We had booked a stay on the island of Nusa Penida for 3 nights, but we liked the island so much we ended up staying an extra night. There’s plenty of things to do and to see on the island, which we’ll share with you in this post.
One of the island’s main touristic spots is Kelingking Beach with the famous cliff known as the Dinosaur Head. As we wanted to avoid the crowds, we left our hotel very early and arrived at Kelingking Beach just after sunrise. We were the first ones to arrive at the cliff, which gave us plenty of time to take photos and fly the drone. While we were shooting our content, two other people arrived, but both left pretty quickly again, at least before we were done taking photos and videos.
We were the first ones to climb (it’s really a climb, not a hike) down to the beach, which took us about half an hour. We stayed at the beach for two hours, relaxing, taking pictures and preparing ourselves for the climb back up. After a while, a local guy came down with a huge backpack full of drinks and snacks to sell. We didn’t fly the drone at the beach as there was no GPS coverage and we didn’t want to take any risks (we read about people crashing their drones due to lack of GPS coverage).
The climb up took us a little over 30 minutes. By then, many people were going down to the beach and sometimes it was difficult to let people pass along the steep path. Around 11:00 we arrived back at the top, and the place was very crowded. It felt like everyone was competing for the perfect shot. Seeing all this, we were happy we got there early.
Usually there’s an entrance fee of IDR 10.000 (per person) and a parking fee of IDR 5.000 but when you get there as early as we went, it’s free.
Angel Billabong and Broken Beach
Angel Billabong and Broken Beach are also very popular tourist spots. To avoid the crowds again, we left our hotel very early to get to these spots just after sunrise. The road to these places was a little bit more challenging so it took us a bit longer than expected to get there. You have to drive through many small villages and if you go in the early morning, you’ll see children walking to school.
We were the only ones to arrive at Angel Billabong and had some trouble finding the famous natural pool. We climbed on some cliffs and flew the drone to see if we could spot the pool from the sky. In case you have any trouble finding the natural pool, this is its exact location. There are also signs indicating where the pool is, but we took a wrong turn somewhere, so we didn’t pass any.
We had the Angel Billabong pool completely to ourselves for a pretty long time. Around 09:00 the tour groups started to get there. By that time, we were completely done with shooting our footage, so we headed to Broken Beach.
Be aware to check the tide times when going to Angel Billabong if you want to swim in the pool. During high tide the waves from the sea might crash into the pool which would make it impossible to swim (and very dangerous).
Broken Beach is located right next to Angel Billabong. It was a little bit more crowded when we got there. We found a spot to take the photos we wanted to take. We had gotten quite hungry, so we decided to have a bite at one of the huts around Broken Beach.
While we were eating, the area quickly became much more crowded. When we left, we walked past Angel Billabong, and it was packed. We were happy we went early again.
Usually there’s a parking fee of IDR 5.000 but when you get as early as we went, it’s free. There’s no entrance fee as far as we know.
Crystal Bay was our favorite place in Nusa Penida. We went to this beach every day in the afternoon and stayed there until sunset. We even spent one full day at the beach. Until 15:00 the beach is fairly crowded as many people visit the beach as part of their island tour. After 15:00 the crowds disappear, and it becomes a very relaxed place.
You can rent snorkeling gear at the beach, which we did every time. Snorkeling at Crystal Bay is amazing. Depending on the tide, the water sometimes gets a bit ‘muddy’ when the waves slash up the sand, but usually the water is crystal clear. There’s beautiful colorful coral and fish to see. Also, you can buy different kinds of drinks and snacks at the beach and some warm meals can also be served. Renting sun beds at Crystal Bay isn’t expensive at all either, and super comfortable.
There’s a small parking fee of IDR 2.000 to park your scooter.
Palm tree road
When you get to Crystal Bay, don’t forget to check out the Insta-famous palm tree road which is very close to the beach. The road isn’t busy at all, so it’s easy to take pictures on the road and fly your drone.
One spot we tried to reach was Atuh Beach. Atuh Beach is on the eastern part of the island, so we had to drive quite some time on the main road. However, we never made it there as we simply couldn’t find it. There were some signs, but they all led us in the wrong direction. The location of Atuh Beach on Google Maps was incorrect too. Because we were so hungry, we gave up after a while and went to look for food instead. After having a meal, we never headed back, but drove to Crystal Bay instead.
We believe this is the right spot to reach Atuh Beach, but we’re not completely sure as we’ve never made it there ourselves.
Besides all these sightseeing spots, Nusa Penida is always perfect for scuba diving. There are a few divers’ schools on the island where you can rent gear or get your certificates. It’s also possible to book a boat tour which will take you to beautiful diving and snorkeling spots around the island, where you might even see some Manta Rays.
Nusa Penida is famous for its terrible roads. The island’s main road is actually pretty good. The road leading to Crystal Bay is very good too and it looked like that road was recently renovated. It can be very steep at some places though, so make sure your scooter is powerful enough, especially if you’re on one scooter with two people.
The road to Kelinking Beach is overall pretty good, but the end of the road is a bit harder to drive on with loose stones except asphalt. The road to Angel Billabong and Broken Beach is simply horrible. It’s all loose stones for pretty much the entire stretch, and with some pretty steep parts, it’s difficult to drive. We often let one of us drive the scooter up or down a hill, while the other one walked. Be very careful driving on loose stones as you’ll hardly have any grip, and you can easily fall of the scooter.
Avoiding the crowds
Key to avoiding the crowds in Nusa Penida is to get up (and arrive) early. Many people go on a day trip from Bali with a hired driver and head to the major spots Kelingking Beach, Angel Billabong and Broken Beach and end their tour in Crystal Bay around 14:00/15:00. The crowds start to come in around 09:00 at both Kelingking Beach and Angel Billabong and Broken Beach.
We haven’t been to Crystal Bay in the early morning, but the tour groups start to leave around 15:00. As Crystal Bay is a perfect spot for sunset, it’s best to head there at the end of the day for a relaxing late afternoon and beautiful sunset.
If you want to avoid the crowds, it’s also important to have your own transport to get around the island. This way, you’re not dependent on a driver and you can do everything at your own pace and as early as you’d like to. Renting a scooter is the cheapest option. We rented a scooter at our hotel, and we guess this is possible at every hotel in Nusa Penida. If it’s not possible at your hotel, they’ll probably help you get a scooter anyway.
If you go on a day trip to Nusa Penida from, for instance, Bali, you’ll be surrounded by crowds for sure as you’re dependent on ferry times. Staying on the island for a few days is absolutely worth it as there’s plenty to see, and it’s perfect to start your day early to avoid the crowds!
Have you been to Nusa Penida or is it still on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!
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