Most instagrammable spots in Nusa Penida
When you think about Nusa Penida, the first thing that pops into your mind is probably one of the million images of Kelingking Beach (T-rex) on Instagram. What if we told you that we didn’t even visit Kelingking Beach, and still had four overfilled days of sightseeing on the island?! Yes, Nusa Penida is an Instagram hotspot, but that’s because there are so many things to see, and they are all jaw-droppingly impressive. These are the most instagrammable spots in Nusa Penida.
How Do You Travel to Nusa Penida
The easiest way to get to Nusa Penida is by taking a 30-minute ferry that leaves from Sanur (Bali) multiple times a day. You can book a ferry online in advance which is the cheapest but don’t worry if you didn’t book a seat in advance. You can always buy a ticket at the pier and because there are many ferry companies that all go a few times per day, there is a ferry leaving from and to Nusa Penida basically every 15-30 minutes. You’ll arrive in Toyapakeh, the biggest town on Nusa Penida and also where most of the accomoodations are located.
Getting around on Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida isn’t big, big still big enough that it takes you over an hour to get from one side to another, so you’ll need transport to get around. Technically you’ll have two options for transport. Either hire a car with a driver or rent a scooter. The issue with hiring a car with driver is that A) it is expensive, and B) The roads are so narrow that you’ll often see a queue of dozens of cars crawling slowly towards the tourist hotspots on the island. So a scooter really is the only viable option. Now before you get one, be very aware that the roads on Nusa Penida are really really bad, especially when you go inland. Expect steep descends full of holes and bumpy gravel roads, so be careful, take it slow and wear a helmet.
Hire a car with a driver: most accommodations will offer this service. Considering the roads this might be a safer and more comfortable option but be prepared to queue up in traffic jams.
Rent a bike: you can do that immediately as you get off the ferry or at your accommodation. Haggle the price and check the breaks before getting one. Most bikes we’ve seen were in poor condition.
Located on the western coast of Nusa Penida you’ll find nature’s most magical infinity pool called Angel’s Billabong. This tidal pool with crystal clear water sits in the middle of some interesting rock formations, giving the whole thing a very otherworldly feeling. Because the water is so clear that you can see the texture of the rocky bottom it looks like it is very shallow, but some parts are actually too deep to stand in, so you can easily swim in it. But because it is a tidal pool you should make sure to only get in during low tide. We didn’t check the tidal times before going and got here just as the tide was coming in, resulting in Zi getting completely soaked when a wave came in over the edge. Luckily, in this case, nothing serious happened, and watching her get soaked was actually very funny, but it can be very dangerous as the waves are strong enough to throw you around or even knock you off the edge down into the sea.
Best time to go: 2 hours either side of low tide
Travel time: It takes 45 minutes to 1 hour to get to Angel’s Billabong from Toyapakeh
A five-minute walk gets you from Angel’s Billabong to Broken Beach. This cove was formed by a cave-in ages ago, leaving a massive round hole filled with water, and an archway leading to the ocean that lets the water in and out. You can walk all around the hole and over the archway to look at the pretty impressive scenery, but unfortunately, there is no way to get down into the cove.
Location: Find the location for Broken Beach here
Best time to go: Combined with your visit to Angel’s Billabong
Travel time: It takes 45 minutes to 1 hour to get to Broken Beach from Toyapakeh, or a 5 minute walk from Angel’s Billabong
Crystal Bay is the most popular beach on Nusa Penida, and for good reasons. The snorkeling here is great, it faces west so it is the perfect spot to watch the sunset while chilling on the beach with a beer, and it is only a 30-minute drive from Toyapakeh. And just before arriving at Crystal Bay, you drive over the iconic palm tree road. If you feel like Crystal Bay is too crowded, then find a little track that is tucked away on the southern side of the beach. This track first leads up into the jungle, but then goes down on the other side of the cliff and takes you to Pandan Beach, a smaller but way quieter beach that also faces west.
Location: Find the location for Crystal Bay here
Best time to go: Sunset
Travel time: It takes 25 minutes to get to Crystal Bay from Toyapakeh
Thousand Islands viewpoint
On the eastern side of Nusa Penida, you’ll find the Thousand Islands Viewpoint. This rocky point that sticks out of the cliffs provides a mindblowing view over the surrounding limestone cliffs that look like they’ve been meticulously decorated with greenery, and over the countless little rocky islands just off the coast. The viewpoint is said to be the most epic spot on Nusa Penida to watch the sunrise from, but we can’t confirm this because we underestimated how long the drive there would take and just missed the sunrise. Take the time estimation that your navigation tells you to get from A to B with a big margin. According to Google Maps, it would be an hour from Toyapakeh to the viewpoint, but it took us almost an hour and a half due to the bad roads.
At the end of the cliff sits Nusa Penida’s most famous accommodation, the Rumah Pohon Tree House. This place arguably offers the best views of the whole island, and as you can probably imagine it is usually booked out months in advance, because who wouldn’t want to wake up in a spot like this?! Now before you try to book it, when we got to the viewpoint, a couple just came up the hill from the treehouse where they had stayed the night. They told us that throughout the day they continuously got harassed by people who wanted to take a picture from the tree house’s balcony and that they hardly slept because the place was crawling with cockroaches.
Best time to go: Sunrise
Travel time: It takes 1 to 1,5 hours to get to the Thousand Islands Viewpoint from Toyapakeh
Just above the Thousand Islands Viewpoint lies Diamond Beach. The view from the top of the cliffs over the beach is like out of a picture-perfect travel magazine. A stunning white sandy beach lined with palm trees, surrounded by massive limestone cliffs, clear turquoise water and a massive diamond-shaped rock standing in the shallows. Diamond Beach is a must-do location on Nusa Penida. Up until late 2018, it wasn’t possible to get down to the beach itself, but now they’ve carved out stairs into the rocks making it accessible. Try to time your visit around low tide if you want to go down to the beach though, as during high tide the water almost entirely covers up the beach and the sea can get quite rough here.
Best time to go: Combined with your visit to the Thousand Islands Viewpoint
Travel time: It takes 1 to 1,5 hours to get to Diamond Beach from Toyapakeh, or 5 minutes from the Thousand Islands Viewpoint
Located on the other side of the cliffs on the northern side of Diamond Beach lies Atuh Beach. While Diamond Beach isn’t really suited as a beach to relax on, this one is perfect for that! From the top of the stairs that lead down to the beach the view is already pretty epic; a stunning beach surrounded by huge cliffs and a massive rock arch in the water just in front of the beach. The walk down takes about 10 minutes and is pretty steep, but it’ll all be worth it when you’re chilling in the bay sipping on a coconut. The beach is best visited during high tide, as during low tide the rocks in the shallows in front of the beach are exposed, giving the bay a completely different look.
Best time to go: 2 hours either side of high tide
Travel time: It takes 1 to 1,5 hours to get to Atuh Beach from Toyapakeh, or 10 minutes from Diamond Beach
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Because Nusa Penida has become such a massive tourist destination, there are hardly any spots left that haven’t been commercialised. While not everyone will consider this to be a positive development, it does mean that almost every spot on the island can be reached quite easily. We’ve only listed the main tourist attractions, but there is much more to see and there are breathtaking views around every corner. Nusa Penida really is a great addition to your Bali trip and if you have the time, the best thing to do is to just go for a drive and see what you can find.
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