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Is Nusa Penida Worth Visiting?

Is Nusa Penida worth visiting? Absolutely, yes! It was one of the best discoveries on my latest visit to Bali and visiting magical Nusa Penida was an absolute highlight. To say I fell in love would be a massive understatement. Nusa Penida has some of the most jaw-dropping scenery off the coast of Bali and should be added to your Bali itinerary! Most visitors will head to Nusa Penida for a day trip but this incredible island deserves more of your time (if your travel schedule will allow it). 

Nusa Penida has an interesting past as a former penal colony – nowadays the only convicts you’ll find are the pesky monkeys in Kelingking Beach. The island is large and whilst it is possible to see it all in a single day – you’ll be pretty fatigued from all the running around you’ll have to do in order to hit all Nusa Penida’s highlights.

Plus Nusa Penida really and truly deserves more time to discover it than just a day trip. However, if you’re short on time, read on to discover which side of the island will suit your day trip to Nusa Penida more – the East or West Coast of Nusa Penida.

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. 

Top Tours from Bali

Where To Stay on Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida is rather large and spread out. There are a couple of distinct areas that are worth staying in.

Toya Pakeh

The harbor area of Toya Pakeh makes an easy base for those visiting for a day or two and want a central location. With easy access to the ferries that can transport you Bali, the Gili islands, and Nusa Lembongan, you’ll find a range of guest houses, a few restaurants, and a beach with a great sunset. 

I stayed in Double G Guest House and my goodness the family who ran the Guest House were some of the nicest people I came across on my 6-week trip around South East Asia. The accommodation at Double G Guest House is basic and great value for what it is. The location was superb for its proximity to the ferry, and I rented my motorbike to tour the island from the family for 80,000 IDR per day. 

Otherwise, Toya Pakeh is not the prettiest or quaintest of places in Nusa Penida, and there are much better options to stay a bit further away.

Ped

If you’re looking for a longer stay on Nusa Lembongan, I recommend staying between Ped & Batoemoenggoel for a few days. There is a better selection of places to stay in, as well as restaurants, and beachside dining. Its location on the east coast of Nusa Penida means you can cover the sights of this part of the island fairly easily.

The road that starts at Ped and leads past Batoemoenggoel is one of the best motorbike rides of my life. The road takes you through small villages, all the while hugging the coastline with beach bars, seaweed farms and views of Bali in the distance. It’s a beautiful part of the world and a great base for a couple of days exploring Nusa Penida. 

This part of Nusa Penida has a great selection of accommodation for all price ranges, and it’s a top location that is worth spending a couple of days in between adventuring around the island.

  • Gorgeous Mambo Beach Resort offers the cutest traditional bungalows with sea views, live music, and a swimming pool.
  • Another stunning small resort property is Tentacle Bali which ticks all the boxes of affordability, a swimming pool, and lots of air-con.
  • Blue Harbor Beachfront Villas are perfect for those looking to stay right on the beach and with stunning views across to Bali & Mount Agung.
The road to Batoemoenggoel

Batoemoenggoel

Another top location to base your stay in, is Batoemoenggoel, partially for its access to the beaches, beach bars and lots of beach clubs. The Cactus Beach Club was a favorite discovery of mine as I zoomed along the road toward Diamond Beach. 

  • A great location and the beautiful bungalows of Kompyang Cottage make it easy to explore the East & West Coast of 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 rent a scooter, and the second is to hire a private driver to take you around all the sights of Nusa Penida.

I’ve covered the road conditions on Nusa Penida here, and it’s worth reading if you’re in two minds about deciding whether to rent a scooter or a private driver.

And if you do rent a scooter just remember. Don’t be an idiot. Wear a helmet. You don’t get any points for looking ‘cool’ without a helmet. 

The road to Gamat Bay

East Coast Nusa Penida Highlights

The biggest star on the east coast of Nusa Penida is Diamond Beach. A spectacular beach with an enormous stretch of sand, a cerulean sea, soaring cliffs, and a perilous descent. Located nearby is Atuh Beach, and on the other side of Diamond Beach is Thousand Island Viewpoint where you’ll find the Instagram highlight of the ‘Tree House’ aka Rumah Pohon.

Diamond Beach

Rumah Pohon Tree House

Best visited first thing in the morning or just before it closes for the day. Each visitor to the Rumah Pohon Tree House can access the wooden ladder that leads to the tree house for 15K IDR entrance fee, and an additional 75K IDR for the photo opportunity.

Each visitor is given a small amount of time to capture their perfect shot, so you’ll need to wait depending on the time of the day.

You can even book to stay in the Rumah Pohon tree house which is quite basic inside but really does have some absolutely epic views.

Couple Sitting on Brown Wooden Ladder

West Coast Nusa Penida Highlights

The west coast of Nusa Penida has one of the most photographed beaches in probably all of Indonesia, Kelingking Beach, or more popularly known as T-Rex Beach.

Kelingking Beach aka T-Rex Beach

Kelingking Beach is also one of the most difficult beaches to access and is not for the physically unfit or those with any types of health issues, as descending to beach involves climbing ropes, ladders and a lot of work. If you’re like myself and a lot of the other tourists, you can view it perfectly from the top of the cliff. Just watch out for the pesky monkeys that will steal your water bottle.

Broken Beach & Angels Billabong were probably the most underwhelming sights on Nusa Penida in my opinion. I’ve no idea why Angels Billabong is so popular, its a pool of stagnant water. Perhaps it was the day I was visiting, but I was not impressed.

Broken Beach Nusa Penida
Angels Billabong

If you’re looking for a beach on the west coast of Nusa Penida that is easy to access and has some great snorkeling, head to Crystal Bay. The beach is a good place to lay out on a sun lounger which is 100K IDR for 2 sun loungers (even if you’re a solo traveler) for a couple of hours. You can climb around the headland of Crystal Bay to Secret Beach. You can hire snorkel equipment from the beach shops on Crystal Bay.

Tembeling Beach & Forest are past Kelingking Beach and are quite tricky to access. In fact there are a group of moto riders who will offer to drive you down to the access area for a small fee, and I would urge you take them up on it as it really quite steep and the road is not maintained.

Crystal Bay

Swimming with Manta rays on Nusa Penida

One of the biggest attractions for day trippers to Nusa Penida is the opportunity to swim with the gigantic manta rays that visit the waters off the island. You’ll find dozens of tours that offer this experience to swim with these beautiful creatures.

The snorkeling trip also includes a couple of stops at either Gamat Bay or Crystal Bay. You’ll see a variety of sea creatures, I spotted a fast-swimming turtle, a sea snake, and a lot of variety of tropical fish. Manta ray sightings are not always guaranteed, and the day I took my tour we were warned that the Manta hadn’t been spotted in 3 days. It’s still great to get into the water and experience the natural world.

If you’re not based in Nusa Penida, you can travel from Nusa Lembongan or Bali to swim with the Manta Rays through several tours.

Snorkeling in Nusa Penida

Where to eat on Nusa Penida

The best places to eat on Nusa Penida are on the east coast where you’ll find an abundance of accommodation too. The selection of restaurants in Toyah Pakeh is smaller and was very average.

Amarta Penida

Amarta Penida is a superb place for sunsets, cocktails and food. Amarta Penida overlooks Nusa Ceningan & Nusa Lembongan and also has the prettiest traditional Balinese ‘gate’ which has Mount Agung in the center. It’s incredibly Instagram-worthy and perfect. The food in Amarta Penida was really delicious, you can dip in the pool and grab a cocktail to watch the sunset.

Other restaurants worth checking out in Nusa Penida include:

  • Khamara Nusa Penida
  • MeVui Penida
  • Mambo Beach Restaurant 
Amarta Penida

Beach Clubs on Nusa Penida

Along the east coast of Nusa Penida, you’ll find the best accessible beaches and beach clubs on this part of the island. As you drive along this gorgeous coastal road you’ll find several places that are worth pulling over and exploring.

Cactus Beach Club – Nusa Penida

I visited several and ultimately loved my visit to Cactus Beach Club & Restaurant, which you can’t help but gasp as you round the bend and see the diamond-shaped swimming pool. I spent a couple of hours here enjoying some pretty tasty food and thankful for the opportunity to cool off and swim after a day of riding in the hot sun on my scooter.

Also worth visiting and checking out are:

Getting to Nusa Lembongan from Nusa Penida

If you’re planning on visiting Nusa Penida from Nusa Lembongan or vice versa, you can take a small ferry boat between the islands that takes around 20 minutes and costs 50K IDR.

The ferry from Nusa Lembongan leaves at the Yellow Bridge that connects Lembongan with Nusa Ceningan. Pay for your ticket and wait for the boat to fill up with passengers. It doesn’t take long. You will need to wade through water with your luggage to the ferry, so bear that in mind.

Is Nusa Penida Worth Visiting?

Absolutely! I was taken aback by how much fun Nusa Penida was. There was so much to see and do on the island that you could easily spend a week exploring and taking your time visiting all the sights. As well as relaxing at some superb beaches and beach clubs. Nusa Penida feels worlds apart from Bali and I think that’s the draw for a lot of people who come here.

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