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Exploring the best of Nusa Penida a detailed guide

Keling kling beach, Nusa Penida, Bali
Keling Kling Beach

Bali is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful islands in Asia and so it’s no surprise that it gets quite a bit of limelight when it comes to tourism. Nonetheless, Bali isn’t the only island that’s worth exploring in Indonesia. If you’re on a tight schedule you should definitely consider adding the 3 Nusa islands, Penida, Lembongan and Ceningan, to your bucket list! They are all incredibly stunning, have rich cultural backgrounds of their own, and if you venture off the beaten path, you’ll even find some spots that are just waiting to be discovered.

So to make things easier for you, here’s a detailed and comprehensive guide on exploring these 3 islands!

Nusa Penida

How much does it cost to get from Canggu to Nusa Penida?

Cab fare from Canggu to Sanur Port- IDR 24,000

Ferry ride from Sanur Port- IDR 150,000

Ferry ride to Sanur Port- IDR 150,000

Sanur port, Nusa Penida, Bali
Sanur port

Located in Denpasar, Sanur Port is one of the places you’d go to catch a ferry or speedboat to the other islands outside Bali, and the journey from Canggu to this port will take you about an hour. The earliest boat leaving from Sanur Port to Nusa Penida is at 7 am. If you’re hoping to visit Nusa Penida for just a day, we’d recommend taking this first boat out so that you’ll have plenty of time to explore the island. Thereafter, you can head back to mainland Bali in the evening on the last boat, at around 5 pm.

The boat ride from Sanur Port to Penida is a 45 minute, very choppy crossing. If you have the tendency of getting seasick, be warned! We’re not ones to get seasick normally, but this ride had us second-guessing ourselves. Additionally, you will have to wade through the water for a short distance to get on and off the ferry. So, do wear flip-flops, water shoes, or any other footwear that would make this hassle-free for you.

Once you get to Penida, the first thing on your to-do list should be sorting out your mode of transport around the island. If you’re renting a scooter, it would be helpful to know that the going rate near the port to rent a bike for 24 hours is around IDR 100,000.

Location 1: Pura Dalem Ped

The Pura Dalem Ped temple is one of the most important and sacred sanctuaries in Nusa Penida. Made from limestone, the structure is alluring but has a very eerie ambience that lingers in the air. This could be because we happened to be one of the few people there, and due to the fact that the history of this holy place is one that is dark.

Legend has it that Penida used to be an island of black magic a long time ago, and as a result, people avoided the island for quite a while. It is also said, after many failed attempts, a general of the Watu Renggong Kingdom succeeded in defeating the evil spirit, known as Ratu Gede Nusa, who ruled the island under his evil spell. The Balinese believe in the balance between good and evil and as such, this temple was built not to vanquish evil spirits, but mostly to keep them at bay.

Something to keep in mind before visiting Pura Dalem Ped:

● You won’t be allowed to enter the temple unless you’re wearing traditional Balinese clothing. Luckily, there are a few shops close by where you can rent this clothing. We were able to rent our outfits for IDR 20,000 from a shop opposite the temple.

Location 2: Tembeling Beach & Spring

On the West side of the island lies the exquisite Tembeling Beach and Spring. There are quite a few elements that go into making up the collective beauty of the Tembeling area, including a forest you can explore, a Secret Beach and even a freshwater “jacuzzi” pool!

On the hike down to the beach, you’ll come across an extraordinary freshwater spring (known as Tembeling Spring) which is situated close to a small temple. A swim in this calming teal-coloured pool is just the right remedy to cool off on a hot day, and if you’re a thrill-seeker, you can also cliff jump from some of the ledges encasing the spring!

The spring was an amazing find for us because we happened to come by this gem at around 3 pm and it was only us, with just a handful of people passing by. This was such a stark contrast to most of the touristy places we’d visited in Bali, so it was a very welcome and refreshing change.

If you continue walking down the trail, you’ll arrive at Tembeling Beach, which is not your typical white sandy beach. Rather, there are a plethora of rocky cliffs towering over the beach area. If you venture a little further towards the natural pools, you’ll come across a cave where hundreds of rocks are artfully arranged and balanced atop each other in unique formations. Carefully make your way through the cave so as to not topple the rock formations, and you’ll be at the doorstep of the Secret Beach! Like the main beach, this part of Tembeling is also surrounded by massive cliffs but is more enclosed than the former.

Our experience at Tembeling was, in a word, amazing. We got to the beach at around 3.15 pm and it wasn’t crowded at all. What’s more, the lighting was just right, so we were able to snap some amazing shots!

We’d absolutely recommend adding Tembeling Beach and Spring to your itinerary if you’re planning a trip to Nusa Penida!

A few things to keep in mind before visiting Tembeling:

The road to get here is very narrow, rocky, steep, and a bit on the dangerous side. Locals in the area generally warn tourists visiting about how terrible the road is and suggest that it might be safer to walk. So be wary!

Swimming in the sea, at the mercy of the usually rough waves, wouldn’t be the best idea. Instead, you can stick to taking a dip in the natural pools in the area.

● Make sure to be careful when you’re swimming in the freshwater springs, too. Do a quick depth check, avoid diving in deep and observe the debris first as these parts of nature can fluctuate over time.

Location 3: Kelingking Beach

Ticket price per person: IDR 10,000

Also situated on the West Coast of Nusa Penida, Kelingking Beach is probably one of the main reasons why tourists even opt to explore, and it’s easy to see why!

Keling kling beach, nusa penida, bali, sheneller, shehaan23, indonesia
Keling Kling Beach from above

T-Rex Beach is also known as such due to the signature formation of one of the cliff sides resembling a T-Rex! This breathtaking stretch of land and sea is an ensemble of white shored beach, unique cliffs and mysterious caves. The hike down to the beach is possible, but the trail is very precarious and narrow, so you might be safer admiring the beauty of Kelingking Beach from the many viewpoints around the edge of the cliffs.

sheneller, keling kling beach, nusa penida, bali
Keling kling beach

A few things to keep in mind before visiting Kelingking Beach:

● Nusa Penida’s roads aren’t exactly the best maintained, so do take note to ride there safely!

● We highly recommend going here by around 6 or 6.30 am to catch a phenomenal sunrise. By going early, you’d also be able to avoid the large crowds that routinely start flocking thereafter around 10 am.

● If you choose to go down to the beach, one thing to note is that the waves can be quite rough and unpredictable, so swimming is not usually recommended as the undercurrent can be strong and there are no lifeguards.

● Take a sturdy pair of shoes with you; we suggest investing in water shoes for your Bali adventures as they have a better grip in general.

Location 4: Broken Beach

Broken Beach, also known as Pasih Uug, is approximately a 30-minute scooter ride down a very bumpy road from Kelingking Beach. It also happens to be one of many scenic locations in Nusa Penida!

This attraction was aptly named following the collapse of a part of the cliff. The part that fell into the waters has a circular shape, forming an arch that borders the sea. However, pictures really don’t do the actual beauty of Broken Beach justice!

When we went on our excursion to Broken Beach, we reached there at around 7:30 am and the early morning light hit the cliffs just right. Since we were early, this was yet another spot that we very gladly had all to ourselves! If you’re lucky, you’ll also be able to spot a few Manta Rays swimming in the waters below.

We really hit the jackpot at Broken Beach since it was just us, with the soothing white noise of the waves, the unrealistically blue waters, and because we were even fortunate enough to actually glimpse a few sneaky Mantas!

A few things to keep in mind before visiting Broken Beach:

● We had a magical time here and that’s primarily because of how early we got there. So we’d recommend visiting early in the morning, not only to admire the beauty of the beach at sunrise but also because you can steer clear of the crowds.

● Swimming is not allowed here.

● You can trek around the cliff, but be extremely cautious, especially near the edges! Warning signs have been put up after a few careless tourists went too far in their efforts to take the perfect selfie and tragically ended up falling from the cliff.

Coming to the end of our adventures at Nusa Penida, we can say one thing for sure; our experience here was better than Bali for us mainly because we were able to discover a few gorgeous, non-touristy places and were also able to visit some touristy places without the flocks of people since we went really early in the morning. This alone made our experience at Penida that much better. We'd highly recommend staying a night or even two depending on how much time you have.

Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Ceningan

Public boat ride ticket price per adult: IDR 50,000

Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan are interconnected islands just outside Nusa Penida. You can easily catch a public speedboat to these islands from Penida.

Once you’ve bought your tickets, you’ll have to wait 10-15 minutes for the boat to fill up with more people and voila! You’ll be jetting your way to the next island! We headed to Nusa Lembongan after our very satisfying stay at Nusa Penida, and the boat ride to Lembongan was a quick, 15-minute journey.

When you reach the shores of Lembongan, just like in Penida, the first thing to do would be to rent a bike so that you can travel around the island, as well as to the neighbouring island of Ceningan. The two are connected by a yellow bridge named "The Bridge of Love".

Location 1: The Mangrove Forest in Nusa Lembongan

Lembongan’s Mangrove Forest is a distinctive attraction in comparison to the usual beaches you find on these islands. Located along the island’s shoreline, this forest that stretches over 230 hectares features lush mangrove trees, majestic mangrove roots and gloomy waters.

Here, they also offer boat tours, inclusive of lunch and even snorkelling activities just off the forest’s coast.

A few things to keep in mind before visiting the Mangrove Forest:

● The best way to explore the forest would be by boat. However, the prices of these boat tours are considered to be a tad on the pricier side, so make sure to have enough money on hand.

● The ideal time to visit would be in the morning, while the tide is high, as this somewhat contributes to the charms of the landscape. Furthermore, it’ll be less humid.

● Don’t forget to take a camera with you to capture the contrasting beauty of the Mangrove Forest, as well as sites you wouldn’t really see anywhere else.

Location 2: Devil’s Tears in Nusa Lembongan

This is a popular tourist attraction on the South-East side of the island. It’s incredibly beautiful and will leave you awestruck.

The sea at Devil’s Tears is quite rough and the ferocity of the waves hitting the rocky wall can be a bit intimidating. However, if you find a place to sit and just observe this natural activity, it’s sure to be mesmerizing. It also happens to be a great spot to catch a wonderful sunset!

Additionally, just around the corner from the main tourist attraction, there’s also a natural infinity pool that’s worth exploring. There are also tidepools in the area that become quite the sight when the sun sets.

A few things to keep in mind before visiting Devil’s Tears:

● Don’t underestimate how powerful the waves here can be. Be extremely mindful, especially when standing near the edges of the cliffs.

● There are a few places in the area where you can swim and even cliff jump. However, make sure the tide isn’t high and the sea isn’t rough if you’re hoping to take a dip. To be on the safe side, ask the locals in the area whether swimming would even be recommended on the day you go by.

Location 3: Blue Lagoon in Nusa Ceningan

From the connecting Yellow Bridge, Blue Lagoon is just over 2km away and you can easily Google Map your way to it. The moment you set eyes on the sea here, it’ll be super easy to see how this attraction got its name.The water here will probably be the bluest you’ve ever seen. It was for us, at least!

There's, unfortunately, no way to actually venture down to the beach and experience these unreal looking waters, but the trip here is totally worth it because even the mere sight of it will leave you speechless.

Final Thoughts

● Although they did try to charge us more, you really shouldn’t be paying more than IDR 150,000 for your ferry ride to Nusa Penida. We knew that we wanted to stick with that prices, so we were able to negotiate with them.

● Once we reached Nusa Penida, we had someone come up to us and say that there were no bikes available for rent on the island, but that turned out to be untrue because we continued walking for about a 100m and found plenty of bikes. So in case someone tries to tell you this, just take it with a pinch of salt!

● Another thing to take note of when entering Penida is to take the road on the left side! We took the road to the right and came to a stop that asks for a fee of IDR 25,000 to enter the island. This doesn't seem to be compulsory and not everyone pays, because after asking around, a tourist leaving the island told us that she didn't pay this amount. So after we refused to pay as well, the person who was there to collect money almost took out the keys from our bike! If you take the road to the left, there are no stops like this and you can also cut across the center of the island.

● The roads on Nusa Penida are not very well maintained, so do keep this in mind and take it slow on the loose gravel roads. Also, don’t forget to get a helmet as an extra precaution.

● Our stay at Penida was at a super convenient and clean B&B called Dewa Devi and it cost us IDR 205,000 for a night.

One of our favourite things about Penida was how beautiful and clean the water was all around the island. This made it is so much easier to pick a random spot and get in, as long as it was safe!

● If you're heading back to Bali from Nusa Lembongan, as we did, make sure to double-check which port in Lembongan your ride to Bali will be arriving in! More often than not, it will be the one located on the other end of the island. We almost missed our ferry because we weren't aware of this! So make sure to take this into account when planning.

Don’t forget to check out our vlog detailing our experience in the Nusa islands:

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