Travel Highlights – Nusa Penida by Yourself

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Nusa Penida is one of the gems of Indonesia. Very close to Bali, this small island is increasingly popular because of its pristine beaches and incredible landscapes.

Nusa Penida By Yourself
Nusa Penida – Kelingking beach

Although I originally didn’t know about it, it turned out to be one of the highlights of my time in Indonesia. I had the privilege to spend more than a week on Nusa Penida and fell in love with its atmosphere, gorgeous views and crazy roads.

So if you ever find yourself in Bali, I highly suggest taking a few days to discover this unique island.

To help you, here is a detailed guide to explore Nusa Penida by yourself !

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Why go to Nusa Penida by yourself ?

Booking a day tour can sometimes be easier and more comfortable. However, your experience will be limited and believe me, this island has a lot to offer ! The best way to explore it in my opinion is going by yourself and staying there at least 3 or 4 days.

This way, you can follow your own rythm and visit every hidden corner. The island is less touristy than Bali but is getting a lot of attention right now so being on your own terms also allows you to choose less crowded times.

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So now on to the good stuff ! Here are a few things you can expect to find on Nusa Penida :

  • Gorgeous beaches : some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen

  • Corals, colorfull fish and majestic Manta Rays

  • Hikes with spectacular views

  • Nice restaurants with local and international food

  • Cute accommodations for all tastes and wallets

  • Hidden pools in the jungle

  • A really fun getaway with friends !

Diamond beach viewpoint Nusa Penida
Diamond beach viewpoint Nusa Penida

As you can see, boredom on Nusa Penida is really a choice. I stayed there 9 days and didn’t even see everything. Ok I admit, I like traveling slow and taking my time. So if you are a morning person who likes to get things done, 4 days should do the trick.

Whatever you may choose, my invitation for you is to treat this precious island like it’s your home. Explore consciously and respectfully of the local community and their traditions. If you can, try to support the local economy by choosing places owned by locals. And last but not least, never leave your waste behind you and pick up some trash if you see it !

The planet and everyone on it will thank you for it, whether they realize it or not.

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There is something super important to know when planning to go by yourself. To get to most beaches by yourself, you will need a scooter, about one hour drive and good driving skills. Indeed, most of the roads are completely broken and can be quite dangerous.

If you do not wish to engage in this endeavour, you can hire a driver who knows the roads by heart and will be able to take you safely everywhere you want to go.

But, if you are an adventurous soul, it can definitely turn out quite fun and rewarding ! In the end, I really enjoyed driving my scooter all over the island, with wind in my hair, friends by my side and freedom in my heart.

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How to get to Nusa Penida


I do want to mention that if you do not have the time to spend a few days on the island or do not wish to drive yourself, you can book a one day tour from Bali. You will not see everything, but they take you to the most important places to visit.

Some tours also include Nusa Lembongan, a very small island next to Nusa Penida.


From Bali

* By private speed boats from different cities on the east coast of Bali like Denpasar, Sanur or Padang Bai.

* By the public ferry from Padan Bai : this is the budget option. It leaves Padang Bai everyday around 11am and Nusa Penida at 7.30am for about 30 000 Rp=Indonesian Rupiahs (schedule and prices may vary). The public ferry arrives and departs from the North shore of Nusa Penida.

From Nusa Lembongan

There is a boat ride from Nusa Lembongan to Nusa Penida. It leaves several times a day when there are enough people interested to cross.

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Once you get to Nusa Penida, it is best to rent a scooter to get around like I mentioned before. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price especially if you know you are going to stay for a few days. The average price is around 70 000 Rp per day on the island.

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Where to stay

Nusa Penida offers various accommodations for all the tastes and budgets !

However, I encourage you to always research beforehand if the place you are considering contributes to preserving the island and supports the local economy or if they have more of a detrimental effect overall.

If we are able to, we can make a difference by supporting locally owned businesses that really care for the environment and for their community.


There are several hostels on Nusa Penida, and depending on the boat you take you will arrive on a different shore.

Since my friends and I took the public ferry, we arrived on the North coast and stayed at Kuwera Homestay. It is a new facility built by Hostel Nusa Penida a couple hundred meters away from the actual hostel. They were still finalizing the construction at the time, therefore offering reduced prices. As a bonus, we almost had the whole place to ourselves.

As I was with a group of 10 friends, all solo travelers who met in Ubud and decided to go on a Nusa Penida expedition together, the privacy was welcome. But if you are looking for more of a hostel vibe, staying at Hostel Nusa Penida itself might be better. They also have scooters to rent daily and offer different tours to explore the island.

Nusa Penida Hostel

Hostel Nusa Penida


You will find several cute bungalows and cottages across the island for various prices. You can even sleep in a tree at Nyuh Begkok Tree House while enjoying an ocean view.


Various hotels are present on the island for the most comfortable and luxurious stays.

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Where to eat

There are quite a lot of restaurants and local warungs among the island. If you are on the North coast, I suggest checking out Cocoleaf. It is a restaurant with both local and occidental food, from pancakes, sandwiches and pizzas to the classic mie and nasi goreng, with almost everything in between. They also have many fruit juices, all of this in a cute atmosphere and friendly vibe. Everything was delicious so this place quickly became our headquarters.

I also recommend trying the banana smoothie bowl in Warung Batan Sabo. It was honestly one of the best I have ever tried and the staff is very friendly.

Smoothie Bowl Indonesia
Exotic smoothie bowl

Apart from that, I invite you to explore the local warungs on your way, you can often have good surprises !

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What to do

There are many things to do in Nusa Penida, so here is the list of my suggestions !

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The first thing we did while arriving on the island was the short ride from our homestay to Goa Giri Putri Temple. Enjoying the gorgeous view of the ocean, we quickly arrived to visit the cave that is part of the Temple.

The entrance to the temple requires wearing a traditionnal sarong that you can rent for 5 000 Rp before entering. You can visit the outside part for free. A participation of 20 000 Rp is required to enter the cave. Upon making your donation, weave into the small opening down to this very mystical place where you can admire the altars set up inside and maybe even witness a ceremony.

I suggest walking to the other end of the cave to discover the view of the jungle in front of you before going back to the temple’s entrance. But beware of the monkeys ! They might surprise you a bit agressively.

Goa Giri Putri Temple Cave
Hills view outside Goa Giri Putri Temple Cave
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Crystal Bay is for me, one of the best beaches to watch the sunset from in Nusa Penida. It will gift you a very different experience every single day with unique colors and atmospheres. From an eerie pink mist after sunset to a gold and silver contrast with the calm waters, you can just relax and take it all in.

Crystal Bay Nusa Penida at sunset
First Sunset at Crystal Bay – gold, pink and mystical

It is also possible to camp on the beach if you carry your own tent. However, know that all the restaurants close early so bring your own food if you arrive after sunset.

Crystal Bay Nusa Penida island
Second Sunset – cold silver and blue
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Kelingking beach got its T-rex nickname from the beautifully shaped rocks that surround it. With its turquoise waters, big waves and manta rays discreetely swimming underneath you – true story, it may be the number one destination of the island.

Kelingking Nusa Penida
Kelingking – T-Rex – Beach

Nonetheless, those are reserved to the most courageous souls willing to go through the quite scary and abrupt hike along the cliff to actually get down to the beach.

But don’t get discouraged, it is absolutely doable. Even if you suffer from vertigo, I do maintain that you can do it ! I personally have vertigo on a chair and I took it as a good challenge to face my fear. I would advise to wear sneakers to go down since some parts are a bit of a climb.

Kelingking beach hike
The last part of the hike is the most challenging

I was rewarded by the incredible beauty of the place and the adrenaline of being turned upside down by big rolling waves.

I actually read since then that the locals do not recommend going into the water because it is quite dangerous. Therefore, I shall only advise you to be more careful than my younger self, even though bold adventures do make great memories.

Down on the beach Kelingking Nusa Penida
Gathering the courage to face the giant waves of the ocean… or posing for a nice picture ? It may or may not have been the latter, but I swear the waves were huge !

Luckily, everyone got back up safe and sound, only realizing afterwards that Manta Rays were with us in the water. Wait – THAT was the “fin” I saw two meters from me when I was swimming ? (I didn’t panick, you panicked). Turns out it was the closer I would get from a Manta Ray in the end. For now.

To sum it up, if you have to pick only 3 places to see, this should definitely be one of them !

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Another really beautiful spot is Atuh beach where you can even camp overnight. You will need to pay a small parking fee to park on the hill and go down to the beach, like in most touristy places in Indonesia.

Atuh beach Nusa Penida
Discovering the blue waters of Atuh Beach

After a first time there, we took advantage of the camping services of one of the restaurants’ owners and came back a few days later to spend a night on the beach. Our host stayed all night to honor our food needs and even made us a fire on the beach.

He also installed a platform and one of his tents for those of us who weren’t equipped. At some point during the night, it got really windy and even rainy so the platform and tents came in really handy. In the morning, we enjoyed the beautiful view, a great breakfast and a refreshing morning swim.

Solo travelers Nusa Penida
Our improvised group of solo travelers all joining for a fun few days on Nusa Penida

On the other side of the ocean, you can also enjoy a promenade through the peanut and coconut fields. Some workers might actually be nice enough to give you a handful of peanuts that end up being roasted or boiled by the host.

When we were there, he was building wooden cabins to rent through hosting apps, so don’t forget to check it out on airbnb or booking if you want a more comfortable accommodation. We absolutely loved the experience and enjoyed sharing this time together.

Harvesting Peanuts Nusa Penida
As you can see, I was very happy to come back with my gift ! While boiled peanuts are something to try, my favorite way to eat them is definitely roasted.
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Located on one side of Atuh beach, Diamond beach looks like an untouched gem. Until quite recently, it was actually true since you could only admire it from above. But now, you can enjoy the beach itself by going down stairs that were still under construction when I went there. Maybe I will get a chance to climb them down completely in the future, even though I hope the affluence of visitors will not alter the pristine beauty of the place.

For those interested, it is possible to spend the night in a very cute cottage, Rumah Pohon “Tree House”, on top of one of Diamond beach’s cliffs. I personally haven’t done it but the experience looks incredible.

Construction of stairs for Diamond beach
Diamond Beach when the stairs were still under construction
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Broken beach has very unique features that are definitely worth riding through one of the most uncool roads of the island. First of all, you will discover the beauty of Angel’s Billabong natural infinity pool. Then, you will get to step on the natural bridge and admire the strange hole the ocean formed in the cliff.

Broken beach Nusa Penida
Broken Beach’s Bridge
Angel's Billabong infinity pool
Angel’s Billabong Infinity Pool

Be careful though ! Some people went into the infinity pool to bathe or take a selfie and were injured or taken by the sea. Unfortunately, some did not make it back.

Unaware of the dangers at the time, a friend and I enjoyed a fresh bath in this unique earth structure alongside other toursists. At some point, a big wave entered and sent us towards the rocks. Luckily, no one was injured, but we all hurried out of there !

Angel's Billabong natural pool
Those clear blue waters are definitely something

The sunset was also really pretty from the other side of the parking lot. However, leaving that late can be a bit risky because you will have to drive by night.

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The hidden treasures of Nusa Penida forest will enchant you if you take the time to get there. You will enjoy walking through its lush jungle, swimming in its cute natural green pools, visiting the small temple above the ocean and getting a refreshing iodine ocean-spray on the two beaches accessible from the trail.

Tembeling forest jungle
Tembeling forest jungle

You can park your bike next to the main road and hike down, which is longer but the safest option. Or, you can drive down and experience the craziest ride of the island. If you choose the latter, I really recommend going on a dry day.

Indeed, the rain can make the very steep and barely existent road – reduced to blocks in the middle of rocks and mud – very slippery. Beware of the ravine next to you and ride carefully until a parking sign advises you to stop. Do not go beyond with the bike, people have had to walk theirs back up because the road was too steep afterwards.

Tembeling forest green pool
Enjoy a refreshing swim in the blue green waters
Tembeling forest Nusa Penida
A very cute spot near the beach
Tembeling forest beach Nusa Penida
This place is not very touristy so you may have it for yourself and your friends to enjoy. Have fun exploring it !
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These round shaped hills are located on top of Nusa Penida. Therefore, they provide great viewpoints of the island, that is if the weather cooperates.

Teletubbies Hills Nusa Penida
Teletubbies Hills
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These are the only ones on this list that I did not experience myself. While the waterfalls don’t seem really impressive in nature, the views appear to be breathtaking. Both require a pretty abrupt hike along the cliff to access, and Peguyangan also offers natural pools.

It is important to note that many of these places have sacred meaning for the locals. As visitors, we mostly go for discovery and adventure, which is totally understandable. But I feel that we should be aware of the deeper use of these natural wonders and respect them as much as we can.

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You will encounter many offers to discover the wonders of the submarine life of Nusa Penida. All of them take you to different points that have their own specificity. The most famous is Manta Bay where you can literally swim with the magnificent manta rays. You will also get the chance to explore colorful corals and fish and if that is included in your excursion, an underwater temple with an imposing statue of Buddha in the center.

I really enjoyed the trip, but I was sad to witness that a lot of corals are now in a white, lifeless state. When striving, they provide a colorful and vital habitat for the marine fauna. In any case, I highly encourage you to experience this underwater world yourself. If you have more budget or want to experience it in a deeper level, you can also go on a diving excursion.

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After all these crazy rides, hikes and swims, your body will most certainly enjoy a good massage with an ocean view.

Nusa Penida massage
Do you think they’re having a good time ?
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I hope all these tips sparked in you the desire to explore this gorgeous island yourself ! You will get to experience an avdenturous journey to discover more of our planet’s secrets. What places appeal to you most? Have you been there yourself? If so, what did you prefer? Tell me in the comments !

Discover more destination highlights, guides and travel tips on our travel page.

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