Planning a Day Trip From Bali to Nusa Penida
When in Bali, a trip to the neighboring islands is a must.
Nusa Penida is the biggest of the three neighboring Nusa islands and is just a 30 min boat ride away. It’s known for its stunning views, gorgeous landscapes, and white sand beaches.
I’ve written a few things I wish I knew before I went, so hopefully this will give you more insight before you plan your trip :)
ALL FERRY BOATS TO NUSA PENIDA LEAVE IN THE MORNING FROM SANUR BEACH
The only way to get to the island is by boat! Shocker! First you will have to go to Sanur Beach, which is like 40 mins away from Seminyak. Once you head to the water you will see rows and rows of food stands and diff ferry operators. Doesn’t matter which one you choose as they all operate on similar (but slightly diff!) time schedules, so just depends on when you want to leave and return. They do not operate regularly! Meaning they don’t run every hour. They only leave at a few times in the early morning and come back maybe twice in the late afternoon/early evening. The very last boat to leave Nusa Penida to go back to Bali is at 5:30pm. If you miss that, you’re SOL. You basically gotta plan your trip around these times, so keep that in mind.
Most of the ferries depart at 7:30, 8:15, and 8:30am and it’s better show up around 30 mins before your ferry departs just to guarantee you can get at ticket before the seats fill up. You can also purchase tickets online, but I don’t have a link so just Google that ish. After you buy a roundtrip ticket (around $20 USD), you’re given a lanyard and wait around until someone working for the ferry calls everyone to board the speedboat. Please keep in mind you will have to wade through the water to get to the boat. So skip da pants unless you wanna be damp and uncomfortable for the entire 30 min ride! Also, hold onto your ticket, as you’ll need it for the way back!
A DAY TRIP IS NOT ENOUGH TO SEE AND DO EVERYTHING
Before you arrive on the island, make sure you know what you want to do in see. There’s the west side of the island which includes sites such as Angel’s Billabong, Broken Beach, Kelingking Beach, Crystal Bay, and Manta bay. On the east side you have Goa Girl Pitri Temple, Tanglad Village, and Atuh Beach (which everyone says is the bestttt beach on the island). ONE DAY IS NOT ENOUGHHHH! When my girlfriends and I visited Nusa Penida, we didn’t plan shit, lol. We thought we’d just wing it…it’s a small island, we’d rent scooters, do and see multiple things, and be out. EH, wrong. It’s just not possible unless you spend a day or two on the island.
THE ROADS ARE POOR AND IT TAKES LONG TO GET FROM POINT A TO POINT B
Things on the island are spread out far and wide in between, which makes it hard to see a lot in just half a day. Another contributing factor are the roads. Whew chile. They’re pretty much unpaved, rocky, filled with potholes…and extremely narrow to top it off. So this means slooooow driving. It took us about 45-60 mins to get from one place to another. All that driving didn’t leave us much time to explore each spot :(
SCOOTERS ARE NOT SAFE, EVEN FOR THE SEASONED RIDER
Also, please hire a driver. For half a day we paid $47 split between the 4 of us. I’m sure you can negotiate/find a driver that fits your needs, but whatever you do, don’t even think about renting scooters. My girls are experienced bike riders from the islands and they wouldn’t even dare try to ride in Nusa Penida. Between the potholes, the windy & narrow roads, the cliffs, and the fact there are no signs/directions anywhere, it’s just too dangerous. Plus there’s little to no cell phone reception for GPS. On our way back to the boat we came across a girl from Norway who had decked out, in tears, with bloody, scraped up arms and legs. We picked her up and our driver dropped us off before taking her to the hospital. It was just so sad to see. So be safe and smart please!
IF I HAD TO DO THE DAY OVER…
I would skip Crystal Bay, unless your crew wants to go snorkeling. The beach is okay…it’s not as picturesque as other places, but I hear there are coral and lots of tropical fish just a few yards away from the shoreline. Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach are right next to each other and are def sights to see. It would be a nice place to chill and have a drink, but we only had time to take pics and leave. I loved how beautiful the water looked, but unfortunately you can’t get in. There’s a small pool by Angel’s Billabong, but it didn’t look the safest and I only saw two people in the water.
The best part of our trip was Kelingking Beach. Man….it is beautiful. We peered over the cliff and saw maybe a dozen people on the secluded beach below. Nusa Penida is hot af and the sun is BLAZING as there was little to no shade anywhere, and if I could do the day over I would DEF spend some time in the water. But in order to get to the beach, you have to hike down this narrow set of steps, and it takes roughly 45 mins to get down there. Keep in mind that’s another 45 mins to get back up. I kept kicking myself for not just spending the entire day here, but then I read Girl Eat World’s account of the hike up and down and I don’t feel as bad.
There was such a tight time constraint to get back to the speedboat on time that we didn’t get to explore/relax at any of the sites or eat at any of the popular restaurants. If you’re doing a half-day trip, I would focus on maybe 1-2 places and just take it easy. We felt so rushed trying to see multiple things. I’d def say spend the night if you can! Nusa Penida seems like such a beautiful island to explore, and we didn’t even scratch the surface! You can snorkel in coral reefs, swim with manta rays, hike, explore caves, learn about traditional weaving, relax on the beach, and visit multiple viewing points. So learn from my mistakes and plan your trip according to what you want to see and do, before you go!