Nusa Penida is a small Indonesian island near the east coast of Bali. It’s the largest of the three Nusa Islands. Despite its relatively small size, there are many amazing things to do on Nusa Penida island. This beautiful island is known for its turquoise water, white sand beaches, and high cliffs. Marine life and coral reefs in Nusa Penida are pretty impressive as well. During the peak season in the clear water around the island, you can see manta rays and the elusive mola mola. The island is definitely worth visiting and including in your Bali itinerary even if you don’t have much time you can do a Nusa Penida day trip from Bali.
If after Nusa Penida you’re looking at continuing your Indonesia adventure and visiting Flores Island check our post on the best things to do in Labuan Bajo.
Table of Contents
Top 3 tours on Nusa Penida Island
- Nusa Penida Island Beach Tours
- From Nusa Penida: 3 Spots Snorkeling Tour with Manta Rays
- Instagram Tour Nusa Penida. West & East. All-inclusive
15 best things to do in Nusa Penida, Bali
For us diving is one of the main activities in Indonesia and the main reason we go back there every time. Diving in Nusa Penida was definitely the highlight of our island trip. The main diving attractions on Nusa Penida are manta rays and mola-molas (the sunfish). The so-called cleaning station at Manta Point is the best place to see manta rays. The island is one of the best diving spots in Indonesia to see manta rays. The blue water of Crystal Bay situated on the west side of the island is the best place in Nusa Penida to see the sunfish. September is the best time to see mola mola. Nusa Penida was one of our favorite places to dive in Bali.
There are no shipwrecks to dive around Nusa Penida so if you like this kind of diving I can suggest USAT Liberty Wreck in Bali.
If you have never dived before Nusa Penida is a perfect place to do a scuba diving course. The water around the island is warm, clear, and usually calm. I did my open water course in Indonesia but on a different island (Gili Meno) and it was a great experience. We did our dives with Penida Dive Resort and really liked the dive shop and the people there.
Snorkeling from Nusa Penida is another great water activity. Manta Point is probably one of the best spots for snorkeling with mantas in the world. Sometimes your chances of seeing them snorkeling are even better than diving. Most of the time manta rays just glide in the water close to the surface. Besides mantas snorkeling around Nusa Penida, you can see turtles, parrot fish, sting rays, puffer fish, and other colorful coral fish. We did a lot of snorkeling with Manta Rays at Manta Point and Manta Bay. Unlike with the manta ray, your chances to see the mola mola while snorkeling are minimal.
Driving around the island on a scooter
Though the island is quite small there are many incredible places to visit in Nusa Penida and the best way to do so is to rent a scooter. There is a lot to explore on this small island; impressive cliffs, pristine beaches, secret caves, colorful temples, and beautiful waterfalls. We drove around the island for a couple of days and had time to visit the main attractions of Nusa Penida including some of the best beaches and lookout points.
Though renting a scooter is a good idea keep in mind the road conditions on the island once you are out of the main road that goes around it your driving speed will reduce to 15 km per hour, due to numerous potholes, steep hills, and dirt roads. The island isn’t big but due to the road conditions, you won’t be able to visit many places in one day. During the rainy season, some spots might be very difficult to access on a scooter.
Exploring Kelingking Beach (the T-Rex)
One of the most famous if not the most famous spots on Nusa Penida Island. It’s the photo that you usually see on social media when searching for Nusa Penida. The white sand beach is very nice for relaxing, swimming, and snorkeling. The best views of the beach and the surrounding cliffs you get from the top. Before heading down to the beach walk along the cliffs for some incredible views of the beach and the bizarre rock formations surrounding it. The beach is quite difficult to reach as you have to go all the way down (and the subsequent up) following narrow stairs. There are many easier-to-access beaches on Nusa Penida if you don’t feel like walking up and down you can just go to the viewpoint to take some photos.
Visiting Seganing waterfall
Seganing Waterfall is a beautiful place and our favorite spot on the island maybe because it’s very quiet with fewer tourists. To get to the waterfall you have to walk/climb down the rocky stairs so wearing flip-flops is not the best idea. It’s a steep long ascent all the way to the water and a steep ascent to get back to the top of the cliffs. It’s not the best place to go with small children. The waterfall is not big more like a series of creeks with separate smallish pools with crystal-clear water for swimming. Once at the bottom look up around you to the surrounding steep cliffs the view is simply breathtaking. On the way down and from the top of the cliffs we spotted many (more than 15) manta rays in the water.
Exploring bizarre Teletubbies Hill
One of the few things to do in Nusa Penida that is not by the sea. The rainy season is the best time to visit the hills when they are covered in bright green vegetation. The name of the hills comes from the famous British children’s tv characters (Teletubbies). One of the explanations for the name is that the hills look like the top of the head of the mapped characters. The hills are situated in the southeast part of the island and can be reached by motorbike or car. The road is quite rough if you’re not confident riding a motorbike it’s better to take a taxi. The hills reminded us of the famous chocolate hills, one of the top places to visit in Bohol.
Swimming at Crystal Bay Beach
Beautiful beach, nice for swimming and snorkeling, not far from Toyapakeh, 20 min. by motorbike. A great thing about this beach is that you can just drive all the way there so no steep stairs or rocky cliffs to climb down. It’s one of the most beautiful easy-to-access beaches on Nusa Penida Island. There are some accommodation options and restaurants there if you like the beach you can stay there for a day or two. It’s a nice place to chill. The beach does get quite busy during the day so early morning is the best time to go there.
Relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Nusa Penida
Diamond Beach and Atuh Beach are arguably two of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Visiting them is one of the top things to do in Nusa Penida. These white-sand unspoiled beaches surrounded by rugged cliffs look like the perfect paradise beach that you usually imagine. Atuh and Diamond Beach are a short walk apart so you can visit both beaches on one trip. While Dimond Beach looks more impressive from the lookout point of the top of the cliffs Atuh Beach is a much better place for swimming. If you’re limited in time I’d suggest going to the Diamon Beach viewpoint to get some stunning view and then going down to Atuh Beach for swimming. Both beaches are not too big so it’s better to visit them during the low tide. To access both beaches you have to walk down the stairs.
Admiring Pura Goa Giri Putri Cave
This impressive cave is used as a temple. Pura Goa Giri Putri temple is situated on the northeast side of Nusa Penida. It can be reached by a steep staircase go up the mountains. To be allowed to the temple you have to wear a sarong which can be rented at the entrance for roughly 50 cents (IDR 5000). The entrance fee is a donation. The temple is open daily from 7 am to 5 pm. I’m not sure when they have ceremonies in the temple if you want to visit one of them you can try to find out beforehand. The cave itself is big and spacious but to enter it you have to squeeze through a crack between the rocks. Inside the temple, you can find several statues and traditional decorations that you usually find inside a Buddhist temple.
Visiting Pura Paulang Car Temple
Like Bali, Nusa Panida has many interesting temples visiting them is one of the things to do on the island. Some of the temples are situated close to the famous beaches or viewpoints so you can make a stop on the way. If you have to choose one I’d recommend the Pura Goa Giri Putri temple/cave mentioned above. Another interesting temple to visit on the island is Pura Paulang Car Temple. It’s a unique temple dedicated to motor vehicles. Inside the temple, you can find two pelinggih (places to put offerings to the gods) in the shape of a car. The temple is situated on the edge of a cliff and offers some stunning views of the island.
Taking epic photos at Broken Beach
The cliffs at Broken Beach are probably one of the most photographed places on Nusa Penida Island. Visiting the place is definitely one of the top things to do in Nusa Penida. The name of the beach comes from a cliff with a hole in the form of an arch. Sea water flows in and out through the arch. Through it’s called beach it’s impossible to get down to the water there is no actual beach so you won’t be able to swim there. It’s rather a great spot for enjoying the spectacular view and taking photos.
Relaxing in Tembeling Natural Pools
These natural pools are a hidden gem of the island. Visiting them is one of our favorite things to do in Nusa Penida. The turquoise color pools are situated in the jungle and in a way remind a bit of the famous cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. To reach the pools you’ll have to do a walk through the forest. Some pools are deep enough so you can do cliff jumping. From the pools, you can walk to Tembeling Beach, a beautiful secluded beach nice for swimming. It’s a great place to come and spend some time if you want to escape the tourist crowds on the island. Like many other less touristy places on Nusa Penida Island Tembeling Pools are quite difficult to get to. The bike ride on a narrow trail (more like a footpath) is not a good idea if you’re not a very good driver.
Getting the best views of the island
There are several breathtaking lookout points along the rugged cliffs of Nusa Penida. Banah Cliff and Thousand Island Viewpoint are some of the best spots for getting a view of the entire island. The Banah Cliff Point is considered one of the best viewpoints on the island. Late afternoon/evening is the best time for visiting Banah Point. There is no entrance or parking fee there.
Thousand Island Viewpoint is another perfect spot for taking beautiful photos. There are several viewpoints each offering a different angle of the island coast. At Thousand Island Point you can visit the famous tree house Ruma Pohon. It’s possible to stay in the tree house overnight and enjoy the most spectacular views of all of Nusa Penida from your bedroom. To get to the viewpoint you have to pay IDR 10000 parking and entrance fee. The viewpoint is close to Diamon Beach and Atuh Beach so you can visit these three places on one trip.
Enjoying a sundowner drink at a beach bar
There are many great beach bars on Nusa Penida Island. Having a sundowner cocktail at one of them after spending the day exploring the island is a perfect way to end the day. Penida Colada Beach Bar, an Australian-owned place, a 10-minute drive from Toyapakeh Beach is our favorite. It’s a great place, with delicious food and a diverse cocktail menu. Happy hour from 4 pm to 6 pm. Our favorites there are toasted ham and cheese sandwich that comes with fries, pudding with sesame seeds, and whole grilled fish.
Visiting Peguyanan Waterfall
The waterfall itself is not that impressive it’s basically some water dripping down the cliffs but the scenery around it is definitely worth the effort. The waterfall sits on the edge of a cliff just above the sea level. To get there you have to walk all the way down following a narrow metal staircase hanging on the side of the cliff. The stairs lead down to a water temple, a sacred place for locals. The walk is quite an experience if you have a fear of highs this walk is not for you. Once at the bottom, you can walk around and chill in small natural pools.
The best way of getting around the island
The easiest way to get around is by motorbike. You can rent it anywhere for about IDR 70 000/$5 per day. They usually don’t ask for your license or any deposit, basically, nothing just the name of the place you are staying I guess it’s quite a small island and the only way you can escape with a motorbike is on a boat. If you don’t feel confident enough driving a bike, especially considering road conditions on the island you can get around by motorbike taxi. They charge between US$3 and US$5 depending on the distance. There are public vans/buses that you can use to commute between the towns, the average ride costs between US$1 and US$2 per person. They don’t go to many attractions though.
You can do a day trip to Nusa Lembongan from Nusa Penida. There are several fast boats that run between the islands. The ride is around 20 minutes depending on the weather conditions. From Nusa Lembongan, you can get to the third Nusa Island – Nusa Ceningan by crossing the Yellow bridge that connects the two islands.
Best places to stay in Nusa Penida
There are plenty of accommodation options on the island from budget-friendly local homestays to spa resorts and tree houses. As for the best location to stay on Nusa Penida Island I’d suggest the west side of the island as it makes it easier to get to the island and leave it especially if you have a lot of luggage. If you have just a backpack then you can jump on a motorbike and drive to your chosen accommodation place.
- Low-end | KKorok Hill Cottage | Gamat Garden Home Stay |
- Mid-range | The Tinsi | Dava Villa Ocean View |
- High-end | The MG Villa & SPA | Sunrise Cottage |
When is the best time to visit Nusa Penida?
Just like in Bali, the best time to visit Nusa Penida is during the dry season which is between Aprils and October. June, July, and August are the busiest months on the island. If you want to visit during that time it’s better to book your tickets and even accommodation in advance. For diving with mola molas, September is the best time. You can dive and snorkel with manta rays all year round but the visibility is much better during the dry season. We live come to the island in September when it’s a little bit quieter compared to the summer months.
The pretty half of Stingy Nomads, responsible for all our land adventures (hiking, climbing, walking the Camino) and following them write-ups. Alya loves walking since she was a child, she prefers to walk 1000 km with a backpack rather than to do a 10 000 km road trip (actually any road trip). Alya is a big fan of Latin America, the Spanish language, and dancing. Every time we go away she desperately misses our dog Chile.