Bali travel guide: Discovering Nusa Penida island, an Instagram-worthy gem filled with adventures by the ocean
Bali may be known for many things — exceptional grub, a surfer's paradise, and warm hospitality; but let the token island also be known for Nusa Penida. Take it from us, it's worth your while. Just off mainland Bali, Nusa Penida is the biggest of the three Nusa islands with breathtaking landscapes to boot. But make no mistake, despite its Instagrammable hotspots all over the island, there is more to Nusa Penida than just picturesque backdrops. We suss out five things to do on the island that defines Nusa Penida as more than just a pretty face.
Discover the ocean's inhabitants
Get up close and personal with giant manta rays at Manta Point where you are able to snorkel and dive alongside these majestic creatures. Alternatively, you could head over to Crystal Bay where sightings of various fishes such as unicorn fish and rainbow fish are usually found. Here, you might be able to spot mola mola, also known as the giant ocean sunfish. No promises though — we heard that while possible, these creatures are pretty difficult to catch sight of.
Take a hike
Don on proper walking shoes because the entire island itself is pretty much a hike. Picture uneven terrains, rocky roads and many upward and downward slopes. A tourist favorite is the Kelingking Beach hike which connects Kelingking Beach and its higher ground counterpart. The hike down is worth the view but a caveat — the path downwards is narrow, half-broken and extremely steep. Consider yourselves warned.
Go beach hopping
Start your beach hopping at Kelingking Beach where tourists gather to have a glimpse of the famed natural 'T-Rex' formation. Head next to Angel's Billabong and Broken Beach — both situated next to each other. The former is a stunning natural rock pool and the latter is known for its view of an arched tunnel in the cliffs — a result of erosion over time from the waves. Continue hopping to Atuh Beach, an obscure beach surrounded by gorgeous green hills. Make the final stop at Crystal Bay Beach where you can relax in style on a white sand beach with towering palm trees and hammocks — cue your next epic IG post.
Live in a treehouse
Not many of us can say that we have had the opportunity of spending overnight in a treehouse — but you can now at Nusa Penida. More than just a picture-perfect spot, the idyllic sanctuary provides simple accommodation on the island for a night or two. While facilities there are a bare minimum (forget room service and rain showers) being perched high above sea levels means having unobstructed views to moonlight and sunrise watching.
Immerse in culture
Deeply seated in religious roots, Nusa Penida has temples scattered all around the island. Gao Giri Putri is a Balinese Hindu temple that is located inside a limestone cave where prayers are often carried out in the temple — you might stumble on devotees paying respects on raised marble platforms. Tourists may also do the same and ask for holy water and blessings. Another temple to check out is Pura Penataran Ped in the northern coastal village of Ped. Made from limestone that has been washed out over the years, the temple has high historical and spiritual value and apparently houses shrines resembling automobiles.