The island of Nusa Penida is a magical work of nature, fairly untouched by tourism and situated just 15 minutes via speedboat from it’s more touristic neighbours, Nusa Lembongan and Cenigan (which you can find a full post on here!).
Whilst there is a handful of hotels on Nusa Penida, the most popular way to visit is to stay on Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Cenigan and arrange a day trip to Penida.
Many tourists choose to hire motorbikes but it’s worth thinking about the pros and cons before doing so. In one sense some of the sights are more easily accessible via bike as the roads are completely unfinished in parts and can barely be classed as roads at all – they’re also very narrow and can often only fit one car at a time. However, in my personal opinion, I have far more trust in a driver who has lived on the island his whole life than in me using a bike by myself with no training.
Bali is full of tourists covered in bandages, bruises and scrapes from bike accidents and with the steep, winding, uneven roads on Penida, I would recommend against doing it alone on a bike.
With this in mind, we chose to organise a tour with someone on Instagram (@putujuniarta), who works for Nusa Penida Tours. Most tours cost the equivalent of around 40-50GBP and include transfers from your hotel via bike to the ‘port’ at the yellow bridge on Nusa Cenigan, and then a short boat road (15 mins apx) across to Penida, where your driver meets you.
You can usually discuss with your driver where you want to go and adapt the route to fit in all of the sights you’re most interested in, so it’s worth doing a bit of research beforehand.
Our day started with Kelingking Beach, the most breathtaking place I’ve ever laid eyes on.
It’s also known as T-Rex beach as the natural cliff formation is supposed to look like a dinosaurs head from above.
The beach and ocean below looked absolutely magical but our driver advised that the very steep and unsupported climb down the old, uneven steps could take 45 minutes to an hour and in 40+ degrees heat that sounded like a nightmare so we opted against it.
However, it’s definitely worth climbing down about 5-10 minutes as you can get an even better view of the beach from there without having to do the whole climb.
The view from the steps is absolutely stunning but, as you can see, they are very rickety and that makeshift handrail is NOT to be leaned on.
And that’s not even going into how many people were trying to clamber up and down it at the same time…
After Kelinging, we moved onto Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach – these two are situated a few minutes walk from each other and are much more easily accessible.
We arrived at Angel’s Billabong first – a natural ocean infinity pool.
You have to climb down some stone steps and a small section of jagged rocks. Once you get into the pool, the rocks are also very uneven and slippy underfoot.
However, the natural beauty of the phenomenon completely outweighs this.
Although, be very careful to watch out for sudden surges of water. When we were standing there, a massive wave came and it can be very dangerous if you’re unprepared or stood too close to the edge.
Less than a 5 minute walk along from Angel’s Billabong, you come to Broken Beach.
This stunning little cove is named Broken Beach due to the natural formation of the archway that allows the ocean to flow in and out.
There’s no way down to the picturesque bay below but it’s an incredible place to see the truly natural beauty of Nusa Penida.
There’s also a Manta Ray viewpoint a few minutes from here which is worth checking out as Manta Ray’s are very common around this area.
On our way to our official final stop, our driver, Putu, also pulled over on an amazing road not far from the beach that’s full of palm trees, which he said was his favourite photo spot on the whole island.
He then proceeded to block the road with his car and lay on the floor to get all our best angles – he was absolutely amazing at taking photos – so if you’re looking for those Insta worthy shots I would very highly recommend him personally!
Our final stop along the way was at Crystal Bay – a beach where you can snorkel, sunbathe and spend a few hours cooling off.
This was the perfect place to end our long day in the sweltering heat and Putu was happy for us to relax for as long as we wanted here, whilst he sat in a cafe with some friends.
When we were all beached out, after one of the most memorable days of our lives, Putu dropped us back to meet our boat to commence the short journey home.
I feel so lucky to have experienced Nusa Penida when I did. A place so close to tourism but also so far from being ruined by it. Although this means that the roads and toilets are absolutely horrific, I loved how everything we saw that day was completely natural, created over millions of years by the land itself.
This is one hidden gem you really can’t miss in Bali.