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How To Get Around Nusa Penida: Scooter & Road Tips

Disclaimer: Real-life human experiences. Written by a human. Created for humans. (Travels at Missy does not use AI for our articles. All posts and information are 1st hand experience. AI data-scrapping tools are expressly forbidden from using Travels with Missy content for AI Training).

When I was planning on visiting Nusa Penida I had a lot of questions about how to get around. I struggled to find up-to-date information about the roads on Nusa Penida, and everything I seemed to get my hands on, suggested that Nusa Penida was best seen from the back of a car as the road conditions were pretty brutal.

So I set out to discover what visitors could expect when coming to Nusa Penida and lay it out as black and white as possible. Throughout this guide on how to get around Nusa Penida, I’ll explain the road conditions you can expect to find on both sides of the island and tips for navigating the roads.

There are two sides to Nusa Penida that draw visitors – the East Coast which features Diamond Beach, Atuh Beach & One Thousand Island View.

The West Coast of Nusa Penida has one of the most iconic beaches – Klingking (Kelingking) Beach in all of Bali. Along with Tembling Forest, Broken Beach, Angel’s Billabong, Crystal Beach & Gamet Bay there is a lot to see and do on the West Coast of Nusa Penida. 

East Coast road on Nusa Penida

How to get around on Nusa Penida

If you’re planning on staying on Nusa Penida and are eager to explore the island on your own, then you have two options. One is to hire a private driver to take you around all the sights of Nusa Penida and two is to rent your own scooter and do a self-guided tour of the island.

Nusa Penida Private Driver

Hiring a private driver to take you around Nusa Penida is perfect for those who want to see all the sights without any of the hassle. Your driver will take you to all the sights that you wish to see and you’ll do it in pure comfort! Think air-conditioning and a knowledgeable guide who can show you the best of Nusa Penida.

Most guided tours of Nusa Penida are split between the West & East Coast, so if you’re planning on coming over for a day trip from Bali you’ll need to decide which sights you want to see in Nusa Penida.

If you’re based on Nusa Penida it is worth hiring a private driver over 2 days so you can see the best of the island and tick off everything on your bucket list trip.

Renting a motorbike on Nusa Penida

I did my research as best as possible on renting a motorbike on Nusa Penida and found it difficult to find up-to-date information. I was quite apprehensive about the limited information available, so when I arrived at my hotel I asked the owner and he was fantastic at telling me all the advice I needed.

The roads in Nusa Penida for the most part are good. They are well-surfaced and it is only when you get off the main road that you’ll experience varying qualities of roads. 

The east coast of Nusa Penida is very manageable as long as you stick to the main road that hugs the coastline. If you’re staying in Ped or Batoemoenggoel, I would recommend renting a scooter to get between the towns and the ferry.

The red roads of Nusa Penida are the paved roads.

And in order to the majority of highlights around Nusa Penida you will need to come off the main road and head down some sketchy roads that range in enormous potholes, dirt, sand and no asphalt. Riding a motorbike in Nusa Penida is not for the faint of heart

If you’ve never driven a motorbike before, Nusa Penida is not the best place to start. It requires a lot of nerve and confidence.

Tips for Driving A Scooter on Nusa Penida

My mantra as I drive around is ‘arrive alive’ and so I’m typically the slowest person on the road as I drive around. The roads in Nusa Penida are narrow and typically most people tour the island by car (I also recommend this).

This means you’re fighting for road space and the motorbike never wins! The horn on your bike is your friend. Use it. Every blind corner, honk your horn as the cars whizz around at a stupid pace and more often than not you have to pull really far over to the side of the road.

East Coast Nusa Penida Roads

As mentioned for the most part the roads on Nusa Penida are pretty ok-ish. On the east coast, you’ll drive alongside the sea for the majority of the ride up to the north of the island and to Diamond Beach.

Riding past Seaweed farms & Mount Agung in the background.

This coastal road is absolutely gorgeous as you pass small fishing villages, seaweed farms and is straightforward for the most part. I wish I had a GoPro on this drive, it still lives with me and I loved every second of riding the East Coast of Nusa Penida.

You’ll start to climb higher as you approach the last 15km of this section of the road. The road is incredibly steep at this section (just remember as you’re descending to hold onto that brake tightly).

The elevation climbs pretty quickly towards Diamond Beach.

At the junction to turn off to Diamond Beach, the road is windy and hilly, but also really beautiful as your bike winds through forests and small villages. The final 1 or 2KM has a steep descent to Diamond Beach and you’ll find a parking lot that charges 5K IDR for parking & 35K IDR for entry fee.

I was conscious of the time (there are no street lights and I didn’t want to ride in the dark) so I didn’t visit nearby Atuh Beach or the infamous Rumah Pohon “Tree House”. They are both nearby and an easy stop to add to your East Coast Nusa Penida itinerary.

Diamond Beach

West Coast Nusa Penida Roads

The roads on the West Coast of Nusa Penida are tricky. These are not the road conditions to learn to drive a scooter on as most of the asphalt has vanished at certain places. I absolutely adored driving around the West Coast of Nusa Penida and found it some of the most challenging riding I’ve ever done on a scooter.

The West Coast of Nusa Penida is a series of curved and winding roads, and you’ll spend most of your riding navigating and blasting your horn around a lot of blind bends. The white vans of guided tours fly around and occasionally you’ll be forced off the road to let them pass you by.

Surprisingly good quality of road into Kelingking Beach

If you time your departures correctly you can avoid a lot of the traffic that occurs as the cars race back to the port to deposit their visitors back in time for their ferries back to Bali. Ending your day at Kelingking Beach would be the best way to avoid a lot of the traffic, but time it so that you’re not riding in darkness as these roads are hard and not well-lit.

The most popular spot on the West Coast of Nusa Penida is Kelingking Beach (T-Rex Beach) and the roads are in the best condition for this section of the ride. From the port the drive should take around 50 minutes, with several hairpin bends. Signage is easy to follow and it’s worth arriving here either really early in the morning before the white cars arrive or later in the afternoon.

Worth the roads and the trip to Kelingking Beach

The trickiest sections of riding a scooter on the West Coast of Nusa Penida are at Angel’s Billabong & Broken Beach. Even the cars have a tough time driving on the sand, dirt, and rocks that make up these last couple of kilometers.

The road down to Crystal Beach is really bloody steep. But has asphalt. Braking is your friend. And you’ll be able to bypass all the cars that queue to access the parking lot of Crystal Beach on your scooter, so a small win!

Crystal Bay

The road to Gamat Bay is the worst of the entire section. You’ll end up driving on no asphalt for most of the ride, and to be honest was not worth it. When you eventually get to Gamat Bay you can park a bit further up, or if you’re feeling incredibly brave you can continue to scoot down. I found the incline to be far too steep to attempt this and instead retreated.

I didn’t ride as far as Manta Point as a Dutch man in my hotel explained that the road was the worst he had encountered on his ride around the island. And I felt at a certain point of my trip of driving around Nusa Penida on a scooter that I had used up my luck.

Deceptive steepness of the road to Gamat Bay.

As I was visiting Nusa Penida in October, the hotel owner said to avoid visiting Teletubbies Hill as it was out of season and the hills would just look brown thanks to the lack of rain from the dry season. So I skipped that part of the the island.

Note: Don’t be an idiot. Wear a helmet. You don’t get any points for looking ‘cool’ without a helmet. Also wear a shirt. Road rash really hurts.

Scooter Rental Prices & Tips

  • Check with your accommodation whether they rent scooters.
  • When renting your scooter make sure you have good working brakes.
  • Daily rental prices vary from place to place – I paid 75K IDR per day.
  • Wear your helmet. Don’t be an idiot.
  • Parking fees are applicable at all sights and are 5K IDR.
  • Take it slow. Know your limits. Arrive alive.
  • You’ll find lots of places to buy petrol/gas at the side of the road.

To Ride a Scooter or Not To Ride A Scooter?

An entirely personal decision that you can decide upon when you arrive in Nusa Penida as to whether or not you want to rent a scooter. My advice would be that if you have previously rented a scooter and have experience to try out the roads of Nusa Penida and explore a bit before committing to renting a scooter for a couple of days.

You might decide the roads are too narrow. You’re not comfortable with being overtaken by cars. Or that the road conditions are too difficult to drive on.

And that is completely fine.

Everyone has their own abilities and levels of comfortableness. Don’t push yourself if you feel scared or deeply uncomfortable. You are more than likely going to have an accident.

Broken Beach – tricky road with limited asphalt.

Conclusion

Nusa Penida was an adventure and I loved my time exploring the island. I regret not having a GoPro as I would have loved to have captured some of the incredible scenery and rides through some daunting roads, turns and experiences I found myself on.

Whether you end up renting a scooter or hiring a private driver, Nusa Penida is spectacular and one of those places you won’t forget in a hurry. If you’ve noticed that I’ve left something out, please leave a comment below. And if you encounter completely different road conditions than the ones that I’ve mentioned, then also please let me know!

Wear your helmet!

Looking for more Bali-related content? Check out my posts;

  • First time to Bali? Then check out my Bali Travel Tips.
  • Planning on visiting Nusa Lembongan (you should!) – make sure you read all about this wonderful island.
  • Looking for an itinerary that covers all the top spots? Check out my 2-week Bali Itinerary.

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