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One question I got asked a lot online after my trip to Bali is: is Nusa Penida worth it? It has become one of the most Instagrammable places in the world, thanks to the incredible view and crystal blue water. Keep reading if you want to know if Nusa Penida is worth it to visit for a day or longer!
Nusa Penida is the place to catch a glimpse of Kelingking Beach. This place is also known as “T-Rex”. There is some-sort-of stairs going down to the beach which is almost completely empty if you do decide to walk down. Most people stay at the top or go half way down before moving up again.
Is Nusa Penida Worth It?
Let’s look into the different sides of Nusa Penida to see if you should go and where you should go on this island. I have some additional transportation tips as well!
The secrets of Nusa Penida
This island is pretty untouched. If you compare it to other places on Bali, this is the island where you will the raw image and experience of what Bali used to be before tourism took over. It is a place where you will find the true culture and habits of the local community.
A secret no one really tells you about Nusa Penida is the amount of tourists on this island. As untouched as it may seem, that’s changing rapidly. Tourists are seriously taking over the island, especially the hotspots of the island like Kelingking Beach. Whenever you go to one of these hotspots, you seriously need to wait in line until you can snap a photo. The lines can easily take up to an hour.
I visited Bali in 2018 and Bali has even become more popular since 2018. The only way to escape the crowds is to either get there really early or really late on the day.
How to get to Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida and the other Nusa islands are really easy to get to. You can take the speed boat from Sanur, on the east side of Bali, and the boat ride will take about 45 minutes. Another way is to travel to Nusa Lembongan first if you’re staying on that island and have a day trip to Nusa Penida. Go to the boats right next to the yellow bridge to get a speed boat to Nusa Penida. This will only take you 10 minutes.
Sanur and the islands don’t have a fancy harbor to get into the boat. You need to get into the water first before climbing into the boat! Wear shoes that are easy to take off and take on so you won’t get your shoes wet. Be careful while getting on the boat – I cut my leg open when the guys pushed me to get in the boat while the boat was coming my way on a wave. It hit me and I still have a scar on my leg! Just watch out.
Read more: 5 Special Things To Do On Bali
Transportation on Nusa Penida
The best and probably only ways to get around Nusa Penida is by hiring a driver, take a taxi or rent a motorcycle.
I highly advise to not take the motorcycle. The roads on Nusa Penida are no joke. It’s almost undriveable if you do not have a lot of experience with riding a motorcycle. I’ve seen many tourist on the motorcycle in shorts, a tank top or even in their swimwear and this is extremely dangerous. The chance of falling is very high. Even the driver we hired warned us and shook his head when he saw it. Many tourists fall off and don’t be mistaken, even if you drive slowly – you can still fall very hard and hurt yourself badly.
We went with a group of friends who already hired a driver on the beach in Nusa Lembongan. He was waiting for us at the beach where to boats arrive and took us to the car. One big plus is the air conditioning in this car lol, it was so hot when we were there. We didn’t really need to get lots of information during our car ride, we loved chatting with each other and catch up because we hadn’t seen each other in a while. He did give us lots of information while we were at the spots and answered all of our questions.
If you want to get more information from your tour guide, I’d suggest looking up travel experiences from others to know where to book your tour. It is nice if that person speaks English like our driver because you can get so much information from them. Our tour guide took as to a very local restaurant as well where we had the best nasi goreng, made by a lovely family. Unfortunately, if you do a day trip – you need to rely on the driver and your tour guide. If you get the wrong one, you’re not going to have the best day.
Read the travel experiences and book a tour with someone who has good reviews. Especially if you’re not an experienced driver on a motorcycle. If you are and you feel confident, you can definitely rent a motorcycle and drive around the island if you are careful. You will have much more freedom and control over your day.
As I said, the roads are no joke. I got sick in the car because car sickness is part of me and I cannot escape from it. My friends were nice and let me sit in the front instead of the back so that helped me a lot. If you are getting car sick quite fast, take some medication with you just in case. You don’t want to get sick and miss half of the island!
Different tours on Nusa Penida
When you book a tour with a tour guide, you get the choice between the west island and the east island. The east tour will cover Atuh Beach, Rumah Pohon Treehouse, Suweahan Beach, Thousand Island Viewpoint and Giri Putri Cave Temple. The west tour will cover the hotspots: Kelingking Beach, Angel Billabong, Broken Beach and Crystal Bay.
The Hotspots on Nusa Penida
If you’re not sure where to go on Nusa Penida – these are the popular hotspots. If you are going for a more rural side of Nusa Penida, I would suggest taking the east tour of the island. Way less crowded and more local based. Not that many hotspots, which is why lots of tourist (like me at the time) decide to do the west tour. If I would go back, I would definitely do the east tour. I’m going into the west tour because that’s where I have my personal travel experience. I hope to visit the east side in the future and let you know the comparison between the two.
Broken beach is a very lovely place to walk around. It is busy, but the place is quite big so it is manageable. The water within broken beach is crystal clear and the waves are insane. If you look down into the clear water, you can even spot the mantra’s swimming in the water. It’s insane how clear the water is. The viewpoints are amazing, everywhere you look there’s an incredible scenic view over the ocean and the island.
The most popular spot on the island. One of the best views I have ever seen. Definitely too crowded with tourists. It is absolutely crazy busy. Even though the view is incredible and yes, you can walk down to the almost empty beach – you don’t really have the time to do it if you are driving around with a tour guide. We had to wait almost 45 minutes before we could take pictures and that’s honestly a shame.
I would go here immediately after arriving on the island. Other hotspots on the island might not be as pretty – but the crowds just increase every single minute during the day. You can wait until late in the afternoon when things might clear up because most day tourists are already gone by then but lots of them will stay to watch the sunset too. Honestly, you’re just going to have to deal with the crowds if you’re here and it makes the experience less exciting.
Read more: 6 Gorgeous Instagrammable Spots on Bali
Honestly, not as impressive as I thought it was going to be. It is seriously dangerous to swim here, although people take their chances. The dangerous part are the waves crashing in here and dragging swimmers out to the open ocean where they’ll drown quickly because of the strong currents. It’s not worth the picture to risk your life in here. The water seems quite brown because of the rocks in here so it’s not the best photographable place either.
We were planning on snorkelling in Crystal Bay but honestly, it wasn’t that pretty either. I would suggest snorkelling somewhere around Nusa Lembongan. We stayed here for a while, but left quite early because it wasn’t much fun. It’s hard to get into the ocean because they are huge rocks coming out of nowhere. We all hurt ourselves getting in and falling onto these rocks. There is a lot of plastic on the beach which makes me really sad. I would skip this beach to be honest and see if there’s another option. Or stay longer at Kelingking Beach to make your way downstairs to that beach. Crystal Bay isn’t worth the hype.
Read more: 3-Day Ubud Guide | Bali Island
Is Nusa Penida worth the hype?
Yes and no. Yes, Nusa Penida has some of the most spectacular views I have ever seen. Despite the tourists, Kelingking Beach is absolutely breath taking and I would definitely walk down to enjoy the secret and almost private beach.
You do need to be prepared to face all the tourists. It’s not going to feel like a nice authentic experience if you do the west tour. Broken beach is gorgeous as well, but Crystal Bay and Angels Billabong are (personal opinion) not worth the hype which makes it kinda a shame to pay for the west tour when only two of those hotspots are pretty.
I would say, if you have the time – visit Kelingking Beach and Broken Beach on your own at the start of the day. Even more perfect if you’re staying on Nusa Penida because you don’t have to wait until all the boats go to Nusa Penida. If you are taking the guided tour – do the east tour. Yes, you will miss Kelingking Beach and Broken Beach if you don’t have the time to visit these separately. But, you will see other incredible views with way less tourists. Places that are equally as pretty without the crowds.
That’s my verdict on the popular island next to Bali. Have you ever been to Nusa Penida? If so, what was your experience?