Nusa Penida, an island paradise off the coast of Lombok. A destination that was little known about until it went viral on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube. Now it’s at the top of everyone’s bucket list, including ours.
We knew as soon as we saw that Iconic photo of Kelingking Beach that we had to visit Nusa Penida for ourselves and soon, while this little Indonesian Island was still fairly ‘off the beaten track’, compared to its neighbours; The Gili Islands.
We were surprised to find that a day trip to Nusa Penida is easy enough to do from mainland Bali or even one of the surrounding islands, with boats going to the Nusa Islands fairly frequently. So to help you tick Nusa Penida off your bucket list we’ve put together this Nusa Penida day trip guide which will include how to get to Nusa Penida, getting around the Island and what else it has to offer besides Kelingking Beach.
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How to get to Nusa Penida
Nusa Lembongan – Nusa Penida
We got to Nusa Penida from its sister Island, Nusa Lembongan. I highly recommend a stop here first, it’s a great little Island and so easy to get around via bike or even on foot. Find out more about our Nusa Lembongan stay in our Indonesian Island hopping itinerary.
You have several options from Nusa Lembongan. The first being the public boat, it’s cheap (IDR 50.000 pp for non-locals), quick, and they’re not usually as crowded. You can get the public boat from Jungut Batu beach, next to the famous Yellow Bridge without previous booking. The other option is a charter boat, these can be arranged by your hotel or by the company on the beach near Yellow Bridge.
While this is often seen as a ‘safer’ option – bigger boats, life jackets etc. – they’re known to take a little longer and you’ll be looking at IDR 300.000 pp to get you to Nusa Penida. After speaking to our hotel manager and a couple of locals we decided to go via the public boat, there were only 6 of us on board and it took only 30 minutes.
We started our Indonesia trip in Ubud, here’s a post on things to do in Ubud if you’re looking for inspiration.
Bali Mainland, Sanur – Nusa Penida
If you’re on mainland Bali the quickest way to Nusa Penida is from Sanur. Again here you have the choice of public boat, or private charter fast boat. The public boats take around 90 minutes and we were quoted IDR 60.000 when we were thinking about going straight to Nusa Penida from here. The fast boats will be around the IDR 100.000 mark and take around 50 minutes.
Bali mainland, Padang Bai – Nusa Penida
We got the boat back to Padang Bai from Gili Air and let’s just say it wasn’t our favourite part of the trip. Expect a lot of hassle from street salesmen and ‘cheap’ taxis. You can read about our experiences at Padang Bai in our Indonesia Itinerary.
If you do decide to head to Nusa Penida from here you can get the large public ferry or the small public speedboat. The large public ferry also carries vehicles but for just a passenger it is around IDR 16.000 each way.
The speedboat leaves at 6:30 am and will only carry around 20 people, this is IDR 40.000 each way. However, we’re unsure of how long this trip takes as it isn’t a route we went and everyone we asked said differently.
If you want to know more option on how to get to Nusa Penida, we found this guide really helpful.
Getting around Nusa Penida
The roads on Nusa Penida are at best, a ‘bit’ rough. At worst, they’re simply non-existent. It’s clear that this small Island is new to the world of cars, with a lot of locals using scooters or walking.
The only cars you’ll see on Nusa Penida are used to ferry tourists from one popular spot to another. So you’ll not be surprised to hear that the only options for navigating a day trip to Nusa Penida are self-drive scooters or car with a hired driver. Which one you choose highly depends on a) how brave you are and/or b) how much experience you have on a bike/scooter off sealed roads.
If you are fairly confident off-roading on a scooter then hiring a scooter and zipping around the island is by far the cheapest way to go and leaves you with no restrictions. However, after seeing how steep some of the roads are on Nusa Penida and how some of the cars fly around the corners, it isn’t a mode of transport we would recommend. We saw plenty of tourists choosing to push their scooters once they realised just how crumbled the mountainous roads are. For us, it just wasn’t worth the risk.
If you’re looking for a 2nd unique island to visit, along with Nusa Penida. We highly reccomend the Komodo Islands
The second option is to hire a driver and a car. We paid IDR 100,000 for the whole day but this included the return boat to Nusa Lembongan and lunch. That works out at AUS $90… which is a bargain.
The deal we had with our driver was for him to take us to three spots on the Islands as well as to somewhere for food. I think getting the chance to spend the whole day with a local makes the day a bit more unique, they have the ideal insight into Island life and because of this, where we ate was by far the most authentic Indonesian food we had on the whole trip. I just wish I knew what whereabouts it was so I can recommend it to you!
If you haven’t pre-organised your transport method before arriving at Nusa Penida, once you reach the harbour there will be plenty of options available. However, we believe organising it through your accommodation avoids any scams and usually gets you a lower price.
Things to do on Nusa Penida
The most famous thing to do on Nusa Penida is Kelingking Beach. It’s the main reason people choose to do a day trip to Nusa Penida and the main reason for its sudden boom in popularity. But this unique Island has so much more to offer than it’s iconic coastline. It has some beautiful marine wildlife off its coast and rich culture, so here’s a quick rundown on what else there is to do here besides Kelingking beach!!
We were surprised to find that broken beach was actually a lot more touristy than Kelingking! With its massive car park that was full of scooters and tourist cars, as we walked the small track towards the location it almost felt like we were queuing to get in. It was worth seeing though!
Despite its name, you don’t head to broken beach for golden sands or crashing waves. You come here for the natural cove and perfectly carved archway. It’s amazing what nature can do over time and Broken Beach is another beautiful showcase of that. Take a walk around the bay, watch as people queue to have their photo taken in that ‘perfect’ spot and if you’re lucky… you might even watch as a poor drone owner crashes their kit into the side of the arch as they underestimate the shape of it.
It might feel like another tourist trap but it’s worth fighting the crowds for. Get there early and I can imagine it has a whole new feel to it.
You’ll pass this on the walk to Broken Beach and it’s hard to get a picture without either feeling like you’re getting in the way of someone else’s or having to wait as someone walks straight in front of the camera. We took this as a chance to just be there and watch as the waves crash over the carved cliff face and wash down over the rock pools.
This is a very popular beach on Nusa Penida, close to the harbour it’s often the final stop for hired drivers. Have a swim here, hire some snorkelling gear or simply enjoy the sun. The water here is crystal clear, hence its name.
If there’s one marine animal you’re almost guaranteed to see off the coast of Nusa Penida, it’s Manta Ray. For $20 you can head out on a snorkel trip and get the chance to swim with them at Manta Point or you can head to Manta Ray Viewpoint and watch them from the cliffs. You’ll be able to see their giant shadows gliding through the water; something I’ll never forget!
Thousand Island (Pulau Seribu) Viewpoint
This wasn’t one of our 3 stops but after seeing it, I wish it was. You might have seen it referred to as thousand Island or Pulau Seribu, it’s actually the same place. Thousand Island consists of a great cliff walk with several lookouts over the water, it gets steep in places so be aware of that.
While they are apparently putting fences in place now, Nusa Penida is still fairly new to tourism so be careful where you’re stepping while close to the edge of the cliff. You’ll also find Nusa Penida’s famous treehouse here if you want to get that shot.
If you’re looking for a mix of everything that Nusa Penida has to offer, minus the crowds of tourists, Peguyangan Waterfall is it. Beaches, cliff lookouts, waterfalls and the cultural temple… it has it all for the small price of a 20-minute trek down steep stairs. Peguyangan Waterfall is a pilgrim spot so be thoughtful of the culture that is abundant at this spot.
And of course…
This places honestly blew my mind. On the drive to the Kelingking Beach, you have no idea just how high up you’re going, so as you approach the cliff edge you simply don’t know what to expect. I’d seen photos, we’ve all seen photos, but they just don’t prepare you for its raw beauty or for how high up and how bit this rocky TRex is. If you don’t go to Kelingking while at Nusa Penida, what are you doing?!
I actually got a bit emotional as we stood there looking down on it, and it was here that we saw our first Manta Ray. It’s slowly being built up, with basic toilets and a little shop now available nearby, I’m sure it’ll not be long before Kelingking becomes its own little village for the tourists and because of this, I urge you to go now, while it’s still ‘new’, still raw.
*Added May 2020 – I’ve since seen newer photos of Kelingking beach and they’ve built viewing platforms, proper steps and generally made it more accessible. It didn’t take long for it to ‘lose’ it’s raw feelings.
This isn’t everything that Nusa Penida has to offer and we’d highly recommend staying here for at least 3 days to fully explore it all but if you’re looking to do a day trip to Nusa Penida, these are a few suggestions for you. Have you been to Nusa Penida?
Did you love it as much as us? Let us know below!! Here’s a post for you if you want to find out more about our Island hopping trip around Indonesia! We can’t wait to head back to this part of the world!!
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Your photos really show a place so special with high thin hills that separate two on white beaches! Kelingking Beach should be on my bucket list!