Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida – Where, Why, How?

Located around 20km (12miles) to the East of Bali, Nusa Penida is easily accessible by fastboat in around 40 minutes. The island boasts a myriad of mainly natural attractions, and in recent years has become one of the most popular photo destinations in Bali. From magnificent cliffs, pristine white sand beaches, dramatic crashing waves, waterfalls, natural pools, mystic temples, secluded tree-houses and much more, Penida is a must-visit location for any visitor to Bali.

Bali to Penida Maps

With and early morning departure and late afternoon return, our new Serangan-Penida-Gilis schedule is perfect for a number of different ways to enjoy the island, whether it’s a single day trip out and back to Bali, or multi-day stop-over on the way to the Gilis. Our Island hopping packages are the ideal way to experience the best of three very different islands: Bali, Penida and Gilis. Check out our recommended itineraries below.

About Nusa Penida

Penida is the largest of the three main islands clustered off the east coast of Bali, which comprise Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan in addition to the larger Nusa Penida. All are part of the Klungkung regency of Bali. Nusa Penida is mainly dry and rocky, with a maximum height of 524m above sea level, and magnificent 100m+ precipices ascending from turquoise tropical waters and shimmering deserted beaches along much of the coast. There are actually a total of 13 islands in total, including all the picturesque rocky outcrops.

The island is host to a native population of a little over 45,000 people, living in around 40 traditional villages across the island, many of whom still speak their own native dialect in addition to Balinese and Bahasa Indonesia.

Seaweed Farmer Penida

Nusa Penida is also a bird sanctuary, assisted by the Friends of the National Parks Association and is host to a number of rare species, such as the endangered Bali Starling which has been successfully rehabilitated to the island. All villages have embraced bird protection into their traditional way of life. Guests can also volunteer to help – Click FNPA link above for more details.

Bali Starling Myna

Until recently, diving has long been the main attraction to Nusa Penida, and all three islands are surrounded by a wide range of dive sites with a variety of conditions and rare species. Currents can be strong, and it is these current which provide excellent drift dives and also bring the mysterious Ocean Sunfish to the islands July to November, where they hang out at “cleaning stations” and allow other fish to remove parasites. Manta Rays are commonly seen at Manta Point, and can also sometimes from land at Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong. For full details on diving these magnificent islands, please checkout AquaMarine Diving.

Sunfish Penida

Although tourism largely vanished during the covid pandemic, infrastructure development did not and the relative quiet of the islands provided the perfect opportunity to completely renovate many of the (previously very shabby) roads. New harbour facilities have been built, and access to the main sites made safer and easier. The island is now perfectly primed to take its well-deserved place as a word-class travel destination.

Buyuk Port Penida

1. Day trip (7.30am – 4.30pm same day)

If you’re staying in Bali and want to take in the just the main sites, a day trip is a good option. BlueWater departs at 7.30am, a little earlier than most operators (8.00am) allowing you to get ahead of the crowd and make the most of the day.

There are too many sites to take in all the main ones in one day, so we suggest either East coast or West coast. This allows a decent amount of time at each, as well as the opportunity to descend some of the lengthy staircases to some of the sites. Suggested sites:

  • East Trip: Diamond Beach, Atuh Beach, Tree House, Raja Lima, Teletubbies Hill
  • West Trip: Kelingking Beach, Broken Beach, Angel’s Billabong, Crystal Bay, Tree of Love

2. One Night Stopover

The best way to see a larger number of sites without spending too long on the island. With a one night stop-over, either island hopping on the way to the Gilis or returning the next morning or afternoon to Bali, you can take in more sites and enjoy a relaxing sunset along the west coast.

Island hopping to Gili the next day (depart Bali 7.30am, depart Penida for Gili 9.00am next day)

The fact that you do not have to be back at the harbour late afternoon means you can spend longer visiting sites, and enjoy sunset at one of the fabulous West coast viewpoints. Then have a relaxing evening at your hotel before heading off to the Gilis at 9am the following day. There is also time to take in a sunrise on the east coast before departure, if you fancy another early start!

Back to Bali the following afternoon (depart Bali 7.30am, return to Bali 4.30pm next day)

This allows you two full days sight-seeing, and you can take in all the main sites over the two days. We suggest West coast on the first day, ending up at a sunset bar for relaxing sundowners after a busy day touring, then an early start to enjoy an East coast sunrise the following day. You then have plenty of time to enjoy the less-visited East coast sites beaches and really take time to chill out, before cruising back to Bali late afternoon.

3. Two or More Nights

For more serious explorers and photographers who want to make sure they get the best light at the best sites with no-one else around, this is the best option! Take your time and plan your trip strategically, before heading onward the the Gili Islands or back to Bali.

Main Sights

WEST COAST – heading south

With Bali visible in the distance, the northwest and southwest facing coasts are characterised by dramatic, precipitous cliffs descending into raging blue ocean. This is where the most dramatic sites are located, and is consequently the most popular area to visit.

Gamat Bay

Gamat bay Penida

Not the most impressive bay on the island, but worth mentioning as this square-shaped feature is popular with divers and snorkellers. However if time is short, skip it and move to better locations.

Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong

Broken Beach Penida - BlueWater Express

These sites consist of a circular, enclosure from a collapsed cliff with an arch. There is a natural pool at low tide, which becomes filled with sea water at high tide. Care need to be taken at high tide as in rough seas the waves can be dangerous. There is a small (inaccessible) beach. Manta rays can sometimes be seen from the clifftop.

Seganing Waterfall

Seganing Waterfall Penida

A small but picturesque waterfall, with spectacular views from the top of the cliff. Approximately 20 minutes descent to get to the waterfall and natural pool.

Crystal Bay

crystal Bay Nusa Penida

With abundant coral growth, this beautiful bay is an all-time favourite for snorkelling and diving, with easy beach access. As a west-facing beach, it is perfect for sunsets (though gets crowded!). Adding to the picturesque vista is a rocky out-crop in the middle of the bay (Pulau Batumejinong). Do not swim past this – outside the protected cove the currents are strong.

Kelingking Beach

Kelingking Beach Penida BlueWater Express

Kelingking beach and the magnificent cliff formation arching out to sea are the iconic image of Nusa Penida. Often compared to a huge, rocky dragon or dinosaur chomping and gulping the ocean, this site is a must-see on everyone’s itinerary. There are well-laid stapes down to the beach, as well a footpath all along the “spine” of the dinosaur. Seriously impressive!

Tembeling Beach, Forest and Springs

Tembeling Beach

A lovely off-the-beaten-track (therefore less visited) wild hideaway location, which is well worth the effort to visit. The bay is reached after a drive / ride down through the forest, where you will find your own (maybe private!) oasis of natural pools.

Guyungan Waterfall

Wayungan Watersprings

Guyungan Waterfall – Another moderately demanding descent down stairs with spectacular views of the cliffs. Small temple and natural pools at the bottom, with dramatic breakers crashing in from the ocean.

(SOUTH)-EAST COAST

Like the southwest side of the island, this coast also features dramatic cliffs descending to secluded beaches.

Suwehan Beach and Tree House Bungalow

Tree House Penida BlueWater Express

The iconic Treehouse is one of the most photographed sites on the island, and its perfect to visit along with the beautiful and secluded Suwehan Beach. Being far away from the harbours, this beach is less visited than many of the others, and being east-facing is great to catch the sunrise. A new set of steps now makes access to the beach fairly easy, it takes about 20 minutes to descend.

Raja Lima

Raja Lima Penida

Literally translated as “The Five Kings” Lima is named after the famous Raja Empat (four kings) in Itian Jaya. The site is also known as the Thousand Islands Viewpoint, as it looks over a number of mini rocky islands located off the coast.

Atuh Beach and Diamond Beach

Diamond Beach-Penida

Beautiful rock formations give these sites a dramatic natural beauty, now fairly easily accessible with stairs down the cliff. Calm waters mean they are great for a refreshing dip. Best visited at high tide,  as the exposed beach as not as pretty as the clear blue sea, and great for sunrises, when its often deserted. Breakfasts available after sunrise from local vendors.

Teletubbies Hill

Teletubbies Hill - Penida BlueWater Express

A little in land from the southeast coast is Teletubbies Hill, consisting of a range of round dumpling-like hills named after the children’s show. Best visited during or after rainy season when they are verdant green.

(North)-East Coast

Although the drive along the northeast facing coast is dramatic, with superb vistas over the ocean, the views on this side of the island are relatively tame compared to the southwest coast. The protected waters are used extensively for seaweed farming.

Friends of the National Parks Association (FNPA)

Bali Starling FNPA

With branches all over Indonesia, FNPA is dedicated to working with local communities to preserve wildlife. In Penida they have turned the island into a bird sanctuary, and have successfully rehabilited a number of endanged species such as the Bali Starling. Staff are happy to talk top guests and show you around, and they also take volunteers. Check out the FNPA website for more details

Goa Giri Putri

Goa Giri Putri Temple

Located about a third of the way down the long north-east facing coast, this site comprises a succession of Hindu and Buddhist temples built in a cave, and is frequently used for purification ceremonies.

Viewpoint Bars and Restaurants

New places are springing up all the time, but a few that are well-established are mentioned below – please let us know your recommendations in the blog!

Green Kubu Penida

Green Kubu

Amok Sunset Bar

Amok Sunset Bar

The Angkal Penida

The Angkal

Analemma Beach Club

Analemma Beach Club

Pre departure on-site COVID-19 rapid tests available at Serangan departure lounge, just Rp. 150,000