Nusa Penida Day Trip Guide: The West Coast
Not too far away from the busy shores of Bali, lies the wild beauty of Nusa Penida. Dramatic cliffs, sparkling waterfalls and lush greenery are just a few of the things that make this little paradise island so special. And being just 45 minutes away by boat, a visit to Nusa Penida is a must do when visiting Bali. Read on to find out everything you need to know about planning a Nusa Penida day trip. From how to get there and get around to what to see and do.
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Why go to Nusa Penida?
It’s said Nusa Penida along the with the other Nusa islands is Bali taken back in a time machine. The commercialisation and chaos of its booming big sister are left far behind across the water, making Nusa Penida the ideal place to experience a more authentic side of Indonesia.
If that wasn’t enough reason to visit, Nusa Penida is also a treasure trove of natural wonders. Its circular coastline of bays, beaches and spectacular rock formations are truly amazing and something not to miss.
Nusa Penida West Coast tour vs East Coast tour?
There are natural landmarks all over Nusa Penida, however, the majority of the most beautiful and in turn popular are found on the west coast. Therefore if you only have a day to spend on the island, exploring the west coast is the better option.
It’s also worth mentioning that the harbour is on the north-west of the island, making the west coast the most easily accessible too. Although the island is small, it does take a long time to travel around it. Thank you none existent roads. And as beautiful as the eastern side of the island looks, you’d struggle to see it all in a day and still make it back to the harbour in time.
How to get there
You can easily plan a Nusa Penida day trip from either Bali or Nusa Lembongan/Ceningan.
From Nusa Lembongan/Ceningan
Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan are the other two islands that complete the Nusa trio. They both a lot smaller and more lively than Nusa Penida making them the perfect place to stay and do your Nusa Penida day trip from.
Whether you’re staying on either island, there’s only one place to get the boat from. Head to the bottom of the yellow bridge on the Lembongan side where you can buy a return boat ticket. From there you’ll be directed to a boat on the beach that will take you to the Nusa Penida harbour.
The boats run regularly through the day, with the journey taking just 15 minutes and the last one leaving Nusa Penida at 5pm.
The journey from Bali is a lot longer than from the other Nusa islands, however, it’s still possible to do it in a day.
If you want to do your trip independently, you’ll first need to go to Sanur beach. This is where most of the boats depart for Nusa Penida with a large selection of companies covering the route. Departures from both destinations are quite frequent throughout the day and the journey takes around 45 minutes.
The other way to get to Nusa Penida from Bali is with a package tour that includes your transport there. You’ll be able to find plenty of travel agents selling them in all the main tourist hubs. You definitely pay for the ease of having someone plan everything for you though, with packaged tours being considerably more expensive than doing it yourself.
The top things to see on your Nusa Penida day trip: West Coast
Although not the most spectacular feature of the island, Crystal Bay is the best place to head to for some chill time on the beach. The bay’s sheltered inlet makes it calm enough for snorkelling and there’s a little island close to shore which you can swim to as well.
Broken Beach tells the story of years of erosion that has formed a spectacular cove. Although there is no access to the ‘broken beach itself you can walk around the full circumference of its circular clifftops to admire the view.
Angel’s Billabong lies right next to Broken Beach, so you can walk between the two. Here you’ll find a huge natural pool with rocks towering on either side that frame a view of the ocean crashing below. During low tide, the waves don’t even reach the pool making it super calm and great for swimming in.
Onto the famous one that you’ll have already seen on Instagram…However, unlike some comparisons between real life and Insta life, Kelingking Beach is no disappointment. The views and walks around this Jurassic shaped landmark are absolutely amazing. For a less crowded spot, climb to the top of the wooden pirate ship near the main parking area.
Peguyangan Waterfall is one for the adventurers. This waterfall lies hidden in a rocky inlet on a cliff face with an outdoor temple lies just beyond. But it’s a tough walk to get there. You have to wind up and down a cliffside path which includes several sets of terrifying blue steps bolted onto the rock (case and point in the photo below). It’s well worth the trek though as the views on the way are out of this world.
How to get around the island
As it’s quite remote, there are limited ways of ways to get around the island on your Nusa Penida day trip – by scooter, private car or tour bus.
The cheapest and easiest way to get around on your Nusa Penida day trip is by scooter. When you arrive at the harbour you’ll be inundated by locals trying to rent you a bike for a small price.
Although the main roads on the island are quite new, a lot of the tracks that lead down to the island’s attractions are quite broken. Some are pretty much just rocks. Make sure you go very slow and steady particularly if you aren’t that confident on a bike, and you should be fine.
By private car
I heard that, although a lot more expensive than a scooter, it is possible to hire a private car and driver for the day when you arrive at the harbour. But, when we arrived we couldn’t find any such offers. We visited during low season though, so there could be more choice when the island is busier.
By tour bus
The only other way to travel around on your Nusa Penida day trip is by tour bus. All of the Nusa Penida tours from Bali include transportation around the island by minibus. Though be warned, you’ll be in for a bumpy ride!
I hope this guide has been useful in helping you to plan your own Nusa Penida day trip and what to expect when visiting this beautiful island. Nusa Penida was one of the highlights of not just my time in Bali but the whole of Southeast Asia, and you should definitely not miss it off your list! Have you been to Nusa Penida before? Let me know your thoughts below.