Nusa Penida, an island full of rugged landscapes, wild beaches, breathtaking views and even crazier roads.
Nusa Penida Island is a fairly new tourist hotspot. I was there in 2017 and it was still relatively unheard of. Due to this, the island is still relatively undeveloped.
Visiting again in 2019 I can see that they are making improvements to many of the current roads which can be extremely unsafe for visitors.
Like many visitors coming to Bali you’ll want to add in a few days to visit Nusa Penida and experience this untouched landscape for yourself. There are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind before you visit, as well as during your stay on the island.
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How to Get to Nusa Penida Island from Bali
All of the ferries and fast boats going to Nusa Penida leave out of Sanur on the southeast side of Bali. To reach the ticket counters and fast boat departure area type Sanur Fast Boat Ticket into your GPS or use these coordinates: 8.6736318, 115.2632141. This will take you directly to where you need to go to purchase your ticket.
If you have rented your own motorbike in Bali you can easily park it at the fast boat terminal for the duration of your stay in Nusa Penida. You will pay the 2,000 INR to enter the ticket counters & parking area and then can park anywhere for no extra fee.
The fast boats run multiple times a day and we purchased our roundtrip tickets for 325, 000 INR (~$22 USD) per person. We used a company called Angels Billabong (I used them before) as they had a boat that left at 2PM. When you purchase your tickets they will give you a receipt and a lanyard to wear.
To board the boat you will head down to the waters edge by climbing down some large rocks. If you have large luggage with you the guys working for the boat will carry it down and get it on board.
You will have to wade through the water to get onto the boat so make sure you don’t have long pants or they will get wet. We also recommend wearing flip flops instead of shoes.
The journey to Nusa Penida island will take around 34-45 minutes depending on the sea conditions.
You also have the option of using a tour company. This will be completely hassle free for you but will also be a bit more costly. They will book the transfer from your hotel in Bali to the Sanur Terminal, as well as, your boat ticket to get to Nusa Penida.
Your booking will include the transfer back as well. Many of these companies cost around 550,000 INR (~$39 USD) per person.
How to Get to Nusa Penida Island From Nusa Lembongan
To get to Nusa Penida from Lembongan you can easily take one of the fast boats with a 10 minute journey. The boats leave directly from the yellow bridge on the Lembongan side at these exact GPS coordinates (8.6930270, 115.4506560) The tickets cost 50,000 IDR (~$3.50USD) for one-way or 100,000 IDR (~$7 USD) for a return.
The boats typically leave every hour starting at 8AM but they might leave more frequently if they have enough passengers. The last boat leaving Nusa Lembongan back to Penida is at 5PM so make sure you are at the harbor before then!
How to Get Around Nusa Penida Island
There are a few options for navigating your way around Nusa Penida Island.
1. Using a Tour Company
You will easily find many different tour companies that will drive you around to all the different points of interests in either one day or multiple day tours.
2. Hire a Private Driver
The second option is to hire a private guide or taxi for the day. This will probably cost a bit more but if you have a larger group then the price could be similar to a tour.
3. Hire a Local Motorbike Driver
A third option is to hire a local motorbike driver. He will take you to all the main spots on his motorbike and wait for you at each spot. This would probably be slightly cheaper than paying for a tour by car. This options probably works best for solo travelers who don’t want to drive their own motorbike.
4. Rent and Drive Your Own Motorbike
The fourth option is to rent your own scooter. A large number of visitors who come to Nusa Penida end up renting their own motorbike to explore the island. While this option is the cheapest, it is also the most dangerous.
A motorbike can be rented from the harbor or from most guesthouses. If you rent through your guesthouse the price will probably we lower than renting from the harbor. Our motorbike rental cost 75,000 INR (~$5.30 USD) for the day.
You won’t find bike rentals as cheap as you can in Bali but I’m sure you could negotiate a bit if you wanted to. Many of the guesthouses do not have helmets and we saw so many people driving around without one. Luckily, we had brought our helmets with us as our guesthouse was one of the ones that didn’t have any.
Driving a Motorbike on Nusa Penida. Is it Safe?
Probably one of the most important things to cover in this post is whether or not it is safe to rent & drive a motorbike on Nusa Penida. Ultimately this comes down to how skilled of a driver you are and how confident you feel driving on very bad roads. If you choose to drive a motorbike please be smart and wear a helmet.
The main road which connects a good chunk of the island is quite good. Despite being very hilly, the roads are paved and wide enough for 2-way traffic. If you are arriving at the harbor you may take a look at the roads and think it looks very easy, especially if you just came from Bali.
However, the majority of the roads in Nusa Penida are very steep, pothole ridden stretches that can prove to very difficult for a novice scooter driver. All of the roads leading to the main highlights on Nusa Penida will be very bad.
I cannot stress this enough: please do not rent a motorbike unless you are proficient in driving one. We saw so many people with cuts & bruises and I had a motorbike accident during my first visit to Nusa Penida.
Tips for Renting a Motorbike on Nusa Penida
So you’ve decided to rent a motorbike. There are a few more things you should be aware of before you head out on your adventures and start driving on these crazy roads!
1. Where to find petrol
You can find many stands just off the side of the road selling petrol. They all sell it for the same price which is 10,000 IDR (~$.70 USD) a liter. Be sure to check your petrol frequently by looking into the fuel tank in your motorbike. We noticed that some of the bikes fuel gauge isn’t always accurate and you don’t want to be stuck walking a mile to find the closest petrol shop!
2. How to check if your motorbike is safe
Just before agreeing to rent your motorbike be sure to do a thorough check to make sure nothing looks broken, missing or out of place. We didn’t realize it until after a full 2 days of driving on the terrible roads in Nusa Penida but our motorbike was missing the main screw that hold the front wheel in place. When we finally noticed the rod that goes through the wheel was almost all the way out and we definitely would have had a serious accident.
So just be sure to give your bike a good look over before jumping on and speeding away!
3. How to get help if you have a problem
This one can be a bit tricky as most of the locals on Nusa Penida don’t speak english. If they do it is usually very little. However, the people there can be very helpful and you’ll find that a lot of them use google translate on their phone.
If you have a problem, whether it be medical or relating to the motorbike, try your best to inform them of the problem. It may take a while and you may have to do a lot of pointing and charades but eventually someone will understand and you will get the help you need. Just be sure to never get frustrated with the locals and always be pleasant!
Now you are ready to visit Nusa Penida and have an amazing time exploring this incredible island! Have you been to Nusa Penida before? Share some more tips in the comments below!
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WHAT CAMERA GEAR DO I USE?
- Main Camera: Sony A7III
- Wide angle lens: Sony G Master 16-35mm f/2.8
- Zoom lens: Sony 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3
- Secondary Camera: Canon 6D Mark II
- Canon wide angle lens: Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L
- Underwater camera: Leica X-U
- Camera with gimbal: DJI Osmo Pocket & Underwater Housing
- Drone: DJI Mavic Pro
- Camera Bag: Polar Pro Drone Trekker
- External Hard Drive: LaCie 1 TB rugged mini external hard drive