The often ‘gramed Nusa Penida is a popular destination for those visiting Bali and the Gili Islands. Nusa Penida is possible to do in a day trip, particularly if you’re happy to visit one end of the island – generally either east or west.
Both sides of the island are absolutely incredible, so it’s best to figure out which sights most take your fancy. In this post we’ll focus on the highlights of the Western End of Nusa Penida. For information on the East our article is coming soon.
Here’s how to do a day trip to Nusa Penida.
Getting to Nusa Penida from Bali:
Getting to Nusa Penida from Bali is actually a very easy process. The Nusa Islands are only around a 40 minute boat ride from the mainland, making them much closer than the Gili Islands and attainable in a day trip.
- Get a taxi or take a scooter to Sanur.
- Buy a fast-boat ticket to Nusa Penida. There are many boats leaving first thing in the morning, so check the timetables and choose one that works for you. You can check the prices and compare times here.
Tip: Wear shorts and slip-off shoes. To get on the boats you’ll need to wade into the ocean so you don’t want to be dealing with long pants, or dresses.
- Once you arrive on the island hire a scooter, or taxi driver. There are plenty of taxi drivers and scooter hire places ready to help you as soon as you get off the boat.
Another option, which we opted for, is to take a day trip from your accomodation to the island – the taxi service, fast-boat and private driver on the island are all organised in advance for you, so you basically turn up and get taken to all the highlights. If your budget can push to do this, then we’d highly recommend it. Expect to pay around 800,000-900,000 IDR per person for this service.
We went with Nusa Peninda Destination Tour and can’t recommend them enough. You can find them on Whatsapp : +6282216675333 (we’re not sponsored, we just really enjoyed our trip, so much so we went with them again on the Eastern Trip).
Top places to see in Nusa Penida:
This the spot you’ve probably seen pop up hundreds on times on your Instagram. It’s a bucket list destination for so many travellers. Could it possibly be as good as it looks on the ‘gram? Well, it’s actually a million times better. We were both completely blown away with the incredible landscape, turquoise waters and dusty sand. This is one of those Instagram spots that is 100% worth it. Even though you’ll probably have to get in line for a few minutes for a photo, while you wait you get to observe the most magnificent landscape, something you’ll be hard pushed to find elsewhere in the world.
If you happen to be staying on the island, then it is possible to walk down, an apparently very steep climb, to the beach. Since we were just there on a day trip, we didn’t have the chance, but the beach looked unbelievably inviting.
Make sure you take a good look down into the open waters, you might be lucky enough to see Manta Rays swimming! We saw at least a dozen gliding through the water and it was an absolutely magical experience.
Another gem on the gram, Angel’s Billabong is a natural pool framed by a rugged arch. Located on the northwest corner of the island, Angel’s Billabong is well-worth a visit.
You can swim in the pool, or just sit on the rocky cliff edges and observe the waves crash in. Angel’s Billabong is located walking distance from an even more incredible location – Broken Beach.
Broken Beach is a feat of nature. The coastal formation consists of a huge hilly tunnel which allows the Indian Ocean to flow through and create a huge pool of water off the coast. Broken Beach can be viewed by a steep lookout allowing a panorama of the stunning landscape and, for those who dare, you can get close to the edge for a photo opportunity.
You can also cross over the top of the tunnel and gaze down into the huge pool from a different angle. This location is a photographers dream, as there as so many different vantage points and plenty of places to just stop and take in the view.
A snorkelers paradise is Crystal Bay – assuming it’s the right time of year. When we visited in mid-August it was absolutely perfect and as the name suggests – it had crystal clear water. When we visited in mid-June the following year it was choppy and far from clear water. If you have a reputable guide (like we did with Nusa Penida Destination Tours) they’ll let you know that it’s not a good time for snorkelling when you book your trip. Other guides, however will try to convince you that it’s always good for snorkelling, so make sure you check first.
Assuming it’s a good time for snorkelling you’ll likely see an abundance of reef fish and if you’re lucky you can even see giant sun fish between July and September.
We spent the majority of the afternoon relaxing and snorkelling. If you’re staying on the island, Crystal Bay is also known as the perfect spot to watch the sunset.
Snorkel hire costs 50,000 or 100,000 IDR including fins and you get them “until sunset”.
Fast boats depart from the north-west corner of the island. If you’re on a tour, they’ll of course bring you back to the fast boat terminal. If not, make sure you check your return ticket and be there in time. If travelling you’re at the end of the day you’ll probably have quite a full boat. Expect to wait in the water for a long period of time and get onto smaller boats which will ferry you to your fast boat.
The fast boat experience can be a little freaky, especially if the boats are really packed and loaded, so it might be wise, if you get sea sick, to take some sea sickness tablets before you board.
Whether you’re visiting for the day, or staying on the Island, Nusa Penida makes the perfect (and must-do!) getaway destination from Bali. We can’t recommend a visit enough.