One of the top places that I recommend visiting during a trip to Indonesia would have to be the beautiful island of Nusa Penida. Located just off the southeastern coast of Bali, you will find an island full of pristine beaches, blue waters, vast viewpoints, underground temples, and plenty of windy roads. This guide will go over how to put together the best possible Nusa Penida itinerary, whether you have 1, 2 or 3 days to visit the island.
1) How to Get to Nusa Penida
Since Nusa Penida is an island and has no airport, the only way to get there would be by boat. There really are only three places that have direct ferries to Nusa Penida – 1) Bali, 2) the Gili Islands, or 3) the nearby Nusa Lembongan. You will most likely be arriving in Nusa Penida at the Toya Pakeh Harbour or potentially at the nearby Buyuk Harbour.
To see the latest ferry schedules I would recommend heading over to a website like Baliferry, Gilitickets, Giligetaways, or Directferries.
While they include several of the ferry companies, they do not necessarily have them all on there either, so be sure to research around. Below are the approximate prices and times of the ferries to Nusa Penida:
From Bali (Sanur Harbor) | ~$17 – $25 USD | 1 Hour
From Gili Trawangan / Air | ~$45 USD | 2 Hours
From Nusa Lembongan | ~$10 USD | 20 minutes
» If coming from Bali, most ferry companies include hotel pick up with the cost of the ticket. This usually only applies if you are staying from southern Bali up to Ubud.
» You can also take part of a “do it yourself” day trip from Bali if you do not have the time to spend the night on Nusa Penida. Simply grab the first ferry of the day, and then head back to Bali on the last departure. Feel free to leverage any single day from the itinerary down below when putting that day trip together.
2) How to Get Around
When it comes to Nusa Penida, there are two main ways to get yourself around the island – by scooter or by private driver. A third potential option here (and mostly for those day visitors from Bali) is to take a guided day tour of the island with everything taken care of for you – car transfer, ferry tickets, guide, etc.
» If you are comfortable enough on a scooter / motorbike, you can rent one from the harbor area or your hotel for as little as $5 – $10 USD per day. Some of the roads of Nusa Penida are in very poor condition, with tons of uneven terrain throughout.
I have heard of plenty of accidents happening on the island with those who were not experienced enough. So please do not rent a scooter if you do not have the expertise.
» If you want to play it safe, I would recommend hiring a driver for each day you are on the island, so you can be taken to any attractions that you would like to visit. Expect to pay around $40 USD for a full day driver on the island. You can either find them at the harbor area or have your hotel help set one up for you.
» Lastly, you could join a tour that will take you around the island if doing so as a Bali day trip. You can choose from a few different types of options here depending on what attractions you want to visit:
3) Where to Stay
Nusa Penida is relatively new to the tourism landscape which is why many of the roads throughout the island are just not up to standard. You also won’t find too many tourist hotspot areas like an Ubud or a Seminyak. Many of the accommodation options are just sprawled throughout.
A lot of the popular spots though are more on the western side of the island closer to the harbor area. Below are some highly rated options based on price point in that area. What is also great about Nusa Penida is that it is budget friendly with the most expensive options not even $100 per night.
Recommended Nusa Penida Hotel Option | Sawit Garden Cottages
4) Helpful Tips & Notes
» Staying on the island overnight gives you the chance to get up early and stay late to avoid the crowds. Many of these attractions can get quite crowded during the day, so by being on your own schedule, you will have a better chance to really enjoy each place.
» As mentioned before, the roads are bumpy and can be quite dangerous. Only rent a scooter if you have the appropriate experience.
» The island can be broken into two main parts – the western and eastern side. Most day trippers will focus on the western side as it is closer to the harbor area and has some of the top attractions, while the eastern side is a bit less crowded.
» Bring cash with you from Bali. While there are ATMs on the island, they are harder to come by so plan accordingly and bring enough cash along.
» For lunch, plan on eating at a warung nearby some of the beaches or other attractions. I would not venture far off your route for the day just to go to a certain restaurant since it can take a good amount of time navigating the roads.
» For dinner, you may not find too many options around depending on where you are staying. There may just be a handful of them that are within walking distance from your hotel, and don’t expect anything too fancy there.
» Many of the attractions require entrance/parking fees, but these are usually no more than just one dollar or so. Be sure to have some small change with you throughout the day.
A Nusa Penida Itinerary
Now that you have some background on how to get to Nusa Penida, how to get around, and where to stay, let’s dive into some potential 1,2, and 3 day itinerary options for your time exploring the island.
I have written up three separate days of attractions down below, so feel free to mix and match the days based on how long you have on the island.
Day 1 will include the most popular attractions on the west coast, day 2 will focus on the east coast, and day 3 will have a little bit of everything.
Depending on the type of traveler you are and your travel pace, feel free to add or remove certain attractions along the way. If you want to spend one full day just at the beach then go for it!
I have also included the map below which shows day 1 in blue, day 2 in orange, and day 3 in purple.
5) Nusa Penida 1 Day
Whether you are staying on the island for the night or just taking the day trip from Bali, below is what a 1 day Nusa Penida itinerary can look like. Since it is only a single day, this will entail all the main and easily accessible attractions on the western side of the island.
Angel’s Billabong is a beautiful natural tidal pool on Nusa Penida overlooking the ocean. To enjoy the tidal pool though, you must plan your visit around low tide. As the tide gets higher, the water from the ocean starts splashing its way into the tidal pool.
This not only ruins the serene views of the pool, but it also means you will not have the chance to head into Angel’s Billabong either as it would just be too dangerous.
» Learn more in the Angel’s Billabong Guide up on the site
Just a few minutes’ walk from Angel’s Billabong you will find another top natural attraction on the island – Broken Beach. While the beach is not accessible, you can enjoy some 360-degree views from up top as you circle the beach and walk above on the rock arch.
Down below you will be able to see the waves crashing through the arch alongside the scenic rock formations lining the beach.
» Learn more in the Broken Beach Guide up on the site
Arguably the most popular attraction of Nusa Penida is Kelingking Beach. From the viewpoint area above, you will be able to take in one of the top views in all of Indonesia.
Out in front of you will be this massive T-Rex shaped peninsula, the crystal-clear waters, and the sandy beach itself.
Here comes the fun part though – in order to reach the beach, you will need to head down a steep and somewhat dangerous pathway that is built into the cliffside walls. It should take around 30 minutes or so to get from the viewpoint area to the beach itself, but once you are down there, you can fully enjoy all that Kelingking has to offer.
» Learn more in the Kelingking Beach Guide up on the site
If you are staying overnight on the island and are not in a rush to get back to Bali, then you should end your day with a sunset experience at Crystal Bay.
Since it is the main beach on the western side of the island, you will find that many people head there to enjoy a nice sunset. Out in the distance you will be able to see Nusa Ceningan with the sun slowly setting behind the island.
Quick tip – you can also make the walk to the more seclusive Pandan Beach, which is located just on the southern side of Crystal Bay.
» Learn more in the Crystal Bay Guide up on the site
6) Nusa Penida 2 Day
If you have 2 days to spare when visiting Nusa Penida, you will be able to enjoy even more of what this beautiful island has to offer. While you can keep day 1 as is from above, day 2 will focus on the eastern side of Nusa Penida.
The below attractions can be completed in a clockwise direction as you make your way from one place to the next and enjoy much of what eastern Nusa Penida has to offer.
Goa Giri Putri Cave Temple
The first stop of the day can be the Goa Giri Putri Cave Temple. Now this is not your normal temple. Instead, you will need to maneuver your way through a small hole built into the mountainside, and once through, you will be greeted to a massive cave temple.
There are several chambers throughout the cave with various rituals going on as you make the walk around. When it comes to authentic cultural experiences, this is one of the best you can ask for on Nusa Penida.
» Learn more in the Goa Giri Putri Cave Temple Guide up on the site
After leaving the temple, continue the drive around the island, where you will soon arrive at a parking lot located directly between Atuh Beach and Diamond Beach. From the parking lot, you will be able to visit both beaches over the course of several hours.
To get to Atuh Beach, you will need to head down a steep staircase until you reach the beach level. Once you arrive at Atuh Beach, feel free to grab a chair in the sand, have some food/drinks from one of the warungs and take a dip in the water.
After finishing up at Atuh Beach, you will need to make that walk back up to the parking lot area, where you can then check out Diamond Beach.
» Learn more in the Atuh Beach Guide up on the site
Before heading down to Diamond Beach itself, you can walk around the top area to get some nice views of the beach from above. Once you are ready, it is time to make your way on the staircase built into the cliffside wall.
The walk down offers some breathtaking views of the staircase, the massive cliff, the clear waters, and the beach itself. After reaching the bottom of the staircase, you can once again enjoy yet another beach on Nusa Penida.
After enough time down below, it is back up the staircase, and to the parking lot, where you can continue to the last stop of the day.
» Learn more in the Diamond Beach Guide up on the site
Rumah Pohon Treehouse & Thousand Islands Viewpoint
Just a few minutes’ drive towards the opposite side of Diamond Beach you will find one of my favorite viewpoints on Nusa Penida. The spot is called the Thousand Islands Viewpoint but it is also home to the famous Rumah Pohon Treehouse. Just note if you see one of these mentioned, you are essentially visiting both of them.
From the viewpoint spot you will have the view of Diamond Beach from an alternate angle alongside several of these massive rock formations jutting out of the water down below.
You will find a few treehouses around the viewpoint area that overlook these views as well. If you are interested, you can actually reserve a night at the treehouse and wake up/go to sleep with that view.
7) Nusa Penida 3 Day
Having three days to explore Nusa Penida will give you the chance to visit all of the above and then decide what types of activities you would like to take part of on your last day on the island. Below are a few different options to choose from based on your preference.
1) Two of the other highly rated attractions that are located right in between the west and east side of the island include:
Tembeling Beach & Natural Pools
The Tembeling Beach, Natural Pools and Forest is one of the less visited attractions on the island. It offers the chance to get away from the crowds a bit, but still enjoy a very beautiful place on Nusa Penida.
There are a few different parts to Tembeling that you will get to experience during a visit. First is the drive down as you pass through the Tembeling Forest. Once you are at the parking lot area, you will walk down the stairs and be welcomed to a large natural swimming pool.
From there you will take in views of a “secret beach” with hundreds of rock piles set up in the area, and soon after will come across a second smaller natural swimming pool. Finally, there is Tembeling Beach itself – a small beach to relax at with some great views.
» Learn more in the Tembeling Beach Guide up on the site
Another less visited attraction on the island is the Peguyangan Waterfall. It is not just a simple waterfall though. From the parking lot area you will make your way down a steep blue colored staircase that is built alongside the cliff wall.
Once you reach the bottom of the staircase you will arrive at a temple area and a natural spring that is spouting out water to cleanse in. The water then makes its way over the side of the cliff resulting in the Peguyangan Waterfall.
2) Another option here is to head on a scuba diving or snorkeling trip off the coast of the island and have the chance to see some manta rays. This was something I didn’t have the chance to do it, but it is certainly on my bucket list for next time around.
3) Finally, if all the sightseeing on the first two days was enough for you, then why not just pick a beach on the island – it could be one of the beaches mentioned above or a less visited one, and just spend the day relaxing in the sand and enjoying the beautiful water.
» One of my recommendations here would be the less visited Suwehan Beach, located on the eastern side of the island. You can definitely combo the beach along with one or both of Tembeling and Peguyangan if you would like.
That about wraps up a potential 1,2 or 3 day Nusa Penida itinerary to better help you plan your trip to the island. If you do have any questions or comments, feel free to add them in below.
Have fun out there and safe travels!