If there is one question first time travelers to Nusa Penida have before they come here it is usually this:
‘How long should I stay on Nusa Penida?’
The answer to that is simple – 5 days.
Five days is the ideal amount of time to spend on Nusa Penida.
Let us explain why..
Nusa Penida’s Unique Geography
Most tourists come to Nusa Penida on single daytrips from Bali. They leave Sanur in the morning, rendezvous with a driver once they arrive, travel the hour long journey down the bumpy and potholed road to their first stop at Angel’s Billabong and Broken Bay, go to a local warung for lunch, then head to Kelingking beach for the classic clifftop photo shot before returning back to the harbour for a 3.30pm boat trip back to Bali.
Once travel times are included they spend only about 5 hours in total on Nusa Penida.
That time allows them to see less than 10% of the the islands major attractions.
Off the Beaten Path and in Search of Adventure.
What most tourists don’t understand is that many of the real gems of Nusa Penida are mostly hidden and often take time to get too.
The islands land based attractions are separated into three distinct areas in the East, South and West. Although the incredible seafront vista of Bali’s Mount Agung, which can be seen from the tranquil palm fringed shores of the north is arguably a stunning attraction in its own right.
Each of these three main regions has at least three or four attractions in each, so to experience them properly it will take up one full day. These are some of the coolest places you could possibly imagine! But most Nusa Penida travelers never visit them.
We will will show them to you.
Temeling Pools – The walk down through the cavern, under the canopy of the overhanging jungle brings you a temple set near a cave at the base of the cliffs. This area of the island is where it begins to feel more remote as far fewer tourists ever come out here. The natural rock pools in the area, separated for swimming by gender, are simply serene.
Peguyangan Waterfall – 700 steps bring you down the cliff face via the sets of distinctive blue ladders. The views from here are spectacular, its hard to imagine a more photogenic place on earth. If you have the nerves to tackle the last series of ladders, which take you out off the cliff edge with nothing but the raging waters beneath, then you will arrive at a platform where a small river flows and a plunging waterfall runs into set of rock pools . You can swim in the cool refreshing waters that come streaming out from inside the cliff. This place is truly a one of a kind and a completely unique and must do experience!
Manta Point – This is a spectacular ocean lookout set high on the cliff top with islands to the East and West and very often several Manta Rays which can be seen feeding way down in the clear waters hundreds of meters below. If you’re feeling fit and adventurous it is possible to climb through a narrow cave and over the ridge out to the tip of the headland on the other side. An amazing photo opportunity exists here for anyone that is game!
Crystal Bay – This is a popular beach facing Nusa Cennigan island with crystal clear water perfect for snorkeling (As the name suggests). In recent times it has seen quite a lot of development with many warungs and buildings now fronting the formerly palm tree lined shores.
Angel’s Billabong – This popular tourist destination is a stunning natural rock pool carved into the cliff face with an outlook through towards the tempestuous Indian Ocean in the South.
Broken Bay – Nearby to Angels Billabong, a sheltered bay carved out from the limestone cliffs is guarded by a towering natural stone bridge near the entrance. The waters shimmer an alluring blue green color here and on some days Manta ray’s can be seen feeding in the plankton rich waters.
Kelingking Beach – Since the rise of Instagram this has become Nusa Penida’s most famous attraction. Descend the winding stairs down to the white sand beach for a swim in the waters below. The name Kelingking means pinky finger in the local language.
Atuh Beach – This is a beautiful laidback beach resting between two towering headlands that offers a few comforts to travellers after the thousands of steps you will climb around this island. Several warungs with beanbags and beach loungers provide some luxuriating respite while you take in the sights of the unique rock formations carved out from the stone by the ocean while perhaps enjoying a fresh coconut or an icy cold bintang.
Raja Lima – The name comes from the five islands that sit at the eastern tip of the Nusa Penida. Translated it means five kings. An incredible panorama’s over the islands all the way to Lombok can be had from here including a view to the towering peak of Mount Rinjani on a clear day.
Bukit Teletubbies – This series of large hills on the east of the island get the name from their gently rounded profile. You will make your way over these curious summits and past a series of unique temples on the way to the last destination on the East coast.
Suwehan Beach – A journey out over the hills of the remote Southeast corner of the island will bring you to Suwehan beach. Once there a trek down 500 stairs etched into the jungle fringed cliffs allows peaks through the natural windows to the turquoise blue waters shimmering below. Upon arrival at the bottom this beach can have you feeling like a shipwreck survivor as there are very often no other signs of human life to be found around here.
Nusa Penida’s Caves
The island is home to innumerable caves which have been carved out from the limestone bedrock by flowing waters over the past few thousand years. Many have been turned into temples and perhaps the most spectacular of these, and an absolute must visit while on Nusa Penida, is the one at Goa Giri Putri.
A walk up a some more steps will bring you to a temple where a guide will offer a sarong and direct you to the cave entrance. The low and narrow hole will test your limbo skills but don’t be fooled into thinking that this is how the whole experience will be. The enormous tunnelling caverns on the other side stretch for hundreds of meters and the jungle crested hillsides at the opening of the other end will, like so many of the other natural features of this island, have you exclaiming this same word once again ‘Wow’!
So having seen the view from the top and within Nusa Penida. It’s now time to go below!
Snorkeling and Diving
Nusa Penida is a world famous diving destination which offers an incredible set of diving experiences that can be found in very few other places anywhere in the word.
It is one of the few places on earth where you can experience the magic of swimming with the majestic manta rays. These highly intelligent fish barely seem to notice your presence when you enter the water with them and show no reservations about swimming right up to, and past you, as you look on in awe at their enormous mouth and graceful gliding wings.
The second major Penida spectacle is that this is one of the very rare places in the world where it is possible to swim with the largest Bony fish in the ocean – The mysterious Mola Mola, also known as a Sunfish.
These giant creatures, which drift their way around in the ocean currents feeding on jellyfish are totally unique, and if you do get to see one you will be among only a tiny handful of people in the world who have ever experienced these distinctive creatures in the wild first hand.
The third major underwater drawcard, and one which is always a crowd pleaser, is a swim with one of the many schools of Giant Trevally that make this island their home. These impressive and powerful fish, which can grow to sizes in excess of 1.5 meters and over 60 kilograms prowl the ocean currents in search of food and prey. Being in the water surrounded by a swirling mass of these beasts as they circle around will definitely get your heart racing!
Along with these oceanic headliners you can regularly expect to see many other amazing sea creatures when diving and snorkeling here including turtles, dolphins, nudibranch, abundant reef dwelling fish, and some of the most pristine and brightly colored coral gardens found anywhere around Bali.
We run two boat trips to see the myriad of underwater attractions around Nusa Penida and we also run the only tour that visits the remote eastern coast of the island by sea, where along with the above you can witness the spectacular Raja Lima islands, Suwehan cliffs, and the simply stunning palm tree fringed Oasis beach, which sits beneath a 200 meter high cliff and can only be accessed by boat.
Get the Complete Nusa Penida Experience
With three full day land trips to the many destinations around the island, plus two boat trips on separate days to experience Nusa Penida’s underwater wonderland. We can say with confidence that 5 days is just the right amount of time to spend on Nusa Penida to experience everything this enchanting island has to offer.