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Away from the bustling streets of Bali lie the Nusa Islands, the largest of which being Nusa Penida. This island seems to be all over social media at the moment and with its amazing coastlines and natural beauty by the bucket load, it’s easy to see why. There are so many things to do in Nusa Penida that you’re going to want to plan your time to fit as much in as possible.
Getting over to the Nusa Islands is definitely something you have to do if you have time whilst in Bali. I spent 3 days here and tried to explore as much as I could, which if you’ve read anything about getting around Nusa Penida, you’ll know it ain’t easy! Here’s my guide to visiting and what I managed to fit into 3 days in Nusa Penida to give you an insight into this beautiful island.
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How to get to Nusa Penida from Nusa Lembongan
Whilst boats do go between Bali and Nusa Penida, the most common way to visit Nusa Penida is from the Yellow Bridge on Nusa Lembongan. Small public ferries run from here throughout the day and have a set price. You can’t book this ticket in advance, you simply have to just get there and buy a ticket from the booth. The boats only hold about 10 people and will make the short 20-minute journey to Nusa Penida once a boat is full, which shouldn’t be an issue.
The trickiest part of getting to Nusa Penida is getting to the Yellow Bridge in the first place as there aren’t heaps of taxis on Nusa Lembongan and they are expensive compared to taxis in Bali. I would definitely recommend talking to someone at your accommodation to see whether they can help you get to the Yellow Bridge.
Where to stay on Nusa Penida
The most affordable places to stay in Bali and on the Nusa Islands are in homestays. I stayed at Nusa Penida Homestay which was great for my trip. It’s within walking distance of the beach where the ferries come in and there are plenty of places to eat along the way. The guys there are also super friendly and helpful and help us find a driver to take us around the island and despite it not being far from the ferry, they picked us up with our big backpacks and we were able to check in early.
How to get around Nusa Penida
I briefly glazed over this but it’s really important to be aware of the road conditions here. The main road on Nusa Penida around the ferry area are generally fine, but the roads leading up to the main attractions are not. In particular the roads to Broken Beach and, I believe Atuh beach, is horrendous. They are completely unpaved and the word ‘pot-hole’ doesn’t even come close to how bad they are. Just to add a bit more perspective, as soon as Tom and I reached Nusa Penida we saw far too many people walking around with bandages and really nasty wounds from bike accidents.
Despite this though, Tom and I did (rather stupidly) hire a motorbike and had an awful time on it. It wasn’t fun on these roads, it was just plain scary and not how we wanted to spend our 3 days in Nusa Penida. That afternoon we organised a car and driver for the following day and it was far, far better. I would highly recommend travelling by car on Nusa Penida, even though it’s significantly more expensive than renting a motorbike. Always remember, your safety is priceless!
7 awesome things to do in Nusa Penida
Because the roads are in a bad way on Nusa Penida, don’t expect to be able to visit too many attractions per day. Be sure to have a look at where you want to go and to and speak with your driver as they will have a good idea about what is realistic and can help you plan a route.
This is without a doubt the top thing to do in Nusa Penida and after seeing so many photos of it, I am happy to say that I was not disappointed with the view. The infamous ‘t-rex’ juts out into the ocean and makes for one heck of a dramatic view. From the top you can see down to Kelinking Beach, and if you’re feeling brave and patient, you can take the crazy rickety bamboo staircase down to it. The walk down takes about an hour but be sure to not rush it!
The road down here is crazy but the views of Broken Beach when you get there are pretty incredible. You can walk around the top of the crater and be sure to walk to the cliff edge to get a better view of the archway that leads out to sea. Whilst you’re there, be sure to keep a look out for dolphins too!
This is definitely one of the most unique places on the island and it’s really beautiful. You can climb down for a dip if you fancy or simply admire it from the top. The water is super clear during the dry season and you can see right out to sea. It’s worth noting that during the rainy season and depending on the tides, Angel’s Billabong can definitely look a bit different.
Paluang Cliff lookout
Ok, so you’ve got the classic shot of the t-rex head, now it’s time to see it from a slightly different angle. Make your way to Paluang Cliff lookout to see the landscape from further back. From here you can also see right along the coastline and miles and miles of beautiful blue ocean. Nusa Penida is also home to Manta Rays and their sheer size means they are easy to spot even from way up high, so keep your eyes peeled!
This is one of my favourite beaches I visited during my 3 weeks in Bali, so much so that I actually went twice during my 3 days in Nusa Penida. This beautiful bay is perfect for swimming with its gentle waves and also a popular spot for snorkelling. You can hire snorkelling equipment from a shop there if you don’t have your own as well. There is also a small island not too far from the shore with a temple on the top.
Banah Cliff Point
This lookout really shows off the incredible coastline of Nusa Penida. From here you can see for miles in both directions and there are also a number of rock formations jutting out of the ocean. This spot actually reminded me of the Great Ocean Road in Australia.
This spot isn’t really a waterfall but is a holy water temple. This temple actually sits under a cliff and is simply incredible. Everyone is required to wear a sarong and these can be hired at the top. To reach it you have to walk down a steep set if blue wooden and metal stairs, which are surprisingly sturdy for Nusa Penida. It takes about 20 minutes to get to the temple at the bottom but it’s amazing. You’ll need to walk through the stream of water they have flowing through there to reach the cleansing pools. I was just astounded by the location under the cliff edge and it’s definitely my favourite things I did in Nusa Penida.
Other places to visit in Nusa Penida
Atuh Beach – this is a tricky beach to get to is located on the west coast of the island underneath a steep cliff. I believe it’s quite tricky to reach and the road leading to it is famously rough, but it looks amazing!
Tembeling Natural Pools – if you’re looking for the perfect spot to swim then this is where you’ll want to head to. It’s important to note that cars can’t fit down the road leading directly to the pools but there is a group at the top of the road who will taxi you down at an additional cost.
Snorkelling with Manta Rays – If you want to get up close to these beautiful animals, Nusa Penida is the perfect place to take a tour. Speak to some of the tour stands and haggle a price for the trip. It’s worth noting that the tours might not run if the waves are too big as it’s simply too dangerous to swim.