The ultimate travel guide to Nusa Penida Island in Indonesia

Wanderitphoto

Nusa Penida is a paradise-like gem situated off the East coast of Bali. The island is located next to Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan and is known for the beautiful white-sand beaches, jaw-dropping cliffs and turquoise waters. Although many travellers used to choose other nearby islands, like the Gilis, Nusa Penida has gained a huge interest over the past few years becoming one of the top places to visit when traveling in Bali.  

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HOW TO GET TO NUSA PENIDA FROM BALI?

There are daily ferries from the port of Sanur in the East of Bali. The Nusa Penida Sanur ferry route connects Indonesia with Bali and is currently operated by 2 ferry companies. The Marlin Fast Boat service runs up to 11 times per day while the Crown Fast Cruise service runs up to 3 times. The journey with both operators takes approximately 45 minutes. 

It’s always best to pre-book your tickets online for the best prices and to avoid the queues. This will also guarantee your seat as Sanur port gets very busy throughout the day. 

The prices for the one way ferry tickets vary from 100,000 IDR to 200,000IDR per person. 

Travel tip: There is no pier in Nusa Penida which means that you’ll have to step into water when departing the ferry. Although the staff will help you with big pieces of luggage- it will be much easier for you if you pack light. 

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HOW LONG SHOULD I STAY IN NUSA PENIDA FOR?

Over the past few years, Nusa Penida has become one of the most popular day-trip destinations you can do from Bali. For this reason, if you want to experience the best that island has to offer and with lesser crowds, you should consider staying for 2 or ideally 3 days. Although the day trips are also worth doing if your timetable is busy, they may turn into a very touristic experience. When the first morning ferry arrives at Nusa Penida, travellers jump in the taxis and head over to the island's best spots such as Kelingking, Diamond Beach or Atuh. If you’re a morning person and you want to have those spots all to yourself, visit them before the first boat arrives, or after the last one leaves. 

As Nusa Penida’s tourism is developing quickly, the accommodation options expand too. There are plenty of hotels and guesthouses to choose from and most of them can be booked at very affordable prices. 

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PLANNING TIPS:

-Withdraw the currency before arriving in Nusa Penida. Although there are a few cash points on the island, it is safer to get the cash out in Bali. The ATM’s are not always reliable in certain parts of Indonesia.

-Once a year there is a ‘Day of the Silent Ocean’ when the boats do not operate. Before planning your trip to Nusa Penida, check when this date falls and make sure it doesn’t affect your travels. 

-Pack: high filter sunscreen, flip flops, swimwear, towels, dry bag, camera, goPro, snorkeling kit, comfy shoes for hiking

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HOW TO MOVE AROUND?

Although many travellers avoid renting taxis- it’s definitely the safest and most comfortable way of exploring the island. There are many tour operators who will take care of your schedule and will drive you to the island's most beautiful locations. It’s worth pre-booking online for the best prices and availability. 

The average prices for a day tour around Nusa Penida are around $70-$100/ per tour. 

The roads in Nusa Penida are narrow, steep and their condition is really poor. It’s hardly possible for 2 cars to pass and for this reason you should avoid renting a motorbike, unless you’re an experienced driver. However, if you’re staying on the island for a few days- it’s fine to drive a scooter during early hours, before the boats start arriving and large numbers of taxis flock the roads.

Although the best spots are not located far from each other, the full day of driving around can be quite tiring considering the roads’ condition. This is another reason why you should stay over for at least one night and explore in the more relaxed mode. 

Travel tip: Considering how bad the Internet connection can be in Nusa Penida, it’s worth downloading the offline maps to help you navigate. 

WHERE TO STAY IN NUSA PENIDA?

There's a variety of accommodation all around the island with cute bungalows leading the way. 

La Roja- Beautiful boutique hotel with small bungalow-shaped rooms and a decent size swimming pool. La roja is a very instagrammable place so it gets fully booked quickly!

Penida Bamboo Green- Beautiful traditional and spacious bamboo houses. Penida Bamboo Green is relatively new and offers the most relaxed atmosphere and incredible views from their infinity pool. 

Autentik Penida Glamping- Most probably one of the coolest accommodations on the island. The rooms here are like glamorous tents nestled between the trees.  

Penida Sunset Ocean View Bungalows- Very affordable, yet cosy and stylish bungalows.

Rumah Pohon- The actual treehouse with some of the most incredible views on the island. Although the amenities are very basic, it's the views you’re booking this property for!

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WHERE TO EAT IN NUSA PENIDA?

Although there are local-food warungs to be found all around the island and near the most touristic spots, there are a few restaurants you should not miss:

  1. Penida Colada: located on the beach, Penida Colada is a chilled vibe restaurant serving great food and drinks
  2. Secret Penida Cafe: Yum breakfast and great coffee. Secret Penida Cafe is what you would typically find in Bali’s Seminyak or Canggu. 
  3. Coco Penida Bar and Restaurant: Healthy recipes, great seafood and coastal vibes. 

WHAT TO SEE IN NUSA PENIDA?

Nusa Penida is known for its natural wonders, and there are quite a few around the island. Starting 

  1. Kelingking Beach

The most iconic spot on the island. Kelingking beach is nestled below 200-metre dinosaur-shaped cliffs. This jaw-dropping location is a must-visit and is best explored during early hours or before the sunset. 

Due to Kelingking being the most popular location on the island, it gets very busy during the day. However, not many people decide on taking the 50-minute trek down the cliffs so if that’s on your bucket list, you can still make your experience private. 

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Photography tip: There are no limits when it comes to flying your drone in Nusa Penida, however- you need to watch the sky! Kelingking point is a busy playground for the drone pilots. 

  1. Diamond Beach

Without a doubt, Diamond Beach is one of the most spectacular beaches in Indonesia. With the high ciffs, blue-ass waters and dreamy palm trees- Diamond Beach makes it to the list of Penida’s best locations. 

There’s also a scenic swing you can take when visiting Diamond Beach! 

Safety tips: Although the access to the Diamond beach has been improved, the stairs get more and more narrow as you walk down. The only protection you have are the ropes and on the way up and down you often need to pass next to other travellers. If you’re afraid of heights- you may not want to go all the way down to the beach. 

The currents in Diamond Beach are very strong, and for this reason it’s better to skip the swim and appreciate all the views instead!

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  1. Thousand Islands Viewpoint

After a mild trek, you’re going to be rewarded with the most incredible view on the island. This small viewpoint overlooks the horizon of cliffs and turquoise waters. 

Travel tip: Remember to bring a sunscreen! A lot of locations on Nusa Penida are fully exposed to the Sun. 

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  1. Rumah Pohon Treehouse

This treehouse is one of the most iconic photography spots on the island and has gained a huge social media exposure over the past few years. Nestled on the tree and overlooking the cliffs and waves, Rumah Pohon is a perfect place to pause on your way to Thousand Islands Viewpoint. 

Travel tip: This treehouse is an actual airbnb and there are people staying inside. If you’re not renting it, be mindful and respectful of other people’s privacy when taking pictures or wandering around. 

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  1. Atuh Beach

Located on the East coast of Nua Penida, there’s a beautiful and secluded beach called Atuh. This picturesque white-sand beach is surrounded by tree-covered cliffs and turquoise waters. On the contrary to the Diamond Beach, Atuh is surrounded by calmer waters and is perfect for a swim. 

  1. Angel’s Billabong

The natural infinity pool carved between the cliffs and overlooking the sea. You can easily walk in and take a relaxing dip, however be aware of the waves and do not come too close to the edge of the pool. The rocks tend to be sharp too so be mindful when jumping in! This location is best explored in the morning as it gets really busy during the day. 

  1. Broken Beach

Right next to Angel’s Billabong there’s Broken Beach- a picturesque cove which is a perfect spot to pause and simply enjoy the view. 

  1. Crystal Bay

Surrounded by palm tree forests, Crystal Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. This location is perfect for snorkeling and sunset watching. You can also visit a small temple located on the nearby island. 

  1. Peguyangan Waterfall

Are you up for an adventurous hike? The access to Peguyangan Waterfall, which is through steep blue stairs hanging on the cliffs, is definitely not for those afraid of heights. If you decide to take the hike, however, you’ll be rewarded with the most premium views. 

IF YOU HAVE MORE TIME ON THE ISLAND, YOU SHOULD NOT MISS:

-Suwehan Beach

-Goa Giri Putri temple

-Banah Cliff point

-Tembeling Beach and natural pools

-Teletubbie Hills

-Saren Cliff Point

-Seganing Falls

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