Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable journey to Bali’s best-kept secret?

Tucked away from the bustling crowds and common tourist trails of Bali, you’ll find the majestic island of Nusa Penida. With its raw, unspoiled beauty, it’s a paradise waiting to be explored.

Let’s dive in and discover what makes Nusa Penida so unique!

Overview of Nusa Penida


Nestled southeast of Bali, Nusa Penida is the largest of the three Nusa Islands, flanked by Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan.

Defined by its rugged coastline, towering limestone cliffs, and breathtaking terrains, the island is known for its diverse geography.

The west of the island is characterised by dramatic cliffs dropping into the azure sea, while the east is adorned with serene bays and quiet beaches. The central region, rich with unspoiled forests and gently sloping hills, is home to a variety of local wildlife.


Nusa Penida boasts a tropical climate, much like its sister island, Bali. You can expect warm temperatures year-round, averaging around 27-30 degrees Celsius.

The island experiences two seasons: the dry season from April to September and the rainy season from October to March.

However, even during the rainy season, showers are typically short-lived, ensuring you can still enjoy your exploration of the island’s wonders.

History of Nusa Penida

The history of Nusa Penida is as compelling as its natural beauty. The island holds a significant place in Balinese mythology and Hindu culture.

Historically, it was used as a penal colony by the Balinese kingdom of Klungkung due to its isolated location.

Today, remnants of its unique past can be seen in the form of ancient temples and cultural sites scattered across the island.

Travelling to Nusa Penida

How to Get There

From Bali

The most common way to reach Nusa Penida is via a short boat trip from Bali. Regular speedboats operate from Sanur Beach in Bali, with the journey typically taking about 40-45 minutes. It’s a scenic ride, offering stunning views of the Bali Sea and neighbouring islands.

From Other Indonesian Islands

If you’re travelling from other Indonesian islands, like Lombok or the Gili Islands, your best bet is to take a boat to Bali first and then catch a speedboat to Nusa Penida. Several companies provide inter-island boat services, so you’re sure to find a convenient option.

Best Time to Visit

The ideal time to visit Nusa Penida is during the dry season, between April and September. During this period, the seas are calm, making boat journeys smoother, and the weather is perfect for exploring the island’s outdoor attractions.

Visa and Travel Requirements

Indonesia has a fairly relaxed visa policy for tourists; visitors from 169 countries can enter Indonesia without a visa for up to 30 days. However, requirements may have changed, so be sure to check the latest updates before planning your trip.

Attractions in Nusa Penida

Natural Wonders

Nusa Penida’s most enchanting allure lies in its natural wonders. From beaches with unique rock formations to enchanting sea views, the island never fails to amaze.

Kelingking Beach

Perhaps the most famous site on Nusa Penida, Kelingking Beach, is a must-visit. This secluded beach is famed for its T-Rex-shaped cliff that provides a breathtaking viewpoint.

The turquoise water contrasting with the white sand and the green cliffs is a sight to behold. Keep in mind that the path down to the beach is quite steep and may be challenging for some.

Crystal Bay

True to its name, Crystal Bay offers crystal-clear waters, making it a paradise for snorkelers and divers. The bay is home to vibrant marine life, including manta rays, tropical fish, and even the occasional turtle.

It’s also a perfect spot to watch the sunset as the sun dips below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the water.

Angel’s Billabong

On the southwestern edge of Nusa Penida lies Angel’s Billabong, a stunning natural infinity pool. At low tide, you can dip into the clear water and enjoy the mesmerising view of the sea beyond the pool’s edge.

However, be cautious about the tide and wave conditions as they can be dangerous during high tide.

Atuh Beach

Atuh Beach, located on the island’s eastern side, is a hidden gem that deserves a visit. Framed by magnificent cliffs, the beach offers soft white sand and crystal clear waters. The striking rock formations in the sea add to the beach’s picturesque beauty.

Don’t miss the chance to witness a breathtaking sunrise from this spot!

Broken Beach and Billabong Point

In the northwestern part of the island, you’ll find the fascinating geological formations of Broken Beach and Billabong Point. Broken Beach, known locally as Pasih Uug, is a natural bridge and pool formed over the centuries by crashing waves.

Just a short walk away is Billabong Point, another natural pool with emerald-green waters. The area offers stunning views that make for perfect photo opportunities.

Tembeling Forest and Natural Pools

For a break from the beaches, head to Tembeling Forest. This small forest reserve houses two natural pools – one freshwater and one seawater.

After a short trek through the lush forest, you can take a refreshing dip in these secluded pools.

The area is also home to several local bird species, making it a haven for bird watchers.

Pura Paluang or Car Temple

One of the most unusual sites on Nusa Penida is Pura Paluang, also known as the Car Temple. This sacred site features two shrines that surprisingly resemble a car and a motorcycle.

This unique blend of traditional beliefs and modern symbols makes it a curious and intriguing site to visit. Remember to dress respectfully when visiting, as it’s an active place of worship for the local community.

Historical Sites

Nusa Penida’s history is reflected in its temples and cultural sites. One of the most noteworthy is the Goa Giri Putri Temple, a significant pilgrimage site located inside a cave.

To reach the temple, visitors must climb a steep staircase and crawl through a narrow opening, but the experience is well worth the effort.

Wildlife and Nature Tours

For nature lovers, Nusa Penida offers an array of wildlife and nature tours. You can embark on birdwatching tours, explore the island’s lush forests, or even take a boat tour to see the majestic manta rays.

Accommodations in Nusa Penida

Luxury Resorts

Those seeking a luxury stay will find a few high-end resorts offering top-notch facilities, including private villas, infinity pools, and spa services. These resorts often provide stunning views of the sea or the island’s green landscape.

Nusa Penida Hotels

A variety of mid-range hotels provide comfortable accommodations with essential amenities. Many of these hotels feature Balinese architecture and offer services like bike rentals for you to explore the island.

Nusa Penida Hostels

For solo travellers or those who thrive on social interactions, hostels are a great accommodation option. Nusa Penida has a handful of hostels that offer dormitory-style rooms or private rooms for those seeking a bit more privacy.

Staying at a hostel can be a fantastic opportunity to meet fellow travellers, share stories and experiences, and perhaps even find companions for your island exploration.

Nusa Penida Culture and Cuisine

Traditional Festivals

Nusa Penida’s cultural richness is evident in its traditional festivals. One such festival is the Mekare-Kare or Pandan War, a ritualistic duel held annually.

It’s a unique spectacle that you won’t want to miss if your visit aligns with the event.

Local Cuisine

Sampling the local cuisine is a must when visiting Nusa Penida. Seafood, owing to the island’s coastal location, is a staple.

Try traditional dishes like Sate Lilit, a type of Balinese skewer, or Lawar, a mix of vegetables, coconut, and minced meat.

Shopping and Souvenirs

While Nusa Penida might not be a shopping hub, you can still find local markets selling handmade crafts, traditional textiles, and souvenirs. A popular choice is the colourful sarongs used in Balinese ceremonies.

Practical Information

Local Transportation

Getting around Nusa Penida can be an adventure in itself. The island’s hilly terrain and less developed infrastructure make for a unique travel experience. Motorbikes are the most common mode of transportation, available for rent at various locations.

If you’re not comfortable riding, hiring a driver with a car is a practical choice. Some places might require a bit of a hike, so make sure to pack suitable footwear.

Health and Safety

While Nusa Penida is generally safe for tourists, it’s essential to take certain precautions. Healthcare facilities on the island are limited, so it’s advisable to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies.

Also, remember to stay hydrated, especially during the hot, dry season, and apply sunscreen to protect against the strong tropical sun.

As with any travel destination, it’s important to respect local customs and regulations. Dress modestly when you visit these temples, and always ask for permission before photographing people.

Tips for Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable tourism is about making a positive impact on the environment, society, and economy of the places we visit. Here’s how you can contribute during your Nusa Penida trip:

  1. Respect Wildlife: When engaging in activities like snorkelling or birdwatching, maintain a safe distance from the animals and avoid disturbing their natural behaviours.
  2. Be a Responsible Visitor: Stick to marked trails when hiking to prevent damage to the island’s flora. Dispose of your litter responsibly or, better yet, take it with you.
  3. Support Local Economy: Opt for locally owned accommodations, buy from local vendors, and hire local guides. This helps to ensure that tourism benefits the local community.
  4. Conserve Water: Water is a precious resource on the island. Try to minimise your usage by taking shorter showers and reusing towels.

The beauty of Nusa Penida is its untouched charm. Let’s help keep it that way by travelling responsibly and leaving only footprints behind.

Embarking on a journey to Nusa Penida is more than just a holiday. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in a world of breathtaking landscapes, rich traditions, and warm hospitality.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply a traveller seeking off-the-beaten-path experiences, Nusa Penida is a hidden paradise that promises an adventure of a lifetime.


How do I get around Nusa Penida?

The island can be explored either by renting a motorbike or hiring a car with a private driver. Roads in Nusa Penida are rough and narrow, making motorbike travel challenging yet common. Car hire offers a safer and more comfortable option, with prices slightly higher than Bali for a full day of driving​​.

What are the must-visit attractions on Nusa Penida?

Nusa Penida is home to stunning natural attractions including Kelingking Beach with its iconic T-Rex shaped cliff, the secluded Paluang Cliff, the unique circular cove of Broken Beach, and the beautiful Crystal Bay, perfect for snorkelling and enjoying sunsets​​.

What’s the best way to get to Nusa Penida from Bali?

Visitors have the option of taking a public ferry from Padang Bai, which operates twice daily on weekdays and once on Sundays. This is a viable option if you wish to bring a vehicle across. Be mindful of potential delays and crowded conditions on the ferry​​.

Where should I stay in Nusa Penida?

Accommodation options are spread across the island, with the northeast and northwest offering easy access to ports and a range of lodging from hostels to guesthouses. The southeast is closer to Diamond and Atuh Beach, while the west, particularly Crystal Bay, is famous for its beautiful beach and snorkelling opportunities​​.

Can I snorkel with manta rays in Nusa Penida?

Yes, snorkelling with manta rays at Manta Point is a popular activity, offering a chance to swim alongside these majestic creatures. Tours are available that include hotel pick-ups from Bali, transport, and all necessary tickets​​.

Are there any unique wildlife spotting opportunities in Nusa Penida?

The Bali starling, an endangered bird species, is flourishing on Nusa Penida thanks to conservation efforts. The Bali Bird Sanctuary on the island is the easiest place to spot these and other rescued birds​​.

What are the dining options like on Nusa Penida?

Dining options range from hotel restaurants to simple warungs. The food scene is more limited in the south of the island, with packet snacks and occasional vendors being the main offerings​​.

How many days do I need to explore Nusa Penida?

While a day trip can give you a taste of the island, ideally spending at least two days allows for a more comprehensive exploration of Nusa Penida’s diverse landscapes and attractions​​.

What’s the best method of transportation within Nusa Penida?

Renting a motorbike is the most flexible and common way to explore the island, with motorbike drivers/guides available at Toyapakeh Harbour. However, be mindful of the challenging roads and consider hiring a guide for safer navigation​​.