If you thought that Nusa Lembongan is Bali’s paradise, then you have not been to Nusa Penida yet. Nusa Penida lies, like Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan just outside Bali, but is a lot more pristine. Many ferries can be found to drop you on Nusa Lembongan, but only a few go on to Nusa Penida. The roads on Penida are a hell, a challenge and a test for all your muscles and your heart. But I promise you, everything is worth it because there are so many beautiful spots to find on Nusa Penida. The best thing is that you don’t have to share them with thousands of other tourists (at least, not yet in 2017). So be quick and book your trip to Nusa Penida.
Nusa Lembongan Travel Video
Before we start giving away all the nice info about Nusa Penida we first want you to get a first impression of the island.
From Bali to Nusa Penida
Although you can travel from Lombok to Nusa Penida, it’s easier and a lot faster to catch the boat from Bali. Boats leave from Sanur, Kusamba or Padang Bai. We took the boat from Sanur. In Sanur there are several offices where you can score your tickets. Almost everywhere they are sold for 200,000 rupiah per person, for a single trip. However, always try to get the price down. We arranged tickets at D’Astri Guesthouse in Sanur and paid for two return trips 700,000 rupiah. The boat leaves every day at 7 am, 9 am, 2 am and 5 pm. Be there half an hour before departure and you should be fine. The trip will take about 40 minutes. On the way you will see the neighbors Lembongan and Ceningan, before landing on the biggest of the three; Penida.
Why you shouldn’t take a day trip from Lembongan
In early 2016, we traveled from Bali to the smaller island of Nusa Lembongan and we had the time of our lives. The island, however, has become a target for mass tourism and, according to locals we talked to, thousands of Asian tourists visit the island every day. Add all the western tourists and you have a LOT of tourists on a very small island. Although Lembongan and Ceningan should not be dismissed, it would be a waste to spend too much time on these islands without seeing Nusa Penida.
Nusa Penida is the largest island of the three and least discovered by tourists. Probably because fewer boats fast boats travel to the island. Many travelers currently choose to book a day trip from Nusa Lembongan to Nusa Penida with a driver included to see the highlights of the island. However, Penida is so big that you can see only a small part of the island. Although the main road is mostly made of brand new asphalt, the secondary roads to the sights are not. Sometimes it takes a few hours to travel a few kilometers. If you want to combine Lembongan and Penida you can take a local boat to Penida from Lembongan. The cost of this starts at 25,000 rupiah per person. The price depends on the number of passengers.
The Highlights of Nusa Penida
as mentioned before, you will need to plan a few days to discover the most pristine places of Nusa Penida. We stayed three full days on the island. We explored the island by motorbike which we rented for 80,000 rupiah per day on arrival at the harbour. If you want to do this, make sure you negotiate the price of the scooter. Most renters start their price at 100k, which is double the standard price on Bali and even tripe the price of Lembongan. In the map below you will see where the highlights of Nusa Penida are. Please note that Nusa Penida is not a standard beach destination. If you want to see impressive cliffs, spot manta rays and gaze at unspoiled nature, Nusa Penida should be your next destination.
Probably the best known picture of Nusa Penida is the rock in the form of a dinosaur head at KelingKling Beach. Kelingking Beach is located in the southwest of the island. And compared to many other roads on the island it is fairly easy to reach. Parking your motorbike costs 5000 rupiah. The view from the top is truly phenomenal. From the cliff we saw a sole manta ray in the azure colored ocean. What a sight! Although Nusa Penida is not yet very touristy, noticeable is that the island is becoming more and more popular. Two trendy coffee shops have already opened their doors at Kelingking beach viewpoint and it won’t stop at just these two. From the Kelingking viewpoint you can descend to the actual beach with a steep-type of stairway in about 30 to 45 minutes. A beach you will only have for yourself.
One of the most popular and easiest to reach beaches on Nusa Penida is Crystal Bay which is located in the west of the island. The water is calm, bluer than blue and snorkeling seems to be great too. However, because the beach is easy to reach, it is also a lot more busy than in other places. Therefor, we checked it on our to do list and moved on to the next sight. If beaches are your thing though, you will have a pretty good time at Crystal Beach.
One of the reasons why doing jst a day trip from Nusa Lembongan to Nusa Penida is a waste is that you miss a large part of the island. Most tours only take you to the highlights in the southwest. This is because this part is the easiest to reach from the port where the boats arrive from Lembongan. However, on the east coast you will find beautiful places like Atuh Beach. Again, it’s true that it takes longer to get here than it seems. In addition, Atuh Beach is only worth visiting in the morning as most of the beach will disappear during high tide.
Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong
Although the main road on the island is brand new and very good, the small roads to the sights take up most of your time, as mentioned before. The road to Broken Beach (Pasih Uug in Indonesian) is one of them. The beach is not the only “broken” thing, as the road to the place is also not in it’s best state. Quite a challenge it is. Here too you have to pay 5000 rupiah for parking. The first stop is Angel’s Billabong. A natural infinity pool in the sea. Online you will find the most beautiful pictures, but when we were there it was a little less romantic. The sea was incredibly rough and in recent years even people have died trying to swim in the raving water. It is a spectacle to see the huge waves crash against the rocks, so that’s enough for our taste.
Angel’s Billabong is only a few minutes walk to Broken Beach. It is called beach, but do not assume you can chill out here. The beach is a few meters below you and it is impossible to get there. Broken Beach is so beautiful because of the impressive gulf in the rocks in the middle of the sea. A real picture!
In the south of Nusa Penida, reach through a terribly bad road – wherever you never go You can reach the Pepuyagan waterfall which is only accessible through a huge steep blue staircase leading you along deep gorges and impressive cliffs. Are you afraid of height fear? Then there is no visit to the waterfall. However, it is still worth a while to descend on the blue staircase. The view is really spectacular. After a really strenuous trip you will eventually come to the waterfall where a temple is also built. The entrance fee is 5000 rupiah and you must pay it before paying the stairs. Also, you have to ware a sarong when visiting the temple. Do not you have any sarong with you? This allows you to borrow for 5000 rupiah.
One of the reasons why Nusa Penida is becoming more and more popular being because of the great chance to spot manta rays. Many diving tours and snorkeling tours from Nusa Lembongan go to Penida just for these beautiful animals. Although you can spot manta rays in many places (we saw them among others at KelingKing beach and Tembeling Springs), Manta Point in the south of the island is the best place to spot the manta rays. Once again are our driving skills put to the test. There are two viewpoints. When we were there we saw the manta rays at the second viewpoint. You’ll get there by walking past a house and alongside a renovated temple.
Snorkeling on Nusa Penida
Although you can spot manta rays with ease from the viewpoints, it’s obviously great to snorkel or dive with them. At Nusa Penida there are some diving schools where you can book a tour. The best diving schools are still on Nusa Lembongan. Like snorkeling and diving? Chances are you will see a lot of manta rays along with many mola molas- huge, weird looking fish.
In the north of the island east of Sampalan you will find the village Suana. Not very special, but, like all other villages, it is very beautiful. Why you have to go here is because of the Instagrammable swing near the water.
Tembeling Forest and Tembeling Jump
Reasonably close to the Pepuyangan waterfall, but still a decent bumpy ride further, you will find Tembeling Forest and Tembeling Springs. This might be the worst road on the island. They made a very steep, one-tile-wide path for motorbikes which is a shortcut from the ‘old’ road. After you survived without any oncoming traffic, you encounter a second, very steep, descent. This time with a lot of gravel. Better park your motorbike before the descent begins and walk the rest! I wish we would’ve done that. Once arrived you will find a beautiful temple from where you already have an amazing view. A few monkeys swing on the branches and I’d be surprised if they don’t also enjoy the view. From here you can walk down to the natural springs in about 30 minutes.
Sleep at Nusa Penida
Most Nusa Penida guesthouses are located in the north of the island, around the village of Sampalan. It’s about a fifteen minute drive from the port. We slept one night at Banana Guest House. Super nice bungalows – they only have four, so booking is recommended – overlooking the sea. The other nights we slept a little further east, in Sampalan at Nusa Garden Bungalow in a super cute red bungalow. Most bungalows here are dorm rooms, so when traveling with a small budget, this is a great base to discover Nusa Penida. There are also some private bungalows.
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