Looking for the best things to do in Nusa Penida? We’ve got you covered – read on to discover 8 fantastic places to visit and to discover more about this offbeat paradise just a hop and a skip from Bali!
Don’t have time to read? Book your Nusa Penida tours in no time here!
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- Nusa Penida Private Car Hire with Driver – make your time in Nusa Penida easy and enjoyable with a trusted driver!
- The Most Incredible Nusa Penida Day Trip – a BEST-SELLING day trip covering all the must-sees
- Nusa Penida Day Trip East & West – check out the best sights all around the island
- Snorkeling with MANTA RAYS in Nusa Penida – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to snorkel with these fascinating creatures
Heading to Bali? Check out our 20 things to do in Seminyak post!
At 200 square kilometers, Nusa Penida is the largest of the Nusa Islands, and until a few years ago, it was hardly touched by Bali’s mass tourism. During our first South East Asia trip in 2009/2010, we heard about the island in many backpacker’s hangouts around the region – it was rumoured to be a truly unspoiled paradise, where you could sleep in huts with million-dollar views for just a few dollars a night, ride down dirt roads to jaw-dropping beaches, enjoy the slow ‘island life’ with a cold Bintang and your toes in the sand.
That said, with so many scenic spots in Nusa Penida, it has blown up across the travel industry over recent years, and now it’s a staple on any Bali Itinerary. As soon as Instagram made places like T-Rex and Crystal Bay famous, Instagrammers started flocking to the island – and the wild paradise was well and truly gone, at least during the day.
Guess what, though – you can still enjoy that magical island vibe, by spending a few nights in Nusa Penida. This is what we did during our last Indonesia trip, when we spent 2 weeks in Bali and a few days exploring Nusa Penida and its neighbours, Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan.
So, this post will guide you to finding all the best things to do in Nusa Penida! You may already be aware of some iconic places, but a few of these spots are still a bit off the beaten path.
We’ll also talk about how to get to Nusa Penida and how to get around since there are a few options!
Where Is Nusa Penida?
Nusa Penida is just a quick 30-minute ferry from Sanur’s beach resorts and seafood restaurants, but it offers an entirely different atmosphere, with rugged cliffs and undeveloped beaches.
Most top attractions will require bumpy rides and long hikes, but if this sounds like your type of travel, you are in for a treat.
Penida is home to some mind-blowing sights. It’s what we imagine Bali was like 30 years ago before the islands began receiving hundreds of tourists. Insane cliffs and pristine beaches without the touristy shops and restaurants littering the roads.
However, Bali’s hidden gem is slowly evolving. It’s gained much more popularity from tourists and is gradually losing some of its “undiscovered” feel. That said, the number of tourists hardly compares to mainland Bali. If you are looking for adventurous island life, this is the place for you!
Best Places to Visit In Nusa Penida
Let’s jump into the best things to do in Nusa Penida! All the destinations are equally stunning, and even if you can’t make it to them all, hopefully, this list will give you an idea of which attractions are best suited to you.
1) Hike Down Kelingking Beach
You may have heard of this beach by other names, such as “T-Rex Beach” or “Dinosaur Point”, and it’s often mentioned as one of the most beautiful beaches in Bali.
This stunning cliff is shaped like a T-rex head. It’s easily the most famous place on Nusa Penida, and YES, it absolutely lives up to the hype. The view is truly jaw-dropping. Some people come just for the view, but we recommend taking the time to hike down to the beach.
The hike is exhilarating and terrifying, but you’ll get a new perspective of the beach’s landform. Be safe here and respect each other when taking photos since there is no railing, and it’s a steep drop.
You should also go as early as possible to make it to the viewpoint and down to the beach before all the day tours and boats show up!
2) Stay At Rumah Pohon
“Rumah Pohon” is Indonesian for ‘treehouse.’
Rumah Pohon is a one-of-a-kind treehouse built hundreds of meters high on a small isle overlooking the ocean.
Every day, tourists come for the famous “thousand-islands view” and take a picture on the treehouse ladder. If you’re lucky, you can stay the night in it for less than $50!
Tourists stop coming around 5:00 PM and won’t return until 9:00 AM the following day. This means you will have the lookout and the balcony view to yourselves for the entirety of the sunset and sunrise.
It’s the most magical sunrise in Bali, but it’s typically booked up months in advance, so make your reservation well in advance!
3) Visit Angel’s Billabong
Just a short drive from Kelingking Beach is Angel’s Billabong, a natural phenomenon that creates an infinity pool overlooking the ocean.
It can be hectic sometimes, but most people are only there for a few pictures. The real fun is getting into the pool!
After climbing down to the water’s edge, you have to take your shirt and shoes off on a small platform made of sharp rock. This makes getting into the pool difficult. Walk cautiously and protect your feet.
Once you enter the pool, though, the ground is much smoother, and you won’t have too much trouble!
It’s also essential to know that the pool is only accessible during low tide. If you were to enter during high tide, there is a good chance you would be swept over the cliff and out to sea. You should also watch out for jellyfish near the ledge!
4) Visit Broken Beach
Broken Beach is a small cove created by a breach in the cliff where water flows through and onto the beach.
The beach itself is inaccessible, but you can walk around the entirety of the pool, including the overpass where the water comes and goes out to the ocean!
Broken Beach is next to Angel’s Billabong, so combining both into one easy stop is easy. There are some small restaurants near the parking areas, too, so plan on stopping here around lunchtime when creating your Nusa Penida itinerary.
5) Swim with Manta Rays at Manta Point
Manta Point is a snorkeling spot southeast of Nusa Penida. It’s a must-visit for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts since it’s the only place in Bali where you can swim alongside manta rays in their natural habitat.
Swimming with these rays, known for their 4-meter wingspan, is breathtaking.
The unique opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures up close makes it a highlight of any Nusa Penida day trip or extended stay.
Surely, your tour guide will brief you on the best practices, but don’t forget that respecting the mantas and keeping a safe distance is important. The currents can be strong in the area, too, so it’s recommended for more experienced swimmers.
6) Take Photos at Diamond Beach
Atuh Beach, also known as Diamond Beach, is one of the few hidden gems on Nusa Penida’s eastern coast. You’ve probably seen a couple of photos of this viewpoint and beach, but because it’s not the most accessible area in Nusa Penida, it remains relatively uncrowded.
This spot is known for its striking rock formations and serene beach. If you want to hike down to the shoreline, it’s a bit of a trek to get there, but the panoramic views and photographic opportunities are worth the effort.
The beach is unspoiled by tourism, offering a peaceful retreat, and if you visit early in the day, you’ll be one of the only ones there. It’s a perfect spot for those looking to experience Nusa Penida’s natural beauty in a tranquil setting.
7) Spend the Afternoon at Crystal Bay
Crystal Bay is a popular destination in Nusa Penida for relaxation and snorkeling. The bay is named for its crystal-clear waters, making it ideal for snorkeling, but it’s also one of the few developed beaches on the island.
The beach is lined with palm trees and has several warungs (local eateries) where you can grab a bite and enjoy the view. It’s a great spot to unwind after a day of exploring.
Snorkeling here offers a chance to see a variety of marine life, too, so consider renting some goggles and going for a swim!
8) Take The Staircase to Peguyangtan Waterfall
Peguyangan Waterfall is located on Nusa Penida’s southern coast and is accessed via a steep blue staircase clinging to the cliffside. The journey down is an adventure in itself, offering stunning views of the ocean. When you finally reach the falls, you’ll notice that it’s more of a natural spring than a waterfall cascading down to the sea, creating natural pools.
Peguyangan is a sacred site for locals, so respectful behaviour is important. It’s a physically demanding trek, so before you add it to your itinerary, be sure you’re in good physical condition.
Things to do in Nusa Penida at Night
In Nusa Penida, won’t find the same kind of nightlife as Seminyak or Gili T, but there are some good places to go for a few drinks or a party.
All along the northern coast of the island, you’ll find a string of nightlife haunts, including some cool beach bars and clubs. Here are a few options – if you know of any more places to go in Nusa Penida at night, please let us know!
- Penida Colada – probably the best thing to do in Nusa Penida at night! It’s a really cool tiki bar with a friendly vibe and excellent cocktails.
- The Gallery – a bar in Nusa Penida’s main town, with a great art collection and live music.
- Penida Beach Club – fantastic spot for a sunset drink with a scenic beach location.
- Cactus Beach Club – probably the best club in Nusa Penida with a pool, ocean views and great DJs.
How to Get to Nusa Penida
There is no airport on the island or bridge connecting it to Bali, so the only way there is by boat.
Fast boats depart from Sanur. Sanur is a town east of Denpasar, only a short ride away from popular tourist areas, such as Kuta (20 minutes), Ubud (40 minutes), Canggu (45 minutes), and Uluwatu (1 hour). From there, the journey takes about 30-40 minutes.
It’s a simple process to get tickets to Nusa Penida. There are so many different companies and over 100 fast boats traveling between the islands every day. Most people buy tickets online, which is cheaper, but getting tickets on arrival is possible, too.
Expect to pay anywhere between $10-30, depending on the company and time of departure.
How to Get Around Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida is the largest of the three Nusa islands, and nowhere is ‘walkable,’ so you’ll have to find some kind of transportation while visiting the island.
Honestly, in order to reach any of the top things to do in Nusa Penida, it will require being on the road for at least 45 minutes.That’s why it’s wise to plan ahead of time. There are basically three options:
-Nusa Penida Guided Tour
If you are the kind of person who likes everything taken care of for you, booking a guided tour from mainland Bali is the most convenient way to explore the island. This tour is a great general day tour of the island, but you can also find plenty of options that are more geared toward snorkeling or include different destinations.
Here are some great Nusa Penida tours from Bali!
- From Bali: 3 Snorkeling Spots Tour to Lembongan and Penida
- Full-Day Nusa Penida West Trip From Bali
- From Bali: Nusa Penida Snorkeling and West Tour Inclusive
-Hire a Personal Driver
Hiring a personal driver in Bali is one of the more expensive options, but it’s not unreasonable at about $40-50/day. This can be an even better way to get around Nusa Penida because, in addition to covering your transportation, you’ll get to choose your itinerary and adjust as needed!
You can hire a trusted driver on GetYourGuide – prices are reasonable and it’s the easiest way to find a trusted person to take you around!
-Rent a Motorbike
The best way to get around any part of Bali is by renting a motorbike. It’s not only the most affordable ($7-9/day), but it gives you full flexibility to create your schedule and check out Nusa Penida on your own terms!
You can book a scooter rental in Nusa Penida ahead of time or walk around the port and try to negotiate upon arrival.
How Long To Stay in Nusa Penida?
Deciding the duration of your stay in Nusa Penida largely depends on the amount of time you have in Bali and your destination goals.
While a single day can give you a taste of the island’s remarkable beauty, a three-day stay is ideal for a comprehensive exploration.
In one day, you can cover the major highlights like Kelingking Beach, Angel’s Billabong, and Crystal Bay, but it will feel rushed. You’ll need to start early and plan your itinerary meticulously to maximize your time.
If you have two or three days to spend in Nusa Penida, the trip will be much more relaxing, and you’ll be able to get to the most popular areas well before most tourists. You can dedicate a day each to the western, eastern, and southern parts of the island, ensuring you don’t miss key attractions like Manta Point and Atuh Beach.
Final Thoughts: What To Do in Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida is a breathtaking destination that offers a unique blend of adventure, natural beauty, and rugged landscapes. From the jaw-dropping views at Kelingking Beach to the serene vibes of Crystal Bay, there’s something for everyone.
Whether you choose a quick day trip or an extended stay of a few days, be sure that you don’t miss these things to do in Nusa Penida.
The most iconic place to visit is undoubtedly Kelingking Beach, so that should be a no-brainer, but if you only have time for one more spot, you should go to the island’s east end to see Rumah Pohon and Atuh Beach. It’s even more beautiful than the photos!