You have no doubt seen approximately 3079 photo’s on your instagram feed of this place and wondered where exactly it is and what it is all about. Let me put your mind to rest once and for all and introduce to you, the lovely island of Nusa Penida, just 30 mins from mainland Bali. The beauty of Nusa Penida is yet just another reason why you need to book your flight to Bali… like NOW!
Why should you get Nusa Penida on your must Visit list?
Nusa Penida is a more wild and rough version of tropical, touristy Bali. If you love Nature, adventure (especially on a scooter), beaches to yourself and meeting beautiful local souls that don’t speak a world of English then look no further than Nusa Penida. A separate Island located off the south of mainland Bali, despite being exposed across a few thousand instagram feeds is relatively un-developed. This is mainly due to the limited road access to many of the pristine golden sand, palm tree swaying beaches that line the island. But that doesn’t stop the heartiest of travelers! Penida is rapidly becoming more accessible and welcoming to the growing tourism industry on their island as it provides jobs and opportunities for local families that may otherwise have to leave their families behind to work on nearby Bali, Lombok or Nusa Lembongan.
How to get there?
The easiest option is to get a speed boat from Sanur. This boat takes around 35 minutes to cross over to the island and is around 350k per person (prices vary hugely depending on if you are going one way, or own to Nusa Lembongan etc). The second option is to take a public boat which also leaves from Sanur but instead takes 90 minutes. There is no schedule as boats leave only once it is full so we recommend arriving early. The public boat is cheaper (around 150k) and the positive side is that you can take your own scooter on this one! Once you arrive on to the island you can rent scooters directly on arrival or take a taxi from the dock. Don’t worry if you change your mind, all hotels offer scooter rentals (approx. 60k per day) and be sure to negotiate prices!
What is there to do on Nusa Penida?
There are so many things to do all over the island but the real issue lies in selecting your top picks as you definitely can’t do the entire island in one day. I recommend you begin with the west coast where there are some beautiful beaches. There are 2 options to explore the island. 1) Book a private car and tour guide for 6 hours for 4 spots (around 150k per person). The great thing about this option is that the driver knows the road, where you want to go exactly and he will wait for you for as long as you want at each spot. 2) You can scooter around the island by yourself. This is a much more adventurous option with so much freedom to explore through rice paddies, head off on random roads. The downside is that you can sometimes get lost, the roads are ROUGH (Much worse than on Bali) and your Butt & wrists will get a real workout. However, if you have the Gift of time, I highly recommend option 2.
The famous “T-rex” is at the Kelingking beach: it’s basically a non-negotiable for your visit to the island… After all, if you don’t get ‘The Shot’ you never went right?! It is an incredible view over the ocean however the beach access is much more tricky! The descent down is long and not really secure, but once you land on the golden shores the beach is absolutely stunning and a postcard from paradise. You won’t be disappointed! Here there are a lot of warungs for lunch serving up both Indonesian favourites as well as pizza’s, burger, hotdogs…
The broken bridge and the angel Billabong. The broken bridge is a natural bridge arched and offers a view from the waters of various blue. I recommend you take a tour of the bridge because the views are different.
The Angels Billabong is a natural pool with turquoise water, it’s very beautiful. You can also swim but you should just take some photos because the waves are very powerful, and accidents do happen!
Crystal Bay. You’ll finish off at the beautiful Crystal Bay which is where you can swim, chill and snorkel with some epic colourful tropical fish! The water is beautiful and clear here and if you’re lucky, a local will climb up a palm tree and fetch you a fresh coconut to slurp back on! Crystal Bay is magic.
The east coast is little more untouched. Here you can head to both Diamond beach and Atuh Beach, both is the same area. To access these beaches you have to climb down an endless amount of stairs which can be quite the challenge! These beaches are perfect for swimming and reading your book but be warned, the waves are not for the faint hearted!
Snorkeling. Nusa Penida is well known across the globe for its Manta Rays and it’s an absolute must to snorkel with them on your trip to the island. You can book snorkeling with your hotel or any of the stands around the island. While spotting Manta Rays and swimming with them isn’t guaranteed, I recommend you go in the morning to have the best chance. They are the most incredible mammals gliding through the ocean. Yes they have huge open mouths. No they will not eat you! The snorkeling is around 250k per person.
How to get around Nusa Penida, Ceningan and Lembongan?
If you decide to visit Nusa Penida I highly recommend you add on Nusa Lembongan for a couple of nights. This is a slightly smaller island located just next to Penida yet much flatter and more built up with tourism – mainly due to their killer surf waves on offer! There is much to do on Lembongan from Stand up Paddle Boarding, Scooting around the island (MUCH easier that scootering around Penida) Snorkelling, Surfing, Yoga, Massage, dining at one of the many beach front warungs or hitting up a Full Moon Party. Nusa Lembongan is the tourist friendlier version of these 3 islands but all can be explored very easily once you are in the area.
To go to Nusa Lembongan from Nusa Penida you have to take a boat (every hour) and it’s around 50k. From Nusa Lembongan to go to Nusa Ceningan you can just cross the famous yellow bridge, either by foot or by scooter and it’s totally free!
Hot tips: The ATM are very difficult to find on Nusa Penida or are sometimes not available so I recommend that you always travel with cash to the island.
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