Nusa Penida's Hidden Gems: Your Exclusive 2023 Guide

get around Nusa Penida Bali in scooter

Planning your trip to Indonesia and 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.

Walking in Nusa Penida Bali

Walking in Nusa Penida

Walking or hiking

The island is so big you cannot fully get around walking, unless you are really a good walker and have plenty of time in front of you. But there are still very nice hikes. I have plans to mark out hiking trails along the west coast of Nusa Penida. But I guess this will wait until the end of the coronavirus crisis …

In the meantime, I have explored for you the hike from Crystal Bay to Broken Beach. Another nice hike is in Temeling primary forest. If you park your scooter before the long descent or if your car driver drop you off, you can follow a nice two kilometer hike (one way).

A walk from your hotel in Sakti to Crystal Bay or to Gamat Bay then to Amok sunset bar can also be nice. You will also, almost everywhere on the island, come across many schoolchildren walking to or from school !

Nusa Penida with scooter

For those who like adventure, the scooter is the best way to discover the island at its own pace. You can check any spot you want and stop to enjoy the viewpoint or take a photo. You can rent scooters at Toyapakeh Harbour and most hotels. Please note that scooter rental prices are higher than in Bali. And they are variable depending on the season. The price should be between 70,000 rupiahs and 100,000 rupiahs per day.

But avoid negotiating too hard. I have already seen renters increase their prices during the negotiation, exasperated by the lack of respect from some tourists. I still smile at the memory of three tourists who absolutely wanted to rent their scooter for 50,000 rupiahs instead of the very reasonable price of 75,000 rupiahs offered by the scooter rental company. And who ended up paying 100,000 …

Just remember that 10,000 rupees is about 60 cents for us, but the price of a meal for local people.

Is it safe to drive a scooter in Nusa Penida ?

The helmet is not compulsory in Nusa Penida but it is safer to wear one. The scooter rental company will probably not spontaneously propose one but you should ask for it. It is also better to wear proper shoes and at least one tee-shirt. I see many tourists driving their scooter with no hemet, no tee-shirt and bare foot of wearing flip flops. This is nice as long as you don’t have an accident but unfortunately scooter accident happen, especially with people using the breaks with gravels on the road.

Nobody will ask your driving licence to rent a scooter but just have in mind that you will probably not be covered by your insurance if you don’t have one.

Motorbike in Nusa Penida ?

The scooters are generally 125 cm3 because some roads are very steep in Nusa Penida. But you can also rent real motocross. A motorbike may be the best choice if you know how to drive it, given the condition of certain roads in Nusa Penida island. The price will be higher.

Scooter in Nusa Penida Bali in the rain

Scooter in the rain

Driving a scooter or motorcycle in the rain in Bali ?

If you are visiting Nusa Penida island or Bali during the rainy season I recommend that you buy a poncho for a few euros. There are many colors and they protect really well from the rain. If you see all the Balinese stopping to put their own, it’s time to do the same. You can be soaked in seconds …

Nusa Penida is normally drier than the rest of Bali with less than 1000 mm of rain per year. But nevertheless it is always good to have a rain coat in your motorbike. The basic ones cost only a few euros.

Or check the weather forecast !

Annual Rain in Bali

Annual Rain in Bali

How to drive on the roads of Nusa Penida?

Much of the road network has been refurbished. In particular the road which makes a kind of tour of the island. It runs along the entire north coast, from Toyapakeh to Suana. It then goes up to Atuh Beach, then Tanglad and crosses the whole island until a fork towards the beach of Crystal Bay, also refurbished. Some cross roads are also brand new.

Driving around Nusa Penida island on these brand new roads is really a pleasure. However, the following three rules must be observed.

  • Drive left in Indonesia and in Bali. In particular, keep your left hand when you come across a car or a truck which sometimes drives very fast. Drive only on proper roads and not on a small path along a cliff (unfortunately this is a true story, one casualty …).
  • Slow down BEFORE turns or descents. Most falls happen when drivers brake hard in a turn or downhill and there is gravel on the road.
  • Don’t go too fast. Because you may run into a big truck at any time, but also a child or an animal. Personally I do not deviate from my race for a toad (very often in the evening or at night) or a hen (all the time). But I avoid dogs or … pigs. And also because you can pass without any transition from a brand new road to a rotten road. This is how I made my only real big fall on a scooter while going to Atuh Beach.
  • again, my recommandation is to wear a helmet, proper shoes and at least a tee-shirt if you drive a scooter.
get around in Nusa Penida on roads with animals

Beware of animals on the roads !

On Nusa Penida dirt roads

All the other roads are of average, even poor quality. In particular, most of the cross roads that go from the main road to the sea. The worse one is the road leading to Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong. A kind of disaster, especially in the rainy season when all the potholes are filled with mud. My advice, start testing your ability to drive a scooter in Nusa Penida island by going to the places served by a good road : Crystal Bay, Goa Giri Putri, Atuh Beach. Once familiar and comfortable you can go to Kelingking Beach or Diamond Beach. And if you are not completely confortable, take a driver to go to Broken Beach.

Suwehan Beach Nusa Penida road

Road to Suwehan Beach

Driving at night in Nusa Penida?

The night is totally dark about 45 minutes after sunset. So around 7 p.m. But driving in Bali or Nusa Penida at night is sometimes more comfortable than by day on good quality roads. Because there are fewer cars and trucks and you can see them coming thanks to the headlights. However, you have to drive more slowly and be more careful on poor quality roads.

Map of Nusa Penida and its road network

This map of Nusa Penida island produced by Namaste Bungalows hotel shows the quality of the road network. It is fairly accurate except it anticipated the renovation of the roads south of Tanglad to Suwehan Beach and Tabuanan which have not yet been repaired. If you want the high resolution pdf version of this map, please just add a comment at the end of this article or send me an email !

By clicking at the top right of this page you will get the map of Nusa Penida island by Google. Google Map is also very useful on the island. The distances and travel times between two places are pretty accurate and take into account the condition of the roads. On the other hand, you must check and write the correct name for each place. For example to go to Temeling you have to type Tembeling. I try for each destination to give you the correct name to type. Mapsme still doesn’t know the roads of Nusa Penida very well, I don’t recommend it, because I saw a lot of tourists lost in the middle of nowhere following its directions. You can also see my Google map of Nusa Penida where you will also find the location of my top 15 sites to see in Nusa Penida.

Map Nusa Penida Bali

Map of Nusa Penida, Bali

Transfer prices

If you have a lot of suitcases with you, the best option is to book through your hotel your transfer from the port. Otherwise you will find drivers to drive you to your hotel with your luggage but the prices may be higher. I have already seen a driver asking IDR 300,000 to drive tourists to the tree house they had booked near Sekartaji. There is an agreement between the drivers of the island to charge some kind of lump sum prices so negotiating is almost impossible. The price for an average trip is 150,000 to 200,000 rupiahs.

Rent a car in Nusa Penida ?

You cannot rent and drive a car yourself, so you will need to rent a car with driver for half a day or a full day. In certain cases the driver can also act as a guide. It is a good option if you are a bunch of people who want to visit the most remote locations of the island. The prices are also higher than in Bali. The drivers usually ask 500,000 rupiahs for the west tour (Broken Beach, Kelingking Beach) and 550,000 rupiahs for the Esat tour (Atuh Beach). The driver will normally accept 6 of you in a car so it can really be a relatively cheap option.

If you are alone, you can also rent a scooter with a driver.

get around in Nusa Penida with a boat

get around with a boat

By boat

There are many possibilities for boat trips. The main one is the tour to snorkel and see the famous Manta rays. But scuba diving will also give you a great opportunity to discover the coast from the sea, and to visit the seabed. Public and private boats also connect Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan islands for around 60,000 rupees each way. You can also rent a scooter on Nusa Lembongan island.

By bike

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 !

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 !