Planning your trip to Indonesia and to Bali? Look no further for practical information about Nusa Penida. Learn about the best ways to navigate the island and the current state of its roads. You’ll find all the information you need here. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Nusa Penida is a sprawling 200 km2, twice the size of Paris, but lacks public transportation. A handy guide is a must!
Nusa Penida‘s roads are undergoing renovations, making it increasingly convenient to travel around the island. Some destinations, however, require navigating bumpy dirt roads. Renting a scooter or motorbike is a popular option for seeing the sights, but there are other choices available. For those less confident on two wheels, hiring a car with a driver may be a more preferable option for a guided tour of the island.
Exploring Nusa Penida: Hiking Trails and Adventures
Due to its vast size, it’s impossible to explore the entire island of Nusa Penida on foot unless you’re an avid hiker with ample time on your hands. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of beautiful hikes to enjoy.
I have personally explored the trail from Crystal Bay to Broken Beach, which offers stunning views. Another excellent hike can be found in the primary forest of Temeling, which involves a pleasant two-kilometer (one-way) walk after parking your scooter or getting dropped off by your driver before a long descent.
For a more leisurely stroll, consider walking from your hotel in Sakti to Crystal Bay, Gamat Bay, and Amok Sunset Bar. Additionally, you’ll likely encounter many schoolchildren on their way to or from school as you explore the island.
Tips for Scooter Rental and Driving on Nusa Penida
For adventure enthusiasts, a scooter is a great way to explore Nusa Penida at your own pace. You can effortlessly navigate the island’s various sights and pause at any viewpoint to take photos or soak in the scenery.
Rent a scooter in Nusa Penida
Scooters can be rented from Toyapakeh Harbour and most hotels. But do note that the rental prices are higher than those in Bali and vary according to the season, ranging between 70,000 and 100,000 rupiahs per day. Or even more 150,000 rupiahs per day for a N-Max.
However, it’s advisable not to haggle excessively, as some renters may raise their prices due to disrespectful behavior from certain tourists. I once witnessed a group of tourists who adamantly wanted to rent a scooter for 50,000 rupiahs, despite the reasonable price of 75,000 rupiahs offered by the rental company. Eventually, they ended up paying 100,000 rupiahs.
Bear in mind that 10,000 rupiahs is only 60 cents to us, but it’s equivalent to a meal for locals.
Is it safe to drive a scooter in Nusa Penida ?
Although helmets are not mandatory in Nusa Penida, it’s safer to wear one. The rental company may not provide helmets unless specifically requested, so it’s essential to ask for one. It’s also recommended to wear sturdy shoes and at least a tee-shirt. I’ve noticed many tourists driving their scooters without helmets, shirts, or proper footwear, which may be comfortable, until an accident occurs, especially on roads with gravel.
A driving license is not required to rent a scooter, but it’s worth remembering that your insurance may not cover you if you don’t have one.
Motorbike in Nusa Penida ?
Scooters are typically 125 cc, but some roads on Nusa Penida are incredibly steep, making it challenging to navigate with a scooter. In such cases, a full-size motocross bike may be the best option if you have experience riding one. However, the rental cost will be higher. N-Max (150 cc and bigger wheels making it more stable) may also be a good compromise.
Don’t Let the Rain Ruin Your Bali and Nusa Penida Experience
If you plan to visit Nusa Penida island or Bali during the rainy season, I highly suggest purchasing a poncho for just a few euros. They come in various colors and provide excellent protection from the rain. When you see the locals stopping to don their own ponchos, it’s time to follow suit, as you could easily become drenched within seconds.
While Nusa Penida typically receives less rainfall than other parts of Bali, with less than 1000mm annually, it’s always wise to have a raincoat on hand when riding your motorbike.
Or check the weather forecast !
Safe Driving Tips for navigating Nusa Penida roads
Nusa Penida Island’s road network has undergone a significant refurbishment, including the road that encircles the island. This road runs along the entire north coast from Toyapakeh to Suana, travels up to Atuh Beach and Tanglad, crosses the entire island, and eventually leads to a fork towards the recently renovated Crystal Bay Beach. Some new crossroads have also been constructed.
Driving around the island on these newly constructed roads is a pleasant experience. However, it’s crucial to adhere to the following three rules:
- Drive on the left-hand side of the road in Indonesia and Bali. Be mindful of fast-moving cars and trucks and keep your left-hand side when encountering them. Avoid driving on small paths close to cliffs and stick to proper roads. One unfortunate incident has led to a fatality.
- Slow down before turns or descents as most accidents occur due to hard braking in such situations with gravel on the road.
- Don’t drive too fast as you may come across a large truck, a child, or an animal at any time. Personally, I do not swerve for toads, which are frequently encountered in the evening or at night, or hens. However, I make an effort to avoid dogs and … pigs. It’s also essential to note that new roads may transition abruptly to old ones. I had my only significant accident while driving to Atuh Beach due to this sudden transition.
And again, I highly recommend to wear a helmet, proper shoes, and at least a tee-shirt when driving a scooter.
On Nusa Penida dirt roads
While some of the newly refurbished roads on Nusa Penida island are of high quality, the majority of the other roads are average at best. And even poor in some cases. This is especially true for the crossroads that lead from the main road to the sea. However, the worst of these, the road leading to Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong, has seen significant improvement.
To test your driving skills on the island, it is advisable to begin with the destinations accessible by good roads, such as Crystal Bay, Goa Giri Putri, Atuh Beach, and Kelingking Beach. If you do not feel entirely comfortable, it is recommended to hire a driver for more exotic locations such as Suwehan Beach.
Driving at night in Nusa Penida?
Complete darkness sets in approximately 45 minutes after sunset, typically around 7 p.m. However, driving at night in Bali or Nusa Penida can sometimes be more comfortable than during the day, particularly on well-maintained roads. Fewer cars and trucks are on the road, and their headlights provide ample visibility. However, it is important to exercise caution and drive at a slower pace, particularly on roads that are not well maintained.
Map of Nusa Penida and its road network
Namaste Bungalows hotel has produced a map of Nusa Penida island, which accurately reflects the quality of the road network. However, it should be noted that the map has anticipated road renovations south of Tanglad to Suwehan Beach and Tabuanan that have not yet been completed. For a high-resolution PDF version of the map, please leave a comment below or send an email.
In addition, Google Maps is an excellent resource for navigating Nusa Penida island. The distances and travel times provided by Google are generally accurate, taking into account the road conditions. However, it is essential to verify the correct spelling of each location before typing it into the search bar. For example, to reach Temeling, it must be typed as “Tembeling.”
Mapsme, unfortunately, is not recommended as it has limited knowledge of the roads on Nusa Penida, and tourists have been lost in remote areas following its directions. For your convenience, you can also access my Google map of Nusa Penida, which includes the top 15 sites to see on the island.
Nusa Penida Taxi and Transport
If you are traveling with a lot of suitcases, the most convenient option would be to arrange for your transfer from the port through your hotel. Alternatively, you can find drivers at the port who can transport you and your luggage to your hotel, but the prices may be higher. It’s not uncommon for drivers to charge IDR 300,000 or more for a trip to a location such as the tree house near Sekartaji. It’s important to note that drivers on the island have an agreement to charge lump sum prices, which makes it challenging to negotiate. Generally, the average price for a trip ranges from 150,000 to 200,000 rupiahs.
Rent a car in Nusa Penida ?
It is not possible to rent and drive by yourself a car on Nusa Penida island. To explore the island, you will need to rent a car with a driver for half or full day trips. In some cases, the driver may also act as a guide. This option is particularly useful if you are traveling with a group of people and wish to visit the island’s most remote locations. However, it is important to note that prices are higher than those in Bali. Typically, drivers will charge 550,000 rupiahs for the west tour, which includes Broken Beach and Kelingking Beach. And 650,000 rupiahs for the East tour, which includes Atuh Beach. Six passengers can typically fit in one car, making it a relatively cost-effective option for larger groups.
Alternatively, if you are traveling solo, you can rent a scooter with a driver.
Boat trips in Nusa Penida
There are numerous options available for boat excursions. Among them, the most popular one is the snorkeling tour that allows you to witness the majestic Manta rays. If you prefer a more immersive experience, scuba diving is an excellent opportunity to explore the coastline and its seabed. Additionally, public and private boats run between Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan islands. They charge approximately 60,000 rupees per way.
I hardly saw any on the island. It must be said that it is quite hilly, with a peak higher than 500 meters above sea level. But if you have your own bike and you feel like it, this may be an original way to get around in Nusa Penida !
Where to stay in Nusa Penida ?
When I first came to Nusa Penida in 2015 there were only 2 hotels on the island. There are now 450 listed on Booking.com. Read the selection of my favorite places to stay in Nusa Penida. They are all located in between Toyapakeh and Crystal Bay because it is more authentic and less busy than the north coast. And from there you can reach pretty much any attraction in Nusa Penida in less than 1 hour.
Many hotels are offering Getaway Deals for stays between April 4 and September 28, 2023.
Any question on how to get around in Nusa Penida?
I will be happy to answer any questions ! Just contact me or post a question !