Everything You Need To Know About Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Period. It reminded me a lot of Kauai in Hawaii, and I recommend you visit the island if you’re going to Bali! Here’s everything you need to know.
Where is Nusa Penida?
Nusa Penida is an island off the coast of Bali in Indonesia! It’s relatively close to Australia, for geographic reference. The island itself is a 45-minute boat ride from Sanur, Bali and the island is full of amazing beaches and Instagram spots.
How do you get there?
You take a 45-minute boat road from Sanur, Bali (Sanur, Bali is a 25-minute drive from the DPS airport). Here’s the thing: When I looked at tickets online, roundtrip was about Rp450,000 or $32 USD. My driver, Indri, brought me to the port day of, and the total cost roundtrip was actually only Rp250,000 or $18 USD (I do think having her there helped since she’s a local). There was plenty of room on the boat—it’s up to you if you want to take the risk with buying in advance or purchasing when you get there. I would just arrive at the port a little bit early! I used Angel Billabong cruises and you can bring a suitcase on board. I will say, if you get motion sickness, TAKE DRAMAMINE. Oh man, the waters were rough and I felt so ill. It’s also really hot while you’re boarding, so maybe bring a portable hand fan. And one other thing: You will have to walk in the water to board the boat, so wear shorts and flip flops you can carry!
If you’d like to use my female driver, Indri, you can Whatsapp her at +62 877 8479 4308. She ended up being my driver the entire time, except on Nusa Penida island.
Should I rent a car, scooter, or driver?
The roads on Nusa Penida are SO rough. They just aren’t very well-paved and I think driving yourself would be a huge mistake. I definitely do not recommend renting a car. Scooters are a very popular mode of transportation, but again, the roads are bad. I stayed at a hotel and a driver from the hotel came and picked me up from the port. I was also able to hire a driver through them to take me around the island and give me a “private tour” (sort of). Net net, hire a driver.
Can you visit Nusa Penida as a day trip?
Yep! But honestly, I recommend staying two nights. There’s not a whole lot to do at night and I just hung out at my hotel, BUT the island has treasures on both the east and west coast, and you should give yourself two days to explore. If you’re really short on time though, you can make it work—you might just have to choose between the east or west coast (and you might not have time to hang out at the beach). If you do this option, I recommend spending time on the east coast.
Where did you stay?
I booked through booking.com and stayed at Sunrise Penida Hill. I had this cute pool-facing villa to myself and it was only $50 USD per night (it might be even cheaper depending on your dates and how far in advance you book). It’s also close to the boat port, so I valued being close to it for when I was leaving. I loved it. Just FYI, you’re on an island with little creatures. I saw a couple bugs and lizards in my room, but I’m from Florida so it didn’t phase me. The pool was nice and I had a great view! And of course, they set me up with a driver to explore the island, so that was good. The driver cost Rp700,000 per day, or $50 USD.
What are some things you MUST see while on the island?
Again, if you get a tour guide, they will help you! But I recommend doing two days instead of a day trip so you have time to visit the east and west coast.
Tree House: This is usually the first stop on a tour and it’s right near Diamond Beach. It’s not hard to get to, but coming back up will be a little strenuous so just be prepared and bring water. I will be honest: There is nothing to do at the tree house beyond taking a nice photo for the ‘gram! It’s pretty and you’ll get some nice views, but know that you are only going here for a photo. UNLESS you want to sleep there, which you can totally book on booking.com. On that note, I don’t regret going! :) Get $25 off your first booking.com hotel here.
Diamond Beach: This was my FAVORITE! You have to go in the morning/early afternoon since the tide can get too dangerous to swim. You walk down stairs along the cliff, so you need to be VERY careful and go slow. You can hold on the side of the wall, but there are some points where you will have to maneuver yourself without any barriers. You’ll also have to legit climb down rocks once you get towards the bottom, so wear good shoes and bring a backpack to hold your stuff. They also have a swing and a bird nest to take photos at, and they are pretty much made for Instagram. Once you get down to the beach, OMG. It is GORGEOUS! There are barely any people down there and the water is blue, turquoise, and crystal clear. I didn’t get a whole lot of time to relax, but it was worth it. Don’t miss this!
Atuh Beach: I recommend going here after Diamond Beach since you don’t have to worry about the tide. This is just on the other side, and while you will also have to walk down stairs to get there, it’s not as scary. Here you can get food, drinks, and spend hours in the water and tanning on the beach. This is the place to RELAX and enjoy your vacation! Bring cash.
Angel’s Billabong: This is a natural pool sandwiched between cool rock formations. No one was swimming in it when I went, but I think you can do that! It’s just a nice, pretty area to stop by.
Broken Beach: This is right next to Angel’s Billabong! Again, not much you can do here besides walk among the rocks and enjoy the scenery. But it’s still lovely.
Manta Point: Want to snorkel with giant manta rays? This is your chance! I didn’t do this because of time (and I’m scared), but people LOVE to do this on the island. Here’s one company that does tours.
Kelingking Beach: THIS is the place where people post that Instagram photo in front of a rock formation/beach that looks like a T-Rex. You can take a photo at the top on the edge without having to walk down, but there will be a long line. If you want to get down to the actual beach, it’s quite a ways down (45 minutes)—I can only imagine what the hike back up is like.
Crystal Bay: End your day here, bring a swimsuit, and watch the beautiful sunset!
Any restaurant recommendations?
Honestly, no. I ate at my hotel and stopped by whichever restaurant was available during my daily adventures. Sorry!
How is Wi-Fi and service?
I won’t lie to you, Wi-Fi was pretty bad. No matter where I went (in Bali, sans Canggu), the Wi-Fi was just not good. My connections were wonky and only worked intermittently. If you are trying to work remote while at Nusa Penida, I think you’ll have a tough time. As far as service goes, I actually bought a SIM card in Bali and that was better. You can pay to unlock your iPhone (I got mine done at some tech store in NYC for $99) and then buy a SIM card in Bali for WAY cheap. You’ll save a lot of money on your phone bill and you can still use Whatsapp to communicate with everyone back home.
Is Nusa Penida safe to travel solo?
I felt perfectly safe and didn’t have cause for panic. My tour guide driver was a little annoying (he asked me within three minutes if I had a boyfriend), but I didn’t feel unsafe. Overall, Bali had great vibes and I just stayed vigilant.
When is the best time to visit?
You could visit Nusa Penida any time of year and the beaches will be solid. For the most dry weather and better likelihood of being able to explore the island, go from May — September.
Where are the pictures of this so-called amazing island?
Sunrise Penida Hill:
And that’s all I’ve got! Any other questions? Drop them in the comments below! I hope you’re able to explore the magic of Nusa Penida—it’s so worth it.
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