If you’re traveling to Indonesia soon, the chances are high that a Nusa Penida day trip from Bali is on your itinerary! And for good reason.
Thanks to its wild nature, incredibly scenic viewpoints, pristine white-sand beaches, and epic diving and snorkeling, Nusa Penida (or Penida Island) quickly became Bali’s new “it” destination.
(Well, really, all the thanks goes to Instagram.)
When I first visited Nusa Penida in 2017, there was hardly anyone there. This place was totally under-the-radar and ripe for wild adventure.
A secret no longer, it’s safe to say that Nusa Penida is a lot more crowded these days.
Roads have been paved (somewhat). The Bali-style cafés, traditional warungs, hotels, and homestays that we all love have set up shop. And it seems like every scenic viewpoint has turned into an official Instagram photoshoot location – with props and all.
You can even book yourself a guided Nusa Penida Instagram Tour…
That said, Nusa Penida became Insta-famous for a reason. It is beyond beautiful.
The perfect beaches, rugged and steep cliffs, lush forests, rock formations, and other natural wonders are awe-inspiring. The lively coral reefs also make it a world-class snorkeling and scuba diving destination.
This island is a true gem. It’s a paradise well worth day-tripping for.
And if you know where to go, you can still have the best beaches all to yourself.
If you want to take a day trip to Nusa Penida, you’re in the right place. Whether you choose a guided tour or decide to go on your own, this guide includes everything you need to know for an awesome day trip to Nusa Penida from Bali.
Ultimate Guide to Day Trip to Nusa Penida
Ready for the most incredible trip to Nusa Penida? Feel free to use this table of contents to jump to the information you can’t wait to read – or simply read on!
Table of Contents
- Ultimate Guide to Day Trip to Nusa Penida
- Day Trip to Nusa Penida or Stay Overnight?
- Guided Day Trips from Bali to Nusa Penida
- How to Get to Nusa Penida:Taking the Fast Boat from Sanur Port
- How to Get Around Nusa Penida
- What to Do on Nusa Penida (Penida Island)
- 1. Enjoy Incredible Snorkeling
- 2. Take a Diving Course
- 3. Go Scuba Diving
- 4. Visit Kelingking Beach (West Side)
- 5. Explore Broken Beach (West Side)
- 6. Visit Angel’s Billabong (West Side)
- 7. Relax & Snorkel at Crystal Bay (West Side)
- 8. Visit Tembeling Beach and Forest (West Side)
- 9. See Goa Giri Putri Temple (East Side)
- 10. Visit Atuh Beach & Diamond Beach (East Side)
- 11. Stop by Thousand Islands Viewpoint (East Side)
- 12. Spend Time at Suwehan Beach (East Side)
- Where to Stay in Nusa Penida
- What to Bring/Wear for a Nusa Penida Day Tour
- Taking a Day Tour to Nusa Penida from Bali
- Did you know…
Day Trip to Nusa Penida or Stay Overnight?
If you’re trying to decide between a day trip to Nusa Penida or an overnight stay, there’s no wrong answer. It just comes down to how much time you have in Bali.
With only one day in Nusa Penida, you’ll have enough time to visit the most beautiful beaches and lookouts and go snorkeling at spots like Crystal Bay and Manta Point.
But if you have extra time, you won’t regret staying for 1-2 nights on the island! Rather than rushing through it all, you’ll have time to soak in the tranquil Nusa Penida vibes and views – and spend more time in the underwater world too! You can even learn to scuba dive or take a freediving course!
If you decide to stay overnight, here’s my favorite website for finding the best deals on Nusa Penida accommodations – from luxury resorts and Balinese villas, to traditional homestays and bungalows. Free cancellation is usually included, so you can book in advance with confidence. Remember: the best places in Nusa Penida sell out well in advance in the high season! Find my top accommodation recommendations are toward the bottom of this post!
Guided Day Trips from Bali to Nusa Penida
When I went to Nusa Penida for the first time, I took a private guided day trip. And I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again! My tour guide took me in a 4X4 to all of the best lookouts and beaches, and then we boarded a boat to snorkel in Crystal Bay and Manta Point. The experience was epic and totally stress-free.
If you’d like to take a guided day trip from Bali to Nusa Penida, here are the three best options:
- Bali Nusa Penida West Private Tour – All Inclusive: This tour includes door-to-door transportation from your hotel in Bali. Talk about easy! Once you arrive on the island, you’ll explore the west side of Nusa Penida, including Angel’s Billabong, Broken Beach, Kelingking Beach, and Crystal Bay. Click here to book it!
- Bali East Nusa Penida Private Tour – All Inclusive: If you want to get off the beaten path, choose this tour. After you disembark the fast boat in Nusa Penida, you’ll explore the east (and lesser visited!) side of the island. You’ll explore Atuh Beach, Diamond Beach, Tree House Molenteng (Rumah Pohon Molenteng), and Teletubbies Hill. This tour also includes door-to-door transportation from your hotel in Bali. Click here to book it!
- Nusa Penida Snorkeling Adventure (Private & All-Inclusive): If your main goal is to experience Nusa Penida’s incredible snorkeling, this tour is for you. You’ll snorkel at four of the island’s best snorkeling spots, then check out Kelingking Beach and Crystal Bay. Pick-up and drop-off from your Bali hotel are included. Click here to book it!
How to Get to Nusa Penida:
Taking the Fast Boat from Sanur Port
Want to take a Nusa Penida day trip on your own?
From Bali, getting to Nusa Penida is easy enough, but in true Bali fashion, it’s also a little chaotic. (If you’re taking one of the guided tours above, no worries! Your guide will pick you up from your Bali hotel and handle all of the logistics for you.)
To get to Nusa Penida, you’ll need to arrive at the Sanur Harbor and purchase tickets for the fast-service ferry (fast boat) to Nusa Penida. This fast boat ride takes about 30 minutes and costs roughly 175,000 IDR (about $11 USD) for a one-way journey. This varies slightly depending on the company you choose.
To maximize your time on Nusa Penida, take one of the first ferries to the island. Your best bet will be to arrive at the Sanur Harbor at 7:30 AM. Then, navigate your way through the sea of people to the Mola-Mola Express ticket counter and purchase tickets for the 8:10 AM fast boat.
If Mola-Mola is sold out, then you can get the 9:00 AM fast boat with Maruti Express, or try visiting another company’s ticket counter.
While at the ticket counter, you should also book your ticket back to Bali. Depending on which fast boat provider you choose, you will return between 2:30 and 5 PM. Mola-Mola leaves Nusa Penida at 4:45 PM. Maruti Express leaves at 2:30 PM (which is quite early, so I wouldn’t choose this option).
You can also book your fast boat online ahead of time. Click here to book your tickets now!
*This information was last updated in January 2023.
Boarding the Fast Boat
Once you have your tickets, you’ll wait to board your fast boat – but don’t expect the norm!
Instead of boarding from a dock, you will wade through the water and clamber aboard the fast boat. At the very least, you will get wet. But if there are big waves, then prepare to get completely soaked – just like I did! For this reason, I highly recommend wearing thin, quick-dry clothing and using a waterproof drybag to make sure all of your belongings stay dry.
After 30 minutes of boating – with Asian pop and electric dance music blaring (the sign that your adventure has officially begun) – you will arrive in Nusa Penida!
Don’t feel like dealing with logistics? I don’t blame you. Simply book this top-rated day tour to Nusa Penida and allow your guide to take care of it all for you. Click here to see the best day trips to Nusa Penida.
How to Get Around Nusa Penida
Getting around Nusa Penida is a challenge, whether you hire a driver or rent your own motorbike. Since Nusa Penida is mostly undeveloped and the rainy season is intense, the roads are in pretty terrible condition.
While in Nusa Penida, we had our own van and a driver, and I really can’t tell you of a more uncomfortable or slow car ride. The entire way, we were thrown about the inside of the car as we thudded into one pothole after another. My face slammed into the window at least twice – seriously. But at least we had seat belts! That’s just the way it is here!
Your easiest option is to book a guided tour, which includes all of your transportation. If you want to design your own day trip and charter a private driver, then you can click here to book a private driver.
Alternatively, when you arrive at the Nusa Penida harbor, you should be able to find a local driver to take you around the island for around 600,000 IDR (or $40 USD).
Scooter or Motorbike
Contrary to driving a car, renting your own scooter or motorbike is the best way to explore Nusa Penida.
Biking will allow you to travel much faster, pass through narrow roads with ease, and avoid potholes. You will also be able to stop wherever you please, rather than having to follow a set itinerary.
You should be able to rent a scooter for around 100,000 IDR (or $7 USD) for the entire day. You can also avoid the hassle and click here to book your rental scooter online.
Another potentially safer option is to rent a motorbike and hire the owner to drive it for you, meanwhile, you ride on the back. This option will cost you double.
Note: This option is only for you if you have significant experience operating a motorbike! Do NOT overestimate your abilities, these roads are not friendly! And make sure to wear a helmet. Many tourists who rent bikes on Nusa Penida either crash or get stuck in the rough terrain.
If you’re wondering if walking around the island is an option, the answer is no. You won’t get very far on Nusa Penida on foot because the landscape is simply too unforgiving, and the island is much too large.
When it comes to getting around Nusa Penida, you’ll have to pick your poison: car or scooter!
Getting around Nusa Penida is a challenge, to say the least. Want someone to arrange transportation for you? Simply book a day tour instead.
What to Do on Nusa Penida (Penida Island)
Nusa Penida is still somewhat undeveloped (compared to Bali) so this guide will not include any must-visit restaurants, beach clubs, or resorts…
What you will find on this island, however, are endless incredible viewpoints (and Instagram photo ops, ugh), naturally beautiful scenes, and outdoor activities galore. Nusa Penida truly is an adventure lovers’ paradise.
Note: If you only have one day on Nusa Penida, you won’t be able to fit all of these activities in. So start by choosing one side of the island (West or East) and then create a list of your must-dos and must-sees!
1. Enjoy Incredible Snorkeling
The reefs surrounding Nusa Penida are full of life and color, making this island one of Indonesia’s best snorkeling destinations.
In one day of snorkeling, it’s not uncommon to see whale sharks and sea turtles, plus thousands of vibrant fish swimming through the lively coral reefs. You will also have the opportunity to swim with the island’s many resident manta rays! On a calm day, you can even see them swimming as you gaze down from the island’s many steep cliffs.
Here are some of the best snorkeling spots to check out:
- Crystal Bay
- Manta Point
- Manta Bay
- Gamat Bay
If you want to take a guided snorkeling day trip to Nusa Penida from Bali (roundtrip hotel transportation included), then go with this Nusa Penida Snorkeling Adventure (Private & All-Inclusive). If you’re already on the island, then go with this Snorkeling and Freediving Trip around Nusa Penida. These tour operators provide snorkeling equipment.
2. Take a Diving Course
As mentioned, Nusa Penida is world-renowned for its incredible scuba diving and freediving. While diving on the island, you’re sure to see massive manta rays, turtles, and the gigantic sunfish (Mola Mola), to name a few.
If you’re new to diving and want to learn, consider traveling to the island on your own (without a tour) and then joining one of these diving tours/courses!
- Nusa Penida Discover Scuba Diving Program
- Try Freediving on Nusa Penida
- 3-Day Freediving Level 1 Course
3. Go Scuba Diving
If you’re already scuba certified, then you should obviously make sure to go scuba diving.
Here are the top dive trips to consider while on the island!
4. Visit Kelingking Beach (West Side)
Kelingking Beach is a viewpoint you can’t miss during your day trip to Nusa Penida – without doubt, it’s one of the most breathtaking places I have ever seen.
Between those limestone cliffs, that perfectly soft white sand, the island’s abundant greenery, and those endless ocean blues, I really can’t think of a more naturally beautiful vista.
If you’re brave enough, then you can make the treacherous climb down to the sand. Though you can’t swim in the ocean (the current is way too strong), you can at least dip your toes in the water, snap some photos, and enjoy the views!
Just make sure you have plenty of water because the trek back up will not be easy.
5. Explore Broken Beach (West Side)
Just a short drive from Kelingking Beach, you will find Broken Beach – another must-see during your day trip to Nusa Penida!
This natural arch and rock pool is absolutely stunning, and if you ask me, it’s the perfect view to enjoy a little picnic and an ice-cold Bintang!
6. Visit Angel’s Billabong (West Side)
Just down a footpath from Broken Beach, you’ll find Angel’s Billabong, a natural infinity pool that you can swim in!
This rock pool, which is made up of jagged volcanic rock, is constantly filled with violent splashes of seawater. (If you stand near the edge, you’re sure to get soaked.) But when the water settles, Angel’s Billabong shows off 50 shades of beautiful blue, and you will simply stand there, gawking, in awe of it all.
As you make your way over to Angel’s Billabong, be very careful of the sharp rocks, and don’t get too close to the edge!
As with everywhere on the island, it’s best to arrive early, first thing in the morning, to avoid crowds.
7. Relax & Snorkel at Crystal Bay (West Side)
Many say that Crystal Bay is the most beautiful beach on Nusa Penida – and they very well could be right!
With insanely crystal-clear waters, a peaceful atmosphere, clean, white sand, and excellent snorkeling and diving, Crystal Bay is a must-visit during your day trip to Nusa Penida!
I’m not 100% sure, but I think that I must’ve seen at least 10,000 fish while snorkeling in beautiful Crystal Bay. It was pretty spectacular.
It’s generally safe to swim here, yay!
8. Visit Tembeling Beach and Forest (West Side)
For a lovely hike through old-growth forest, followed by natural rock pool swimming and beach hangs, the Tembeling Beach and Tembeling Forest are must-visits!
You can’t really swim at Tembeling Beach, but it sure is beautiful.
9. See Goa Giri Putri Temple (East Side)
Time for some Balinese culture, to break up your time in the sun.
Visit the Goa Giri Putri for a mystifying succession of Balinese temples, built into a cave! Many Balinese travel from Bali to this temple to complete a “cleansing” or “purification” ritual with the priests at each of the five temples in the cave.
While you’re here, put on a sarong, walk through slowly, and take in the experience. Watch the ceremony unfold, or even better, participate.
10. Visit Atuh Beach & Diamond Beach (East Side)
On the Nusa Penida’s east side, you’ll find two of the most beautiful beaches you can imagine: Atuh Beach and Diamond Beach.
Atuh Beach features a magnificent white sandy cove, hugged by rocky cliffs. There are plenty of stairs leading down to the beach (so the story goes in Nusa Penida!), but when the tide is high, you can swim here with caution; the waves and currents are strong and sharp reef below.
You’ll also find some local warungs serving local food and umbrellas to rent here.
The perfect place for a sunny beach day without too many crowds!
Diamond Beach is absolutely magical and the water is crystal clear… But the climb up/down is challenging – and probably not for you if you’re scared of heights!
The cliffs at Diamond Beach cast shadows in the afternoons, so make sure to get here early.
Watching the sunrise from either of these beaches will not disappoint.
11. Stop by Thousand Islands Viewpoint (East Side)
You may have seen photos of the Rumah Pohon Tree House accommodation before on Instagram. You’ll find the treehouses here, at the stunning Thousand Islands Viewpoint.
Here, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the ocean and a handful of small rocky islands. It’s breathtaking.
If you can, come here early to watch the sunrise (it’s worth it!) and beat the crowds.
Note: You have to pay to take a photo from/in front of a treehouse (I’ll leave it up to you to decide if it’s worth it). You can also stay overnight in these rustic treehouses.
12. Spend Time at Suwehan Beach (East Side)
I saved the best for last!
Suwehan Beach is not a typical day trip stop, meaning that, if you go here, you’ll likely have this entire pristine, secluded beach to yourself. It’s unknown, uncrowded, the island’s best-kept secret! You’re welcome.
It takes a little more effort to get here, and there are plenty of stairs to get down to the beach, but it’s worth it to soak up Nusa Penida’s beauty in peace and quiet.
The best time to visit is in the morning (to avoid any crowds) during low tide (so that the sandy beach is actually there).
Where to Stay in Nusa Penida
As you can tell, there’s a lot to see and do on the island. If you have time to turn your day trip to Nusa Penida into a multi-day exploration, you should!
Most people only day trip to Nusa Penida, but it’s a good idea to stay, discover more, swim more, and dive deeper! Trust me, after spending only one day on Nusa Penida, you won’t be ready to go back to Bali.
Just like on Bali, even the most luxurious places to stay are super affordable, so why not splash out a little?
Here are the best places to stay in Nusa Penida for a night or two in Nusa Penida.
Affordable Luxury Stays ($$$)
- Penida Bambu Green Suites: If you want the most magical stay imaginable, this is your place. Think luxe guest rooms with magnificent jungle views, lush gardens, relaxing swimming pools, traditional flower baths, sublime massages, and the most romantic atmosphere. Heaven on Nusa Penida. Click here to book it.
- Atalaya Villas Nusa Penida: Spacious boho-chic guest rooms, warm Balinese hospitality, jungle views, and a beautiful infinity pool are all you need while on the island. Click here to book it.
Mid-Range Stays ($$)
- Kompyang Cottage: Without a doubt, the Kompyang Cottage is the best place to stay on Nusa Penida! Located on the beach, in a quiet, local area of the island, this guesthouse offers the perfect balance of adventure and relaxation. Not to mention, the service, food, guest rooms, and ocean views are all stellar. Click here to book it.
- Akusara Jungle Resort And Spa: Grand Bali villa vibes, ocean views, jungle sounds, a lovely pool, and traditional Balinese food make staying here a treat. Click here to book it.
Budget Stays ($)
- Bagia Bungalows: When it comes to budget accommodation on Nusa Penida, it doesn’t get better than this. You’ll love the central location, comfortable bungalows, great views, and friendly hospitality here. Click here to book it.
Next time I visit Nusa Penida, I’ll plan to stay at least three nights. If you can fit it into your Bali itinerary, then I suggest you do the same!
Still looking? Here’s my favorite website for finding the best deals on Nusa Penida accommodations – from luxury resorts and Balinese villas, to traditional homestays and bungalows. Free cancellation is usually included, so you can book in advance with confidence. Remember: the best places in Nusa Penida sell out well in advance in the high season!
What to Bring/Wear for a Nusa Penida Day Tour
For your day trip to Nusa Penida, there are a few items I recommend bringing no matter what!
- A waterproof backpack for snorkeling, exploring beaches, and wading in and out of the fast boat
- A lightweight Turkish towel for drying off after you swim and snorkel
- Natural, reef-safe sunscreen to protect the precious reef systems and your skin
- Natural, eco-friendly bug repellant to keep the mosquitoes away, while protecting the island’s sensitive ecosystems from toxic chemicals
- Closed-toe walking shoes because the island’s volcanic rock is sharp and treacherous and the dirt roads are uneven
- Snacks and a water bottle because there aren’t many places to fuel up on the island while adventuring
- Plenty of rupiah because you won’t find many ATMs on the island
- A swimsuit because the beaches are incredible and you will want to swim and snorkel (where safe; the currents, waves, and reefs are dangerous at certain beaches)
- Sunglasses and a hat to block the sun
Taking a Day Tour to Nusa Penida from Bali
If you have the chance to take a day trip to Nusa Penida, jump at it. Nusa Penida may be an unspoiled island paradise now, but I promise it won’t stay that way for much longer.
Every day, more and more Bali tourists learn about this gem of an island, and every day, more and more people make plans to visit it. If you want to experience the magic of Bali from 40 years ago, then Nusa Penida is your place.
And if you want to snorkel, dive, explore boundlessly, discover breathtaking views, and experience a place as free from tourism as can be, then you must go to Nusa Penida – as soon as possible!
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Have you taken a day trip to Nusa Penida from Bali before? Do you have any helpful tips to share? Which parts of Nusa Penida are your favorite?