Penida Island (Nusa Penida) is one of Indonesia’s finest island getaways. But what are the best things to do on Penida Island? Separated from Bali’s southeast coast by the Badung Strait, Penida Island is a 30-minute fast boat ride from Sanur harbor. There’s a tour from Bali to Penida Island to make it even easier. This is in turn approximately 40 minutes by road from the international airport. A nature-lovers paradise, dramatic tree-clad cliffs slip down to white sands edged by the waters of the Indian Ocean. Ancient temples stand almost hidden in the greenery, while rare birds dart from tree to tree free from persecution.
Swim with Manta Rays
Surrounded by high cliffs, the only way to reach Manta Bay is by boat from Crystal Bay. But the additional boat trip has to be worth it to swim and snorkel with manta rays. These gentle giants congregate here daily to feed on plankton, slowly circling like birds waiting to land. Only up-close do you realize how big manta rays can be, with wingspans of up to seven meters. And also how elegant and curious they can be too.
Explore Pura Goa Giri Putri Cave Temple
Located close to the north-eastern tip of Penida Island, Giri Putri can be reached from the main town of Toya Pakeh. The journey lasts around half an hour. Taking a winding series of steps up the mountain side, devotees have yet to enter the temple. That requires squeezing through a small gap in the rock that soon opens out into the caves. Inside, altars and figures of Hindu deities are wrapped in a gentle fog of incense smoke.
Admire Avian Life
With sanctuary status protecting the island’s birds, bird watching is something visitors to Penida can do almost without realizing. Villagers across the island have agreed not to catch its birds. The result is one of the most varied species lists outside of the region’s national parks. Among tens of species you should keep an eye out for the rare Bali starling. It can only be found in one other place in Indonesia.
Relax on Atuh Beach
Of Penida Island’s many superb beaches, Atuh takes the top spot for many. It combines sand so white it could be bleached, with magnificent pillars of rock just offshore. You’ll certainly never get tired of the vistas it offers from its perfect arc of sand. Just remember to leave a little energy for the journey back up the hill from the beach.
Slip Beneath the Waves
The region around Bali has long been known for its scuba diving opportunities and Penida Island is no exception. Manta Point (separate from Manta Bay) is an underwater cleaning station regularly visited by turtles and other large predatory species. Crystal Bay offers the chance to dive with mola mola, also known as the oceanic sunfish. The heaviest bony fish in the world, they can weigh up to a ton. What’s more, visibility is good for most of the year, ranging between 10 and 40 meters.
Purify Yourself at Genah Melukat
Situated within the lush mature jungle of Tegalalang, Genah Melukat is a Hindu water temple. Pilgrims come to ritually bathe (melukat) in the holy waters that flow around the temple complex. Sunlight pierces the tree canopy, and greenery seems to form a wall around the carved stones of the temple.
Enjoy Angels Billabong
A comma-like cleft in the rocks when seen from above, Angels Billabong has shallows that form a natural pool. Looking out over the immensity of the Indian Ocean, the pool provides a safe place to enjoy the warm waters.
Admire Broken Beach from Above
Though it goes by the name Broken Beach, don’t expect the fine white sands of elsewhere on Penida Island here. Instead, it is a circular pool of water surrounded by almost sheer rocks. A natural archway allows the ocean to flow in and out. A footpath rings the top, so that you can get views from right the way around. We’d recommend being here for sunrise if you can make it out of bed for the early start.
Climb Peguyangan Waterfall
Look carefully, and you’ll see a sturdy but still nerve-wracking blue metal staircase. It drops 150 meters across the plunging cliffs on the southeast of Penida Island. Running alongside the off-white rock, it leads to the bottom of the cliff via an amazing series of views. Once at the bottom, you’ll find a temple and the trickling Peguyangan Waterfall. If you’re looking for an active vacation, try our 2 day hike from Bali to Mount Batur?
Discover Tembeling Beach‘s Secrets
If you’re looking for a secluded beach of soft white sand and turquoise seas, Tembeling is the beach for you. However, there’s more to this beach than just its shoreline. On the opposite side of the bay is another small beach. This has been decorated with pebbles standing on top of one another in tall piles creating a magical scene. Then, hidden in the nearby jungle, you’ll find a naturally-formed pool of freshwater ideal for a cooling dip.
Play on Penida Island
Though small when compared to neighboring Bali, Penida Island has no shortage of things to do. The best things to do on Penida Island include rest and relaxation on its beaches. But you can also explore the culture, or delve into its waters. See all of our tours in Indonesia to find more inspiration, or look through our lists of the best things to do in Bali and where to stay in Bali.