Nusa Penida is a gorgeous, mostly undeveloped island just 30 minutes off the eastern coast of Bali in Indonesia. And unlike Bali, you won’t find hundreds of yoga studios or organic cafes there. Just miles of spectacular cliffs towering over the ocean, exhilarating hiking adventures, white sand beaches, and the friendliest locals.
And while it is possible to do a day trip to Nusa Penida from Bali, that is certainly not the best way to explore this amazing island. We would recommend that you leave your heavy luggage at your hotel in Bali, pack a small bag, and spend at least 3 days touring the island by motorbike. You’ll stay in different hotels each night and love the freedom that you get from the open road!
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- Complete 3-Day Itinerary for Nusa Penida Island in Indonesia
Know Before You Go
- The currency in Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) and at the time of writing (March of 2019) the exchange rate was 14,294 IDR to $1 USD. So if we say something costs 10,000 IDR, that’s less than a dollar.
- Be sure to get money out of the ATM before leaving Bali. Only a few of the ATMs in Nusa Penida accept foreign cards and they often run out of money or simply don’t work.
- The roads are terrible! If you’ve never driven a motorbike before, this probably isn’t the best place to learn.
- Driving everywhere on Nusa Penida takes longer than expected. A 3-4 mile trip can easily take 30 minutes to an hour depending on the weather and road conditions. Leave yourself plenty of extra time so you don’t get caught driving long distances on your motorbike after dark.
- Both men and women must wear sarongs to enter temples on Nusa Penida Island. While some have sarongs that you can borrow, others do not. It’s worth bringing something that you can tie around your waist, just in case.
- Check out our complete list of things to know before you visit Nusa Penida!
What to Pack for Nusa Penida
Since you’ll be touring the island on a motorbike, you’ll just want to bring a small backpack that is comfortable to wear all day.
- Swimsuit and coverup
- Tennis shoes
- Flip flops
- Quick-dry towel
- Socks and underwear
- Compact camera and/or GoPro Camera
- Dry bag
If rain is in the forecast during your visit, we’d recommend bringing one extra change of clothes and keeping it in a ziplock bag. We were drenched at the end of every day from the rain or the ocean, and since nothing ever dries in the humid climate all of our clothes were soggy for the entire trip.
Getting to Nusa Penida Island
Ferries depart from the Sanur Pier on the eastern coast of Bali. This is about 30-45 minutes from Kuta, 1 hour from Seminyak, and 1-1.5 hours from Canggu, and 2 hours from either Ubud or Uluwatu. It’s not far but traffic on Bali can be terrible so leave yourself plenty of time to get to Sanur before your boat’s scheduled departure.
The ferry trip from Sanur Bali to Nusa Penida takes just 45 minutes and will cost anywhere from 150,000 to 200,000 IDR per person depending on who sells you the ticket and how hard you bargain. Ferry’s depart frequently throughout the day so if you’re traveling during low season it’s easy to show up at the pier and just buy a ticket for the next departure.
During high season you should book your ferry well in advance as they occasionally sell out for weeks at a time. We recommend doing it online at 12Go.asia. There you can see all of the fast ferry routes and schedules as well as compare prices.
As soon as you arrive at the pier on Nusa Penida you’ll be approached by men offering to rent you a bike right there. And if you head to the main street just one block over there are several small shops renting motorbikes as well. E
It doesn’t really matter where you rent your bike from as long as it is in good condition. You’re going to be riding on some rough roads in remote parts of the island so you definitely don’t want to have your motorbike break down on Nusa Penida!
Be sure to check the following prior to committing to a bike:
- Make sure both brakes work well as there are a lot of hills on the island.
- Check the shocks – you’re going to have a bumpy ride!
- Take photos of any existing damage, just in case.
- Fill up on gas before you set out.
- There are small shops all over the island that sell petrol but you won’t use much as you’ll be covering very small distances.
We had great luck with our bike from Double-G Guesthouse, they clearly keep their rentals in good condition.
Complete 3-Day Itinerary for Nusa Penida Island in Indonesia
Day 1: Angel’s Billabong, Broken Beach, and Crystal Bay
You’re going to have a lot of activities over the next 3 days so we would recommend catching an early ferry from Bali to Nusa Penida Island. As mentioned previously you can rent a motorbike from one of the entrepreneurs hanging out at the pier or head one street over and shop around for a good bargain on a motorbike rental.
Once you have your bike and a full tank of gas, it’s time to begin your tour of Nusa Penida! Head south towards Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach. Be careful while driving on this road because it gets a lot of vehicle traffic from the day tours of the island and the cars don’t leave a lot of room for motorbikes to get by. You may want to pull off to the side if you see a line of them heading your way.
The road to Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach is the worst on the entire island so plan for a bumpy ride. Not only is the road badly damaged, but because of the long distance you must drive on the rutted, rocky road.
When you arrive to Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach you’ll need to pay the entrance fee of 5,000 IDR per person and 1,000 IDR for motorbike parking. There are several small restaurants here if you want to have a snack or rest with an ice cold beverage before continuing on your tour. Be aware that this is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the island so expect to encounter crowds.
Angel’s Billabong is a small swimming hole with gorgeous, turquoise water that overlooks the ocean. It is surrounded by high rocks so you can enjoy the view from above. It’s one of the most beautiful spots on Nusa Penida.
Swimming here is only allowed right at low tide and is roped off when it is deemed unsafe by the “lifeguard” on duty. There have been incidents of unsuspecting tourists getting swept out to sea by a particularly large sneaker wave here so safety is a priority. Be sure to check the tide report prior to visiting as swimming here is absolutely amazing!
Broken Beach is essentially a beach that is completely surrounded by cliff walls; a natural sea arch allows water to flow through. You can walk the loop trail high above the enclosed beach area and see the spectacular views from all angles. There are even several platforms that you can stand on to best capture a photo.
Your final stop for the day is Crystal Bay. It’s only a little over 11 miles from Angel’s Billabong, but it will take you about an hour to drive back over that terrible, bumpy road you just came down!
The water in Crystal Bay is calm and it’s perfect for snorkeling. You can rent snorkel gear on the beach for 50,000 IDR to see the coral. Or you can just relax on the beach with an ice-cold Bintang in hand. There are numerous small warungs lining the beach that serve food and drinks.
If you have an extra day on Nusa Penida you can also sign onto one of the daily diving/snorkeling trips to Manta Point where you can swim with giant manta rays (more about that below).
Be sure to watch sunset on the beach at Crystal Bay, the sun sets behind the huge rock in the middle of the bay and it’s absolutely magical. You’ll be happy if you’re staying nearby so you don’t have to worry about driving after dark!
Day 2: Kelingking Beach and Tembeling Beach
From Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach you’ll have a 30-minute ride to Kelingking Beach. This is the most famous location on Nusa Penida due to the fact that the peninsula jutting out into the ocean resembles a T-Rex when viewed from the right angle. This is also a very touristy spot, but most visitors simply snap a few photos from the lookout at the top and don’t actually hike down to the beautiful beach below.
Again, you’ll pay 5,000 IDR per person to enter the area and 1,000 IDR to park your motorbike. You’ll walk past a few small restaurants to the beginning of the stairway where views of the T-Rex will start to come into view. This is where the crowds gather. Keep walking down to where the actual trail begins and you’ll start to see fewer and fewer people.
The trail to Kelingking Beach follows the ridgeline of the peak and then takes an abrupt right turn for an even steeper descent down the mountain. It takes about 45 minutes to descend, and an hour to hike back up. You’ll most certainly want tennis shoes here as the trail is very steep and rocky. And while there are railings for most of the hike, there are times you’ll need to do some rock scrambling. And the railings get less sturdy toward the bottom of the hike.
But once you reach Kelingking Beach, you’ll know it was all worth it! Here you’ll find a beautiful and secluded white sand beach, where only the most dedicated visitors are lounging. There is one small stand where you can purchase drinks or snacks but be sure to bring your own water, just in case it’s closed. The waves here are intense so be careful.
Your next stop is Tembeling Beach and Forest which is just over 4 miles away from Kelingking Beach and should take about 40 minutes on your motorbike. If you want to stop for lunch on your way there we recommend heading inland to Warung D’Coconut. It’s a little bit out of your way but the food is excellent!
Once you reach the turnoff for Tembeling Beach it’s about 1.85 miles down a steep paved lane just wide enough for one motorbike at a time. It’s a total forest surrounding you the whole way and there’s a steep drop off on one side. But the vegetation is so thick, you probably won’t even notice how far the drop really is.
If you’re touring Nusa Penida by car or you don’t feel comfortable navigating such a steep road on your own motorbike, you can hire a motorbike taxi driver to take you down to Tembeling Beach. There are a handful of drivers that wait at the turnoff from the main road and the going seems to be 50,000 INR for the round-trip journey plus some wait time at the bottom.
Once you arrive at the parking lot for Tembeling Beach you’ll still need to descend a set of steep steps down to the beach. It’s just about a 10-minute walk to the beach at the bottom. There are two freshwater swimming holes here, one about halfway down, and one that overlooks the ocean. It’s so refreshing to cool off in the calm water, without getting salty or sandy from the beach.
If you do want to enjoy the beach here, it is small but incredibly beautiful. Enclosed by tall cliff walls with large rocks on either side. It feels totally secluded and you’re likely to see more locals than foreigners here. In fact, this was our favorite spot on the whole island of Nusa Penida!
There is a small swing set here and usually a lady selling drinks and snacks. You’ll want to spend at least an hour here soaking in the pools and enjoying the ocean view.
Our favorite place to stay on Nusa Penida is The Mesare Resort; just 7 miles from Tembeling Beach. After a long day of climbing stairs, you’ll definitely want to have an ice cold beer while swimming in their lovely pool. Plus you’ll have the best night’s sleep in their massive and luxurious beds!
Day 3: Peguyangan Waterfall, Diamond Beach, and Atuh Beach
You’ll want to get an early start again today especially if you’re hoping to catch a ferry back to Bali in the afternoon. Your first stop is Peguyangan Waterfall. It’s 4 miles from The Mesare Resort and should take you about 30 minutes to drive there.
You’ll need to pay 5,000 IDR to park your motorbike and 10,000 IDR per person to rent a sarong. Both men and women need to wear sarongs here as there is a sacred temple at the bottom.
You may have seen photos of Peguyangan Waterfall’s famous blue stairs that cling to the side of a cliff wall and lead down to the ocean below. This hike is intense and not for anyone who is afraid of heights. Some of the stairs are concrete, but others are blue metal slats where you can see through to the ocean far, far below your feet.
When you reach the bottom there is a small temple. And past that you’ll see a sign for a “bathing area”. The steps down to the bathing area are slippery so be careful here. At the base of the stairs are several man-made pools that catch the spring water from the mountain. Here you can relax and enjoy the waves crashing into the rocks below you. If you’re wondering why it’s called a waterfall, you’ll notice a small one off to the right side when you’re facing the ocean in the pools.
Your next stop is Diamond Beach. It’s about 12.5 miles from the Peguyangan Waterfall, but will take about an hour by motorbike. If you have extra time to spare, stop at Teletubbies Hill for the beautiful views.
It’s 10,000 IDR per person to enter the Diamond Beach / Atuh Beach area. Once you park you have three choices; you can take a right and go down the stairs to Diamond Beach, you can go straight and head up the hill to a small temple with nice views, or take a left and head down the stairs to Atuh Beach.
The stairs down to Diamond Beach are very picturesque as you get the view of the beach below. There are usually people here taking photos. The descent is tricky in some areas but there are ropes to hang on to.
There is a woman with a small stand at the bottom. You can pay 100,000 IDR to get harnessed into her awesome swing off the side of the cliff, or 50,000 IDR to sit in one of her “nests” for a photo shoot. She also has cold drinks and snacks for sale.
The waves here are aggressive, and during high tide there’s not a lot of beach left to sit on. But it is the most beautiful beach on Nusa Penida and well worth the trip down.
Atuh Beach has much calmer water for swimming or snorkeling and many more amenities. The beach is lined with warungs selling seafood, fruit shakes, and cold Bingtangs.
You can rent two lounge chairs with an umbrella between them for 50,000 IDR. It’s the perfect place to grab lunch and spend an afternoon on Nusa Penida.
Rumah Pohon Tree House
While you’re in the area you may as well stop by the famous Instagram tree houses of Nusa Penida. The Rumah Pohon Tree Houses are small houses that have been built into the trees high on a hill with spectacular views of Diamond Beach below. They have become quite famous on social media with hundreds of photographers descending on the viewpoint daily to snap the perfect Instagram selfie.
If you can plan far enough in advance you can actually spend a night in one of the tree houses, but they book out months in advance. Sleeping in one of the tree houses is quite expensive for how basic the accommodations are, but you’re really paying for the view.
Or you can simply pay 10,000 IDR per person to check them out and snap a few photos.
Back to Bali
From Atuh Beach it’s just a 1-hour drive back to the pier on the west side of Nusa Penida where you’ll drop off your motorbike and catch the ferry back to Bali.
One interesting stop along the way is the Goa Giri Putri Temple. This Hindu temple is hidden in a cave and you’ll have to crawl through a small entrance to access it. Once your inside, however, it opens up into a large cavern filled with incense smoke and Hindu worshippers. As usual, you’ll need to be wearing a sarong to enter the temple, but there are a few shops nearby offering cheap sarong rentals.
And finally, if you have left yourself some extra time then stop at the famous Penida Colada beach bar for happy hour (2 for 1 cocktails from 4:00 – 7:00pm) and beautiful sunset views of Mount Agung.
If You Have More Time on Nusa Penida Island
There are a few popular attractions that we left off the list for various reasons. If you can spend more time on the island, it’s worth checking them out!
One of the most popular sites on Nusa Penida is actually underwater. If you have an extra day on Nusa Penida sign up for a boat trip to Manta Point. The boats typically leave from Crystal Bay but they will include pickup services from your hotel if you’re staying on the west side of the island.
Banah Cliff Point
Banah Cliff Point which is located between Kelingking Beach and Tembeling Beach. We left it off our itinerary because the last mile of road to get there is incredibly rough. We ended up parking our bike about 1/4 mile from the point and walking the rest of the way. There are nice views of the cliffs from both sides of the point, but in our opinion, they were no better than the views from, say, Kelingking. If you do go, there is a really friendly little shop there with a few hot dishes as well as chips and cold drinks for sale.
Saren Cliff Point
Saren Cliff Point is located on the coast between Tembeling Beach and Peguyangan. And as with Banah, the last mile or so of the road here is terrible. And again, the views are nice, but it may not be worth the difficult drive if you are short on time.
Pura Puncak Mundi
Pura Puncak Mundi is the temple that is located on the highest point on the island. Men and women must wear a sarong to enter the temple, and as with all Indonesian temples, foreigners are not allowed to enter the inner sanctuary.
The drive up to the temple is really beautiful, with views of the lush vegetation for miles in all directions. However, the temple isn’t all that interesting and people there will look at you like you are crazy for visiting. Plus there are no real views from the actual temple.
Enjoy your tour of Nusa Penida Island!
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