Offbeat Indonesia: Check Out Our Guide To The Lesser-Known Nusa Penida Island

Nusa Penida's raw beauty, serene ambience, and adventurous spirit make it a must-visit destination for travellers looking to escape the crowds and immerse themselves in nature's wonders
Angel's Billabong beach, the natural pool on the island of Nusa Penida
Angel's Billabong beach, the natural pool on the island of Nusa PenidaShutterstock

Nusa Penida is the largest of the three Nusa Islands, with Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan being the other two. Despite its proximity to Bali, Nusa Penida has retained its rugged charm and pristine landscapes, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventurers.

Located southeast of Bali in Indonesia, Nusa Penida is a gem waiting to be explored by travellers seeking natural beauty, adventure, and cultural experiences. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you plan your trip:

Things To Do

Explore Stunning Beaches

  • Kelingking Beach: Known for its iconic T-Rex-shaped cliff and stunning views of the turquoise sea below.

  • Crystal Bay: Perfect for snorkelling and diving, boasting crystal-clear waters and marine life.

  • Atuh Beach: Accessible via a steep staircase, this secluded beach offers breathtaking views and pristine sands.

Diamond Beach
Diamond BeachShutterstock

Snorkeling And Diving

  • Nusa Penida is renowned for its rich marine biodiversity, with colourful coral reefs and diverse marine life.

  • Popular dive sites include Manta Point, where you can swim with manta rays (a type of fish), and Crystal Bay, known for its clear waters and abundant marine species.

Visit Unique Landmarks

  • Broken Beach and Angel's Billabong: Marvel at the natural rock formations and crystal-clear tide pools.

  • Temple Pura Paluang: Experience the island's spiritual side by visiting this scenic temple nestled amidst lush greenery.

Trekking and Hiking

  • Embark on scenic hikes to viewpoints such as Atuh and Kelingking to witness panoramic views of the island's rugged coastline and dramatic cliffs.

  • Explore the island's interior, home to lush jungles, hidden waterfalls like Peguyangan Waterfall, and traditional villages.

Aerial view of the Crystal Bay coastline
Aerial view of the Crystal Bay coastlineShutterstock

What To Eat

Nusa Penida's culinary scene offers travellers a diverse range of delicious dishes and tropical fruits. Freshly caught grilled fish seasoned with local spices and served with sambal and rice and seafood barbecues featuring prawns, squid, and lobster are popular choices at beachfront restaurants. Indonesian staples like Nasi Goreng (fried rice) and Mie Goreng (fried noodles) are also widely available, accompanied by traditional side dishes. Local specialities include Pepes, fish or chicken marinated in spices and wrapped in banana leaves, and Lawar, a Balinese dish made with minced meat and vegetables. Don't miss out on trying tropical fruits like mangosteen, dragon fruit, and coconut, which are both refreshing and packed with flavour.

Nasi Lemak
Nasi LemakShutterstock

Where To Eat

  • Warungs: These traditional Indonesian eateries offer affordable and authentic dishes, ranging from rice and noodle to grilled seafood and satay.

  • Beachfront Cafes: Relax by the beach and dine at one of the many cafes where you can enjoy delicious seafood and tropical cocktails.

  • Local Markets: Explore the bustling markets in Nusa Penida's towns and villages, where you can sample street food snacks like bakso (meatball soup), satay, and gorengan (fried snacks).

Pro Tips

  • Accommodation: Nusa Penida offers a range of accommodation options, from budget homestays to luxury resorts. Booking in advance is recommended, especially during peak season.

  • Transportation: Renting a scooter or hiring a local driver is the best way to explore the island's attractions, as public transportation is limited.

  • Pack Essentials: Don't forget to bring sunscreen, insect repellent, comfortable walking shoes, and plenty of water, especially if you plan to hike or explore remote areas.

  • Respect Local Customs: Nusa Penida, like the rest of Indonesia, has a rich cultural heritage. Be respectful when visiting temples or interacting with locals.

  • Dress Modestly: When visiting temples or rural villages, dress modestly out of respect for local customs.

  • Swim with Caution: While Nusa Penida's beaches are stunning, some have strong currents. Always swim with caution and heed local advice.

  • Stay Hydrated: The tropical climate can be hot and humid, so stay hydrated, especially if you're engaging in outdoor activities.

Best Time To Visit

  • The dry season (April to October) is ideal for visiting Nusa Penida when the weather is sunny and the seas are calm.

  • However, even during the wet season (November to March), Nusa Penida's beauty shines through, though you might encounter occasional rain showers.

Getting There

  • Ferry from Bali: You can reach Nusa Penida by ferry from Sanur or Padang Bai in Bali. The journey takes around 30 to 45 minutes.

  • Speedboat: Opt for a speedboat from Bali's ports for a quicker journey.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Traveller