Nusa Penida West Tour: Worth It?

drone view of Kelingking Beach T-Rex in Nusa Penida West

It is almost impossible to be considering a trip to Bali without coming across pictures of Nusa Penida Island. It’s was a must-visit during my trip to Bali because of Kelingking beach alone. Here is a breakdown of the tour we ended up doing and what I would have done differently in hindsight. 

For those like me who prefer to get all the arrangements and payments done prior to travel, Nusa Penida tours can be purchased online and in advance through a variety of providers. On the other hand, if you are planning a more laid back vacation in Bali, tours can also be arranged through local tour providers after you arrive on the island. The tours don’t really differ regardless of how you arrange the tour. What is more important is deciding whether you want to do the Nusa Penida East or West Tour.

Nusa Penida East Tour

This is the lesser known tour and preferable for those who want to avoid crowds, as well as the Instagram crazed tourists brandishing their 10-foot-long selfie sticks. This tour usually involves a visit to Atuh Beach, Diamond Beach, and scenic spots like the Rumah Pohon Tree House and the Teletubbies Hills. Some tours also include snorkelling at some or all of the following: Crystal Bay, Manta Bay, and Gamat Bay.

Nusa Penida West Tour

This is the much more popular island tour due to all the instagrammable spots, especially Kelingking Beach aka the T-Rex shaped part of the island. This post will be about the West Tour because it’s the one I chose to do. The tour included a visit to Angel’s Billabong, Broken Beach, Crystal Bay, and Kelingking Beach. This tour similarly had the option of snorkelling at Crystal Bay, Manta Bay, or Gamat Bay.

7:30am - CHECK IN

Getting to Nusa Penida doesn’t differ based on which end of the island you are visiting. All tour goers are picked up at their hotels and transferred to Sanur Harbor which is the jump off spot for many tours to the nearby islands. Pro tip: Stay in Sanur for the easiest pick up spot to do the tour or else you will experience really long transport and wait times.


In order to board the fast ferry to Nusa Penida, all ferry goers are required to first remove their shoes and place them in bins for retrieval after you arrive at the island. This is inevitable for most people anyway since the ferries dock a few meters away from shore and everyone has to engage in the luxurious process of treading bare feet and knee deep in mucky water to board. Pro tip: Invest in some water shoes and bring two pairs of shoes on the tour. The water was pretty disgusting and I was happy to be one of the few that could stay in my water shoes before boarding the ferry.

Sanur beach seawalker tour in Bali


Depending on the specifics of your tour, the process once you arrive at the island might differ slightly. If you’ve opted for a private tour, you’ll be provided with a private car for you and your party, which will transport you between each itinerary location. There’s a possibility that if you’ve signed up for a cheaper tour, you may be chartered around in a tour bus with a much larger group.

10:00am - CRYSTAL BAY

The order of itineraries vary and this is probably done on purpose to prevent intense crowding at the locations. Unfortunately, the crowds during peak summer season are unavoidable. We were lucky to be travelling as a small group of two so getting to our car and on the road was quick and easy. This also meant that we got to our first location: Crystal Bay, quite early. Since the beach is clean with beautiful clear water, it serves as one of the snorkelling spots for the tours and draws a lot of families and crowds by midday. Thankfully, we had a good amount of time to enjoy the water and send up the drone before the beach got too busy.


Angel’s Billabong was one of the spots that I had been looking forward to the most. I was excited to do some photography here because of the unique cliff with the shallow aqua pools right by the drop off into the sea. Unfortunately, we arrived at this location to find the pools and cliff blocked off. Though I was frustrated at this, it was easy to see why. We had come during high tide and large waves from the sea easily broke over and swept into the pool area. It was an absolute No Swim zone. This was one of those moments where I was once again reminded of the trappings of commercial tours. Since most people come for a few pictures rather than an actual experience, tours aren’t based on optimal timing to enjoy each location. Instead, the set itinerary is based on what is most efficient and easiest for the tour providers.

Angel's Billabong at high tide in Nusa Penida West

12:30pm - BROKEN BEACH

Before lunch we made a quick stop at Broken Beach. By this point I was pretty disappointed with the superficiality of the tour. Broken Beach was no different, with crowds of people queuing up at different spots to get “the shot” of sitting on the edge of the cliff in front of Broken Beach. We joined the cues and also got our shot, but were too put off by the crowds to make the walk over the natural bridge from which you can see the beach. The views at each location on the island thus far were as beautiful as I’d expected but the overall experience fell far short of the authentic experiences I usually prefer.

Broken Beach photo spot
person posing in front of Broken Beach photo spot

1:30pm - LUNCH

We had a quick lunch at Warung Jungle which was provided by the tour. This turned out to be one of the highlights of the tour because we weren’t expecting much in terms of food. The food was surprisingly fresh and delicious so that perked us up a bit.


Riding on our lunch high, we finally hit our most highly anticipated location; Kelingking Beach. I was so excited to visit this beach because it is rated as one of the most beautiful and untouched beaches in the world. I was also aware of the climb down to the beach being very challenging and was looking forward to it. Upon arrival, I got irritated by the sheer volume of people crowded at the cliff point with their selfie sticks but I’d come to expect it by this point. I wasn’t too bothered anyway because I knew that many of them wouldn’t make the climb down.

The final nail in the coffin of this tour was when our tour guide informed us that we too wouldn’t be making the climb down. I had assumed foolishly that the tour provides enough time to visit the beach and that most people opted to not do so because of the difficult climb. I. Was. Wrong. Why the location is called Kelingking Beach on the itinerary if we don’t actually GO DOWN to the beach is beyond me. I realized that since the tours are geared towards getting a few pictures at each location, guides assume that tour goers will not make the decent and don’t leave enough time for it. This news was honestly so crushing that we briefly considered skipping out on our ferry ride back and staying the night on the island so that we could visit the beach. Unfortunately, the logistics of doing this would have been a nightmare and we settled for the basic shot by the cliff. Safe to say, this is my last commercial island tour and from now on, I’ll be finding better ways to spend my money and time.

Kelingking Beach T-Rex in Nusa Penida West
Posing above Kelingking Beach T-Rex in Nusa Penida West
Nusa Penida West Tour: Worth It? - A Hassan.- nusa penida

Post-Tour Thoughts

Be prepared for a very very superficial and fast-tracked tour of the island. The major attractions are spread out far and wide on the island and a lot of your day will be eaten up in the process of travelling to each location. When you get to each location, you will be queuing up for the best photo spots, as well as dealing with large crowds since everyone is following the same set itinerary. If you are just looking to get those insta shots, then this is your tour. The shots you will get will be undoubtedly beautiful and garner lots of likes from your followers because the tour is set up to provide just that. On the other hand, if you are looking for a much more authentic experience, read below.

What we would have and might possibly do the next time we visit Bali is give Nusa Penida the time that it deserves. In hindsight, the island is too large and the main locations are too spread out to be enjoyed in a day tour. Instead, if I come back, it will be for a longer period of time (at least two days) so that I can visit each location on my own schedule. This will mean a lot more research, energy, and possibly navigating the roads on a rented scooter. While this may be more time consuming, it’ll provide a much more authentic experience than the one I had.

At the very least if you are doing a commercial tour, do some research ahead of time about what you can expect on the tour. While I normally do this when I make my own custom itineraries, I didn’t think to do it for this tour. I also didn’t ask or know to ask about the flexibility of the itinerary but this is something to consider if you are a small group and if there are certain locations that you’d like to give more time to.

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