Where to stay in Nusa Penida
If you plan on spending one night in Nusa Penida, I recommend staying in a hotel that is on the west of the island. It is home to several of the island’s most popular tourist destinations and is the neighborhood closest to the harbor. This region is also more developed, so the roads are nicer and there are more places to eat and stay.
If you travel alone or with friends, I recommend staying at the Nuansa Penida Hostel. I stayed here on my first visit to the island, and I really liked it. When I stayed, there was no pool, but now there is, which is great for cooling off. The rooms are for four, six and eight people. They have mixed and only for women.
If you are looking for a hotel that also has a pool but has private rooms, I recommend taking a look at Meket Bungalows. It is located less than a five-minute scooter ride from Crystal Bay and has a pool with amazing sunset views. The value for money is very good; therefore, it is a great option to stay in Nusa Penida, Bali.
More hotel recommendations for different budgets:
How to get to Nusa Penida from Bali
When we made the decision to visit this island, one of our initial concerns was how to get from Bali to Nusa Penida. You won’t need to worry about this if you book an organized tour to the island because the transport is covered. You can board the boat from Sanur or Padang Bai if you’re traveling to Nusa Penida without a tour.
Visit Nusa Penida from Sanur
Sanur is the main port where tourists take the boat to go to Nusa Penida. This port is located in the southeastern part of Bali, just to the right of Denpasar. It is the most popular option because it is closer to most of Bali’s tourist spots (Seminyak, Uluwatu, Canggu and Ubud), while Padang Bai is a bit further away. In addition, there are several companies that offer this service and there is a greater variety of schedules.
Taking a taxi from your hotel is the most straightforward way to travel to Sanur. I advise using the Grab or Gojek apps (similar to Uber) to make this move because they are less expensive.
Once you arrive at the port, many vendors will approach you to offer you tickets to Nusa Penida, or you can also go to one of the ticket offices yourself.
You can purchase your boat tickets at 12Go Asia, a completely dependable service to book transfers in Asia, if you wish to book your ticket in advance or if you are traveling during peak season. It has worked great for me when I have used it multiple times. Furthermore, the cost is comparable to what you would pay if you purchased them from the same port.
Although the times may change, boats are often available at 8:00, 8:30, 9:00, 10:30, and 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. I’d suggest going right away in the morning. Depending on the operator, the time, and the port you’re traveling to, the roundtrip should cost no more than $25. The trip there takes about 40 minutes.
Travel to Nusa Penida from Padang Bai
Another option is to take the public ferry in Padang Bai. This town is located at the eastern end of Bali. It is quite a bit further away than Sanur. Also, when using a ferry and not a motorboat, the journey is around an hour and a half. The advantage is that it is usually much cheaper. Of course, there is no fixed schedule, so you will have to go in the morning and see what time the ferry leaves.
Also, you can check if there are any speedboats that go from Padang Bai to Nusa Penida on 12Go Asia, as sometimes there are some available.
Things to do in Nusa Penida, Bali
Let’s begin talking about the essential things to see and do in Nusa Penida!
1. Kelingking Beach, one of the best places in Nusa Penida, Bali
Kelingking Beach is one of the best places to visit in Nusa Penida and the place no one misses during their visit. I think the photos speak for themselves. The place is beautiful. Best of all, no matter how many photos you’ve seen of this place, in person it always manages to impress you even more.
There are two ways to visit Kelingking Beach. You can go to the place and enjoy the view from one of the cliffs, or you can also go down to the beach, which I highly recommend. Not so many people make it to the bottom; therefore, you can enjoy the place in a calmer way and have a more unique and fun experience.
Tips to visit Kelingking Beach, Nusa Penida
Now, going down to the beach, and then up, is not an easy task. In fact, I recommend you follow the following tips if you want to go down to Kelingking Beach, Bali:
1. Be very careful. First of all, I want to warn you that going down to the beach and then going back up is quite exhausting and sometimes difficult. At the beginning, there are stairs, and it seems very easy. However, there comes a time when the steps disappear and there is simply a steep dirt path. You have to make use of the railing and ropes. It is somewhat of a complicated descent, but if you go slowly and carefully, there will be no problem.
2. Get up early. I recommend you go as early as possible for two reasons. The first is because the heat and the sun make going down and going up three times as hard and suffocating. However, if you go at dawn, both the sun and the temperature will be much more pleasant. On the other hand, if you go early, there will be fewer people since the tours usually start later in the day, and you will enjoy the experience more.
3. Wear comfortable footwear. You have to wear shoes that are well attached to your foot. No flip-flops or sandals. I also don’t recommend doing it barefoot (I’ve seen people do it that way). It is best that you wear sports shoes, although any closed shoe or sandal that is well fastened will do.
4. Bring water. It is very important that you bring a bottle of water to stay well hydrated. There is a small stall on the beach; however, it is not always open. If you go early, it may be closed. It also doesn’t hurt to bring some food to replenish your energy when you get to the beach.
5. Do not bathe in the sea! I know that after going down to the beach, one wants to take a good bath. However, the currents at Kelingking Beach are quite strong. You can cool off on the shore with the waves, but I don’t recommend going into the sea. You will see brave souls who do go in, but my advice is that you don’t.
2. Visit Broken Beach, one of the best things to do in Nusa Penida
Broken Beach is another essential place to visit on the island. It is a place that does not need much explanation. Its name means “broken beach,” and the reason why it is named like that is plain and simple. This small arch naturally carved into the rock allows ocean water to enter and forms a lagoon connected to the sea. You can walk around the lagoon by taking a path that passes over the arch.
It is one of the most visited places in Nusa Penida, so if you go in the middle of the day, expect a large crowd of people.
3. Angel’s Billabong, a natural infinity pool
Angel’s Billabong is a natural infinity pool formed by rocks located by the sea. It is located just a few meters away from Broken Beach. If you visit one of these places, go to the other as well, since they are right next to each other. Although you will most likely feel like entering the pool, it is no longer allowed. This is for your own safety. There are large waves at times that can drag you into the sea. Even so, visiting this place is still worth it.
4. Crystal Bay, perfect places to watch the sunset in Nusa Penida
Crystal Bay is one of the most popular beaches in Nusa Penida and the ideal place to go swimming. Unlike other beaches on the island, you will not have to go down endless stairs to access the beach. You can go from your bike to the water in a few seconds! You will find stalls, a beach bar and a volleyball court where there are always locals playing. Just behind the beach, there is a road with palm trees on both sides that looks incredible.
I’ve been to Crystal Bay at both noon and sunset. Your experience at sunset will be much better. During the day, there are many people since it is usually another of the essential stops on the tours. However, at sunset, there are fewer people which makes the place much more charming. In addition, the sunset from the beach is very beautiful.
5. Visit Diamond Beach, one of the best things to do in Nusa Penida
Let’s talk about another of my favorite places in Nusa Penida: Diamond Beach. It is one of the most spectacular beaches I have seen in my life. The cliff, the color of the water, the vegetation and the rocks on the shore create a landscape that seems to be taken from a movie. In fact, the name “diamond” comes from those diamond-shaped rocks on the beach.
As soon as you park the motorcycle and walk a few steps, you will arrive at a viewpoint from which you can enjoy an incredible panoramic view of Diamond Beach. On the other side of this viewpoint is Atuh Beach.
Going down to this beach is not as complicated as going down to Kelingking Beach; however, it does cost money. On the beach, there is a stall where you can buy drinks, although if you go very early, it may still be closed. I also do not recommend swimming at Diamond Beach, as the currents are strong.
So far, the places I have mentioned are located on the west end of the island, which is closer to the port. Diamond Beach is just on the other side, at the eastern end. Being much further from the port, there are usually fewer people. Even so, I recommend you go early to be able to enjoy the place more calmly.
The places I have mentioned thus far are on the western part of the island, nearest to the port. On the other side, on the eastern end, is Diamond Beach. There are typically fewer people because it is considerably farther away from the port. Nevertheless, to enjoy the place with more peace of mind, I still advise you to arrive early.
6. Atuh Beach, a cool place to bathe
Atuh Beach is a gorgeous beach that is directly across from Diamond Beach. Going down takes around 10 minutes. You should check the tide to make sure you go when it is high because otherwise, you will see more rocks than water. This beach is safer for swimming than Kelingking Beach and Diamond Beach. Beaches in Nusa Penida can be dangerous; therefore, exercise caution at all times! A food stand and sun loungers with umbrellas are available on the beach.
7. Rumah Pohon Treehouse
A treehouse that has gained a lot of popularity is located not far from Diamond Beach and Atuh Beach: the Rumah Pohon Treehouse. It is understandable why it has gained such notoriety, given how adorable it is and the breathtaking views that it offers. Be prepared, because there are numerous stairs you must descend in order to get there.
Just a few meters from this house is a viewpoint called Thousand Islands Viewpoint, from which you can enjoy a spectacular landscape.
8. Peguyangan Waterfall
Visiting Peguyangan Waterfall, a waterfall located on a cliff, is one of the least popular things to do in Nusa Penida. To get there, you have to go down some very steep blue stairs, which are not suitable for those who suffer from vertigo. At the bottom, you will find a small temple and some hidden natural pools. Since it is a temple, it is necessary to bring a sarong, which you can rent at the entrance.
In my opinion, a special aspect of this place is not the waterfall or the temple, but the experience of going down stairs anchored to a cliff and the incredible views from it. If you want to enjoy similar views without taking such a beating, go to the next point!
9. Snorkeling in Manta Point, things to do in Nusa Penida
One of the most popular activities in Nusa Penida is snorkeling at Manta Point, where you can swim with enormous manta rays. Many people are unaware that it’s possible to visit the cliffs around this location in order to enjoy a breathtaking view. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to see the manta rays’ silhouettes in the water from above.
Perhaps it is not a place that I would include if you have little time in Nusa Penida, but if you are going to spend several days there, do not hesitate to pay this place a visit. The last section of the road is quite bad, and it can be difficult to go with the bike. If you see it necessary, you can leave the motorcycle aside and continue on foot.
10. Tembeling Beach and Forest
I end this list of the best things to do in Nusa Penida with Tembeling Beach and Forest, a place where you can spend a whole morning or afternoon. You will find a jungle, a natural pool and a beach. It is a lesser-known place than the rest of the places I have mentioned. In fact, it is very likely that when you go, you will find more locals than tourists.
Organized tours to Nusa Penida
As I said at the beginning of the post, I recommend visiting the island without a tour. However, taking a guided tour is not a bad idea if you don’t want to worry about planning the visit or if you don’t want to ride a scooter on the island. If you opt for this option, below you can see the different tours to Nusa Penida, Bali:
- Best of Nusa Penida tour from Bali. You will visit Kelingking Beach, Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach. Includes hotel pickup and drop-off, round-trip speedboat travel, air-conditioned van transportation, water, and local guide. Duration: 10 hours. Price: $92 per person.
- Snorkel in Nusa Penida and Lembongan. You will snorkel at three different points on Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida. In addition, kayaking through a mangrove swamp, hotel pickup and drop-off, a round-trip speedboat ride, snorkel gear, and lunch in Nusa Lembongan. Duration: 11 hours. Price: $67 per person.
Other valuable tips
Here are some last tips before visiting Nusa Penida!
- There aren’t many ATMs, and the ones that do exist sometimes don’t work well. The best thing is that, before the trip, you take out enough money in Bali so you don’t have any problems.
- You have probably heard that the roads in Nusa Penida are not very good and that it is dangerous to ride a motorcycle there. The truth is that in recent years they have repaired them and right now, the roads to go to the most touristic places on the island are fine.
- If you don’t feel comfortable riding a motorcycle, you can rent a car with a private driver here.
- Other places to visit: Pura Goa Giri Putri Cave, Seganing Waterfall, Banah Cliff Point, Suwehan Beach, Saren Cliff Point, Teletubbies Hill and Pandan Beach.
- Cool places to eat: Penida Colada Beach Bar, Secret Penida Cafe, Amok Sunset, Ogix Warung, Warung Forest, Sunny Cafe Penida and Warnakali Restaurant Nusa Penida.
- Take the opportunity to visit Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan. Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan are connected by ferry. Nusa Ceningan is connected to Nusa Lembongan via a bridge. You can take the one-way route from Bali to Nusa Penida and then return from Nusa Lembongan to Bali, or vice versa. You will not have any problems.
Map of Nusa Penida, Bali
In the following map of Nusa Penida, you can see the essential places to visit marked in blue, the least visited places marked in pink, the hotels that I have recommended in red and the restaurants in yellow.
Do not miss my Indonesia travel guide if you are planning your trip to this country.
I hope this post about the best things to do in Nusa Penida (Bali) has been very useful for you to plan your visit to this wild and special island. If you have any questions, I encourage you to leave a comment or email me. Until next time!