Nusa Penida is a small island on the southeast coast of Bali, next to Nusa Lembongan. Both are must sees for those who desire a break from the tourist gauntlet of Bali or for anyone who wants to see a gorgeous island that looks relatively untouched from development. You can take a day trip to Nusa Penida from Nusa Lembongan, or from Bali.
A thirty minute ferry ride from the port of Sanur takes to you to these rugged beautiful islands. If you go from Bali, you have to factor in ferry time and may have a longer day, or you can choose to see less things. Look at either Rocky Fast Cruises or Scoot Cruises for a reputable safe and quick ferry ride. If you stay on Nusa Lembongan it is only a ten minute boat ride to cross over to Nusa Penida. You could also opt to stay on Nusa Penida. You can hire a driver/guide or scooter around on your own. Unless you are an experienced scooter jockey, I don’t suggest this. It is a long day in the hot sun. In addition, the roads are terrible and the people I witnessed using scooters looked miserable (I thought as I sat
in my AC sipping a coconut looking sympathetically).
I did a private day trip with Komang at Trip to Nusa Penida. You can find his phone number and email on the website. He is amazing! He made all the arrangements, including the boat ride to Nusa Penida as well as the scooter rides from the hotel to the boat for my friend and I. It was very personalized. We were driven in a nice van and lunch at a local warung was included. Komang is also an excellent photographer and took many of these amazing pics that I am in. I will summarize my favorite spots!
What the heck is a billabong anyway, other than a surf store? Well, it is a natural pool. This one was so tempting to swim in and I had seen Instagram photos of people blissfully floating in this idyllic pool. However, it is not always safe. The tide happened to be especially high and a storm looked to be brewing in the distance.
You have to climb down a somewhat precarious ledge of rocks. No biggie.
This pic demonstrates the power of the tide…it is so high that it creates beautiful waterfalls with every wave. Mesmerizing to watch, not good for swimming! I did brave the climb down, in sandals which I DO NOT recommend, but didn’t get it in. You can see the tide had just came into the billabong in this pic below.
This stunning land bridge was formed when the land connected the arch to where I’m standing collapsed into the sea. There is a local legend about how this happened. Apparently the villagers killed a creature which happened to be the pet of a God. The God asked the villagers what happened to his pet and they lied. He found out they lied and cursed their land to fall into the sea. Personally I would do the same if someone messed with my pets! As much as I love a good legend, I’m thinking the land collapsed due to erosion or something. Hey, I’m not a damn geologist!
This was my favorite of all the locations. Absolutely breathtaking. It’s little scary up here so be careful! If you look carefully on the neck of T-Rex down there, you will see a tiny path leading to a crazy little staircase of sorts that takes you to the secret beach below. I so badly wanted to go down to that beach but weather was not cooperating this day and the path was slippery and extra scary. Plus, being on the beach in the rain wasn’t ideal. However, I would LOVE to return and do this someday.
What the ??? I never imagined there would be a Hindu temple devoted to cars, but apparently some God out there really likes cars and the locals decided to please him with this adorable temple.
There are other spots to visit. The island has waterfalls, caves and many beaches as well as scuba diving. Nusa Penida is large and because of the roads, you can’t see it all in day. We did the western side of the island and seeing these spots took most of the day. We decided to skip the pool because we were told it was dry. Instead we ended the day sipping Bintangs at a Crystal Bay beach.
If you are looking for places to stay, I stayed at Poh Manis Resort on Nusa Lembongan and loved it. If you prefer to stay on Nusa Penida, you can book here:
I recommend you bring lots of water and decent shoes because there are opportunities for climbing. Definitely bring stuff for the beach as well. including towel, hat, swimsuit, sunglasses and sunscreen. I brought my trekking shoes/trainers and ended up leaving them in the car. Komang found them and contacted me and was kind enough to leave them at my hotel in Canggu, Bali a few days later when he was in Bali. this was incredibly thoughtful of him and I was thrilled to get my beloved shoes back. However, I didn’t have them for the days I was planning to trek Mount Rinjani on Lombok!