5 Tips for Backpacking Nusa Penida on a budget

Backpacking adventure to Nusa Penida from Bali

Are you planning a backpacking trip from Bali to Nusa Penida island? 

Nusa Penida is an island south-east of the Indonesian island of Bali. Nusa Penida is only a 45-minute boat ride from Bali. Daily fast boats depart from Sanur to Nusa Penida and vice versa. The island's landscape is absolutely stunning, the diving spots are world-class, and its people are very welcoming and friendly. Until a few years ago the island was relatively unknown to the average tourist. 

Nusa Penida welcomes around 200k visitors every year. Apart from that Nusa Penida has beautiful beaches with views only seen in your dreams. Looking for a instagrammable spot? Then this is the place!

Is this going to be your first visit to Nusa Penida and want to know more about things to do in Nusa Penida? Here are 5 tips for backpackers to Nusa Penida!


1 The best starting point for your trip to Nusa Penida from Bali

Sanur beach Bali

There are several departure points from Bali to get to Nusa Penida, but in this article we will just talk about Sanur as this is the best and fastest departure point from Bali to Nusa Penida. The majority of backpackers will start their trip from Sanur to Nusa Penida while being on holiday in Bali.  In case you are looking for available fast boat sailings from Padangbai to Nusa Penida click here.

For all those who like to bring their car or motorbike to Nusa Penida this is not the departure point for you as motorbikes aren't allowed on fast boats, let alone car's. In case you are looking to bring your motorbike or car to Nusa Penida, we suggest taking the slow ferry from Padang Bai. But we still suggest on just renting a motorbike or car on Nusa Penida. Don't worry, we will discuss renting a motorbike on Nusa Penida next.

So basicly Sanur harbor is the best departure point to get from Bali to Nusa Penida. There are daily fast boats departing from Sanur to Nusa Penida and vice versa. Ticket prices start from $12 USD to $30 USD, depending on the operator. The average sailing duration from Sanur to Nusa Penida is 45-minutes, depending on weather and tides conditions.

Here at Gili Ferries we only work with reliable fast boats with proven track records. Click here to view sailing schedules from Sanur (Bali) to Nusa Penida and click here to view sailing schedules from Nusa Penida to Sanur (Bali).

Local tourist tax

When you arrive at Nusa Penida there will be a local tourist tax to be paid which is 25.000 IDR ($1.77 USD) for adults and 15.000 IDR ($1.06 USD) for children. There is no difference between domestic or foreign tourists.

2 Rent a motorbike on Nusa Penida

Rent a motorbike on Nusa Penida

The best and most affordable way to explore Nusa Penida while backpacking is by renting a motorbike. Motorbikes can be rented on Nusa Penida and cost around 50.000 IDR ($3.50 USD) per day. Be aware that some roads on Nusa Penida are in bad condition, so drive safe. If you don't have any experience driving a motorbike or scooter we suggest to instead hire a car with a driver to explore the island. We offer multiple day trips and activities to do on Nusa Penida.

For those who do choose to explore the island by motorbike, drive careful, make sure you always wear a helmet for your own safety and make sure you have an international driver's license for motorbikes/scooters to make sure your travel insurance will cover any medical expenses in case something goes wrong.

Where to buy petrol for your motorbike rental in Nusa Penida and Bali?

Petrol prices are between 8.000 to 11.000 IDR per liter. You can buy petrol almost at any small shop (Warung in Indonesian) next to the road, petrol is being sold in glass bottles. Or simply buy the petrol at the larger gas stations called Pertamina.


3 Eat low budget and be amazed how good the food is! (Highly recommended)

Traveling on a low budget does not necessarily mean that you have to give up on good food. In all of Asia and especially in Indonesia you can eat very good, tasty and cheap as long as you know the right places.

So here are a few popular and low budget places to eat on Nusa Penida.

Nasi Campur at Warung Handayani

Nasi Campur Nusa Penida

One of the most delicious foods to eat is Nasi Campur from Warung Handayani near the Dalem Ped Temple. Nasi Campur, which simply means mixed rice, is one of the most popular Indonesian dishes. It consists of rice and a variety of vegetables, shredded chicken, fried graded coconut with peanut and sambal. The portion is pretty decent and costs around 15,000 IDR ($1 USD). Very cheap and absolutely delicious!

Lalapan Ayam (Fried Chicken)

Nasi Campur Nusa Penida

Lalapan Ayam, a classic and all round favorite! Once you appreciate the simplicity of this dish you will never get bored with it. Lalapan Ayam is fried chicken served with rice, cucumber, cabbage, tomato and tomato based sambal. Usually you can also choose to add some fried tempe manis or tahu. Make sure you do not leave Indonesia before trying this dish.

Tipat Cantok (Vegetables in spicy peanut sauce with rice cake)

Tipat Cantok Nusa Penida Low budget Eats

Tipat Cantok is a Balinese popular local dish. It is made of various boiled or blanched vegetables with ketutap (rice cake), served in spicy peanut sauce. In Balinese language tipat means ketupat, while cantok means grounding ingredients using a mortar and pestle, hence the name Tipat Cantok. A really delicious and healthy dish. The price is around 5,000 IDR per portion. A great place to find this dish are other delicious local street food delicacies is at the Mentigi Market.


4 Cheap accommodation in Nusa Penida

Cheap accommodation Nusa Penida

Great, now that you got a motorbike and some cheap places to eat great food, all we need more is affordable accommodation for our holiday on Nusa Penida.

Hotel prices start as low as $7 USD per night depending on demand (season) and location. Most accommodation in these price ranges will be homestays. Homestays are a great option as a lot of the times they are run by local owners or families from Nusa Penida. 

Click here for an overview of hostels and cheap nusa penida hotels.

Not staying the night on Nusa Penida? Just looking for a day trip or fun activities to do? Have a look at our activities section where you will find numerous day trips, water sport activities and more.

5 Things to do

Things to do Nusa Penida

Traveling on a budget doesn't mean you are limited to activities and things to do. We offer a wide variety of things to do on Nusa Penida against affordable prices, even for backpackers. From snorkeling and diving trips to sailing trips. 

Another great and even cheaper option is to explore the island by yourself, you can rent a motorbike on your arrival at Banjar Nyuh (Toya Pakeh) to explore the island. There are stunning cliffs, beaches and more amazing things you absolutely need to see!

We have written another article with 10 popular activities and things to do on Nusa Penida, make sure you check that out!

Published on 2021-04-28