- Superb sights and viewpoints
- Rugged island life
- Excellent dive spots and snorkelling
- A protected tropical marine paradise (MPA)
- Bird sanctuary area
- Laidback and quiet vibes
- Weekend getaway tour
- Local culture and history
A social media sensation
Nusa Penida is the largest offshore island in Bali. It can be reached in roughly 40 minutes by speedboat from Sanur or Padangbai. Penida has a well-developed local population, but not much tourist infrastructure and most visitors come for a weekend getaway or a full-day tour. The island is also home to a bird sanctuary, uncrowded white sand beaches, sacred temples, and some of Bali’s best dive sites. Diving was the main reason tourists came here years ago before Kelingking, and Diamond beach became viral on Instagram. Divers came to find a rare opportunity to swim with sharks, mantas, and mola-mola in Nusa Penida waters. Everything is still basic in the island; you can expect to find only humble guesthouses and warung (food stalls) managed by local families in busy areas near the ports and attractions, nothing fancy. It is very hot and dry during the day, so if you plan to visit beaches and tourists attractions, please bring your hat, sunscreen and sunglasses.
Nusa Penida Brief
The ocean here is clear and gentle, and any waves break on a reef roughly 500 meters out to sea, making this an ideal place for swimming and playing in the sand with kids. Sanur is good for surfing, but only on rare days where the waves are huge everywhere else on the island, and the waves are a long way out from the beach. The peaceful waters of Sanur make it a great place for boats to dock, so expect to see many colourful local jukung canoes and fisherman.
Eating options on Nusa Penida are limited to simple warungs. Some offer fresh grilled fish and seafood. A few nice beachfront restaurants can be found near Goa Giri Putri Temple.
Nusa Penida is a place for daytime activities, and there is little to do at night. It is recommended for you to stay at the hotel after sunset if you must go for dinner somewhere far, please drive carefully. Street lights are very limited in Penida.
Even though Nusa Penida is relatively a small island, but going around on a scooter is the best idea. Transporation is pretty basic here; most of the tourists and locals are travelling on a motorbike. Expect the price for scooter rental slightly higher compared to many areas in Bali and some of them not in a good condition.
However, the most comfortable way to travel the island is by hiring a car with a driver. The land can be too rough for scooters and the weather is too hot.
Nusa Penida mostly offers some very basic homestays. Dive resorts and private villas with pool are starting to pop-up near popular attractions. Eco-friendly accommodation and camps are available for tougher visitors. Most of the properties don’t have access to freshwater, which mean the water in the bathroom will be saline; don’t panic! It’s normal, you may ask for mineral water bottle for brushing your teeth.
Nusa Penida is home to a few important Balinese temples and an interesting cave for meditation. Stunning viewpoints with breathtaking sights from its peak and waterfalls can be found in the southern area. Beautiful beaches are scattered all around the island, but the most popular beaches like Diamond and Atuh are at the South-eastern part of the island.
Nusa Penida is a good place for trekking and biking, and is popular with bird watchers, as the island is a bird sanctuary. It is surrounded by thriving coral reefs, which makes it great for diving and snorkelling. Still, visitors should be aware that there are strong and unpredictable currents in the surrounding waters, which can be dangerous.
Nusa Penida was settled by the Balinese long ago and had a distinct dialect of the Balinese language, as well as its unique architectural styles and dances. Many sources have mentioned the history of the island related to the Bali Ancestor named Ratu Gede Mas Mecaling. He was known as the powerful ancestor who could cure the sick. Many locals and other devotees still come to this temple today hoping to get help from God to be healed from any sickness.
Nusa Penida is a part of Bali-Indonesia, a developing country, which means that social security and health care, environmental conservation, infrastructure, education are not the best in the world. We believe that every visitor can support a more sustainable form of tourism, by not only spending money here but spending responsibly, rewarding the businesses that are concerned about Penida, its environment and its people. It’s always our choice whether we are part of the problem or part of the solution.
Numbers of health facilities are very limited. Mostly are only small clinics serving locals. If something serious happens, you most likely need to go back to Bali main island. It is also recommended to bring enough basic medication for your stay in Penida.