How to get to Nusa Penida from Bali (2023)

I’m sure everyone has seen pictures of the famous T-rex rock when looking for things to do in Bali. The T-rex rock is at Kelingking Beach, on Nusa Penida, which is an island about a 40-minutes boat ride away from Bali. So how do you get to Nusa Penida? Let’s cut to the chase and here’s how to get to Nusa Penida from Bali (and also what I experienced on my recent trip there).

Also read: Spots to visit on Nusa Penida

Step 1: Getting Ferry Tickets

Ferry to Nusa Penida at Sanur Port - Nusa Penida from Bali
Ferry to Nusa Penida, Sanur Port

It’s best to book your tickets online to prevent disappointment. The physical ticketing booths were really crowded when I was there in May 2022 (same thing too in May 2018, some things really don’t change). There are many ferry providers online, but I got mine via Klook this time. There are a number of options on Klook, from private tours to car charters.

I got a private car charter as I wanted to visit locations away from the usual set-tour locations as I’ve been to Nusa Penida before and the car charter allowed me to decide where I wanted to go on the island. The car charter also came with two way ferry tickets as an add-on option, which cost an additional SGD19 per pax.

Booking online also means that you have more time to look at reviews and consider what works best for you.

Broken Beach - Nusa Penida from Bali
Broken Beach, Nusa Penida

Additionally, there are 3 ports on Nusa Penida — Banjar Nyuh (Toya Pakeh), Sampalan and Buyuk. It is best to contact the operator you booked your ferry tickets with to clarify which port the ferry will be docking at if you need to provide your driver a pick up location. Most tour operators and drivers communicate via Whatsapp and I dropped my tour operator a text right after booking.

Do note that your tour operator may not be your ferry operator. If you book a tour with a tour operator, be sure to get the name of the ferry operator.

Step 2: Get to Sanur Port

Ferries to Nusa Penida mostly depart from Sanur Port. The easiest way would be to get a taxi or Grab from your accommodation. The Grab ride from my Seminyak hotel cost about 101K IDR (≈ SGD10). Some Nusa Penida tour operators also provide hotel pick up, so do check in with them on that.

Do also check with your operator for the departure time and arrive at the port at least 30 minutes in advance.

Step 3: Finding your Ferry Operator Booth

If you take a Grab or taxi to the port, you’ll likely be dropped off along the road before the carpark. This is because the carpark is chargeable and most taxi drivers would not want to enter the carpark (unless passengers offer to pay).

Once you’ve alighted, just walk straight in and turn left (see Google Maps image below).

Directions to ferry operator booths

Follow the arrow until you come across a number of booths. You won’t miss this as it will likely already be crowded. This is also why it is better to arrive with ample time to spare as you’ll have to find your operator’s booth.

Row of ferry operator booths
Find your booth amongst the huge row of operators

Tip: If you’re confused about anything, be it directions or the location of your operator’s booth, just ask the local guards. There will likely be a number of guards along the road you alight your taxi and they will more often than not be happy to help.

I asked a guard about the whereabouts of my ferry operator’s booth and he accurately told me it was at the end of the row of booths.

Step 4: Check in with your Ferry Operator

Let the ferry operator know of your presence once you get to the booth. They will likely give you a boarding pass after taking down your details. Once you get the boarding pass, you can sit around the area and wait for your boarding time.

Tip: Be alert. There are no signs or boards around to announce the boarding time. Ferry operators will raise their hands to get everyone’s attention to signal it’s boarding time and to follow them to the ferry.

Step 5: Board the Ferry

Once you get to the beach where the ferries are docked, you’ll be asked to remove your shoes and place them in a blue box. There aren’t any platforms for boarding and you’ll have to get your feet wet when boarding the ferry.

Ferries at Sanur Port
You’ll have to put your shoes into the blue box before boarding the ferry.

Tip: Wear slippers and shorts. We saw many people in jeans struggling to board the ferry and you’ll also have to deal with wet pants for the entire ferry journey.

The ferry ride will take around 40 – 50 minutes.

Tip: Take medication if you are prone to motion sickness. The waters can get pretty choppy. Ferry also get pretty shaky when docked.

Returning to Bali from Nusa Penida

Aerial view of Crystal Bay, Nusa Penida
Crystal Bay, Nusa Penida

If you bought a return ticket, your ferry back to Bali will depart from the same port on Nusa Penida back to Sanur Port. Just be sure to know which port it is and be there 30 minutes before departure. Most ferry operators have their last ferries of the day scheduled for 4 or 5pm.

If you booked private tour or private car charter, it is likely that your guide or driver already know the time you have to be at the port and will take care of the details. This is also why I would recommend getting a guide or driver at least, rather than exploring on scooter by yourself, especially if it is your first time on the island.

The beach area where the ferries are docked at on Nusa Penida has pretty sharp stones and shells. As you’ll also be required to remove your shoes when boarding the ferry, do be careful as your feet may get cut by stones being washed around by the strong waves. This happened to me — it was a rather large cut on my toe and it was extra painful in the seawater.

Kelingking

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bring luggages on the ferry?

Yes you can, but since you can only get to Nusa Penida from Bali via ferry, it might be difficult to bring along bulky bags. Most of the time, the ferry operator staff are also really nice to help you carry your baggages onto the boat. Some ferries do have luggage weight limits, be sure to check beforehand. It seems that 30kg is the limit per luggage, but I’ll recommend you travel as light as possible as it is pretty difficult carrying large bags up the ferry without help.

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