Just about every tourist that visits Nusa Penida does so because of the famous Instagram spot Kelinkling Beach and we’d be lying if we didn’t admit the shot captivated us to take our first trip there too.
Nusa Penida is one of the most beautiful places in the world and it’s only an hour fast boat from Bali.
The west side of the Island is stunning … and we’ve written an entire guide about it.
The east side, however may be even better. Less tourists, stunning views, and beaches with perfect white sand and turquoise waters.
A Nusa Penida Day trip:
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, we originally went with them on the western side and went again on the east.).
Top places to see:
This very Instagrammable location is beautiful for so many reasons. The treehouse itself is very cute and has incredible views out to Diamond Beach (apparently you can even stay in it, but we didn’t enquire), but it’s also surrounded by the most incredible vantage points. You can see far out to the ocean with panoramic views all around.
We found that there were much fewer tourists on the eastern side of the island, so “lining up for a photo” isn’t so common. There were a few other tourists wanting a photo at the treehouse, but not so many that it lost its charm or that people were being pushy – the whole experience was relaxing and we had plenty of time to just take in the views.
This unbelievable landscape is Diamond Beach. This, unfortunately, is where we found many tourists – nowhere near as many as on the western side of the island, but a very steady stream heading down the steep steps towards the beach. It was crowded, people were jostling for photos and we really weren’t sure if it was our vibe. When we arrived the waves were huge and our guide told us it wasn’t safe for swimming. So, after stopping for a few photos, we opted to head down another step path, with many fewer tourists on it. That beach was…
This slice of paradise was everything we could have dreamed off and more! Unlike so many beaches in Asia, the water is truly clean and refreshing. While there are tourists who do come down here, for the most part the beach is actually very quiet and relaxing.
We spent much of the afternoon just swimming and relaxing on bean bags. Tip: while the restaurants which line the beach will charge you for the deck chairs they won’t mention that the bean bags are entirely free! Once the tide went out, we wandered out further into the rocks to spot starfish and we even caught a glance at a small sea snake, (which are known for being highly venomous) fortunately it was swimming in the other direction.
After relaxing for much of the day at Atua Beach we headed off to Teletubbies Hill – this wasn’t one of our favourite spots, so we didn’t stay long and actually asked our driver if we had time to visit Crystal Beach instead. Fortunately we did!
So, while Crystal Bay is technically on the western side of the island, we though it deserved a double-mention. Since it’s fairly close to the fast boat terminal, it’s a good spot to end a day on the island.
Crystal Bay is great for snorkelling – 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 we saw barely any fish. 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 and that you can see Manta Rays all year around, 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.
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.