I was fixated on visiting Nusa Penida ever since the photo of that odd looking cliff which looks like a dinasaur ( kelingking beach) , popped in my instagram feed. While planning our trip to Bali , I researched more about the island and came to the conclusion – ‘Yes , this island just cannot be missed. It has to be in our itinerary and it is going to be awesome’. Nusa Penida is rustic and vastly undeveloped — yet somehow, it’s situated just minutes offshore from Bali’s busy southeast coast! When you visit this place you realize how much does it resemble Bali like 40 years ago when tourists did not bombard it . Nusa Penida has maintained its charm. It is quiet , it is pristine and you need to go there before it becomes the “it” destination in Bali. So if you are visiting this island my ” Nusa Penida, Bali – A Day Trip Guide” will try to answer all your questions, will give you how to get there , what to carry and other tips and more importantly will give you a complete list of things to see.
But let me answer few questions right off the bat :
Question : Day Trip or stay at Nusa Penida for a night?
It totally depends on how much do you want to explore the island. If you want to hit the main spots , take instagram worthy photos – yes day trip is good enough. If you want to explore Nusa Penida to its entirety or if you want to combine Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan ( nearby island) in one trip , you better stay one night at either of the two islands. So its entirely on you. In nutshell in the map below , if you want to hit the points highlighted in red – day trip is good , if you want to combine those red points with blue ones – you need to stay for a night.
Question : Private Tour or self drive on motorbike?
I will definetly advise to have a private tour , something I learnt from my own mistake. We hired a motorbike and drove ourselves around the island. Let me tell you – those roads give me nightmare till day. The island is vastly undeveloped hence you feel every stone , every bump – just everything on your bumms. I am not kidding. We always felt rushed and had continuous fear of our bike getting puntured because of bad roads. If you really want to enjoy the island , take a private tour.
Question : DO you need to book in advance ?
Well , ofcourse you can search online and book a trip well in advance but you will end up paying more. Rule of thumb in Bali , always shop around and haggle – even for the day trip to a nearby island. When we were looking for booking a tour to Nusa Penida in Sanur , it started from 600IDR and ended up being 450IDR per person. Totally worth the wait.
Question : Can you book trip to Nusa Penida from Nusa Lembongan?
Nusa Lembongan is a nearby island which is much more commercialised as compared to Nusa Penida. I think it has more frequency of boats going to Nusa Penida than Sanur. So yes , you can book it from Nusa Lembongan. Check it here (https://www.thelembongantraveller.com/nusa-penida-day-trips/).
Question : Can you see east coast and west coast in one day?
I will say no. The condition of roads make it nearly impossible to reach from one point to the other in time. Also even though on maps it may seem the places are close by , but the actual road connecting them will add hours to your travel. For the first timers I will highly suggest to do west coast and even in that prioritise the points you want to see.
Question : Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan – which island to go?
In ideal world we all will have time to visit all the places in the world and not make these hard choices. But if you really have to choose between Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan here is something you will need to know. Nusa Lembongan is a “Meet fellow travelers” – ” Get your groove on ” kind of place. Therefore there is more beach and summer vibes to this island with an amazing nightlife. Nusa Penida on the other hand is for adventurers. It is undeveloped , raw, rustic with numerous magical sights and spectacular nature. And yes there is absolutely no nightlife in this island. So depending on what you seeking – pick one.
Things to know :
1) Book the fast boat from Sanur. It should cost you about 450000 IDR round trip per person.
2) All boats for Nusa Penida leave from Sanur. We were staying in Pecatu on the day of our trip and it took us more than an hour because of traffic. Thankfully we had not pre-booked our tour so we were able to book another one on the spot. So plan accordingly.
3) If you plan to book on the spot , ask for tour prices around . Try two or three different tour companies and more importantly haggle.
4) Try to take the first boat out of Sanur for the islands which is at around 8:30 am. Most of the times boats will get late , but you will still reach by 10 am , giving you ample time to explore the island.
5) From Sanur to Nusa Penida . it is about 50 mins in speed boat. The ride can get very bumpy so do bring medicine for sea sickness.
6) Bring cash with you to the island. If you decide to explore Nusa Penida on your own , you will need cash for renting the scooter , gas refill etc. and even for food if you are in remote part.7) I will not sugar coat this but the roads are really bad. Really Really bad. If you have a strong back and bumms then only rent the scooter else opt for a shared van or private tour.
8) If you try to take photo with locals , they will ask for money – so beware about that.
9) You need to reach back to the harbour atleast 30 mins before the departure of boat to Sanur. So plan accordingly.
10)If you want to explore east and west coast both – you must stay at this island for a night.
What to Bring/Wear
For your day trip to Nusa Penida, there are a few items I recommend bringing no matter what! You’ll need:
- A waterproof backpack for snorkeling, exploring beaches, and getting in and out of the ferry .
- Sunglasses and a hat to block the sun
- Flip Flops for beach but closed-toe shoes for any kind of hiking .
- Snacks or packed food as there are not many eating options on the island.
- Cash as there are no ATMs.
- A bathing suit because the beaches are incredible and you will want to swim
- A towel for drying off after you swim and snorkel
- Sunscreen because the sun is extremely strong on Nusa Penida
Things to see :
Start from the fathest point and make your way back to harbour – this way you will definetly not get late to reach harbour in time for your evening ferry back to Sanur.
Kelingking Beach :
This is the one of the most instagrammable points of Bali. I am not kidding. If you are visiting this island , it has to be in your itinerary. It’s one of the most breathtaking places I have ever seen. Once you reach there , head straight to the cliff side until you find the perfect point to take photos. This place remains a bit crowded and you might need to get in line to take the photos. If you are feeling adventurous , you can climb down the stairs straight to the beach. But let me warn you , the stairs are incredibly steep. It might take you 20 mins to go down but it will definitely take you more than 45 mins to climb up. And I did see many people climbing up without shoes , and there feet were not in good shape. If you still somehow manage to reach the beach – you have reached the paradise – A perfect white sand beach caressed with blue waves. If you do not want to go all the way down , you can go half way and admire the beauty of dinosaur head shaped cliffs with pure white sand beach.
There are bunch of restaurants right near the parking lot where you can beat the heat. There are fiew vantage points made by locals , ask before you step on any pltform kind of thing to take the photo as mostly they will charge you for climbing up and taking the photo.
Peguyangan waterfall :
Next up will be Peguyanagan Waterfall. Quite honestly , we were running out of time so we did not make it to the base of the cliffs to actually see the waterfall. But if you are not scared of heights and are not pressed against the time , take this 150-meter iron blue stairs hike down to the bottom of cliffs and enjoy the waterfall. You will be rewarded with A temple and small waterfall with fresh water. But trust me , views from the top are much more spectacular.
Broken Beach :
After 45- 50 min drive from Kelingking Beach, you will find Broken Beach — another must-see during your day trip to Nusa Penida! How often do you see a natural arch in the sea enclosing a rock pool of water. But beware before you get on the edges of cliffs. The pool below is so rocky that it will probably be fatal if you try tp jump in the water below. If you ask me, this is a perfect little spot to kick back , have a little picnic and enjoy some ice cold beer :).
Right next to Broken Beach is Angels Billabong. This is a natural infinity pool where you can dip in the clearest waters you would have ever imagined. During the day time , this place remains packed. I mean who does not want a dip in natural infinity pool in scorching heat. It is for this place you must carry a swimsuit. I am not sure if you would climb down to kelingking beach or if you would have time for Crystal bay , but Angels Billabong will surely make you jump in the water.
Crystal Bay :
Lastly if you have any time left and you want to enjoy snorkeling or a spectacular sunset – head to crystal Bay. It is beautiful.
So this is definetly the must sees of the day trip in Nusa Menida. You can have a look at the map – all the places I wished I could see but since I was not staying there for a night and I misjusdged the roads and time it takes from one point to the other , I could not make it to the west side of the island . But hey I had to leave something for the next time , isn’t it. If you have any questions about the day trip to Nusa Penida , please leave me a comment below. I will be happy to help. Thank you so much for stopping by.