The best way to see Nusa Penida is by scooter. Rent one for around 70,000 IDR a day and make sure you have enough gas to get you through the bad roads on the island.
English is spoken very little here so be prepared to show pictures or write words when explaining things. The locals speak Balinese with a distinct dialect and are not schooled in English.
1. Crystal Bay Beach
There are many great beaches on Nusa Penida, but Crystal Bay Beach is one of the best. This stunning cliff-lined beach is located on the western side of the island and is home to a small coral island in the middle of the water. It is also a good spot to snorkel and dive and offers beautiful sunsets.
Getting there is relatively easy as there is a road to the beach from Toya Pakeh Harbour. It is not as difficult to reach as some of the other famous spots on Nusa Penida and doesn’t require steep stairs to descend like at Banah Cliff or Peguyangan Beach.
The beach itself is a stunning stretch of white sand that offers calm waters and spectacular views. It can get crowded during Mola-mola (ocean sunfish) season between April and October, but other sites on Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan are a much better choice for this encounter as they have less people and offer a more exclusive experience.
If you are interested in visiting the beautiful Crystal Bay Beach and want to leave all the navigating and driving to someone else, it is an option to book a full day tour from Bali that visits many of the top highlights on Nusa Penida. This highly-rated tour is the most affordable way to see all of the best sights on Nusa Penida.
2. Manta Bay
The most popular spot in Nusa Penida for manta rays, Manta Bay is the highlight of any trip to this island. You can snorkel or dive here to see manta rays in their natural habitat, and you can also take advantage of the beautiful underwater scenery.
The beach is surrounded by towering cliffs and has a small stretch of white sand. Visitors can relax and enjoy the view, while keeping an eye out for manta rays and other sea life swimming nearby. You can also visit one of the many treehouses overlooking the beach for a more private experience.
Another must-see attraction on the island is Broken Beach, a gorgeously unique beach with an arched tunnel through the rocks and a small sand beach. It’s an absolute must-see for photographers and nature lovers!
If you’re looking to make the most of your time on Nusa Penida, I recommend staying for at least three days. This will give you enough time to explore some of the island’s highlights, as well as enjoy other activities like hiking and diving.
You can easily get to Nusa Penida from Bali by taking a direct ferry or fast boat. Most of the ferries leave from Toya Pakeh or Buyuk Harbour in Bali, and you can check for availability on websites like Baliferry, Gilitickets, and Directferries.
3. Gamat Bay
If you want to see some of the best snorkeling in Bali on your nusa penida trip then an excursion to Gamat Bay is a must. This sheltered beach on the northern tip of the island has crystal-clear waters that are teaming with marine life including manta rays, turtles, and coral.
You can also swim, snorkel, and relax on the white sand beaches. You’ll find a number of lounge chairs on the beaches. It’s important to remember that many areas on the island have riptides and strong currents so it’s recommended that you only swim in designated swimming zones.
The view from the Thousand Island Viewpoint is simply breathtaking. This iconic viewpoint is perched atop a cliff and offers an expansive vista of the turquoise water dotted with islands resembling a thousand islands. It’s also a great spot for a sunset.
If you’re lucky you might be able to stay at one of the treehouses nearby that overlook the views. They’re pretty pricey but it’s an awesome way to wake up and go to sleep with a view like this. Just be sure to bring a sleeping bag or hammock and some warm clothes because it can get pretty cold in the evenings. Also, make sure to bring bottled water as the locals don’t drink tap water (learned this the hard way). It’s the main cause of the dreaded Bali Belly so it’s always wise to stick with bottled water when traveling in Indonesia.
4. Wall Point
Taking an excursion to Wall Point (Peguyangan in Balinese) is another great way to experience Nusa Penida. This area is a beautiful little cove on the western coast of the island. It was ‘broken’ by the constant erosion of waves over the years, creating this stunning little spot. Local folklore tells the story of how this place got its name: a massive snake passed through the village, and the people without hesitation captured, slayed and devoured the beast.
There is also a cool rock formation called Angel Billabong and a pretty natural pool nearby. The last one is a little bit of a hike from the parking lot, but it’s totally worth it. It’s a gorgeous hidden gem that offers shade by the forest, crystal clear water to swim in and a beautiful secret beach.
If you are not comfortable riding a scooter yourself or don’t have the time to rent a motorbike, you can also take a tour with an expert. This will not only take away the stress of dealing with the Nusa Penida roads, but also allow you to visit places that require a longer drive and/or are not as easy to access.
A day trip to Nusa Penida includes snorkeling at Manta Bay and Gamat Bay, as well as visiting Kelingking Beach, Broken Beach, and Angel Billabong. This is a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and the silence and peace of the islands, with majestic cliffs and wild beaches.