Thinking about taking the ferry from Bali to Nusa Penida Island? Here is everything you need to know before you go.
Nusa Penida island is located around 12 miles east of mainland Bali. Famous for its spectacular dive spots and natural beauty, it is definitely worth the short boat trip over if you have the time.
The only way to access the island is by using the ferry boats that leave from mainland Bali. In truth, the ferry is not the most enjoyable experience.
Arriving in Sanur (where the ferries leave from) by taxi you may be hassled by reps trying to sell ferry tickets to get to Nusa Penida or the Gili Islands.
After some bartering, we ended up agreeing on a price of IDR 200,000 (£11.47/US $14.35) per person each way and followed a rep from the “Sri Rejeki” company. The boats are moored up on the shoreline where the ferry offices are located. As it turned out the price we haggled with the rep worked out cheaper than other passengers had paid at the ticket booth. But it’s hard to know if you are getting a good deal at the time.
The companies website allows you to book tickets online for IDR 150.000 each way. However, we did not want to commit to paying online.
The boats here are accessed via the water (no pontoon). So make sure you are wearing flip flops and shorts you can pull up. You are going to get wet.
When you touch down on Nusa Penida Island you will be swarmed by people looking to get you in their taxi. Unfortunately, on the island, if you have heavy bags or a suitcase you do not have many options but to get in one of the overpriced cabs. They have no competition on the Island and without them, you are fairly stranded hence the prices are inflated.
Alternatively, you may be able to rent a scooter from the port where you are dropped if you do not have much luggage to carry. This is a good option because you will need a scooter to get around the island once you have settled in.
Nusa is by no means as built up and developed as Bali. A lot of the cheaper options are rudimental or in our case, incomplete with questionable plumbing. We stayed at Klotok Homestay which cost £11 (US$14) per night for a double room.
There are however some amazing options for those with a higher budget, including some of the most amazing bungalows located at the famous thousand island viewpoint where you can set up for the perfect Instagram photoshoot.
Or if you would rather opt for a bit more luxury there are options such as Semabu Hills Hotel. With a fantastic swimming pool overlooking the sea and Mt Agung, there aren’t many better ways to unwind after a day of travelling.
Getting around Nusa Penida
There is only one real way to get around the island and that is by scooter. Most hotels and home-stays will offer scooter rental. If you have never ridden a scooter before, some of the roads may be tricky as you have to avoid a few potholes. However, the roads are far less busy than on Bali so it is not such a bad place to get used to zipping around on two wheels. For more info on riding a scooter for the first time read our post scooters in Bali to see how we got on.
Nusa Penida island essentially has one main road going around the outside. With more precarious roads coming off the main loop, taking you to some of the incredible viewpoints and areas of interest.
Navigating this road is not too tricky, but bare in mind some roads are more like dirt tracks and should be taken with caution if you are not a confident driver. If you feel unsafe at any point and the road does not look like it is going to improve, it may be best to head back and avoid potential injury.
It takes roughly one hour to get from one side of the island to the other, so when planning your day trips make sure you don’t forget to take this into consideration. It’s best not to have to travel too far in the dark on Nusa.
Nusa Penida island is known for its amazing coastal landscapes and world-class diving spots. Diving is a must-try activity. The island is home to many diving schools offering a variety of trips, for experienced divers as well as beginners. We personally had never dived before and had the most amazing experience taking part in a try dive with ‘Blue corner dive’ school. Read more about our experience here: Blue Corner Dive: Our first ever scuba experience diving in Nusa Penida – REVIEW.
If you are lucky you may even get the opportunity to dive at Manta point. Here you can see huge manta rays and sometimes even whale sharks.
Alternatively, if you would rather stay on the surface you can try snorkelling at many of the main beaches.
If getting into the water is not something you like the idea of, there are plenty of beautiful spots on land to explore:
. A thousand islands viewpoint.
. Angels Billabong
.Manta point – Where you may be able to see the rays from above!
.The northern shoreline – Views of Mt. Agung and Bali.
.Saren Cliff Point
.Tembeling Beach and Forest
With all of these plus plenty more island to explore, you can spend days checking out every nook and cranny.
It’s best to try and plan out a route for each day before you head out. Although the island may seem quite small it takes quite a while to get from one place to another.
Unlike Bali, Nusa is not abundant in fantastic eateries. It takes a little more research to find the best places to grab some dinner, but don’t expect any of the restaurants to blow your hair back unless perhaps you are staying at one of the more expensive resorts.
The food is generally ‘okay’ and the portions are small but hey, you are on a small underdeveloped island in Indonesia! Our advice, stick to seafood and you shouldn’t go too far wrong!
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