Nusa Penida is a must visit Island!
Last summer my Taiwanese best friend (Hi Amy! :)) visited Indonesia for the first time, so I took her to Nusa Penida. Best idea, I’ve never been there either, so I had no clue, but whatever we ditched the tour companies anyway (Basically she followed my tour plan, which resulted in me dying because of riding motorcycle for 4 days, everyday. I forced Amy to take turns to ride, but she was too scared. Your welcome Amy).
Things you need to know before you get there:
- There is no ATM with VISA logo, only MasterCard. (We know because we’ve searched every ATM on the island)
- There is no official Money Changer. But you can ask your hotel or hostel if they provide money exchange. The rate is not really good as well since you are on island. (This is what we did too because we ran out of Rupiah)
- Taxi is expensive on the island. So, make sure to negotiate the price (start 1/4 of the initial price and goes up little by little and Be Friendly! Your SMILE will work like a charm I did this strategy once we arrived at the harbour. It worked)
- If you see a bunch of elementary school kids (with red and white uniform) on the road, wave and shout out “Hi!”, they will love it.
How we got to Nusa Penida from Bali?
The cheapest and the fastest way that we found to go to Nusa Penida is from Sanur Beach Harbour (around 45 minutes from the Ngurah Rai Airport). Our ferry operator is called Mola-Mola Express. The ticket Rp. 200.000 (one way) and Rp.350.000 (round trip). There are other traditional ferries (the cheapest) departs from this harbour, but it takes double time. If you want to save money and have pleanty of time then traditional ferry is also an option.
- The ticket only can be bought only on the day of deparature (the earliest at 7.30).
- The morning ticket is often sold quickly (because of one day trip tour agency), so get to the ticket booth early as possible. We had to wait for the next bacth because of those tour operators.
- If you bought the Round Trip Ticket, make sure that you know the harbour for your deparature to Bali. (We had this experience before, the harbor of arrival and deparature was at different harbors).
- We arrived at Toya Pakeh harbour and departed at Mola-Mola Express headquater close to Sampalan beach (see the map below).
- The ferry operation will depend on the weather condition.
Transportation in Nusa Penida
- Bicycle: The Cheapest option if you want to relax and go to nearby restaurant in small town around the north of the island, but definitely for exploring the island (or if you are into sweat and hardwork, then is fine :))
- Motorcicle (we rented this one): It cost around Rp. 70.000 – Rp. 100.000/day (ask for a discount if you rent for 2 days or more). This is the best way to explore the island, especially when you are not familiar with the road.
- It is super convinient to rent a motor. The best way is to rent at your hostel or hotel (hassle free and usually they will give small discount too)
- MAKE SURE THAT EVERYTHING IS WORKING. The lamp, the rear lamp, and most important the break. (We had a problem with our lamp while exploring a remote beach in Bali haha Amy will kill me if I remind this to her. It wasn’t a problem during the day but we got back after sunset lol pitch dark without street lamp. So we had to wait other car or motorcycle to be able to see the road. Not recommended).
- It is quite hard to find gas stasion, so before exploring, make sure that you have enough gas since you will go thorugh hills on the way and the gas will run out fast.
- During the day, there will be a lot of tour cars with high speed on small road so becareful of the with tour cars (like on the way to Kelingking beach or broken beach). We almost got hit more than three times and I am local, so it is real. Even Amy was scared to ride, even though she made fun of my riding ability in Taiwan.
- The main road is in a good condition overall, but like on the way to Broken Beach, the road is a little bit scary, a lot of holes and hills. (We have seen some people fell while riding down a steep hills. I even asked Amy to walk when I got scared of falling, sorry Amy :))
- Car: This is the best option if you are traveling with up to 5 people. It cost around Rp.450.000-750.000/day with driver. The driver will take you around the island, but make sure to negotiate the places you want to visit for the whole day (especially when you want to visit east and west coast of the island on the same day).
Where to go in Nusa Penida?
1. Kelingking Beach
Kelingking beach is the most famous.
The road sign is quite easy to find so you won’t likely to get lost.
Park on the parking lot and walk less than 10 minutes, you will find the view point
There is trail to go to the beach, but Amy and I ware too tired to hike back. A lot of stairs (quite steep) and mind the heat during the peak sun time. The stairs is narrow, so be mindful crossing path with other visitors.
- To avoid crowd and tour operators, visit before 9.30 am or after 2 pm, so you don’t have wait long queue for picture spots.
- Don’t wear heels and Bring water!
- There are several food and drink stall around the area with (simple) toilets as well.
2. Broken Beach and 3. Angel's Billabong
Getting to these next spot was such a challenge with motorcycle. Dayum for my hands and arms. The roads had a lot of holes and steep hill would awaits. However this places are definitely worth visiting!
The location of Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong is nearby one to another. From the parking lot, you have to walk around 5-7 mins to Angel’s Billabong first, then around more 10 mins to get to Broken Beach.
4. Tree House and 5. Atuh Raja Lima View Point
Funny story, we discovered this tree house by accident. We had no idea of the location of the tree house. I googled different tree house lol.
We heard about this hidden spot of Atuh Raja Lima View Point. So we wanted to take a look, but then we found out that it was also the location of this iconic tree house. We ditched the tree house that I googled previously haha.
The view is definitely breathtaking. You have to walk around 10-15 minutes to the tree house and the view point (this including going down a bunch of stairs).Well, going down was pretty eassy but going up was the hard part, feeling like we did a real hiking.
Btw, this is hidden gem, so definitely less tourists in the area. Best! It’s a little bit tricky to get here, but we have Google map, just google it and woalaa 🙂
Things to know before going there:
- This spot is on the east coast, may take around 1.5/2 hours by motorcycle. The scenery along the way is breathtaking. One of my favorite route ever!
- There is entry fee to enter this location around Rp 15.000
- A lot of stairs, so bring water!
- The location is close to Atuh beach. However the route from the main road is different so pay attention for the sign or map.
- If you want to visit both Atuh beach and Tree House/Atuh Raja Lima Viewpoint, Go to Tree House/Atuh Raja Lima Viewpoint FIRST! (It is confusing to explain but there is a route which bridge the two spots, but the road is only accessable from Atuh Raja Lima Viewpoint/Tree House to Atuh Beach not vice versa).
Other places and activities that worth mentioning are:
- Atuh Beach (Quite far, but famous for tourists)
- Crystal beach (perfect for sunset and relaxing, but not after 4pm since the beach will be crowded by one-day tourist. Tips: Rent a beanbag and drink cocounut water by the beach while waiting for sunset).
- Beach in front of Penida Colada Restaurant (We walked along the beach at sunset while waiting for dinner).
- Snorkling (2 hours of Manta Point, Underwater Buddha, and Gamat Bay. Can’t recommend enough of these underwater spots).
Nusa Penida is definitely a must visit island in Indonesia, and close to Bali as well. The size of the island is not too small yet not to big, so exploring the island will be fun. Whether joining the one-day trip from Bali or staying a couple of days will be great. However, from my personal experience, staying several days in this island is much enjoyable. Relaxing at the beach, drinking coconut water, talking to locals, enjoying local seafood, watching sunset or even experiencing the total electricity blackout in the island. It was fun, Amy was scared but we could watch the stars and the moonshine better while eating hot Indonesian noodle cup 🙂