During recent years, the dreamy small island of Nusa Penida just off the coast of Bali has become an alluring escape from the mainland’s increasing touristy pulse and overflowing crowd. From exotic beaches to local experiences, read our guide on how to spend 24 hours here.
The boats to Nusa Penida usually leave from Sanur several times a day, depending on the operator. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the island from the port in Sanur. Taking the afternoon trip would be ideal to get the most of your 24 hours, as you’ll be travelling in daylight and have better time blocking for all the highlights — sunsets, early morning market, and more adventures.
From the port in Nusa Penida, the Kelingking Beach is less than an hour’s drive away. Besides, it would be nice to start with the very spot that has become the island’s icon, with its famed T-Rex cliff and stunning secret nook. You can descend all the way down to the inviting, white sandy beach or be content with the magnificent view from the top of the cliff.
You only get one sunset on this exotic island, so make it count. Crystal Beach is prized for the vibrant underwater scene, matched only by the scenery above the surface. You can get yourself some adventure on the water while waiting for the sunset or simply kick back and relax on the smooth white sand, coconut drink in hand. As the sun goes down, you can see bursts of colour casting shadows on Crystal Beach’s iconic limestone rocks and bouncing off the ocean’s surface.
While you’re in this exotic small island, get yourself a nice seafood dinner. Go to the nearby warung to get freshly caught produce and spicy, savoury condiments, prepared the locals’ way. Order a portion of rice to go with everything to give you enough energy for the next adventure. That’s how Indonesians do it anyway.
More than just a place for trade, traditional markets offer an authentic local experience you won’t want to miss. Get there and see the locals in their daily hustles, say hi, buy some souvenirs. The market is also an excellent spot to get a hearty (and cheap!) traditional breakfast to fuel you for the day.
This waterfall sticks out at the side of a majestic cliff, and it drops down directly to the ocean. Peguyangan does have a plunge pool, but it’s at the top of the drop, overlooking the horizon. Magnificent, isn’t it? There’s also a water temple in the area, where you can observe (or even take part in) fascinating cleansing rituals.
Renting a motorbike is the most sensible thing to do if you want to really see and experience the island. You can set your own pace and itinerary according to your interests and just take yourself around. It allows you to wander to the remotest parts of the island, and it’s just really fun to just see where the road takes you.
Whether you plan it or not, you’re bound to encounter exquisite temples when exploring the island. Nusa Penida is, after all, like a cherished extension to Bali, the ‘land of a thousand temples’. Just like in Bali, you’ll see Hindu temples with ornate traditional architecture, colourful offerings, ornate carvings, and daily rituals.
Your journey should culminate in the Nusa Penida port, where the fast boat will take you back to Sanur, Bali. But fret not, the journey back is an adventure in itself. Wonderful scenery still presents itself as you sail away from the island as if saying goodbye, and it’s cool if you want to come back sometime later.