Discover the beauty of West Nusa Penida, where dramatic coastal cliffs, pristine beaches, and rich marine life are waiting to be discovered.
After traveling in Bali for 14 years and even living on the island, I’ve been to Nusa Penida countless times. You can easily visit on a day trip from Bali, however, I highly recommend you spend at least two full days here.
Nusa Penida is larger than it looks, so to avoid rushing, set aside one day for the west side and one day for the east. If you’re limited on time, this is the perfect 1-day itinerary to cover all the highlights of West Nusa Penida where the boats from Bali arrive.
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- West Nusa Penida overview
- How to get to Nusa Penida
- West Nusa Penida 1-day itinerary
- Where to stay in Nusa Penida
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Popular Nusa Islands guides
West Nusa Penida overview
To give you an idea of the size of Nusa Penida, you could drive to the eight most popular attractions without stopping, in just under 5 hours. Or you could walk from Crystal Bay to Broken Beach in about 4 hours, a distance that looks very short on the map.
And that’s why I recommend you divide the island in two and focus on the west side during your first day. If you choose to do east and west in one day, you will spend most of your time in the car.
Quick travel guide
🏩 Best West Nusa Penida Hotel: Atalaya Villas Nusa Penida
🛌🏻 Best West Nusa Penida guesthouse: Bintang Bungalows
🛵 How to get around: scooter or private driver
⏰ Time needed: Ideally 3 nights/2 full days
⛰ Top sights to see: Kelingking, Broken Beach, Crystal Bay
🎫 Best guided tour: West Nusa Penida highlights tour
💸 Tourist fee: 25k IDR for adults and 15k for children
🌊 Water tax: 100k IDR/day or 200k per month
💳 Daily budget: $50
How to get to Nusa Penida
There’s no airport in Nusa Penida, so the closest place to fly into is the international airport in Bali. The best way to get to Nusa Penida is by taking a fast boat from Sanur Habor in Bali. The boat ride usually takes around 40 minutes, and there are several operators offering daily schedules.
Keep in mind that it can be a bit difficult to get on board the boats in Indonesia, often without a ramp. So I can’t recommend this for people with mobility issues.
🌟 You can check price & availability here >> Fast boat from Bali to Nusa Penida
How to get around on Nusa Penida
The best way to get around Nusa Penida largely depends on personal preference and comfort level. Renting a scooter, or motorbike as the locals call them, is a popular option for those who are comfortable navigating bumpy dirt roads and want the freedom to explore the island at their own pace.
I love to ride a motorbike on Nusa Lembongan, however, driving in Nusa Penida was a whole other story. The island is much larger than I thought, let’s just say I have never gotten lost so many times as I did in Nusa Penida. At one point Google Maps guided me into a village meeting where I was quickly and sternly asked to leave. Yikes!
I find that the easiest way is to ask your accommodation to pick you up from the harbor and arrange a scooter for you. Alternatively, you can just rent one directly at the harbor. It usually costs around 75,000 IDR a day, but you can often get a better deal if you rent for longer.
Remember that you need an international driver’s license when driving in Indonesia, and make sure your travel insurance covers you.
With a private driver
On the other hand, if you’re not comfortable riding a motorbike or want a more comfortable and convenient option, I recommend renting a car with a driver.
When I don’t feel like driving by myself, I usually book this customizable tour. You have the driver for 8 hours and can set your own itinerary or follow the suggested itinerary that covers all the highlights in West Bali, such as Kelingking Beach, Broken Bay, and Angel’s Billabong.
Remember to pick option 2 if you’re already in Nusa Penida and option 3 if you’re doing a day trip from Bali.
🌟 Check price & availability here >> 8-hour customizable tour with a private driver
West Nusa Penida 1-day itinerary
This itinerary covers all the highlights on the west side of the island. I recommend starting with the viewpoints and photo spots, then ending your day in Crystal Bay where you can snorkel and lounge on the beach before having dinner at sunset.
1. Kelingking Beach
Kelingking Beach is the most popular attraction in Nusa Penida, due to the cliff resembling a T-Rex dinosaur with a foaming mouth. The beach itself is nestled at the bottom of the steep cliff, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the turquoise waters and pristine white sand below.
Due to its popularity, I recommend Kelingking as your first stop on your West Coast itinerary. If you get there for sunrise or about an hour before sunset, you can take photos without having to stand in line.
Make sure you check the weather forecast before you go, to get the full experience you should aim for a clear or lightly clouded day.
In addition to enjoying the view from above, you can also hike down to the beach. Half the path is fairly easy, however, once you start descending the cliff wall it gets very steep and slippery in some places.
It took me around 45 minutes each way, with just a few stops to catch my breath. If you’re not in the best shape or have some kind of heart issues, please don’t attempt the hike. It gets insanely hot during the day and I found it to be more strenuous than I first thought.
The beach is really beautiful, and it’s a magical feeling to stand down there surrounded by these towering cliffs and powerful waves tumbling towards you.
But Kelingking Beach is not swimmable. Both the waves and currents here are much stronger than they look, and you can easily be swept out to sea. If that happens, it will take a while before someone comes after you.
People have drowned, fallen from the cliff and died from heart complications after the hike. I think I read somewhere that more tourists die in Nusa Penida than any other place in Bali. So be careful!
2. Paluang Cliff
Everyone wants to see Kelingking, which I totally get. But there’s another spot located very close that offers equally amazing views, called Paluang Cliff. It’s just a 5-minute drive from Kelingking, you can see the T-Rex in the background there.
Paluang is not as popular as Kelingking, which makes it a great alternative. Lately, these Instagram photo spots have been popping up all over Nusa Penida, just like in Bali. And you’ll find many of them here, such as the boat thing above, a nest, a white hand, and a swing.
Since I haven’t shot any photos here yet, I had to source a stock photo that you can see above. I recommend you skip these photo spots and rather just focus on the beautiful view. We don’t want to see any more of these things ruin the natural landscape.
3. Peguyangan (Guyangan) Waterfall
Peguyangan Waterfall, also known as Guyangan, is the southernmost attraction on this list, located about an hour’s drive from Crystal Bay. The name is a little misleading because you won’t find a large “traditional” waterfall here, but rather a few streams coming from pipes.
The main reason for visiting Peguyangan is in my eyes the spectacular views from the blue stairs built onto the steep cliff wall. It is especially beautiful right before sunset, as you will have the sun behind you. Perfect for a photoshoot.
At the bottom of the 700+ steps, you’ll find the reason why the stairs were in the first place, a temple, shrines and rock pools. Make sure to walk all the way past the highest temple, down the stairs with the flowing water and along the edge of the cliff to a turquoise infinity pool where you can enjoy a refreshing dip. Just please be careful, it is slippery!
4. Broken Beach
Next on this West Nusa Penida itinerary are Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong, located within a couple of minutes of each other. Broken Beach, known locally as Pasih Uug, is a circular cove of turquoise water where I’m guessing the roof caved in.
The name “Broken Beach” is derived from the natural arched bridge that allows the ocean water to flow in and out of the enclosed pool. Access to Broken Beach involves a short walk from the parking area and you can walk all around the cove. Just please don’t get too close to the edge.
Broken Beach is mainly a photo spot and you can not access the beach or enter the water here. The waves are rough and the drop down from the top is higher than it looks. So just enjoy the beauty of the area, get your photos and continue to Angel’s Billabong.
If you look closely at the ocean you can be lucky enough to spot several Manta Rays here. The mighty creatures are known to congregate in this area.
5. Angel’s Billabong
Angel’s Billabong is a natural tidal pool that was formed by the rough ocean waves. The name Billabong is an Australian word that means a small, secluded body of water that is isolated from a larger body of water.
The water in Angel’s Billabong is crystal clear and ranges from yellow to green and turquoise in color, making it one of the most picturesque spots in Nusa Penida. To fully enjoy the beauty of Angel’s Billabong, you should visit on low tide. During high tide, the water level rises and covers the pool.
During our first visit we did not realize that even during low tide, rogue waves can suddenly crash into the pool and sweep you out to sea. That has happened before and people have died here. Since we shot this photo, they have put up signs that strongly advise against entering the pool.
6. Palm Alley (road to Crystal Bay)
This is a shot from our very first day on the island going back to Bintang Bungalows after a day at Crystal Bay. It’s no secret that I love palm trees, so Nuda Penida was like paradise to me. Lush green nature and rows of majestic palm trees everywhere.
Set aside a little time to spend here as well, because if you’re anything like me you’ll probably want to stop for photos all along this road.
7. Crystal Bay
Crystal Bay in Nusa Penida is a beautiful beach with clear blue water and soft white sand set against lush greenery and a field of palm trees. It’s a great place for swimming, sunbathing, and just enjoying the beautiful surroundings.
The bay is also one of the most popular for snorkeling and diving because of the colorful coral reefs and diverse marine life. I’ve even seen dolphins here one time. You can rent snorkeling gear on the beach, just keep in mind that the currents are strong here even if the water looks calm.
The photo above was shot from the headland on the west side of the beach, just look for the stairs. You can even walk to Pandand Beach just next door from here, which takes about 20 minutes.
Crystal Bay Beach has relatively small waves, yet the locals occasionally attempt to surf the left side. You will see surfboards scattered along the beach, which I thought was weird at first because it was so flat. Often you can also join in on a volleyball match in the flat area behind the beach.
There are small warungs where you can purchase refreshing drinks, coconuts, and basic food.
🌟 If you mainly want to go snorkeling, check out this amazing full-day tour departing from Bali. Experience Instagram highlights such as Kelingking Beach and Angel’s Billabong, snorkel and swim with the mantas. So much fun!
8. Pandan Beach
Pandan Beach is a hidden gem just next to Crystal Bay, I’ve had it all to myself both times I’ve been there. There are actually three beaches in a row separated by hills, the third is named Puyung Beach.
As I mentioned above, you get there by going up the stairs on the west side of Crystal Bay. Follow the path for about 20-30 minutes and don’t forget to enjoy the view along the way. You can continue from here to Puyung Beach, but since I was wearing flip-flops I never attempted that hike.
There’s a small shack where a local man is selling drinks near the entrance, but aside from that, the beach is all yours. Enjoy!
9. Amok sunset
If you have time, enjoy a sunset dinner at Amok Sunset Restaurant close to Crystal Bay. There is a pool and many different seating areas to choose from, inside, the sundeck and some tall treehouses.
It’s the perfect spot for a sunset photoshoot. Sunset time in Nusa Penida Bali can be anywhere from 6:00 pm to 6:45 pm, depending on the day and month. I recommend getting to Amok before 5:30 pm to beat the crowds.
My favorites on the menu are the pulled rib tostadas, cheese bites and chicken fingers. They also have a wide selection of mocktails and cocktails.
If you make a reservation, they will pick you up and drop you off after dinner at no cost. Just keep in mind that the music is sometimes loud and they often have DJs during the weekend.
Where to stay in Nusa Penida
As mentioned above, you can easily visit West Nusa Penida on a day trip from Bali or Lembongan. However, then you have to spend most of your time in a car, the distances are long. And the island is so beautiful that I recommend spending at least two if not three nights here if you can.
If you decide that one day in Nusa Penida is just not enough, I recommend finding a place to stay close to Crystal Bay and Gamat Bay on the west coast. My favorite budget accommodation option is Bintang Bungalows, located right in the middle of the two popular snorkeling spots.
As you can see above, you get your own super cute and highly-rated bungalow with air-conditioning and a semi-outdoor bathroom, and a beautiful pool area right on your doorstep.
Atalaya Villas Nusa Penida
If you have a roomier budget, be sure to check out Atalaya Villas Nusa Penida. Omg, I have no words. This place is an Instagrammers dream. I wish my bedroom at home looked like that!
Two of the villas boast their own private infinity pool overlooking a sea of palm trees below. The common pool area is just as beautiful with tipi-like day beds and a bar serving up frozen margaritas. Perfect after a day of exploring west Nusa Penida.
🌟 Check price and availability here >> Atalaya Villas Nusa Penida
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a tourist tax in Nusa Penida?
Yes, to visit Nusa Penida you have to pay a tourist tax of 25,000 IDR/adult and IDR 15,000 IDR/child when you arrive at the harbor.
If you plan to snorkel, dive and swim in the Nusa Penida Marine Protection Area, you have to pay another fee of 100,000 IDR/day or 200,000/month. This fee is already included in most tour packages.
What is the best time to visit Nusa Penida?
Nusa Penida experiences a drier climate than Bali, but the best time to visit is still during the dry season, which typically runs from April to October.
During this period, the weather is generally sunny with minimal rainfall, making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the island’s natural beauty.
However, it’s important to note that Nusa Penida gets very busy during these months, so my personal favorite time to visit Penida, and Indonesia in general, is February to April. That’s when is beautifully green after the rainy season, but with fewer crowds.
How much time do I need in Nusa Penida?
To explore the most popular attractions without feeling, I recommend you spend at least 2 to 3 days on the island.
Nusa Penida’s rugged terrain and limited infrastructure may require additional time for travel between locations, so planning for a few days ensures a more relaxed and fulfilling visit.
Can I drink tap water in Nusa Penida?
The tap water in Bali is not considered safe to drink due to potential contamination with bacteria, viruses, and other impurities.
The infrastructure for water treatment and distribution may not meet the same standards as in some other countries, increasing the risk of waterborne illnesses.
To avoid Bali belly I recommend only drinking bottled water or water that has been properly filtered or boiled.
My favorite bottle for travel, backpacking and hiking.
You can fill it up anywhere, LifeStraw filters bacteria, parasites, chemicals and microplastics.
For every Life Straw product purchased, a child in need receives safe water for an entire school year!
Should I visit Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Penida?
It all depends on what you’re after, as Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida are very different.
Nusa Lembongan is known for its laid-back atmosphere, advanced surf spots, beautiful beaches, and excellent diving and snorkeling, making it a popular choice for those seeking a relaxed island getaway with a range of water-based activities.
On the other hand, Nusa Penida is hailed for its rugged, less-developed landscapes and towering cliffs, much like Bali’s Uluwatu area. Nusa Penida also has world-class snorkeling and hiking opportunities. So if you’re after a more active holiday, choose Nusa Penida.
In my two-week Bali itinerary I have included both, so be sure to check it out!
What camera do you use?
And lastly, here is a little overview of my camera gear. To be honest it’s nothing that fancy. I spent quite some time researching mirrorless cameras before I decided on the Olympus om-d e-m10 mark, and I couldn’t be happier with my choice!
It’s so easy to use and the Olympus app connects the camera to your phone so you can use it as a remote. So helpful if it’s only you and your tripod trying to get the shot. And it doesn’t hurt that it is so pretty to look at, a black and silver retro design.
For lenses, I sometimes use the 14-42mm that came with the camera, but for the most part, I use my fixed f1.8 25mm which creates the most stunning photos with blurry backgrounds. And if you’re a solo traveler you should definitely get yourself this Gorillapod. You don’t want to drag around a large tripod everywhere, so a Gorillapod is your best friend!
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