broad selection of restaurants at your fingertips. However, the location is the best for visiting all the West coast’s amazing spots.
You can check these out on booking.com
- Agasta Villa
- Kubu Reot Taman Asri Villa
- Holy Hill Inn Bungalow
Things To Do in Nusa Penida
Diamond Beach is a small stretch of sand dotted with unique huge rocks and enclosed with high cliffs.
Out of all the beaches that we’ve come across in Bali and Nusa penida, Diamond beach is without a doubt the most stunning. So if you’re planning a Nusa Penida trip, list Diamond beach somewhere in the top row. I will tell you why.
The name comes from a huge diamond shaped rock in the shallows of Diamond beach. You can see the stunning rocks and white sand from a viewpoint above the bay.
Getting to the beach is through a chiselled staircase in the cliff’s face. You will realize how the view increasingly changes. And the seemingly small diamond rock gets bigger. The sand starts glittering and the shallow water is silky faded blue.
Getting down to Diamond beach is doable. However there is one part which is a bit sketchy. You’ll need to hang on to ropes tied along this part, but don’t worry, just be careful and you’ll manage.
It took us around 15 minutes to get down but given the impressive views, we got to the beach before we knew it.
On your way down you will pass by a little warung set on higher grounds. This is also the contrasting part of the bay which has some palm trees.
➵ All attractions mentioned in this post are pinpointed on the map below.
If you’re up for a challenge that ends with an awesome reward, head over to Atuh beach.
Reaching Atuh beach is one interesting ride. If you are heading here from the North, most of the ride will be along the coast. Passing by charming seaside villages and soon after you’ll make a turn onto a rocky road.
Atuh beach faces the sunrise side of Nusa Penida. So, we decided to get an early morning start and made our way to a viewpoint overlooking the bay.
Looking out onto the ocean and facing directly the waves crashing against a jagged island, is a pretty cool way to start off any day.
Debating if we should or should not make our way down to the beach, we decided to give this a miss. Anyhow, the view is pretty impressive facing over the little island and all.
Kelingking is hands down Nusa Penida’s staple landmark. I can say it’s even Bali’s landmark although they’re 2 separate islands.
Kelingking may not ring a bell but I’m almost certain you’ve come across the T Rex rock.
This impressive rock formation is one of the island’s top hot spots. So try getting here early or after 4-5 pm when all the tours are on their way back.
We came here early enough and not a sole was around, apart from workers and a few monkeys.
Said that, do be careful, the monkeys hang around the cliff edge and may surprise you.
Kelingking is another of those stunning rock formations Nusa Penida tends to offer. From hundreds of metres above the beach, the viewpoint looks down onto the perfectly formed T.Rex shaped formation.
Stairs along the dinosaur’s spine will take you down to the beach. Speaking of this, I’m not sure why but we didn’t make our way down to the beach. This is my only regret of our trip to Nusa Penida.
Banah cliff may not be as popular as Kelingking but is still an equally stunning viewpoint . From here, views look over the coastal cliffs on the West side of Nusa Penida.
Banah cliff is 45 minutes from Toya Pakeh harbour and is a good place to watch the sunset. However, we decided to come here early morning which turned out to be just as rewarding.
The view looks in both directions over the cliffside coast and a cluster of rocks in the ocean. And an archway, eroded through a rock sits alone in the middle of the ocean.
If you look closely you will see an archway in the bushes. This will lead you to a vantage point that looks in the opposite direction. And further along the cliffs is a set of stairs going down onto a protruding rock. The views from here similar to what you get from the top but are much more interesting. Here you can clearly see the sheer size of the cliff face.
Tembeling Beach & Forest
Tembeling Beach & Forest is a contrasting and unique landscape on Nusa Penida’s west coast. A patch of jungle, nestling an enchanted area with pools, cliffs and temple and ending directly on a beach.
Tembeling isn’t connected with a proper road and only scooters will manage to make their way down. Therefore, this is one of the island’s attractions that not too many guides put on their list.
Our day started off at Banah Cliff which is only a short ride from Tembeling Beach & Forest. However, we did spend a considerable amount of time trying to figure out where the actual entry is. In the end, we gave up and just crossed through the jungle. And finally reached the official path/road.
After a 10 minutes trek down the path and along the jungle we reached the entry point to the pool and beach. A flight of stairs lead the way through this hidden place.
Down the stairs and into this little hideaway is a little temple surrounded with cliffs. A bright blue pool lays next to the temple. The pool is deepish but we didn’t swim here and continued further down.
Right next to the beach is the second pool. Waves break up along boulders scattered on the beach a few metres away. And jungle surrounds the crystal clear pool. The pool is rather shallow. However, is still good enough for a dip and the setting is definitely our favourite.
On Nusa Penida’s west coast is one of the most stunning attractions. Angel’s Billabong is a pool surrounded by jagged rock landscape right next to the ocean.
Angel’s Billabong sits in a kind of small valley travelling down into a pool and ending by the ocean. The natural infinity pool is created when the tide is lower than a ledge separating the pool and ocean.
We couldn’t help but stare in awe at such a stunning wonder. The deeper parts of the pool is where our attention was drawn. Through the crystalline water coming from down below, the different rock formations are clearly visible.
We came here early enough for no one to be around. And the experience was truly magical. You will need to be here early for such an experience. Angel’s Billabong is pretty much on every tour guide list. However, as long you come before 9:00 am, you should manage to beat the crowds.
Next to Angel’s Billabong is Broken Beach. Walking along the paved path it will take you 5 minutes to reach.
Broken Beach is literally as the name implies. A beach, inside a sunken hole in the earth, right next to the ocean. Definitely a stunning attraction. Cliffs wrap all the way around the beach and a huge pool. And an archway, eroded in the cliff feeds ocean water.
A path circulates around Broken Beach. This is where we spent most of the time and took photographs from any given angle. I’m still learning about photography and unfortunately many photos didn’t turn out as I had expected. But, I’m trying my best to improve.
Once we had taken a large amount of photos from popular angles, we decided to move off the beaten path and went further towards the ocean. Around ten minutes from Broken Beach is Manta Viewpoint. You will need to walk up a hill to reach this point. And, if you’re lucky enough you will spot the Manta rays gliding beneath you. But this all comes down to luck, we didn’t manage to see any.
Sunset at Peguyangan
Peguyangan is most known for the temple and waterfall at the end of a flight of blue stairs dangling off the cliff face.
Although making the way down to the temple is an interesting experience, we gave this a miss.
We arrived here as the sun started to set. A guy at the stair entrance offered us a sarong to go down to the temple. Obviously this wasn’t going to happen. There is no way I would want to come up a pitch black never ending staircase. So, we declined and moved further along the cliff.
Beside the stair entrance is a kind of viewing area. There are a few structures here and platform up in the tree. We stayed here as the sun sank down into the ocean and the cliff views slowly faded away. There is also an accommodation here. Not sure of the name but definitely amazing waking up to such a view.
For those who want to swim, snorkel or simply relax then Crystal Bay is your spot. Crystal Bay is the one beach of Nusa Penida that stands out. Unlike other beaches which are mostly surrounded by a dramatic landscape and have crashing waves, this beach is at the end of a valley covered in palm trees and has much calmer waters.
You will find that Crystal bay offers quite a few things to do. With sunsets and snorkelling being on top of the list.
Best time for snorkeling is early morning before the boat tours get here at around 9:00 am. And a handy tip is that the snorkelling spot is to the further left side of the bay. We had some time figuring out where the best place to snorkel was.
A few metres in the water and you’ll be above the corals and colourful fish. We didn’t see large schools of fish but there is definitely bigger fish swimming around here. I would say largest was around 2 or 3 feet, not sure what fish it was. Nonetheless, the colourful reef makes up for the few fish.
Sunset at Crystal Bay
Sunsets in Nusa Penida are stunning and all along the west coast you will find loads of unique sunset spots.
Our favourite was from Crystal Bay. There are a few reasons why we preferred this place. Firstly, the roads are good so you don’t need to worry about a bumpy ride back in the dark. Plus, the short ride along the valley covered in palm trees is simply stunning.
Once you reach the beach, grab your favourite sun downer from a warung. And just chill out as sunset unfolds while the sun sinks into the ocean.
Secret Beach or Pandan Beach
While you’re at Crystal Bay, you may want to check out the nearby Pandan beach. This secluded little bay can be reached with a 15 minute walk. From Crystal bay, head over to the further left of the beach and you’ll see a set of stairs nestled in the bushes. The first few steps are broken but the rest are fine.
The flight of stairs go all the way up. Don’t forget to take some photographs along the way, views from here look over the bay and a small island. Once you reach the top you’ll walk for around 5 minutes and head back down to Pandan beach. Don’t expect to find many people here. However, you may find a local in a little shack selling a few refreshments.
Pandan isn’t a great place for snorkelling or either swimming. Waves do get big certain times so I suggest to avoid swimming all together.
Thousand Islands Viewpoint
On Nusa Penida’s south east coast is the Thousand Islands Viewpoint which is another of the island’s attractions.
Close by are Atuh beach and Diamond beach which I suggest combining into a day trip. Thousand Islands Viewpoint is known for the tree houses set on a rock formation that extends out from the cliff. In fact, we spotted the tree houses while looking at Diamond beach viewpoint. These 2 attractions are right next to one another so we decided to come here soon after.
The road from Diamond beach to Thousand islands is an interesting ride along dirt roads. Therefore, be careful.
The parking and entrance fee is 10.000 IDR (€0.65). From the parking area there is a path down and steep stairs that take you near the tree houses.
The view is impressive looking onto Diamond beach from a different angle. You can find lots of viewpoints around and certain places have a safety fence or rope. But, do be cautious, the drop is high and I wouldn’t rely too much on the ropes for safety.
The Town's Night Market
I wasn’t sure about adding a night market to this list. But given the fact we had 3 meals here, does suggest the food was good.
Nusa Penida’s night market sets up in town close to the local car ferry. Not such a large market but is definitely a good place to try local cuisine.
We chose the market over restaurants for the fact we didn’t have many options close to our accommodation. And after a long day out, the last thing we wanted was to search for a good place to eat. Having been in Indonesia for over 3 months, we knew how good the food was. So we would come here knowing we’d get a great local meal. Plus, a meal would cost around €5 for both us.
Our go to place was a little blue stall serving amazing chicken sate, rice and soup. Don’t expect anything fancy but definitely tasty.
Nusa Penida Map
Click on the right most button to enlarge the map, get the map legend and search the map.
* Accommodation options are highlighted in Yellow
** Attractions on the east coast are highlighted in Green
*** Attractions on the west coast are highlighted in Blue