Nusa Penida guide.
Nusa Penida is a small island, famous for it’s beautiful cliff views and bustling marine life. It’s a lot smaller than Bali and still quite undeveloped, which is amazing because you won’t find masses of tourists there. Its smaller neighbor island Nusa Lembongan is way more touristy. We’ve always known that Nusa Penida exists but we never thought of going there – come on, there is so much to see in Bali. But when we wanted to see mantas, we saw they were waiting for us at Nusa Penida 🙂 We came for a few days and stayed for 2 weeks. Nusa Penida can do that 🙂
How to get to Nusa Penida?
You can get to Nusa Penida on your own from to points:
- with fast boats from Sanur (around 125.000 – 175.000 IDR)
- from Padangbai: with a public ferry (at the moment there is one per day at 11h, but you need to be there at 10h. Do check since it used to be around 13h, price is 31.000 IDR), public fast boat (at 6-7h in the morning, price for 75.000 IDR) or you can charter a boat for about 500.000 IDR.
- agencies all over Bali can arrange a transportation to Nusa Penida (but you pay for service)
ATMs on Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida has many money exchange offices but not so many ATMs. I’ve seen one in Saladan and one in Toyapakeh but haven’t used one. People say to bring cash just in case something is wrong with ATM.
Where to sleep on Nusa Penida?
Most of the guesthouses and hotels are in two of the bigger towns on Nusa Penida – Saladan (where the public ferry from Padangbai and some fast boats from Sanur and Padangbai drop you off) and Toyapakeh (where fastboats from Sanur drop you off). Some accommodation are scattered between these towns.
Saladan: If you turn more towards West side (when you get off ferry), you will find a better choice of accomodation. Beach is ok, town is very local.
Toyapakeh: this is where we stayed. It has a very nice beach and has more options to eat. We stayed at Penida Dive resort (fan room for 250.000 IDR, if you stay longer) which has a restaurant and a cool main place in the middle of the guesthouse. There is also a local guesthouse by the beach, which has some cool cats (150.000 IDR for a fan room, 200.000 IDR fro AC room). Some other options are Jasmine Inn, Nyuh Kadah (200.000 IDR for AC room) near Crystal Bay, Simpang Inn (350.000 IDR for unit with AC), Nusa Penida Bungalow (150.000 IDR – 250.000 IDR). Some nicer and more expensive are Bintang bungalows, Coco resort Penida, Ring Sameton Inn and Namaste bungalows.
How to get around Nusa Penida?
From Saladan to Toyapakeh there is no bemo/bus but you can stop a car and pay around 70.000 IDR or 2 ojeks (taxi motorbike) for around 30.000 IDR/person. Or less if you can bargain 😀
The island is best explored with a motorbike which you can rent for 60.000 IDR from locals – just go to the beach (it will cost more in resorts). Be prepared for bad roads and be careful!
What to eat on Nusa Penida?
Most of the restaurants serve Indonesian food as Nusa Penida is still not so westernized. There are some restaurants where you can get a pizza or even a smoothie bowl but you need to search for them. We really liked Warung Tu Pande and its cute owner Ayu who makes a killer fried chicken and Naomi salad, yum! Salt & Pepper had a good teriyaki chicken. For desster you can try es buah which literally means ice fruit. You get a mix of diced fruit, syrup, ice cubes and algae! Quite interesting 🙂 By the beach in Toyapakeh there are some restaurants and for sure an older lady will persuade you to go have lunch at her place (Warung Makan something). She offers good food but the prices on the menu are for one day tourists – just ask what is the real price of the dish.
The strangest thing on Nusa penida
If you’ll watch the beautiful sunset from the beach in Tpyapakeh, ypu’ll see a strange ship in the middle of the ocean. It’s not a ship, it’s a platform with watersports and maybe even a restaurant. From what we could gather, agencies take the one day tourists (which are mostly Chinese) there and they ride jetskis and banana boats. Then they take them to an isolated place on Nusa Penida which is just near Penida Dive resort and put on Chinese music, karaoke, cock fighting (but not real one), bowling and so on. they even have Chinese food. They’re not allowed to wander on the island and it feels just like one form of Walking Dead to me …
What to do on Nusa Penida?
- snorkeling (best in Crystal beach, Gamat Bay, PED or just on th left side of Toyapakeh bay- accessible off shore!)
- diving (we did 1 dive with Penida dive resort on Manta 66 – the furthest spot where there is a lot of mantas. We’ve seen around 10 and it was really magical. A bit less magical were the waves to and from there so be sure to take an antisickness pill if you have a weak stomach. Other dive spots are closer and don’t need such long drives and we heard the corals are amazing!)
- boat trip – where you visit several snorkelling spots, one of them being Manta Bay where you can snorkel with manta rays.
- exploring the island with motorbike (the best way if you ask us!)
- there’s no real nightlife but I heard some talk about Penida Colada (you can try there :D)
What to see on Nusa Penida?
Plenty! Nusa Penida is one of the most photogenic places, nature really did its best here. The views from the cliffs are amazing and viewpoints are really high. If you plan to walk down to the beaches, be sure not to wear flipflops but something more stable.
- Kelingking beach: THE view! If you’ve seen one picture of Nusa Penida, this is probably it. You can go down to the beach but the way is difficult.
- Broken beach: a cave that lost its roof is now a beautiful natural bridge. Sometimes you can see mantas from the other side. Last 2 km of the road to here is terrible.
- Angel’s Billabong: natural infinity pool is just amazing to see. You can also swim there but only when the waves are not big. Be careful because people have died there!
- Seganing waterfall: The view is amazing, cliffs again, the way down is tough (in the rock) but the pool down there with waves crashing pays off every sweat drop. Magical!
- Tegeling waterfall: last remains of the rainforest with birds and a waterfall. Down the beach there is also a small temple. There are steps to the beach (and temple).
- Atuh beach: lonely beach with amazing cliff formations. There are some warungs with food and drink and some chairs to chill. It’s better to go at high tide so you can swim easier. The prices are very reasonable. If yu enter from the left village, the way down is easier.
- Crystal Bay: Nice beach, popular for snorkeling! There are some stalls that sell food and drinks and there you can rent chairs to lay down.
- temple in the cave (Goa Giri Putri): when you enter the cave from a tiny opening, you never think that it would open in a huge cave! It’s enormous! The light is dim and the air is filled with incense, people are meditating and praying. There is abut a 10 min walk if you don’t stop, till the exit. Bring a sarong or rent it for 5.000 IDR, preferred donation is 20.000 IDR/person.
- Pura Pulaung (Car temple): literally a temple with cars from stone, hmm.
- and some other temples that are on the cliffs and have good views. Just be safe when going there since the roads are most likely in bad shape.
Where to go from Nusa Penida?
From Saladan or Toyapakeh you can move on to Bali, Nusa Lembongan, Lombok or Gili islands (and probably somewhere else, too).