30 hours on the largest of the three Nusa islands off the south east coast of Bali, Indonesia – did a hell of a lot more for us than we initially were expecting, the island itself taught us to slow down and soak in a much needed local experience after the hustle of Seminyak and the people of Nusa Penida restored our faith in humanity, big time, which was so beautifully unexpected. The island is still so untouched but developing quickly in its own right, if you are thinking about visiting – I urge you to do it asap! It is definitely an independent traveler destination and perfect for getting wonderfully lost. We jumped on a scooter and zipped around the island for two days, it was just magic!
We left the Sanur harbor for NP at 8am sharp by means of a local boat, starting our authentic experience before we had even left the shores. We were the only travelers aboard and the majority of the locals were clothed beautifully in white linen with bunches of flowers in hand, they were off to a wedding on the island.
From an efficiency perspective we recommend leaving from Sanur rather than any other harbors in Bali and there are two means of travel from here; a local ferry aka ‘Jukung’ costing around 40,000 IDR ($2.70 USD) per person each way or a fast-boat costing around 150,000 IDR ($10 USD) per person each way.
Getting Around On The Island
As we made our way across the sea, we arrived in just 30 mins via a fast-boat to the small and rickety port of Nusa Penida. We had researched the Islands transport the day prior and due to the independent nature of the destination, we were not expecting to be able to hitch a ride to our accommodation easily or quickly, however there were quite a few locals awaiting our arrival at port Prasi Senata, at the ready with vehicles, scooters and that beautiful classic Balinese smile to help us find our way. The cost for a driver will depend on how far you need to go – we actually stayed on the far eastern side of the island, costing us approx 350,000 IDR ($23 USD) for a 1.5 hr drive (yes, do not be fooled – NP is so much larger than one would anticipate) however, if you are staying in a villa near the port, do not expect to pay more than approx 150,000 ($10 USD)
Once we arrived at our accommodation, we were able to rent a scooter for just 75,000 IDR ($5 USD) a day, and just like that, we were set to start exploring. Nusa Penida is really under developed in terms of infrastructure which is what makes it so appealing to travelers, however due to this a lot of the roads, particularly those that lead to the main attractions on the island are not sealed and are extremely rough so ensure you are really careful when riding through the streets, prepare to dodge potholes like never before.
Where to Stay
One of the key reasons we were visiting the island was to do something we had never done before and stay in a real life tree house. We booked the incredible Rumah Pohon tree house via air bnb (use this link to get $40 USD off your first trip with airbnb) for approx 640,000 IDR ($43 USD) and the views were actually ridiculous, in my opinion, some of the best in all of Indonesia. Whilst we were completely out of our comfort zone (I genuinely was scared it was going to fall down every time we moved) It was such an incredible experience and I have since been assured the tree house is 100% stable – which is great news! If you do choose to book this bad boy, make sure you request tree house #1 and be prepared, it is quite the hike with really steep stairs down to the cliff where the tree houses have been built, so needless to say getting back up the stairs will give you a good enough workout to suffice for your whole trip. That being said, it is SO worth it. If you have adventure in your bones, I highly recommend this experience.
There are a few local villa options for accommodation closer to the port, for as little as 150,000 ($10 USD) a night – just jump on booking.com (use this link for $20 USD off your first stay with booking) air bnb, or your preferred accommodation site and do some research – you’ll have no problems finding something awesome within your budget!
Places to see on the Island
Entrance fee- 5,000 IDR ($0.35 USD)
This is without a doubt the most beautiful place I have ever experienced, it was actually quite emotional seeing the cliffs in person for the first time after being inspired to visit by other travelers’ content. Kelingking beach is located on the south-west side of the island. You can walk down to the beach, but us rocking up as Australia in it’s human form, deemed it appropriate to live in thongs/flip flops for our entire trip and as it turns out, this is not the most appropriate footwear for a near vertical hike on the side of a cliff-face. So, if you plan on venturing down to the beach, I do recommend comfortable footwear with a lot of grip, if not, grab a coconut for 9,000 IDR ($0.60 USD) and take in the most amazing views of your life.
If you only have the time for one destination on Nusa Penida, this is it.
Entrance fee- 2,000 IDR ($0.15 USD)
Sadly, we ran out of time to experience this slice of paradise for ourselves but check out the hashtag #crystalbay on instagram for some gorgeous shots of palm tree city – This is the first place we’ll be crossing off our list when we hit up NP again.
Rumah Pohon Treehouse
Entrance fee – 10,000 IDR ($0.70 USD)
If staying in a treehouse isn’t really your thang, you can still get in on the action by visiting Rumah Pohon to simply take in the views, get some instagram shots & and meet the beautiful family operating the accommodation. If you’re feeling a bit peckish after exhausting yourself from climbing up the steep cliffs, $3 USD will get you a really generous plate of mi goreng at the reception/info hut – just what the doctor ordered!
Discover Abandoned Temples
The beauty of an island that isn’t over saturated with tourists, is that you can create your own path. After a bit of site seeing, that’s exactly what we decided to do. As service was limited, we decided to ditch google maps and just do a loop of the island. We discovered this abandoned temple between two local villages – it was completely empty and so unique to the temples found on the main island of Bali. The only downside of it being abandoned was having no one to tell you the history, oh well.. I guess we’ll have to let our imaginations take over for this one.
Angels Billabong & Broken Beach
Entrance fee – 5,000 IDR ($0.35 USD)
These two gifts from mother nature are located just a short stroll away from each other, right on the south west corner of the island. Angel’s Billabong is a natural pool of wonder of the edge of a cliff. I would recommend getting here as early in the AM as possible (be sure to check the tide times) to ensure you lock in some alone time with this beauty as it can quickly get crowded thanks to its newly found insta-fame.
Broken beach is a drone photographers dream, a perfectly round bay with a natural arch leading out to the ocean. It is the perfect place to sit with a picnic, watch the beautifully blue water roll in and listen to the waves crash.
Grab a Beer & a Bite on the beach
In the north of the island, closer to the port the coastline is dotted with lots of of open restaurants and cafe’s on the beach, simply pull up, park your scooter out the front and take a seat.
A meal here will set you back around 75,000 IDR ($5USD) and a delish Bintang just 15,000 IDR ($1USD)
Explore the Island and create your own memories
Nusa Penida is one of the most extraordinary places we have traveled. The people are such raw, happy souls and the untouched beauty of the island is unlike anywhere else. It was here, our faith in humView Postanity was restored a million times over. We got SO lost after realizing our scooter didn’t have a light globe after dark – fail! We were very close to spending the night in the jungle as their are no street lights and little villages are few and far between, but with the help of two kind locals, some awkward hand gestures and some terrible attempts at Indonesian on our part, they ended up offering us their scooter for the night to make our way home! We were complete strangers and they trusted us with their most expensive possession – it was incredible and its moments like this, that make us realize most people in this world really do have good hearts and we need to continue to look after each other in any way we can. We are both so grateful for this experience and the opportunities travel have given us.
Total approximate cost for a couple visiting Nusa Penida over two days (allowing for plenty of Bintang & Coconuts, of course) – $160 USD
If you chose to stay closer to the port or closer to the north of the island, the cost would lower to approx – $120 USD
AND if you chose to do this and catch the ‘Jukung’ instead of the fast boat, it would only cost you approx $90 USD for two people for two whole days of exploring on Nusa P.
Whatever your budget – this is such an affordable and beautiful travel destination.
What’s your most memorable travel experience? Has a local saved you from a potentially unpleasant time in their country?
Thanks for reading,
Peace, Love & Happy Travels