Nusa Penida is a beautiful, rugged island just off the coast of Bali, Indonesia. Taking a day trip to Nusa Penida is one of the most popular things to do for Bali holidaymakers who are short on time, but if you have a few extra days in your Bali itinerary, then extend your stay and spend 2-3 days exploring the natural gems around the island.
Nusa Penida really is a beautiful place and well worth the trip from Bali!
Here’s a complete guide for planning your 2 day trip to Nusa Penida:
How many days do you need on Nusa Penida?
If you are short on time, it is possible to do a day trip from Bali to Nusa Penida. If you decide on this option, it is recommended to book your trip in advance to save time making arrangements on the day, and there are many tour operators that offer day trips.
However, in order to really see what Nusa Penida has to offer, 2-3 days on the island would be ideal.
How to get to Nusa Penida
The only way to get to Nusa Penida is by boat. You can either take a larger ferry or a smaller fast boat. The fast boats are slightly more expensive and get you there quicker, but the journey is more rocky than on the ferry. It is strongly recommended when taking either option to take motion sickness tablets before you get on the boat as the sea around Nusa Penida is renowned for being choppy!
- From Bali: You have three main departure ports for catching a boat from Bali across to Nusa Penida: Sanur, Padang Bai or Serangan Island. Sanur is the most popular departure point as it is convenient for Seminyak, Canggu, Kuta, and Uluwatu. From Sanur, the crossing takes approximately 45 minutes and costs approximately $7. You can buy your ticket from the counter on arrival at the port or in advance.
- From Nusa Lembongan: You can also catch a boat from Nusa Lembongan to Nusa Penida. The journey only takes 10 minutes and you can buy your ticket at the counter at the port for just 50k IDR ($3.30). The boat departs Nusa Lembongan from the famous yellow bridge which connects Lembongan to Ceningan island. The departures are unscheduled – the boat simply goes as soon as there are 8 or more people ready to leave. You can also join a snorkeling trip to Nusa Penida from Nusa Lembongan.
- From Gili Trawangan: If you are doing a bit of island-hopping around Bali and Lombok, you can also catch a ferry from Gili Trawangan to Nusa Penida. This journey will take approximately 3.5 hours and costs between $16-22, depending on the company you book with. Note that this crossing is very choppy!
Nusa Penida has two main ferry ports on the island: Toya Pakeh Harbour and Buyuk Harbour. Whichever port you arrive in, there are plenty of tuk-tuk and taxis waiting to take you to your accommodation.
How to get around Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida is known for having very difficult driving conditions. Many of the ‘roads’ are more like tracks and it is very rocky, uneven and hilly. Because of this, it is very popular to hire a driver for the day or for a couple of days to help you get around. You can either book this in advance beforehand through sites like Klook, or GetYourGuide, or you can arrange a driver with your accommodation.
If you prefer to have your own freedom, you can rent your own scooter, but just be aware that even the most confident scooter riders have been caught out by how bad some of the road conditions are.
Where is the best place to stay on Nusa Penida?
The beaches, sights and attractions are spread out across Nusa Penida, so there’s no ‘one’ best place to stay on the island. However, most of the cafes, restaurants and accommodation options are located around Toya Pakeh Harbour and Crystal Bay on the west side of the island and along the northern coastline.
How to spend 2 days on Nusa Penida
Much of Nusa Penida is covered by thick forest with the majority of the sights situated along the coastline. There are few roads on the island and those that do exist are small and winding, meaning that it will take longer to reach places than you might initially think when looking at the map.
Because of this, it is a good idea to break your tour of Nusa Penida into two days: covering the west side and east side on different days.
Day 1: Nusa Penida West
- Broken beach and angel billabong
- Keliking beach
- Paluang cliff
- Crystal Bay & Pandan beach
Broken beach and angel billabong
Broken beach is one of the most beautiful spots on Nusa Penida and is a must-visit when exploring the island. From the car park, make your way to angel billabong first. Angel billabong is a natural infinity pool formed from the crashing of waves against the rocks. Many people are enticed by the clear turquoise water in the pool that they make their way down the rocks to swim in the pool. However, this is extremely dangerous. The crashing waves can be unpredictable and several people have lost their lives or been badly injured by the strong waves pushing them into the rocks, or sweeping them out to sea.
It is better to stay at the top and the view from above is just as beautiful, looking down to the infinity pool and across the rocky coastline to the sea.
After taking in the views from angel billabong, make your way back towards the car park, and turn right towards broken beach. Broken beach is a gorgeous blue lagoon, separated from the sea by a limestone arch, which creates a natural bridge over the water. You cannot walk down to the lagoon or beach, but it is spectacular to view from above. If you’re lucky, you might also spot a couple of Manta Rays swimming just off the shore!
Good to know: The track to the parking for Broken beach is very rocky, so if you have your own scooter, make sure to take it very slowly. There are toilets here and several small warung’s where you can buy drinks or something to eat.
Keliking beach is perhaps the most famous location on Nusa Penida – largely thanks to Instagram. The view from the top of the cliff is pretty impressive, with beautiful views down to the cape (which some people say is shaped like a T-Rex), and out to sea.
Unfortunately, the gorgeous views and insta-fame have turned Keliking beach into a tourist hot spot and it can get incredibly crowded here. Try and get here before 9 am if possible to avoid the day trip crowds coming from the mainland.
To try and escape the crowds, you can walk down to the beach, but be mindful that it can take between 40-60 minutes and sturdy shoes are needed as the trek down is very steep and rocky. When you reach the bottom, you will be rewarded with pristine soft sand and gorgeous blue water. However, swimming is not recommended due to the strong currents.
The area around Keliking beach is very touristic and you will find plenty of local warungs to grab something to eat or drink as well as several toilets.
Tip: If you don’t want to hike all the way down to the bottom, but are competing with the crowds at the top for a good photo – just walk about 5 or 10 minutes down the path and take your photos from there instead.
Just a few minutes from Keliking beach is Paluang Cliff. This is a great viewpoint where you can see the famous Kelking cape from the other side and enjoy uninterrupted views out to sea without all the crowds. There is also a small shrine here and a local warung too. This is a great spot to just sit and relax after the busy crowds of Keliking beach.
The last stop of the day is Crystal Bay. This is one of the most popular beaches on Nusa Penida and you will find several warungs for lunch as well as plenty of parking and sunbeds to hire. It is also one of the best spots on Nusa Penida to watch the sunset if you stick around!
The crystal-clear blue water in the secluded bay is perfect for swimming, diving and snorkelling and you might even be able to spot fish and turtles. If you want to find a more peaceful spot, you can hike 15 minutes to the quiet cove of Pandan beach. The hike is not too strenuous but shoes are recommended to climb the uneven steps. There are no facilities on Pandan beach, but it is perfect if you want to get away from the crowds.
Day 2: Manta Ray snorkel and Nusa Penida East
- Swim with Giant Manta Ray
- Diamond beach
- Atuh beach
- Goa Giri Putri Temple
Swim with Giant Manta Ray
Nusa Penida is one of the best places to see Giant Manta Rays and there are many different tours that operate from the island. You can select a 2-hour, half-day or full-day tour and can choose whether to join a snorkeling or diving tour. Tours can be booked in advance online, but there are also several operators located in Toya Pakeh Harbour and Crystal Bay who you can book directly with.
Most of the tours will take you to a couple of different sites around the island, including the popular Manta Point on the south side.
Snorkelling or diving with Giant Manta Rays is safe as they are not harmful to humans, however, it is important to remember to give them space and respect and definitely do not touch them.
Diamond beach is another spot which is becoming more recognisable from photos on Instagram – and with good reason – it is beautiful!
There’s a 25k IDR ($1.70) charge to access Diamond beach, but this does also include access to Atuh beach as well.
To climb down to the beach, you have to tackle a series of steep, uneven and sandy steps. There is a rope to help you, but take care as it can be slippery, so flip-flops are not recommended for this. Once you make it down to the bottom, the beach is gorgeous, and because not too many people choose to hike to the bottom, it is not that crowded either.
As with most beaches around Nusa Penida, it is not advised to go swimming too far off the shore as the waves can be very strong, but you can wade in and paddle. If you don’t fancy the climb down to the beach, the viewpoint at the top is just as impressive.
Tip: Check the tide times before deciding to hike down to the beach as it is not accessible at high tide.
On the opposite side of Diamond beach is Atuh beach. As with Diamond beach, the descent down to Atuh beach is via a series of steep, rocky steps. However, the path is slightly wider here, with a couple of little places to stand to one side and catch your breath!
The secluded cove of Atuh beach is a great place to spend a few hours relaxing on one of the sunbeds which you can hire, or on the soft sandy beach. There are also several local warungs on the beach so you can buy something to eat or drink.
Despite the waves, this is a gorgeous, laid-back beach, perfect for sunbathing, relaxing and paddling.
Goa Giri Putri Temple
As you make your way back to your accommodation at the end of the day – if you have time, make a short stop at the Goa Giri Putri Temple, located on the northeast side of the island, just off the main road.
The small temple is hidden underground in one of the largest caves on Nusa Penida and can only be accessed by a winding set of stairs descending down into the cave. There is a fee of 50k IDR ($3.30), to enter the cave, which includes a sarong that you must wear before entering the temple. You won’t need very long here, but it is a unique spot to stop at as you pass by.
Explore Nusa Penida at your own pace
While there are many great day trips to Nusa Penida from nearby islands, the best way to truly explore the island is to do so at your own pace. Spend two nights and split your days between the western and eastern side of the island – hopping between the different beaches and snorkeling spots.