If you’re planning a trip to Nusa Penida, you’ve probably read numerous blog posts romanticizing the small island off the southeastern coast of Bali as a rugged and secluded paradise. These articles tout Nusa Penida as the perfect antidote to the overcrowded and over-touristy Bali: a place where Western-backed development and throngs of Instagram influencers have yet to descend.
But the reality is that this is no longer the case. Nusa Penida is changing rapidly. Its increase in popularity over the last few years has brought swarms of tourists to spots that were previously under the radar.
In addition, many popular things to do on Nusa Penida that used to be free now charge both a parking fee and an entrance fee. Furthermore, some attractions on the island are frankly just not safe to visit by motorbike, unless you are an expert driver!
But don’t let this dissuade you. Nusa Penida is still a beautiful island, with some of the most dramatic seaside cliffs and idyllic beaches we’ve ever seen. And it’s absolutely worth visiting… with the right expectations!
Plus, all the locations we cover can be reached via (primarily) paved roads. We were novice motorbike drivers and managed to safely get to each spot on this list.
In this article we’ll highlight all the things to do on Nusa Penida that live up to the hype. And, more importantly, we’ll fill you in on which overrated spots you might want to skip in 2023.
Best Things to do on Nusa Penida
Best things to do on Nusa Penida
- See the famous T-Rex Viewpoint at Kelingking Beach
- Climb the stairs down to Diamond Beach
- Catch some rays at Atuh Beach
- Catch a stunning sunset at Crystal Bay
- Hike to the secluded Pandan Beach
- Soak in the pools at Tembeling Forest
- Brave the staircase to Peguyangan Waterfall
- Go snorkeling with manta rays at Manta Point
- Take a day trip to Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan
- Eat local food at a warung
Popular things to do on Nusa Penida that we’d skip
- Angel’s Billabong: swimming is now prohibited
- Broken Beach is dirty and swarmed with posing Instagrammers
- Thousand Islands Viewpoint and Rumah Pohon Treehouse is a highly overrated tourist trap
- Teletubbies Hill is underwhelming in person
1. See the famous T-Rex Viewpoint at Kelingking Beach
- Parking fee |15,000 IDR per motorbike ($0.63 USD)
- Entrance fee | None
Catching our first glimpse of the towering, majestic cliffs, azure water, and churning waves of the T-Rex Viewpoint and Kelingking Beach was unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
We had seen dozens, maybe hundreds, of pictures of this area online, and yet none of them did it justice. Put simply, it’s breathtaking.
You’ll hear folks refer to this area on Nusa Penida as both T-Rex and Kelingking Viewpoint. Once you lay eyes on the rock formation jutting out into the ocean, it’s easy to see why. Almost immediately, you can see the cliffs in the shape of a T-Rex head, with its jaws open forming a small bay.
Alternatively, Kelingking translates to “pinky” in English, as the cliffs also resemble a small finger pointing out from the end of the island into the ocean, like its sipping a fancy cup of tea.
Climbing down to Kelingking Beach
After soaking up the views from the top, it’s time to start the treacherous journey down to Kelingking Beach. Luckily, few people are willing to brave the steep and sketchy trek down to the beach so you can leave some of the crowds behind.
If you are afraid of heights, we wouldn’t recommend attempting to climb down to Kelingking Beach!
The first part of the hike is fairly innocuous. You will traverse down sturdy, concrete stairs along the ridge heading out towards the ocean. After about five or ten minutes, the trail sharply cuts down to the right, towards the beach. Here things start to get more eventful.
The concrete stairs all but end and soon you’ll be walking along roughly constructed steps hastily fashioned into the side of the cliff. These steps become progressively steeper, less secure, and in some spots, you’ll need to scoot down on your butt (or at least we did to feel safer).
Add in some ladders and rope assistance towards the bottom and the whole ordeal quickly becomes quite the exhausting adventure!
You’ve almost certainly seen pictures of Kelingking Beach on Nusa Penida while scrolling through your Instagram feed. The well-photographed view looking down over the towering limestone cliffs in the shape of…
2. Climb the stairs down to Diamond Beach
- Parking fee | 5,000 IDR per motorbike ($0.32 USD)
- Entrance fee | 35,000 IDR per person ($2.20 USD)
If T-Rex Viewpoint/Kelingking Beach is the most picturesque place on Nusa Penida, Diamond Beach, on the eastern side of the island, is a close second.
Much like Kelingking Beach, the Diamond Beach experience starts with a magnificent viewpoint on top of the towering seaside cliffs, providing a sweeping vista of the turbulent ocean, distinctively diamond-shaped sea stacks, and white sand beach below.
And while this viewpoint is more than worth a stop on its own, you can also continue down to the heavenly Diamond Beach at the base of the cliffs.
The journey down to Diamond Beach isn’t as long or as treacherous as the trek down to Kelingking Beach. However, it’s still steep, exposed, and involves some tricky maneuvering down sketchy steps carved into the cliff, ladders, and ropes.
But Diamond Beach is oh so worth it. With palm trees swaying in the breeze, soft coral pink sand, and imposing sea stacks in every direction, Diamond Beach is truly a tropical paradise.
Pro Tip | Parking and the entrance for both Diamond Beach and Atuh Beach are at the same place. The parking fee and entrance fee covers both beaches.
3. Catch some rays at Atuh Beach
Once you’re done exploring Diamond Beach, it’s time to head over to its next door neighbor: Atuh Beach.
We’ll be honest, Atuh Beach is not as pretty as Diamond Beach. But entry is included with your ticket to Diamond Beach, so it’s worth a quick visit.
Now, “quick” is a bit of a relative term because you can’t just saunter over to Atuh Beach from Diamond Beach. You’ll need to climb back up to the top of the cliffs from Diamond Beach and then hike back down the other side to reach Atuh Beach, located just to the north.
But there are some neat-looking rock formations just off the coast from Atuh Beach. Plus, it’s much quieter than Diamond Beach. There are also a handful of warungs that line Atuh Beach, offering cold drinks, snacks, and Indonesian classic dishes like Nasi Goreng, Mie Goreng, and grilled seafood.
Its not a bad spot to spend a few hours relaxing at the beach!
Pro Tip | We visited Atuh Beach during low tide and it was less than ideal. Since the tide was so low, it was difficult to access the water due to a large strip of exposed rocks and coral. We’ve seen some pictures of Atuh Beach at high tide and it looks much easier to access the water.
4. Catch a stunning sunset at Crystal Bay
- Parking fee | 5,000 IDR per motorbike ($0.32 USD)
- Entrance fee | Free
Located on the western side of Nusa Penida, Crystal Bay is perfectly situated for winding down with a cold Bintang beer and watching the sunset at the end of a long day full of island adventures.
The beach itself at Crystal Bay isn’t anything to write home about. Frankly, it probably wouldn’t make our list of the best things to do on Nusa Penida if it weren’t for its magnificent sunsets.
But come late afternoon, as the sun approaches the distant horizon, Crystal Bay begins to fill up with fellow sunset seekers, all waiting for the magical moment when the sky lights up in fiery shades of orange, pink, and red.
My words simply won’t do it justice. Just look at the pictures for yourself!
I do want to note that watching the sunset at Crystal Bay is no secret, so you won’t have the place to yourself. But, the day-trippers from Bali have long since left Nusa Penida by early evening so it doesn’t feel too overcrowded.
Crystal Bay is home to the most popular beach on Nusa Penida and one of the best sunset spots across all of Bali. Facing directly west, Crystal Bay is perfectly situated…
5. Hike to the secluded Pandan Beach
- Parking fee | 5,000 IDR per motorbike ($0.32 USD; same parking lot as Crystal Bay)
- Entrance fee | Free
If you’re looking for the ultimate remote and secluded beach on Nusa Penida, Pandan Beach is the spot for you.
To reach Pandan Beach, head to the southern end of Crystal Bay Beach and look for a path that leads up over the hill. There should be a small sign for Pandan Beach next to a steep concrete staircase.
From the edge of Crystal Bay Beach, you’ll hike up and over the hill before descending down to Pandan Beach, a small stretch of sand a few hundred meters long. The hike from Crystal Bay should take about 10-20 minutes and is well-marked, with nice views overlooking the teal waters.
This path is the only way to reach Pandan Beach. Very few people make the effort to reach this secluded spot, despite its proximity to the ever-bustling Crystal Bay.
Pandan Beach is a quiet, secluded beach on the increasingly popular island of Nusa Penida.This article provides all the information you need to get to Pandan Beach, a quiet spot…
6. Soak in the pools at Tembeling Forest
- Parking fee | 10,000 IDR per motorbike ($0.63 USD)
- Entrance fee | Small donation requested at entrance to pools (we donated 10,000 IDR)
Soaking in the pools at Tembeling Beach and Forest is one of the most underrated things to do on Nusa Penida, attracting significantly fewer visitors than other, less interesting spots on the island.
We really enjoyed visiting Tembeling Forest because it’s so different from other spots on Nusa Penida and still feels a bit under the radar.
Located at the bottom of a steep, unpaved path that cuts through the lush, dense jungle, the pools at Tembeling Forest are a refreshing oasis and a great place to cool off with a quick swim.
There are two natural pools at Tembeling Forest, each just a short walk from each other. While most people seem to be drawn to the second pool, we actually liked the first pool a bit more, as it was quieter and the water was clearer.
Continuing just a few minutes beyond the second pool, you’ll reach Tembeling Beach, a short stretch of sand tucked away amongst the massive seaside cliffs. It’s a nice little beach and a good spot to lounge for a bit while you dry off from your swim in the pool.
How to get to Tembeling Natural Pools & Beach
Perhaps one reason that Tembeling Forest remains under the radar is that it takes quite a bit of effort to reach. You can either choose to walk about 2.5km down the unpaved path to the pools or catch a ride with one of the local guys offering motorbike “taxi” rides.
The walk takes about 20 minutes, whereas a ride on a motorbike takes about 5 minutes but will set you back 50,000 IDR ($3.14 USD). We chose to walk down to the pools and actually enjoyed walking through the forest and even got to see a few cute monkeys!
Visiting Tembeling Beach and Forest was one of our favorite things to do on Nusa Penida and remains an underrated adventure on the increasingly popular island. In this guide, we’ll…
7. Brave the staircase to Peguyangan Waterfall
- Parking fee | 5,000 IDR per motorbike ($0.31 USD)
- Entrance fee | 15,000 IDR ($0.94 USD; includes sarong rental)
By this point, you might have noticed a theme across each of the best things to do on Nusa Penida: almost everything requires some form of stairs or steep path to access.
But the fear-inducing stairs that bring you to the Peguyangan Waterfall (also referred to as the Guyangan Waterfall) take the cake as the most treacherous and precarious form of vertical transportation on Nusa Penida.
Not only are these stairs impossibly steep, they are quite literally bolted onto the side of the cliff, with a sheer and undoubtedly fatal, drop into the ocean just below.
Trust us, if you are afraid of heights, do not attempt to climb down to the Peguyangan Waterfall!
In reality, the waterfall here isn’t much of a waterfall, but the area is an important place of worship for the local Hindu population. You’ll see many people making a pilgrimage down to the temple at the bottom of the stairs. Just beyond the temple at the bottom, are a few natural infinity pools overlooking the ocean that are a great place to cool off and take a dip.
Despite constantly clinging to the edge of the cliff for dear life, we really enjoyed mastering the stairs leading down to the Peguyangan Waterfall. We’d definitely recommend it as one of our favorite things to do on Nusa Penida.
Note | Because this area is a sacred Hindu site, you will be required to wear a sarong. If you don’t have one, they are included in the 15,000 IDR entrance fee.
Located at the bottom of an infamous set of blue stairs precariously clinging to the cliffside, Peguyangan Waterfall is one of the most overlooked attractions on Nusa Penida.
8. Go snorkeling with manta rays at Manta Point
- Cost | 250,000-500,000 IDR ($15-$30 USD; depending on tour)
Of everything we did on Nusa Penida, nothing was as memorable as snorkeling with giant manta rays!
The wingspan of these gentle giants can reach up to 15 feet (5 meters) and they are actually quite friendly, often putting on a bit of show for snorkelers. Swimming within a few feet of the giant manta rays was easily the coolest snorkeling experience we’ve ever had!
In addition to swimming with the manta rays, most tours also include snorkeling amongst colorful coral, schools of unique fish species, and if you’re lucky, sea turtles.
The cost of these tours might be a bit high by Indonesian standards but we highly recommend it.
We always recommend booking your tours in advance through GetYourGuide to avoid the stress of trying to find a tour.
Pro Tip | We highly recommend trying to find a tour that goes to Manta Point, rather than Manta Bay. Tours to Manta Point are more expensive (usually by 2x), but you have a much higher chance of seeing manta rays compared to Manta Bay. In our opinion, it’s worth the extra money, and reviews of each respective tour would suggest the same!
Manta Point is home to absolutely massive manta rays that are so large you can actually see them swimming from the cliffs hundreds of feet above the water. But better…
9. Take a day trip to Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan
- Cost | Boat from Nusa Penida to Nusa Lembongan is 150,000 IDR ($9.41 USD) round trip, per person.
Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan are two small islands just off the northwestern coast of Nusa Penida with a laid back beach vibe.
Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan are connected by a short bridge, making it easy to travel between the two islands. From Nusa Penida, you’ll need to take a quick (about 10-minute) boat trip, which will drop you off at Nusa Lembongan, right at the famous yellow bridge.
Here is a quick rundown of our favorite things to do on Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan:
- Mahagiri Beach | An easily accessible beach on Nusa Lembongan, our favorite beach on either island.
- Dream Beach | Another nice beach on Nusa Lembongan.
- Blue Lagoon | A small, picturesque cove on Nusa Ceningan with bright blue water.
Devil’s Tears is a popular spot on Nusa Lembongan that did not live up to the hype in our opinion. We’d recommend skipping it.
Pro Tip | Like most of Bali, the best way to get around on Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningnan is via motorbike. You can rent one for the day for about 100,000 IDR.
10. Eat local food at a warung
I’ll be honest, Indonesian food isn’t my favorite cuisine. There’s nothing bad about it, it’s just a little repetitive.
That being said, the dining scene on Nusa Penida is still dominated by local warungs. Warungs are small, family-run restaurants that serve Indonesian classics like nasi goreng (fried rice) and mie goreng (fried noodles) at very low prices.
Eating dinner at a warung is a great way to experience the local culinary culture. If were being honest, the best meals we had on Nusa Penida was at local warungs, not the nice restaurants catering to tourists. One of our favorite meals was at Warung Gubang.
Popular things to do on Nusa Penida that we’d skip
11. Angel’s Billabong: swimming is now prohibited
- Entrance fee | 25,000 IDR per person (covers parking and entrance to Broken Beach)
Angel’s Billabong is probably the second most popular attraction on Nusa Penida, after Kelingking Beach, but honestly, we thought it was incredibly underwhelming. We’d recommend skipping Angel’s Billabong.
Angel’s Billabong is touted as a natural infinity pool tucked between rock cliffs, with clear blue water and views out into the ocean. You’ve probably seen photos of an influencer blissfully floating on the clear water without a care in the world.
Well unfortunately, if you visit Angel’s Billabong, you’re in for a serious Instagram versus reality moment. The truth is that Angel’s Billabong is quite small, dirty, and incredibly crowded during the day, with tourists jostling to get the best spot to take a selfie.
Furthermore, swimming is prohibited as of 2023. Since 2016, four tourists have died at Angel’s Billabong after being swept out to the turbulent ocean below by large sneaker waves. The staircase that once led down to the tidepool is now roped off.
With that kind of danger, we totally understand why swimming is prohibited. But now, Angel’s Billabong isn’t much more than a small pool of water tucked between some ocean cliffs with hordes of people lined up around the edges, all fighting to take a picture.
In our opinion, it just isn’t worth the visit. If you do want to see it, go as early in the morning as possible to beat the crowds.
12. Broken Beach is dirty and swarmed with posing Instagrammers
Just up the hill from Angel’s Billabong, you’ll find Broken Beach, another popular spot that you’ll see on most lists of things to do on Nusa Penida. But we’re here to warn you – it isn’t worth the visit in our opinion.
Now, our feelings towards Broken Beach are a little different than our opinion of Angel’s Billabong. Whereas Angel’s Billabong wasn’t that cool or pretty in any way, the arch at Broken Beach, under the right circumstances, would actually be a nice view.
However, the reality you don’t see in all of the pictures of Broken Beach is that the entire area is dirty and absolutely swarmed with people pushing and fighting to pose in front of the arch, all for a quick picture to post on social media.
Don’t get us wrong, we love sharing our experiences on Instagram, but there’s just something that rubs us the wrong way about people who go to places like Broken Beach simply to take a picture of themselves for social media. To them, the experience is taking their own picture. We want to enjoy the beauty of the place and take it all in.
Well, that is very difficult to do at Broken Beach when there are hordes of “influencers” who only care about how they look in their staged photos.
Pro Tip | It’s not actually possible to go to Broken Beach! The beach is surrounded on all sides by large cliffs with no staircase access. The highlight at Broken Beach is the arch opposite the beach.
13. Thousand Islands Viewpoint and Rumah Pohon Treehouse is a highly overrated tourist trap
- Parking fee | 5,000 IDR
- Entrance fee | 25,000 IDR per person
- Other fees | 75,000 IDR to take a photo at the Insta-famous treehouse, and 25,000 to 50,000 IDR to take photos at other viewpoints.
The Thousand Islands Viewpoint and Rumah Pohon Treehouse are located together and are two of the most popular photo spots on Nusa Penida. What used to be off-the-beaten path viewpoints are now nothing more than staged photo ops for wannabe Instagram influencers.
You’ve likely seen the photos of people hanging off a ladder leading up to a whimsical treehouse perched on a cliff overlooking the teal waters of Diamond Beach. Well, to get that photo, you’ll walk past heaps of burnt trash, wait in line while everyone else poses for the exact same photo, and pay a series of fees. It’s not quite what it’s cracked up to be.
First, the fees, which you won’t read about anywhere else online. There is a 5,000 IDR parking per motorbike. Then, you’re required to pay a 25,000 IDR per person entrance fee that comes with a wristband and small bottle of water. The parking fee and entrance fee cover both the treehouse and Thousand Islands Viewpoint.
In addition, if you’d like to take a picture on the ladder to the treehouse, it costs another 75,000 IDR. You’ll be given 2 minutes to take photos. And yes, they have a stopwatch!
We had no intention of having a photo taken at the treehouse. We really just wanted to see the Thousand Islands Viewpoint because we’d heard good things, not realizing the treehouse was at the same location. But we were so frustrated by the entire circus that we quickly popped up to Thousand Islands Viewpoint and left feeling disappointed.
Yes, the view from the Thousand Islands Viewpoint is beautiful but we didn’t think it was worth the hassle and fees required to access it.
Is the Thousand Islands Viewpoint at Nusa Penida worth visiting in 2023? We don’t think so, but don’t just take our word for it. In this article, we’ll tell you…Keep reading
14. Teletubbies Hill is underwhelming in person
Teletubbies Hill is often listed as one of the best things to do on Nusa Penida for sunset or sunrise. It’s a viewpoint just off the side of the road that overlooks a series of round hills that resemble the backdrop for the popular children’s TV show.
In our opinion, the viewpoint isn’t anything too special and it is not worth going out of your way to visit.
The view here is pretty underwhelming in person, especially during the dry season. It’s likely a bit more impressive when the rolling hills are lush and green but you’re still just looking at a series of hills. When we visited in October, the landscape was brown and the hills were pretty boring.
If you’re driving through the area, it’s an easy and quick stop, but we wouldn’t go out of your way to get here.
Nusa Penida FAQs
How do I get to Nusa Penida from Bali?
- Cost | 100,000 to 150,000 IDR per person from Bali (one way)
If you’re planning to visit Nusa Penida independently and stay overnight on the island, the best way to get there is by booking a fast boat from Bali on 12GoAsia. Most boats depart from the Sanur Harbour in Bali and arrive at Banur Nyuh Harbor on the western side of Nusa Penida.
We used the company Angel Billabong Fast Cruise because it was the cheapest option, and we had a fine experience. Don’t expect any luxuries: the A/C won’t work, it’s hot, bumpy and the choppy seas may induce seasickness for some!
But we’ve come to find that these conditions are the standard for traveling by boat in Southeast Asia.
How do I get around on Nusa Penida?
- By motorbike | 100,000 – 150,000 IDR per day
- By guided tour | 500,000 to 1,250,000 IDR per person (including other eastern island highlights)
- By private driver | 600,000 – 1,000,000 IDR per day
There are three ways you can get around to all the best things to do on Nusa Penida: by renting a motorbike, taking a guided tour, or hiring a private driver for the day.
Renting a motorbike
We stayed on Nusa Penida for about a week and rented our own motorbike to get there. Motorbike rentals on Nusa Penida tend to cost more than mainland Bali, so expect to pay between 100,000 and 150,000 IDR per day.
You need to make sure you rent a motorbike with at least 125cc if you’re sharing the motorbike with a spouse or friend in order to make it up the steep hills across Nusa Penida. Despite the island seeming relatively small, it takes about 1 hour to get from one side of the island to the other. Be prepared for some extended time spent on your motorbike!
Pro Tip | Despite its increasing popularity with tourists, much of the infrastructure on Nusa Penida remains underdeveloped. Roads are narrow, and bumpy, and are often under construction. That being said, a lot of the roads have been fairly recently paved. They were in better condition than we expected.
With a tour group
If you are visiting for the day, the best way to see the best things to do on Nusa Penida is by taking either an eastern Nusa Penida tour or a western Nusa Penida Tour. Eastern island tours typically include Atuh Beach, Diamond Beach, Teletubbies Hill and Thousand Islands Viewpoint. On the other hand, western island tours generally include Kelingking Beach, Broken Beach, Angel’s Billabong and Crystal Bay.
Expect to pay between 500,000 and 1,250,000 IDR per person for a full-day tour from Bali.
Tip | Before booking a guided tour, be sure to check whether admission to the various sites is included.
Hiring a private driver
Lastly, if you’re staying on Nusa Penida but aren’t comfortable zipping around on a motorbike, your best bet is to hire a private driver for the day. Expect to pay between 600,000 and 1,000,000 IDR for the day in total.
You can book a driver in advance or ask your hotel to help you book one once you arrive.
How many days should I spend on Nusa Penida?
We’d recommend 3 full days to fully explore all the best things to do on Nusa Penida. This gives you one day to explore the eastern side, one day to explore the western side, and one day to go snorkeling with Manta Rays.
With two full days, spend the first morning snorkeling with Manta Rays and visit Kelingking Beach in the late afternoon. Spend the next day exploring the eastern side of the island.
When is the best time to visit?
- Rainy season | November to March
- Dry season | April to October
Nusa Penida has two distinct seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. Dry season is the most popular time to visit for obvious reasons. If you want to avoid the crowds you may actually prefer to visit during the rainy season. Just be prepared to plan your day around the weather if you do visit during the rainy season.
No matter when you visit Nusa Penida, we’d recommend getting to Thousand Islands Viewpoint as early in the morning as possible to avoid the crowds. If you’re staying on the island, you can avoid the Bali day-tour groups that typically swarm the popular sights from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. by visiting early in the day or later in the afternoon.
Where should I stay on Nusa Penida?
If you want to explore all the best things to do on Nusa Penida, we’d recommend staying just inland from the western side of the island. Below are a few great places to stay:
- Budget | The Dagan Bungalow. Private and clean bungalows in a convenient location with prices starting at $35 USD per night.
- Mid-range | Bagia Bungalows. This is where we stayed and we had a great experience. Our host was super helpful and gave us the inside scoop on which attractions are accessible by motorbike.
- Luxury | Penida Bamboo Green Suites. Stunning luxury bungalows featuring hammocks with views overlooking the island. If you stay here, you just might not want to leave!
Other useful resources
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We want to hear from you! What did you think of our honest review of things to do on Nusa Penida? Any activities we’d skip that you disagree with?