On this incredible, Indonesian island that’s just off the coast of Bali, there are so many impressive sights and unbelievable landscapes! Whilst Nusa Penida isn’t anywhere near as developed as Bali, it is quieter and deserves to be just as popular. Even four days on Nusa Penida wasn’t enough for us, and we will definitely be coming back soon! We highly recommend going if your in Bali and get the chance! Here’s how you can!
How To Get There
From Bali, there are countless boat companies and tour operators that go to Nusa Penida. We don’t often advise doing an organised day trip and don’t normally enjoy them quite as much as exploring on our own, but, in this case, we’d say that a day trip is actually your best option right now. We’ll share a bit more about why later on, but being able to see the best bits without having to worry about getting around and finding food is a godsend on this island. So, why did we stay on the island for four days? Well, we wanted to enjoy a few sunsets and generally be able to see it all at our own pace - something that definitely had it’s pros and cons in the end!
The boat company that we chose to go with was Maruti Express. We paid 440,000 RP each and, for an extra 200,000 RP, they picked us up from our hotel in Canggu. After arriving in Sanur and checking in at their office, we waited at a small seating area by the beach before boarding the boat. We ended up leaving a little later than planned and then spent the next hour riding the relatively calm water all the way to Nusa Penida, but we were boiling at the front of the boat! At the harbour on Nusa Penida, there were lots of taxis and people offering scooter rentals, but someone from where we were staying picked us up for free!
Where To Stay
Our accommodation, Jona Bungalows, was located about fifteen minutes from Toyapakeh on the west side of the island. Admittedly, it was in the middle of nowhere, but we wanted to be closer to the action and many attractions, so that the journeys on our rented scooter wouldn’t be so long. Overall, it was a really nice place and quite a step up from the standards you often get with thatched roof, bamboo bungalows like the ones here. Plus, the owner was really friendly and, in addition to picking us up at the harbour, he also took us to the hospital when we had quite a bad scooter accident (but more on that later)! One night at Jona Bungalows worked out at about 300,000 RP and scooter rental was 75,000 RP a day.
Where To Eat
Without ever wanting to venture too far from our accomodation for something to eat, we frequently ate at Warung Ibu Kauh, which was almost immediately next door! We also ate at Warung D’Abian, which was quite a bit better, but about ten minutes further away. Our absolute favourite place to eat was called Vegan Soul Kitchen, whose food wasn’t always 10/10, but the service and selection on the menu was just second to none!
We would rarely ever recommend hiring a scooter and, when it comes to Nusa Penida, we feel no different. However, whilst you can usually just walk or hire a bicycle instead, the distances from place to place on Nusa Penida are way too far and hiring a scooter is the obvious next best option. We had heard about the dodgy roads before going but, when we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised by what good conditions these main roads were in. Well, they weren't exactly wide, but they were smooth… This isn’t the case for all of the island’s roads though and it didn’t take long for us to learn that we were in for quite the experience!
The roads were bumpy beyond belief and the stretches of small, loose stones were incredibly dangerous! It was on a patch of road like this that we had our bike accident. Thankfully, there was a restaurant right by the crash site, whose staff kindly helped clean and cover the wounds. After some staff from Jona Bungalows came to our rescue too, they took us to the hospital for a proper clean and a bit of bandaging. We are forever grateful for the kindness and care that we received from the people of Nusa Penida and were honestly a bit shaken by the whole experience. Again, we really don’t recommend driving on these ridiculously unsafe roads, but we don’t want anyone to be put off from visiting Nusa Penida and seeing it’s beauty. Drivers and tour guides can apparently be hired for the day, but there’s not many options or information on the internet. Honestly, the best option is an organised day trip that you might even be able to pay extra to make private if you wish.
Crystal Bay Beach
Lucky for us, this gem of a location was only a short way down the road from Jona Bungalows. Better yet, the drive was easy and the scenery was stellar! This black sand beach is situated in a stunning cove, surrounded by coconut trees and sheltering cliffs. There is greenery everywhere you look and bright blue water that's mostly free of rocks, so pretty safe for swimming when the waves aren’t so powerful. What is most impressive is the island with a ginormous rock arch also sat within the cove!
Litter and washed up marine debris didn’t seem as much of a problem here compared to Nusa Lembongan, but there were still several plastic bottles and a fair few plastic straws poking out from the sand. By all accounts, it was quite touristy here, but it wasn’t exactly overrun. It wasn’t very developed either, but there were a few food and drink stalls, snorkels for hire and bean bags sat around a table costing 50,000 RP a pair. We stayed here admiring it all for most of the day, then went to Vegan Soul Kitchen for dinner and then came back to Crystal Bay for sunset!
When we left for Peguyangan Waterfall the next morning, it felt like it took forever to get to! However, the journey showed us some of the most amazing scenery along the mountain tops, down valleys and through jungle. The paved roads got progressively worse the closer we got though and soon turned to potholes and loose rocks. When we finally arrived, we paid 5k for parking and 5k for a sarong to wear down to the waterfall and temple. The best bit about this spot is the pool sat right in the cliff! There’s also an element of facing your fears before you get to it all though - 700 steep stairs! They are no joke and not to be shrugged at even if you’re okay with heights! Thankfully, the views of the incredible coastline and crashing waves below were well worth the the long climb down and back up the cliff!
From Peguyangan Waterfall, we headed a relatively short way by scooter to Manta Point, where there were even better views waiting for us! The best view point was quite hard to find though… You can go right at the “this way” sign for some good views, but only if you follow the following directions will Manta Point live up to it’s name!
Go left at the "this way" sign and down to the temple. Next, follow the temple wall on the right side and don’t stop there - you have to go through the bushes and out the other side! That’s when we saw twenty manta rays in the water, fins flapping and all! We honestly wished we were watching them with snorkels from within the water, but it was nice to know we weren’t intruding or disturbing them. There was only one boat load of tourists in the water with them, but it is known to get much more crowded than that! To some, this might kill the experience of seeing them in their natural habitat, so scuba diving is probably the better option, other than from the cliff.
Punak Mundi is the highest point above sea level on the island. Of course, we had heard of it and planned it into our itinerary but, whilst on the way back from Manta Point, we were surprised to just stumble across it after a wrong turn! The temples were really cool and the views were absolutely stunning! We could see all the way to Bali with Mount Agung piercing through the clouds! Plus, the drive back to the west side of the island was unbelievably breath taking! A must do for sure!
Angels Billabong and Broken Beach
After making it back to the west side of the island in time for sunset, we headed out to try and find Angels Billabong and Broken Beach, and what a mission it was! The appropriately broken road was by far the worst road yet and left us feeling physically broken too! When we thought it was getting better, it just got worse and ended up taking us an hour to get to the parking area! We were a bit confused as to where the parking area was too, but it was eventually signposted on the right. From the parking area, we followed the footpath along the cliff edge, first visiting Angels Billabong. This tidal pool is absolutely beautiful and offers a touch of serenity amongst the sharp volcanic rock when the waves aren’t crashing up into it! That said, it truly pales in comparison to Broken Beach, just another short walk away along the footpath. Here, we found the colossal, collapsed sea cave, with it’s incredible rock arch allowing waves to wash in. We were speechless! It was definitely worth the long, bumpy road!
DAY 3 & 4!
Early the following morning, we set back out on that same horrible road hoping to make it to Kelingking in one piece! Fortunately, the road broke off in another direction and the journey wasn’t anywhere near as long or as bumpy in the end. When we arrived, we paid 5,000 RP for parking and then started searched for the iconic viewpoint, otherwise known as the “t-rex”. Sadly, it was probably the most crowded place that we visited on the island, but it was definitely impressive nonetheless! Our aching legs couldn’t quite handle the unsteady walkway down to the beach, which we weren’t too disappointed about because it looked like at least a couple hour round trip and we had lots more to see!
More To See!
It was just after we left Kelingking that disaster struck and we were stopped right in their tracks by the bike accident… We had hoped to see Segening Waterfall, Banah Cliff, Tembeling Forest and Saren Cliff that afternoon, but it seemed fate had other plans for us. The following day, we had planned to visit Atuh Beach and Pulau Seribu on the east side of the island, but that too wasn't going to happen.
Fortunately, we had seen so much of the island already and didn’t have to miss out most of the main points of interest. Of course, what we didn't get to see just gives us more reason to go back in the future but, truthfully, we think we'd be returning regardless because of how incredible it is! Nusa Penida is a place of ultimate wonder and infinite beauty, and should be on everyone's bucket list!
The Ideal 4 Day Itinerary
Day 1 - Kelingking, Segening Waterfall, Banah Cliff
Day 2 - Peguyangan Waterfall, Manta Point, Tembeling Forest, Saren Cliff
Day 3 - Pulau Seribu, Atuh Beach, Teletubbies Hill
Day 4 - Angel's Billabong, Broken Beach, Crystal Bay Beach
The Best Day Trip Itinerary (MUST SEE)
Angel’s Billabong & Broken Beach
Pulau Seribu & Atuh Beach
Crystal Bay Beach