Nusa Penida is an island in the Klungkung Regency district of Bali. Many people tend to visit the other two neighbouring islands: Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. I was lucky enough to visit twice, the first time when Nusa Penida was just starting to become known to tourists. A lot has changed since then, but the island remains one of my favorite destinations. The atmosphere, the scenery, the people and the food have always made my trip unforgettable.

If you’re wondering how to get around the island, the best way is to rent a scooter. But beware of bad roads.

Nusa Penida is truly a gem that I hope will not become too overcrowded in the years to come. Here’s my guide!

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Some history

Nusa Penida and a sculpture by night

Legend has it that a sorcerer named Jero Gede Mecaling was banished to Nusa Penida because of his practice of black magic. He was known as a great demon, always causing epidemics and disease to the Balinese people out of vengeance.

One day, during the joyous celebration of Nyepi (Balinese New Year), he disguised himself as the panther-like creature Barong, king of the spirits and leader of the hosts of good, to destroy everything in Bali with the help of his demons.

Since then, Nyepi has become a day of silence, when no noise is to be made and no form of entertainment is really allowed, with the aim of driving out demons.

Today, all Hindus in Bali must visit the temple of Pura Ped in Nusa Penida at least once in their lives, where the spirit of Mecaling is said to dwell. They must do so to find balance between positive and negative energies.

Legend or not, the island certainly has a certain mystical vibe. And while it’s all part of their story, I didn’t see any darkness among the inhabitants. On the contrary, I’ve rarely seen such friendly, helpful and hospitable people. It doesn’t look like there are any demons left on the island, does it?


1.Crystal Bay Beach

Crystal Bay beach in Nusa Penida

Location: around 30mns from Toya Pakeh Harbour by car, scooter
Cost: Only parking fee > 5.000 IDR for a scooter and 10.000 IDR for a car. You can also choose to park for free further up the road.

Easily accessible by scooter or car, this beach is renowned for snorkeling and diving. You’ll see plenty of tourists, however, as it’s possible to rent an umbrella, a deckchair or even order snacks and drinks here.

Although beautiful, Crystal Bay has become a little too popular over the years and this well-preserved beach may not be the same again soon…..

I’ve got a quiet spot nearby that might appeal to you more.

2. Pandan Beach

Nusa Penida

Location: go at the left end of the beach, and ” climb” the stairs to the hidden path
Cost: totally free

As beautiful as Crystal Bay Beach, if not more so, this secluded beach totally won me over. There was literally not a soul here, perhaps because the path to get there isn’t the easiest. In any case, after a number of little-used stone steps due to the thick vegetation, this secret gem was a very pleasant surprise.

3. Angel’s Billabong & Broken Beach

Nusa Penida
Angel’s Billabong

Location: 50mns from Toya Pakeh Harbour by car or scooter. Follow the signs for Sakti Village, then you’ll see signs for Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong.
Cost: 5.000 IDR of parking fee + 5.000 IDR for the entrance

Another island landmark, Angel’s Billabong is a natural pool with superb ocean views where you can, when it’s not closed (due to weather or high tide), go for a swim. However, you need to be careful when the tide comes in, as accidents can easily happen, especially due to the strong waves.

It’s best not to go too late or in the middle of the afternoon, as many guided tours take place at these times.

Please note: on the plus side, the road is much better than it was a few years ago, only the last part is a bit bumpy.

Nusa Penida
Broken Beach

If you’re wondering whether this formation is natural or man-made: it’s totally natural! Made in the rock when part of the cliff collapsed, the waves then formed what now looks like an arch.

A famous selfie and/or photo spot, let yourself be surprised by the turquoise color of the sea and the nature that surrounds this emblematic spot.

And even though there’s the word “beach” in the place, I’m sorry but you won’t be able to go and lie on the sand here. But I’m sure the panorama should be enough for you!

4. Manta Bay

Location: on the South-Western coast of Nusa Penida
Cost: you’ll need to book a tour (around 150.000-200.000 IDR) or visit a scuba diving center (starting at 1.600.000 IDR) to see the ray mantas

Would you like to see manta rays and swim alongside them? (You can check snorkeling tour prices here). If the answer is yes, you should head to Manta Bay. The experience is truly incredible. I was just looking at the depth of the water beneath my feet when a manta ray passed just a few meters from us. Camera in hand, it was truly a breathtaking sight and I was happy to be able to observe this beautiful creature.

If you choose to book an excursion, you’ll visit 3 other sites filled with different species of fish, all very colorful, pretty corals and turtles if you’re lucky.
You can also choose to dive with them. There are many centers offering this option in Nusa Penida, as you can see manta rays all year round.

I’d advise you to take anti-seasickness medication before boarding the boat, as some of our fellow travelers got very sick during and after the bumpy ride to the various sites.

5. Kelingking Beach

Nusa Penida

Location: around 40mns from Toya Pakeh Harbour by car or scooter
Cost: 5.000 IDR for parking and 10.000 IDR for the entrance fee

I wanted to save this place for last but couldn’t wait any longer! You’ve probably already seen many articles about this beauty or even heard about it, and rightly so. It’s one of my highlights in Indonesia and perhaps in all the countries I’ve visited so far. I’ve been there twice already and I just can’t get enough of this beach and this view.

I must warn you, however, that if you want to get down to the idyllic beach, you’ll have to put yourself through some crazy exercise. The beginning may seem easy with simple stairs, but the further down you go, the more you wonder why you decided to do this to yourself. At least, that’s what I did!

With shaky legs and only wooden rails for safety… I finally made it to the beach. It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure, but once again, it was breathtaking and well worth the effort.

And even if the descent was difficult, I think it was nothing compared to the ascent, which was more like climbing than hiking! But reaching the summit at sunset was more rewarding than I could ever have imagined!

6. Saren Cliff Point

Nusa Penida

Location: around 1h from Toya Pakeh Harbour by car or scooter
Cost: free

Saren Cliff Viewpoint may not be one of the most famous places to visit in Nusa Penida, but it’s well worth the effort. The road is a little trickier because it’s less busy, I suppose, but at least you can admire the panorama at your leisure since there are fewer people, if any at all.

So breathe, relax and enjoy!

7. Suwehan Beach

Suwehan beach and rocks in Nusa Penida

Location: 1h from Toya Pakeh Harbour by car or scooter
Cost: free

I’d rather go to Suwehan Beach than to the more popular and crowded Diamond Beach.

The surrounding cliffs, the big rock in the middle of the water and the turquoise color of the sea completely enchanted me.

The way down is fairly easy at around 400 steps, but avoid going at high tide as access to the beach may be a little difficult but not impossible. All you have to do is pick your way across the sometimes slippery rocks and you’ve got the beach all to yourself.

This beach is actually one of my favorites in Nusa Penida, perhaps because it’s still quite unspoilt and wild – at least for now!

8. Thousand Islands Viewpoint

Nusa Penida

Location: around 1h15mns from Toya Pakeh Harbour by car or scooter
Cost: 10.000 IDR for the entrance

A well-known spot for photographers and Instagrammers, Thousand Islands Viewpoint was a nice, unexpected surprise for me. It’s not far from Diamond and Atuh beaches, and you can even see them from a distance.

It offers one hell of a view of the Indian Ocean, the cliffs and the neighboring islands. And if you’re still wondering why “Thousand Islands”, I have to confess I have no idea. I’ve tried to count them, but I’ve never reached the thousand mark, far from it. Maybe it’s like the submerged city of Atlantis, who knows!

There’s also another famous place here: Rumah Pohon or the “Tree House” where you can spend the night (it’s been turned into an Airbnb) or simply take photos > 75.000 IDR ( around $5). And if you’re not interested in a photo of yourself on the ladder or just want a picture of the Tree House, you can totally take one at no extra charge.

9. Sunsets

Sunsets in Nusa Penida NEVER disappointed me, they were always breathtaking and colorful. From fiery skies to delicate shades of orange, a different light show awaited me every night.

And it was with a heavy heart, tears in my eyes but grateful for the adventure that I left the island behind and hit the road again.

Nusa Penida has become a must-see every time I travel to Indonesia. Even though I visited the island several years ago, I was always keen to go back for a second time, and I’ll certainly be going back for a third.
The scenery, the wilderness and the calm make this place unique and magical. Nusa Penida is truly a pearl of an island off the coast of Bali. I only hope it doesn’t change too much, as it has already changed a lot.

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