Two-Day Guide To Nusa Penida
As the sun began to set over the crashing waves and rugged peaks off the coast of Nusa Penida, I could hardly believe reality. I had seen pictures of this place online for years but never imagined it looking quite so…
A few friends and I had just finished up our one day adventure on the neighboring islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan, and we were very much looking forward to finally get the chance to check out the largest and arguably most beautiful of the three Bali oasis islands; Nusa Penida.
Nusa Penida Island
Located twenty minutes from the Yellow Bridge on Nusa Lembongan and just over an hour across the Badung Straight from the Bali mainland; Nusa Penida is a mecca of breathtaking cliff views, rad surf breaks, and stellar seaside adventures.
With a land mass of 78.3 square miles and a population of about 45,000 living in remote villages and two main towns; Nusa Penida can often give you the feeling that you are the only one on the island.
How To Get There
Unlike Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan; the trip to Nusa Penida provides you with a few more options. The most popular ways of traveling across the straight include fast boats from Sanur Harbor or Padangbai, local slow ferries from said locations and Nusa Lembongan. And, of course, there is the all-inclusive option.
From Sanur – Many fast boat companies offer one-way for around IDR 350,000 or $25, or roundtrip for IDR 550,000 or $40. They leave three times per day at 8 and 10 AM, as well as 4 PM, and the trip should take around 40 minutes.
The daily slow ferry leaves around 9 AM and should cost IDR 60,000 or $4.35 one way. The trip should last about two hours.
From Padangbai – If your further North and like waking up early then this is the best deal. A few fast boat companies leave the harbor around 7ish, and the ticket costs IDR 40,000 or $2.80 for the 50-minute journey.
The slow ferry departs at 11 AM and 2 PM for a one hour journey. The one-way ticket should cost IDR 16,000 or $1.20.
From Lembongan – Boats leave from the Yellow Bridge on Nusa Lembongan to Toyapakeh in the morning. The afternoon’s low tide makes it impossible for boats to pass. The trip should take 20 minutes and cost IDR 60,000 or $4.35.
All-Inclusive Day Trip
This is; in my opinion; only an option for those on an extreme time crunch. With a few extra dollars and some patience, you can hire a company to pick you up from your accommodation on mainland Bali and take you to Nusa Penida as well as drive you around to some of the top spots.
But be warned; we met quite a few of these groups and what we gathered from there experience was the term time to go. That was what we regularly heard the tour guides saying to their paying customers.
So if you want to enjoy your time on Nusa Penida and go at your own pace, I would advise renting a scooter or hiring a local Penida driver, and staying far away from the all-inclusive day trips.
Remote Cliffside Bungalows
Where To Stay
When it comes to finding a place to stay on Nusa Penida the options are seemingly endless. From cheap homestays to remote cliffside bungalows; it’s a squatters paradise. However, there is one crucial decision to make; where to base yourself.
Staying in Toyapakeh will mean being closer to most of the main attractions along the West coast while staying in Sampalan will mean cheaper accommodations and easier access to the East coast adventures (which happen to be my favorite).
Caution: Make sure to let the boat company know what town you want to be dropped off in beforehand so that you don’t get stuck hailing an expensive taxi all the way across the island.
Two-Day Itinerary For Nusa Penida
If you happen to be in the same situation as us, and frankly every other traveler we met; and only have a day or two to explore the Nusa Islands, then you might find this itinerary for Nusa Penida quite useful.
It covers; in my opinion; the “must see” spots located throughout the island; starting off by dropping your bags at your chosen accommodation, renting a scooter for IDR 70,000 or $5 a day, and driving to an underrated waterfall on the rugged southern coast of Nusa Penida.
Travel Tip: Expect to pay anywhere from IDR 2,000 – 5,000 or $0.15 – 0.35 to park your scooter at any adventure destination.
Southern Coast Of Nusa Penida
The Seganing Waterfall
After a half hour’s ride over some of the worst roads in Southeast Asia; we arrived at a small dirt parking lot overlooking steep green cliffs marking our arrival to the first adventure; the Seganing Waterfall.
Much more than just a hop off and enjoy waterfall; this adventure requires some real effort. Our trials began as we glimpsed over the edge of the cliffs; towards a steep, narrow path leading down the face.
Climbing Down The Cliff
The way down is more akin to rock climbing than hiking, but with two hands and some time; it is quite doable for anyone in decent physical condition.
Where things got a little tricky is when the trail began to disappear altogether; leaving us with a sliver of rock only a few meters wide and tiny tree limbs thatched together being the only thing between our safety and certain death.
Running Out Of Room
Once we’d maneuvered our way down the cliff, we arrived at the Seganing Waterfall. While not necessarily something you’d write home to Mom about; the journey was exhilarating and well worth the lackluster reward
The Seganing Waterfall
After some time spent exploring the falls and resting our legs; it was time to make the steep climb back up to the Bana Cliffs Viewpoint before setting off up the road to the second adventure point of day one; the Kelingking Beach Viewpoint.
Kelingking Beach Viewpoint
While not being my favorite attraction on Nusa Penida, the Kelingking Beach Viewpoint was the one to which I was most looking forward. Often called the (T-Rex Beach); Kelingking is a dramatic cliffscape that is Instagram famous, and from the right angle; takes on the form of a Tyrannosaurus-Rex. Can you see it?
Kelingking Beach Viewpoint
Don’t be surprised to find yourself lost in a sea of onlookers as this happens to be the most popular spot on Nusa Penida. If you want to break away from the pack try heading down the ridge to the secret beach lying between the peaks.
Kelingking Secret Beach
After flying the drone a bit and just standing there in awe of the turquoise waves folding into the coast; we headed back up to the scooters and off to watch the sunset at our third and final destination of day one; Crystal Bay Beach.
Crystal Bay Beach
The perfect way to end a long day of adventures and one of the best sunset spots on Nusa Penida; Crystal Bay Beach is a small cove of grainy white sand mixed with black and strong currents.
The swimming was rough, so we decided just to lay around and sip on a beer and some coconuts waiting for the sun to do its thing. And when it finally fell behind the small island; a column of light beamed through the keyhole onto the palm trees, and we knew we were in the perfect place.
Crystal Bay Beach At Sunset
After the dark ride back to our homestay and some good sleep; it was morning and the beginning of a whole new day of adventures.
The first items on the agenda were two more Instagram famous locations on Nusa Penida; Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach.
Angel’s Billabong + Broken Beach
Located on the western coast of Nusa Penida; back down the same road as the first day; is Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach.
Angel’s Billabong is a rocky outcropping overlooking the sea with a few crystal clear tidepools to swim in. We arrived later in the morning after the tides had risen, so there were no pools, but the massive waves crashing into the cliffs definitely made the rough and dusty ride to get there worth it.
Broken Beach sits only a few feet from Angel’s Billabong inside of a cove almost entirely removed from the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean. A stone arch is the main draw for Instagrammers and anyone who enjoys stunning cliffscapes.
After being overrun by women in sundresses and their camera-toting boyfriends; we stopped off for a snack. That’s when my two travel buddies decided to break the news that they would not be joining me on the final leg of the trip. After trying to reason with them and a little begging, they stuck with their decision.
The roads on Nusa Penida are quite terrible, and after a few scooters accidents between them, I understood. So I was now alone; a position in which I’m familiar as a solo traveler; as I set off towards the eastern coast. My first stop would be a viewpoint overlooking a sea of a thousand islands.
Thousand Island Viewpoint
Also known as the Palau Seribu Viewpoint; the Thousand Island Viewpoint is located on the southeastern coast of Nusa Penida. I arrived just before the sun was setting on the other end of the island, so there was no Golden Hour, but the view was still amazing.
Thousand Island Viewpoint
The plan was to spend the night in one of the nearby homestays and wake up early to see the sunrise at a few points along the coast as well as hike to a Hindu temple at the bottom of the cliffs, all before racing back to town to catch the morning ferry from Toyapakeh.
As the clock struck six, I jumped out of bed at my homestay in the hills and hopped on the scooter for the dark ride to the viewpoints.
Korawa + Atuh Beach
A few minutes East of the Thousand Island Viewpoint are Korawa and Atuh Beach. They offer the same views as the day before, only this time in reverse.
The entrance fee for these viewpoints are IDR 10,000 or $0.70, so I hope that doesn’t break the bank. 😂
Korawa Beach Viewpoint
I couldn’t believe how beautiful, and empty this place was as I climbed to the other side of the peninsula to watch the sunrise over the islands off the coast.
Sunrise Over Nusa Batupadasan
Looking down at Atuh Beach I was glad that I decided to stay at the top of the ridge because the sandy bay was hidden entirely from the sunrise.
Although, it did look like the perfect place to relax if you were to wind up staying in the area for a few days.
But I had no time to waste, so once the initial shock of my current surroundings had worn off, I headed back towards the parking lot and hopped on the scooter towards my final adventure; the Peguyangan Waterfall.
Located inside one of the only nature reserves on Nusa Penida along its southern coast, is the Peguyangan Waterfall.
A metal staircase painted blue lead me down the side of the cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean and some of the most remote and rugged cliffs on Nusa Penida.
Peguyangan Waterfall Hike
The Peguyangan Waterfall hike is much more than just a cascade of fresh water from the hills. There also happens to be a sacred temple that is a pilgrimage site for local Hindus from all over the island.
The Temple At Peguyangan
The temple at Peguyangan is based on the water blessing, with the idea that after one rinses him or herself under numerous spouts, and a final bath in the crystal clear pools at the bottom of the cliff, they will attain spiritual rejuvenation.
I was really looking forward to this process but unfortunately, the same morning shade that had made the hike down tolerable also made it much too cold to want to douse myself in the frigid spring water.
So I settled for a smooth rock and some sweet views of waves crashing into the coast underneath the blue staircase that seemed to be hanging on by a thread.
That Doesn’t Look Safe
I was a little bummed that my time was almost done on this amazing island. It was, after all, the most remote and relaxing place that I had been to in all of Southeast Asia, and I wasn’t quite ready to rejoin the masses.
But, I had a boat to catch, so it was back up the stairs and on down the winding road through the interior of Nusa Penida. I arrived just as one of the boats was filling up for the journey back to Nusa Lembongan and set off under the morning sun.
Why Go To The Nusa Islands?
In retrospect, with Bali being a mecca of amazing adventures and breathtaking scenery; the main question to ask is; why go to the Nusa islands?
Every traveler has a different idea of their perfect holiday. But I can tell you that after a month spent chasing waterfalls, laying on beaches, and exploring rice terraces on mainland Bali; that the Nusa islands were hands down the best part of my trip to this paradise region in the South Pacific.