How to get to Nusa Penida – The Complete Guide
Nusa Penida Island has been rapidly increasing in popularity in recent years. And it’s not surprising with the unworldly nature, dramatic clifftops views and pristine beaches. But you’re reading this post which means you already decided to visit Penida, which is awesome!
This post will explain in detail how to get to Nusa Penida Island from different locations, where to buy your ticket and catch a boat and what are the best ways to visit this gorgeous island.
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Where is Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida Island is situated 45 minutes boat ride from Bali. It is located on the south-eastern side of Bali on the same line with the Denpasar area where Bali’s International Airport is situated.
Day Trip to Nusa Penida from Bali
A very popular and hassle-free way to visit the island is to go on a day trip from Bali. There are different types of available tours. Nusa Penida is quite large but day tour’s itinerary will take you to the most iconic places on the island including Kelingking beach, Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong. The big advantage of an organised trip is that it usually includes door-to-door transport.
I recommend this option if you don’t have much time for exploring Nusa Penida or want the comfort of all logistics organised for you.
If you prefer more freedom and have more time, then keep reading to find out how to organise your Bali – Nusa Penida transport.
How to get to Nusa Penida from different locations
From Bali to Nusa Penida
How to get to Nusa Penida from Bali?
There are 3 locations where you can get a boat to Nusa Penida:
Sanur – is the most obvious and convenient option which I recommend in this post. You can either take a speed boat or a ferry from Sanur to Nusa Penida. The main difference will be journey time. The ferry will be much slower than a fast boat. Nusa Penida is reachable within 45 min on a speed boat and up to a few hours on a ferry.
Padang Bai to Nusa Penida– is an excellent option if you need to take your own vehicle with you.
Kusamba – is a little off the tourist track and more used by local people.
Check below for approximate times to get from different locations in Bali to Nusa Penida. Depending on where you’re planning to stay in Bali and whether you take a taxi or a ferry pick up service, the time will vary. Also, it’s always worth allowing some buffer time for bad traffic, especially during the morning rush hour.
– Ubud to Nusa Penida – 50 min to Sanur and 45 min speed boat
– Seminyak to Nusa Penida – 30 min to Sanur and 45 min speed boat
– Nusa Dua to Nusa Penida – 25 min to Sanur and 45 min speed boat
– Uluwatu to Nusa Penida – 60 min to Sanur and 45 min speed boat
– Denpasar to Nusa Penida – 15 min to Sanur and 45 min speed boat
Boat from Sanur to Nusa Penida
Option 1 – Book your fast boat Sanur- Nusa Penida online in advance. There is a lot of advantages to choosing this option. You are guaranteed your place on the speed boat. Also, you have the visibility of all the options available from different Bali to Nusa Penida ferry companies, times and prices. And if you’re lucky, you may also be able to find a bargain fair. Expect to pay around $25-$50 for a return trip which is an excellent and affordable option.
What’s also great about it is that they usually offer a lift to the ferry location. A pick-up van goes around the hotels and collects people to drop them off at the ferry port in Sanur. It may take up to an hour to collect all the passengers, so be patient. You may be lucky and be picked up as last; then you go straight to the ferry port.
Whenever I travel in Asia, I use 12go website to book my transportation. I found the site to be secure and service reliable.
Book your fast boat to Nusa Penida here:
Option 2 – It is also possible to book your ferry to Nusa Penida from your hotel. Just ask at the reception and the chances are they resell the tickets. In a way, it is convenient, because you can decide last minute on your travel time to Nusa Penida. The hotel will typically have to confirm the availability, which is of course not guaranteed and will charge you a little extra for the service.
Option 3 – You can also buy your ticket directly from Sanur Harbour. You would normally arrive at Sanur a day earlier. There are a lot of vendors on the road along with the coat selling tickets for different speed boats. With this option, you are likely to get a seat for the next day departure, but you will have to haggle to get a reasonable price. So, if you’re good at it and get a bit lucky, you may find yourself a bargain.
I personally prefer to book online whenever I can, which gives me security and also prevents me from being ripped off. As it’s the case with many westerners, my haggling skills are not the strongest, especially as a solo female traveller.
Pay attention to different journey times while booking your ride. There usually are two types:
– Fast Boat from Bali to Nusa Penida – takes around 45 minutes and it’s a relatively small speed boat.
– Ferry from Bali to Nusa Penida – a ferry is a large vessel that moves very slowly and takes a good few hours (avoid those).
Sanur Harbour – what can you expect
Sanur ferry port is very hectic in the morning so read on to know what you can expect. You are likely to be dropped off on the main road and showed to the ferry port which is an area along the coast. If you’re organising your taxi or just walking from your accommodation in Sanur, make sure you arrive 1 hour before the scheduled departure.
This road is very busy with hundreds of people waiting for their speed boat. Every company has a station under a gazebo tent where they will check your name against their passenger list. They will ask you for your passport too to complete a passenger manifesto for the boat.
Once you’re checked in, you will be given a wrist band or a sticker and told to wait. You can ask the agent what time your boat is departing and which one it is. In the meantime, you can go for a little stroll and have some breakfast. There are small tents set up that sell fresh coffee, noodles and cakes along the road.
Pay attention to when your group gets called. There are so many different speed boats and groups that it’s easy to get confused. My advice is to wait with the people given the same stickers or wrist bands. Expect to wait about an hour.
When the crew of your boat is ready, they will start loading the suitcases and large backpacks. These will be stored under the deck. Keep your valuable with you in a day pack and hand in your large luggage to the crew. When baggage gets loaded, the team will invite people on the board.
TIP: If you suffer from travel sickness like me, take a travel sickness medicine. It can get really choppy at sea, and it can be a nightmare (I’ve been there). Also, try to get a window seat to be able to watch the horizon.
The journey is very short, and you will be disembarking before you know it. The boat is equipped with life jackets. My advice is to locate one near you and wear it. They’re there for a reason. The crew will also hand out some water to all the passengers.
Nusa Penida Arrival
After a short speed boat ride (about 45 min) you will arrive at the gorgeous Nusa Penida. The arriving harbour is called Toya Pakeh, and it’s situated in the northern part of the island. The boat will stop at a floating jetty. If the sea is rough, then it’s fun walking on it because it’s moving up and down with the waves. But don’t worry, the crew helps all the passengers to get to the land safely. Again, wait for your big bag to be unloaded from underneath the deck.
Car drivers and motorbike rental people wait for the passengers every morning to offer their services. Don’t feel pressured if this is not what you want to do. And negotiate the price if you decide to buy their services.
Nusa Islands consist of 3 islands: Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. The transport between Nusa islands is reasonably straightforward. You just show up, and a small boat takes you across, which takes around 10-15 minutes. On Nusa Penida head to Toya Pakeh, for both Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan is the yellow bridge area.
Nusa Lembongan to Nusa Penida
Getting to Nusa Penida from Nusa Lembongan and vice versa is much easier. On Nusa Lembongan, small boats leave from the area next to the yellow bridge, and there is no need to prebook. There is a small building where you can buy your ticket. Expect to pay around $5 (60k IDR) one way.
They will ask you to wait, but it shouldn’t take a long time as the small boats leave pretty much every hour and it takes only about 10 min to get across to Nusa Penida.
On the way back, you can catch a small boat from Toya Pakeh harbour on Nusa Penida.
Lombok to Nusa Penida
If you’re planning to see Lombok first, there is no direct route to take you to Nusa Penida, but there is to Nusa Lembongan. And as you’ve seen above, it only takes an additional 10 minutes on a small boat to get to Nusa Penida.
Various companies offer Lombok – Nusa Lembongan boat fares. Again, I recommend booking your ticket from 12Go website for the best visibility of all options. But, essentially depending on the ferry company boats leave from 2 different piers in Lombok:
Bangsal Pier (Teluk Kode Pier) which is the main ferry harbour on Lombok
All those piers are located on the western part of the island. The ticket cost around $25-35 one way and the journey time varies from 2 to 3.5 hours depending on the service.
Kuta to Nusa Penida
To get from Kuta beach area in Lombok to Nusa Penida, you will have to take a Grab/Go Jek/Taxi to Bengsal Harbour. There is a fair distance between Kuta and the harbour, and it takes about 2 hours. You are also expected to arrive 1 hour before your scheduled departure, so have that in mind.
Once in the harbour, take a speed boat to Nusa Lembongan. The ticket can be purchased form 12go website, at the hotel, local tourism vendors in Kuta or directly at the harbour. If you decide at the latter option, make sure you arrive at the pier one day early to be guaranteed a seat on the speed boat.
On Nusa Lembongan, you then take a 10 min ride by a small boat from the yellow bridge area to Nusa Penida.
Gili to Nusa Penida
It’s not possible to get a direct boat from Gili Trawangan to Nusa Penida. Still, it is possible to get one to Nusa Lembongan and then change to a smaller boat that can be cough in the yellow bridge area.
The ticket is a bit pricier. It cost about $30-$50 one way. The price typically includes hotel pick up and the small boat between the two Nusa Islands.
The trip takes 2-3 hours depending on the service, and the price will reflect that. The slower boats tend to be cheaper.
You can book your ticket from 12go website. Consider purchasing the more expensive ticket from the Blue Water Express, which is the most established company and considered to be the safest.
It is also possible to buy the ticket on Gili Trawangan. There are lots of small vendors selling fares around the island. They will have different prices so make sure you shop around, so you don’t end up paying more for the same speed boat.
I found the tourist office just across the street from the pier on Gili T has the best prices.
Gili T Pier – what to expect
Arrive at the pier 1 hour before the scheduled departure and go to the small tourist office across the street to check-in. They will ask you for your passport to complete passenger manifesto, will give you a wrist band and ask you to wait. There is a public waiting area under a roof in the shade where you can wait.
The boarding process is a little hectic and confusing. My advice is to identify a larger group with the same colour wrist bands and wait with them for your speed boat.
There will be a lot of different boats calling, just stay alert so that you don’t miss yours.
If you booked a ticket for the public ferry, look for a large vessel. The official ticket office for public ferries is located in the waiting area under the roof. They also announce departures of different boats, and they seem to have more local passengers while speed boats take mostly tourists.
To use the toilet, ask across the street in the tourist ticket office. They told me to go to one of the restaurants where I have to pay a small change to use the facilities.
Please note that on Gili T, the ‘pier’ is actually a beach where boats stop and to board the ship you need to take off your shoes and get into the water at ankle length. Your backpack/suitcase will be loaded for you, so you don’t need to worry about taking that across the water. When the sea is a little choppy, boarding the boat gets a little tricky. Just wait for the wave to go away and approach the stairs at that moment.
Again, the boat service may get cancelled if the sea conditions are unsuitable, and it’s not safe.
Gili Air to Nusa Penida
Getting to Nusa Penida from Gili Air is a similar process as getting from Gili Trawangan. It probably is the same boat that goes from Gili T but first collects passengers from Gili Air. Again, you can book on 12go, ask your hotel or book from one of the tourists stand on the island.
Alternatively, you can get a taxi boat to take you to Gili T and from there take a speed boat to Nusa Lembongan.
Where to stay in Nusa Penida
Luxury – Le Royale Tropical Bamboo Exotic Sunset Villas
Le Royale Villas are situated in between Crystal Bay and Toya Pakeh. This property looks like a perfect Instagram photo! It offers an open living concept in a wooden villa with a large terrace to soak on the epic sunset views. It’s got a hot tub and a private pool, a big-screen movie in the communal area, and offers a free BBQ service.
Midrange – Penida Bay Village
Penida Bay Village is situated 10 minutes’ walk from Crystal Bay Beach in a traditional local village with good proximity to a few little shops and local warungs. The bungalows are clean and spacious and include free wifi use and toiletries in a private bathroom. There is an onsite restaurant that serves a good breakfast that is included in the room price, but also lunch and dinner for an extra charge.
Budget – La Roja Bungalows
La Roja property is also one of the best Nusa Penida hostels that offers private and shared rooms. It is located within 20 minutes’ drive from the harbour on the western coast, a minutes’ walk from shops and small, local restaurants. The hotel boasts a pool area with white decking and a well-kept garden. There is a choice of older bungalows and newer ones situated around the pool, simple yet very tastefully designed. La Roja is an excellent option for solo travellers and budget travellers.
Still can’t decide where to stay on Nusa Penida- check out Nusa Penida Accommodation Guide.
Getting around Nusa Penida
Getting around Nusa Penida is not the most straightforward. If you’re an experienced motorbiker, you can rent a scooter for 75-100k IDR a day. The roads are narrow and in most places in very bad shape so be prepared for a bumpy road in heat and dust. Having said that, this option gives you the most freedom and is the most rewarding (we appreciate things more when we work hard for them lol).
If you don’t feel comfortable riding a scooter, you can hire a car with a driver. The prices will vary but expect to pay around 600k IDR per person per day, based on two people sharing a car.
Make sure you are shown how to operate your motorbike. Check that breaks and lights work correctly. Always wear a helmet! Remember to drive on the left side (same as in the UK).
If you need to top up your fuel, petrol is sold in glass bottles on the side of the road. It’s cheap but doesn’t last very long. Always make sure you’ve got enough petrol to come back to your accommodation.
If you’re planning to watch the sunset, remember that you’ll be coming back in the dark, again make sure your lights work and your phone has enough battery so that you can use maps and get safely back to your hotel.
Most points of interest on Nusa Penida can be found on Google Maps and are relatively easy to navigate. When you’re on your motorbike, don’t look at your phone. Instead, put your headphones on and listen to the audio navigation.
Things to do in Nusa Penida
There is so much to see on Nusa Penida considering it’s a small island. I wrote a full post on that topic which you can access here: 18 Incredible Things to do in Nusa Penida.
If you’re going on a day tour, then the itinerary is readily made. If you arrange it yourself, I recommend seeing Kelingking Beach, Atuh Beach and Diamond Beach, which are located on the other side of the island. But a new road was built recently, and it actually doesn’t take that long to reach that part of the island, but it’s totally worth it! And in the same area, there is the famous Tree House with a view over the ocean to die for!
Check out Bali Packing List for some top tips on what to take with you!
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