THE ULTIMATE TRAVEL GUIDE TO NUSA PENIDA
All you need to know about Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida is rather new on the radars of tourists going to Bali. The island became a hot spot thanks to all the influencers and bloggers that were looking for some hidden gems, or some peace, away from the agitated and crowded Bali. Nevertheless, Nusa Penida is a beautiful island with high cliffs, turquoise waters, and breathtaking waterfalls. Even though Nusa Penida is a relatively undeveloped island, there are numerous activities to do on the island and spots worth seeing.
If you got used to Bali’s luxurious beach clubs, infinity pools, and bespoke service in their luxury hotels, know you won’t find in Nusa Penida fancy beach clubs all over the island, or organic farms that will prepare a bio breakfast. But rest assured, you have plenty of nice places where to enjoy a day at the beach or eat a good dinner in a traditional restaurant.
What makes Nuda Penida a great destination
First, let’s indulge in a brief history of the island. Nusa means “island” and Penida means “priests” in Balinese. Translated it means the island of the priests. Nusa Penida is known as the black magic island because Balinese people believed the island was inhabited by dark spirits, banished to the island from Bali. This is no longer the feeling today. Nowadays, Nusa Penida is known mostly for Kelingking Beach (the T-Rex cliff), Angel’s Billabong, and Broken Beach.
What makes Nusa Penida such a great destination is the scenery, which is so different than Bali, and the Instagramable places that will take your breath away. You can also indulge on a beach day, where you can lay near the infinity pool of Greenkubu and sip your preferred cocktail.
How to plan a trip to Nusa Penida as a Solo Traveler
When planning a solo trip to Nusa Penida, you should establish first how many days you can allocate to this island. You have several options, but know that if you want to discover and take advantage of all it has to offer, three days would be recommended.
If you only have one day to spare, you can either book an organized trip, or plan it on your own. You can go to Nusa Penida via a speedboat that you will take from Sanur in Bali in the morning and come back in the afternoon. Nevertheless, the majority of travelers who don’t have enough time to spare will book a Tour from Bali. For a Solo Traveler, as I was, I recommend this option, as you don’t have to worry about anything. The transportation is insured from your hotel to Sanur and back by car, then you hop on a private fast boat and head to Nusa Penida. Some tours will include snorkeling and spotting Manta rays in the morning and an island tour in the afternoon. It’s what I did and I loved it.
HOW TO GET TO NUSA PENIDA AS A SOLO TRAVELER
As a Solo Traveler, you have two options: you book a private tour with a trusted tour operator like GetYourGuide or you plan it on your own. Let’s cover both options here and you can choose what’s best for you.
1. Book a Private Tour to Nusa Penida
- Day Trip to East Nusa Penida, Atuh & Diamond Beach
Explore the stunning natural scenery of East Nusa Penida on a day trip from Bali. Enjoy the craggy cliffs and clear waters of the island, stroll up to Thousand Island Viewpoint and relax on the white sands of Diamond Beach.
- Bali & Nusa Penida 2-Day Flexi Combo Instagram Private Tour
Day 1: Bali
Make your first stop at the Gates of Heaven at Lempuyang Temple. Visit Tirta Gangga, known as the most beautiful former royal water palace in Eastern Bali. Move on to Tukad Cepung waterfall. Fly over the jungle and experience incredible views on a jungle swing.
Day 2: Nusa Penida
Climb aboard a fast boat at Sanur Beach and cross the sea to Toyapakeh on the small island of Nusa Penida. Visit the famous Kelingking Beach. Snap magical pictures at Batu Molenteng Tree House, marvel at the cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean, and then continue to Pasih Uug (Broken Beach) and swim at the natural pool of Angel’s Billabong.
- West Nusa Penida & Snorkeling Small Group Tour
You will snorkel at some of the popular watering holes such as Manta Point Nusa Penida, Wall Point Nusa Penida, and Mangrove Point Nusa Penida.
You’ll also get to cover three beaches: Kelingking Beach – where you can spot more manta rays and turtles riding the waves below, Angel’s Billabong – a natural blue and green infinity pool, and Broken Beach!
2. Plan a Solo Trip to Nusa Penida on your own
- By Speedboat from Sanur Beach
- By Speedboat from Tanjong Benoa
- By Public Ferry from Padang Bai
By Speedboat from Sanur Beach
The most practical way is to board a speedboat from Sanur Beach in Bali. Several operators run speedboat transfers from Sanur Beach to Nusa Penida. You can take the one you prefer, there’s no difference.
Speedboat timeline from Sanur: 7 AM – 10 AM and 2 PM – 5 PM. If you are doing a day trip, try to catch the 7 AM boat.
You can book tickets online or at the cash register, but you should be there at least 30 minutes before the departure to insure you will find a place. The price is the same for both options. Locals and Indonesians pay a reduced price of 200 000 IDR for a roundtrip (13 €/$) while foreigners pay 300 000 IDR for a roundtrip (19€/$).
Speedboat transfer from Tanjong Benoa
If you are far from Sanur and want to take the speedboat from another side of the island, there is a speedboat from Tanjong Benoa, closer to Nusa Dua. Slightly cheaper than Sanur, but they only operate on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with one departure each day.
Public Ferry from Padang Bai
There is also a public ferry that leaves from Padang Bai, used mostly by locals and can transfer vehicles. The ticket is very cheap, but no defined timeline. Better leave this option only as a last resort.
How to get around in Nusa Penida
Once you arrive in Nusa Penida, you have a few options to get around on the island, no worries. here are just a few:
- Rent a Motorbike – from the harbor. The price is around 75 000 IDR (5€/$) a day. Get your tank fuel full while you are still close to the harbor.
- Rent a Car with a driver – for around 500 000 (31€/32$), up to 5 people.
Please note that the road is not like in Bali. It’s very bumpy, like on an unpopulated island, let’s say. very narrow and the cars are very big and large, for 5 people, so when you pass at the same time and the road is super narrow and on your left, you see an abyss and I can tell you get goosebumps. But those drivers are so professional they go at some millimeters close to each other. Never seen something like it.
GREEN KUBU BEACH CLUB IN NUSA PENIDA
I took a day trip with Aviator Travel and we went in the morning to spot Manta rays. My first time spotting them, so I was so touched by this experience. Loved every minute of it. After arriving in Nusa Penida harbor, we were taken by different vans to a very nice place in Nusa Penida, I recommend Green Kubu Clifftop Bar & Pool.
Green Kubu has been created to attract tourism to the island on a plateau that directly faces the sea with a panoramic view from its infinity pool. They’ve added a restaurant and bar for club lovers and turned it into the hangout spot in Nusa Penida for tourists in search of something different.
Green Kubu Nusa Penida has a swimming pool with a great view over the bay. Imagine spending your day in a spot like this, with this view, nice chill music, and sipping your favorite cocktail. You also have a restaurant where you can enjoy some good pasta or just a snack. I took 2 cocktails non-alcoholic because it was way too hot, and they were both very tasty. I also tried some vegetarian pasta which was OK. Don’t expect Italian quality, but something similar. The personnel is very nice and there to serve you immediately.
You have tables for two, sitting side by side and enjoying the beautiful view over the bay, that comes with charging spots. Perfect for uploading your photos on your Instagram Feed or Stories. Even if my suggestion would be to have a detox while you are there and just enjoy the place.
Like in Bali, here in Green Kubu you will also find a gate that opens to the bay. The panorama is amazing and you’ll be able to take some great shots. Green Kubu is one of the new tourist destinations in Nusa Penida, carrying out a new concept that complements the hot spots on the island.
ULTIMATE SPOTS IN NUSA PENIDA
If you’ve decided to go and explore the island on your own, here are the must-see places in Nusa Penida. The scenery is so different than Bali, that you will feel like being on another voyage.
1. Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong
Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong are two famous spots on the South-West coast of Nusa Penida. If you decide to take a tour guide, don’t worry these two spots are on all itineraries.
The local name of Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong is Pasih Uug, which translates in Balinese as (you’ve guessed it) broken beach.
Why is it called Broken Beach?
A part of the cliff collapsed a long time ago, forming an arch that borders the sea. This created a very impressive shape of an arch overlooking the bay.
What can you do at Broken Beach?
At Broken Beach, you can spend your time walking around the bay and taking some impressive shots. You can take the shots with a camera, a phone, or a drone, just watch out with the latter as many drones were found on the beach, driven by the waves. The current and the wind are so strong, coming from two different directions, due to the arch, that people lose control of the drone or even worse they lose contact with the drone.
Also, be careful with the photos near the edge of the cliff as well. Some careless tourists have gone too far and have fallen from the cliff. A nice day may end in a dramatic way that could impact all of us. Like in Greece, at the Shipwreck viewpoint in Zakynthos, where people fell taking the perfect selfie, now the area is closed to tourists. In Broken Beach, the area is still open, but signs warning visitors about the risk of selfies are visible everywhere!
On some good days, you may even see some Manta rays from the cliff, which is located on top of the Manta Bay area where I was before coming to Broken Beach, for snorkeling. And I managed to see the black shape of Manta rays even from the cliff. It was impressive.
WHY IS IT CALLED Angel’s Billabong?
A billabong is an Australian term referring to an isolated pond that is left behind after a river changes course.
Angel’s Billabong, is a natural pool embedded in the cliff and a few feet away from Broken Beach. During high tide, it is filled with clear water or big waves, while the low tide leaves behind a natural pool.
One week before I went there, there was this Reel trending on Instagram where a few girls were chilling in the natural pool of Angel’s Billabong, when all of a sudden a big powerful wave came from nowhere. The girls managed to get out of the pool with bruises all over their bodies, but, fortunately, the wave didn’t sweep them out of the pool, because when that happens, it’s almost impossible to come back.
Because of this, we were not allowed to go into the natural pool, despite the fact it was during the low tide. But powerful waves were still emerging, like the one in the following photo, so better safe than sorry.
2. Batu Molenteng Tree House
This iconic Tree House is one of the most Instagrammable places in Nusa Penida after Kelingking Beach. It’s not the house itself that made this Molenteng Tree House go viral, but the scenery you get from inside the house. Just imagine yourself waking up in the morning, enjoying a nice breakfast, and sipping your coffee with this very charming scenery.
In the background, you can see Atuh Beach perfectly and experience breathtaking sunrises. You will feel like in a paradise movie. And last but not least, just below the Molenteng tree house you have Thousand Island View Point, where you can the coral reefs lined up in the ocean.
When something goes viral, it comes with a price tag. So, to take a picture from the stairs of this Tree House with that magnificent view, you have to pay a fee of 75 000 IDR (5€/$). If you want to get to the Tree House and immortalize the moment, you will need to spend the night in Nusa Penida.
Staying In The Tree Houses
You can make a reservation on Booking.com HERE to stay in one of the tree houses, with prices starting from 50 €/$, depending on the season. The price is reasonable for the amazing experience you get and the breathtaking view. Since 2020, there are three tree houses, each one with an amazing view and perfect for a cocooning night.
There is a small warung (restaurant) nearby, in case you want something to eat, you will have no internet connection, but with such a view, a digital detox is more than recommended.
3. Kelingking Beach
4. DIAMOND BEACH
In my opinion, Diamond Beach is the most stunning hidden beach in Nusa Penida. The beach is located at the bottom of a sheer cliff on the eastern tip of the island.
If you are on a tight schedule, you can connect Diamond Beach with three other attractions on Nusa Penida that I highly recommend. Atuh Beach on the left of Diamond Beach and Thousand Island Viewpoint on the right. The third one, you guessed it right, would be the Tree House, which is not far from Thousand Island, as I previously said.
If you’ve decided to come on your own, then park at the Diamond Beach parking lot to access both Diamond Beach and Atuh Beach. Thousand Island Viewpoint is close by, two minutes drive from the Diamond Beach parking lot.
Visit Diamond Beach only during low tide. The ocean is very rough, with big waves and strong currents, and can easily turn ugly for you.
5. MANTA RAYS AND TURTLE SPOTTING
Best time to visit NUSA PENIDA
CHECK OUT THE BEST ACTIVITY TOURS IN NUSA PENIDA
DID YOU FIND THIS ARTICLE USEFUL?
Tell me in the comments section if you’ve been to Nusa Penida and what was your experience. If you are planning to go on solo travel to Nusa Penida ask me for some useful tips that are not in this article.
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