Bali is a great island and I really love it, although mass tourism kind of ruined the island. So why visit Bali? Nusa Penida is the answer.
With so many cool places to see in Nusa Penida, if you want to escape mass tourism you have to keep in mind that once you go off the beaten track traveling becomes an adventure.
For ticking off all the amazing places to see in Nusa Penida, you have to travel around for at least two days. As Nusa Penida is not far from Bali, I recommend only coming with a daypack and hire a scooter when you arrive.
The roads in Nusa Penida are bad yes, but drive slowly and you will manage. Actually improvements are coming rapidly, the road towards Atuh Beach is for example completely new and it is amazing to drive your motorbike along the winding coastal road.
Day 1: Angel’s Billabong, Broken Beach, Manta View Point, Banah Cliff Point, Peguyangan Waterfall
Get early boat from Sanur to Nusa Penida, first boat at 8 am. When you arrive by boat, rent a scooter and head straight to Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach. You have plenty time here so hike around along the coast if you feel like. Don’t miss Manta view point at west side of Broken Beach. Today you also go to Banah Cliff Point and Peguyangan Waterfall where you can also spot manta rays. At Peguyangan climb down the blue stairs of Nusa Penida and dip into the natural pool. This day I would recommend you to choose your Nusa Penida accommodation at the north shore, the commercial center of the island, where you can find markets and many places to stay.
Day 2: Kelingking Beach, Crystal Bay Beach
Drive in the morning to the best place to visit in Nusa Penida: Kelingking Beach. Hike around and find Kelingking viewpoint, the instagrammable spot with the tree you can climb and hike down to Kelingking beach to enjoy a day at this deserted beach, where hardly any tourists come because of the challenging hike. Then get back on your motorbike and drive to Crystal Bay and stay here for the night, enjoy the splendid sunsets and beaches here.
If you take more days in Nusa Penida, lot of places you can visit such as Atuh Beach, Saren Cliff, and Thousand Island (Pulau Seribu) on the east side of the island. Read my article about ten place you should visit in Nusa Penida here.
Nusa Penida Day Trip from Bali
I can understand not everyone has time to spend lot days on the island. If you only have one day you either have to make choices or join a Nusa Penida day trip from Bali. But I would not recommend you to do a day trip to Nusa Penida. Simply because there is too much to see and you will hardly be able to enjoy the best places to see in Nusa Penida.
Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan
People ask me this question often and it is not really fair to compare these islands. Nusa Lembongan is a place where many travelers meet and therefore there is more to do when the sun goes down. It reminds me of Gili Trawangan in Lombok. Nusa Lembongan is more about those beach and summer vibes where Nusa Penida is for the adventurer that wants to explore the magical sights and spectacular nature.
For me, the question Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan is easy to answer. I am blown away by the incredible places to see in Nusa Penida and therefore it is more my kind of island.
Nusa Lembongan is for: nightlife, party hostels, lounge bars, beautiful beaches.
Nusa Penida is for: Adventure, stunning nature, rough terrain, off the beaten track.
How to get to Nusa Penida
This is fairly easy as you just have to hop on a boat to Nusa Penida from Sanur.
Make your way to Sanur beach, haggle the price for a one-way ticket down to 150K ($12) or an open return ticket for 280K ($22), no need to reserve up front. Wait for the boats to leave. There are several companies leaving at different times. Enjoy the ride you are on your way to the amazing places to see in Nusa Penida.