Nusa Penida is a relatively undeveloped island south-east of mainland Bali. In fact, Nusa Penida is part of Nusa Islands often wrongly thought of as being part of Bali. The Nusa Islands are actually located in a different regency but you can easily visit them via a thirty to forty-five minutes ferry ride from Sanur Beach in Bali.
You won’t find all the snazzy beach clubs, organic cafes or trendy restaurants that has become synonymous to Bali here. However, it does house some of the most photogenic sights in Bali. If you only have a day, a day trip is very doable! But if you want to see all of Nusa Penida and other neighboring islands (Ceningan and Lembongan), you probably need 3-5 days on the island.
We stayed in Penida for 2 days. Penida is the largest and most rugged among the three islands. All three islands have something special to offer so if you have time, I highly recommend checking out these islands! It is completely devoid of mass tourism and has so many awesome things to see!
These are the indisputable places we visited in Penida:
1. A picturesque tree house or Rumah Pohon at Batu Molenteng
Rumah Pohon Molenteng, or the Nusa Penida Treehouse, is one of the most noticeable accommodations on the island. So we had to swing by and visit the magical place we’d seen online. It’s fair to say Rumah Pohon Treehouse is definitely one of the most random yet beautiful spots we’ve come across on our travels.
Located right smack on Nusa Penida and looking out at Atuh Beach – this beautiful tree-house is the latest unique addition to the island, providing stunning sights of the dramatic Balinese landscape.
The tree-house certainly requires a sense of adventure. The roads are steep and pretty rocky and broken in places, so if you’re inexperienced or nervous on a motorbike, you can organize a private transport. It’s great that the tree-house was built with a ladder, so you don’t have to literally climb the tree just to get to the tree-house! Just bring a picnic along and make it a stunning memory atop a tree, complete with crazy views and delicious food!
2. The scenic haven Atuh Beach
This beach took a steep hike to get down, but was totally worth it. It’s absolutely breathtaking! The plunging cliffs are freakishly tall and provides a beautiful setting. It takes about an hour drive from the port of Penida, then about a 10-15 minute hike down onto super steep steps/rocks.
3. The hike at Kelingking Secret Point
Arguably the most photogenic spot we visited on our entire Nusa Penida trip, and probably the most popular beach in Penida because of its shaped – like a T-Rex! You can walk down the very steep steps/rocks down to the beach, bit it may take you awhile. Beach is one of those viewpoints that is hard to believe that it’s real when you see it for the first time. This entire coastal area is particularly beautiful – the white cliffs contrast dramatically with the turquoise blue waters.
4. The “not so” Broken Beach
The journey to Broken Beach is an overland adventure through Nusa Penida’s rugged limestone terrain. Most of the pathways are rocky and unpaved. But once you get to Broken Beach, you’ll be rewarded by a truly sweeping seascape.
Broken Beach (Pasih Uug) is a scenic coastal formation on the southwestern edge of Nusa Penida island. The spot is marked by a hilly arch-like rock formation, which is the distinguishable landmark of the area. Set over the crashing waves of the open Indian Ocean, Broken Beach is a great spot for travel photographers and panoramic view seekers.
5. Amazing Angel’s Billabong
Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach are probably the most popular destinations for tours due to their close proximity to the ports, but you will still experience less crowds than any attraction on the mainland. It’s worth the trek along the rough roads just to experience swimming in a natural infinity pool!
We expected the bottom of the pool to be slimy, but the seaweed was actually pretty comfortable and made the bottom feel like soft carpet! The water was also so much clearer than we thought it would be, as waves must refresh the water often.
We were told about two people who had died in summer because they were standing by the edge, and a large wave suddenly crashed and sucked them out. As tempted as we were to stand on the ledge, we were extra cautious and kept our distance from the front of the pool, as I could see how you could easily get pulled into the ocean by a rogue wave.
6. Soak at the Crystal Bay
Geographically, Crystal Bay is situated between two great oceans, the Indian ocean and the Pacific. As a result of this ideal position, an enormous flow of water passes between Bali and Nusa Penida depositing plankton larvae that attract a high diversity of fish such as sharks, mantas, trevally and the Oceanic Sunfish, or Mola Mola.
Though we didn’t see them with our own naked eyes – at least we enjoyed soaking under the cold crystal clear water.
How to Get to Nusa Penida
- By public ferry from Lembongan (near the yellow bridge).
- The ferry goes at 7am. Be there at 6:30am to assure a spot. Costs for tourists is 50k (~$4).
- To get back, you may need to hire a private transfer that costs 200k (~$15).
- If you can find companions, you can split the cost. You just need to wait about 10-15 minutes so price would be around 50k each, the same as the public ferry!
- It takes less than 15 minutes for the crossing.
- There are also ferries from Bali (Sanur) that go to Penida.
- The public boat will drop you in the port of Toyapakeh in Penida
How to get around Nusa Penida
Rent a motorbike for around 50k (~$ 4). The vendors will start at 80k but make sure to negotiate. You can also rent a car, if you are adventurous you can rent a motorbike.
Note: The roads are VERY bumpy and unfinished with many potholes, especially going to Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong. If you feel confident on a motorbike and have good balance, you should be fine! However, if you’ve never driven a motorbike before (or on the left side), this isn’t a good place to start! And remember, they drive on the LEFT side in Indonesia!