Nusa Penida has long been overshadowed by its smaller sister island Nusa Lembongan – the third that makes up the cluster off the southeastern coast of Bali is the smallest, Nusa Ceningan – which means tourism infrastructure is still developing, but also less visitors. Besides some stellar diving and snorkeling spots, we’ve got interesting coastal formations, waterfalls, and of course, gorgeous beaches for you to explore at leisure.
Getting to Nusa Penida from Bali is easy enough, speed boats and ferries depart regularly from Sanur, Kusamba, and Padang Bai in East Bali. The most practical option for getting around the island is renting a motorcycle, which will set you back around Rp. 60, 000.
Broken Bay and Angel’s Billabong
Located on the southwestern edge of the island, Broken Bay (called Pasih Uug by the locals) is a coastal formation famous for its signature rock arch and natural waves sweeping through, making Broken Bay’s panoramic scenery an attraction for travel photographers and landscape enthusiasts. The naturally formed beach at the bottom of the cliff is not for swimming. However, when the tides are smooth, there are ferry rides you can book to go on a cruise for a closer look at the landmark. And who knows? You might just catch Manta rays in the water from the edge of the hills.
To make the most out of the rocky road journey from the harbour to Broken Bay, stop by to see it’s neighbour, Angel’s Billabong. Here, the best time to visit is late afternoon when the tide is low enough to make use of the billabong as a natural pool with the ocean in its backdrop. An infinity pool at its wildest, indeed!
Possibly the most popular spot of Nusa Penida popping up on your Instagram right now, Kelingking Beach has a breathtaking view and its stunning limestone headland to match the hype. Up for a workout? Try trekking down the 400m T-Rex shaped cliff steps and make your way to the secret beach at the very bottom during low tide. Just be warned that there are no railings or safety fences. Once you make it down, enjoy the cave spots, the white sand, and the clear turquoise shades of blue ocean. The waves of Kelingking Beach Point are not for amateur swimming, but you can take quick dips and enjoy the absolute absence of the usual beachside food stalls and hustlers. This also means you should bring your own drinks and snacks (don’t forget the trash bag). Climbing back up would be a toughie, so stop to catch your breath and take in the sunset while you’re at it.
Atuh Beach & Rumah Pohon
A sense of contemplation almost takes over when standing on the cliffside of Atuh Beach, with a view of other neighbouring cliffs. Located on the remote south-eastern coast of Penida, there are stairs to the hidden beach from the left and the right sight of the bay. Google Maps will lead you to the left, but it’s certain that the more magnificent side of the Atuh Beach arch can be had by coming in from the right. Amongst all other beaches in Nusa Penida, we’ve yet to come across a more swimming-friendly beach than Atuh Beach. If you’re looking for solitude, head down in the morning before 8am. Another thing worth experiencing in the area is the infamous Rumah Pohon, a tree house lodge located in Molenteng Village, Pejukutan.
Crystal Bay & Manta Point
Most snorkeling and diving ferry trips start from Crystal Bay, and the jungle paths to the harbour are definitely less rocky than the roads to other sites on Penida – more of a flat land and a palm tree haven. Here, you can book daytrips by ferry to snorkeling spots around Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan such as the Manta Point and Gamat Bay. Companies rent out snorkeling gears like goggles, life vests, and fins so you don’t need to worry about coming unarmed. Not to mention, the name Crystal Bay does perfect justice to the clarity of the mesmerizing underwater world, with visibility usually about 30 to 50 meters deep.
Goa Giri Putri
For a walk on the cultural side of Nusa Penida, check out Goa Giri Putri. The holy cave temple is situated on the north-eastern side of the island, making it a convenient last stop for those heading back to the main harbour. The entrance of Goa Giri Putri is pretty narrow, a rocky opening on the main road of Pek-Buyuk. For those unfamiliar with temples, there’s bold signage with things to note before going in to wonder at the shrines, a priests’ praying shelter, and a fairly spacious courtyard. Some areas might require a sarong to enter. Ladies, unfortunately, you won’t be able to enter if you’re on your period.
Peguyangan Waterfall & Spring
There are a few amazing waterfalls in Nusa Penida, and our favourite is the Peguyangan. Take the iconic blue stairs to a pathway that will lead you to the pilgrimage site of the sacred water temple. Like in Goa Giri Putri, you’re also required to wear a sarong to enter the water temple; sarongs are rented out at the parking lot. Like the trek down Kelingking Beach‘s cliffside paths, the hike down the Peguyangan stairs will take around half an hour. Then, either join the cleansing and water blessing ceremonial method of water blessing, or simply soak in the beauty of the site and the rock pools that spin out into the ocean.
Top image author’s own.