Exploring Bali and surrounding islands is more fun on a motorbike. Here’s how to go from Bali to Nusa Penida on a motorbike and some important things to remember when traveling around the island.
My friends and I have already spent a few weeks exploring Bali on a motorbike and had enjoyed it so much we decided we would take our rides to Nusa Penida, one of the most gorgeous islands off Bali made famous because of the popular Kelingking Beach aka the T-rex formation and also the islands wild rugged terrains and pristine waters.
How to go from Bali to Nusa Penida on a motorbike can be pretty tricky since most tourists go with arranged transport from travel agencies. Hence there is not enough information about ferry schedules and prices on the internet. This is very convenient but it is also more expensive. Driving all the way from Bali to Nusa Penida is a fun and cheap way to go.
Canggu to Padang Bai
From Canggu, we fastened our surfboards onto our motorbikes and just followed the road to the port in Padang Bai using our Maps.me app. The drive took 3 hours into the main road. Traffic can be difficult from Canggu to Sunset Boulevard but it gets more relaxed after that. We made a few shopping stops for our ferry trip.
In Bali, police checkpoints can be everywhere and you can get stopped anytime. Just make sure to bring your international driver’s license and the motorbike’s registration number that you can get from the company you are renting it from.
During traffic stops, our buddy Freddie had with him a speaker so we can listen to music. Quite clever actually.
Ferry from Padang Bai to Nusa Penida
We made it in time for the 1 o’clock ferry. We were told that ferries to Nusa Penida leave the port of Padang Bai from 10am to 2pm daily. Keep in mind that the schedules are not exactly fixed. When they say the ferry leaves at 1pm, it usually means 2pm. We paid 30,000 rupiah per person and 100,000 rupiah for each motorbike. The ferry from Padang Bai to Nusa Penida took 1 hour to get there.
we helped ourselves to some dragon fruits that we bought on the way to Padang Bai while waiting to get to Nusa Penida. The ferry sells snacks and drinks on board.
The ferry arrived at the Port Roro Nusa Jaya Abadi on Nusa Penida on the northern part of the island at exactly 3 pm. We immediately drove to our guesthouse to chill.
Nusa Penida back to Padang Bai on a ferry
Ferries from Port Roro Nusa Jaya Abadi in Nusa Penida leave daily from 9am to 2pm. As usual, we got there at 9 but only had to leave at 11am.
For the price of the ticket, I noticed that the official price was only at 28,000 rupiah. However, the person at the ticket desk stamped out the prices and charged us with 40,000 per person instead. I don’t know what to make of this but we just shrugged it off. We were in a hurry to get to the boat that didn’t leave until an hour.
My friends and I had planned to take a ferry and, again, take our motorbikes with to Lombok. We were glad to catch the ferry that leaves at 12noon to our next destination.
Exploring Nusa Penida on a Motorbike – It’s not that easy
While a lot of tourists can be confident driving around Bali because of its better roads, Nusa Penida is a completely different story. Going to the popular destinations on the island can be torture and dangerous for drivers that don’t have enough experience on motorbikes.
The roads are dangerous on Nusa Penida
The roads are filled with loose soil and gravel, potholes, puddles of mud, sharp blind curves, and steep ascents and descents. We ran into some tourists that are stuck in the mud or couldn’t go uphill, while some met accidents from slipping while driving on loose gravels. This happened several times in just one week that we were there.
My friend who is a very experienced driver was even struggling, especially during the night. He had to drive really slow as the roads were riddled with deep holes and sharp rocks, and sometimes, frogs and other animals just hop right in front causing a bit of panic for me at least.
Most roads are also narrow, some are even just about one meter, and most are filled with tour cars trying to get through. You’ll be horrified to know that the sides of these roads are deep cliffs and ravines.
A good motorbike can be your best friend
Make sure to rent a good motorbike from Bali. Check for working breaks, working lights, and make sure that the tires are new. My friend Francis made a mistake of renting an old motorbike. Somehow, the breaks stopped working while we were going down a steep road. He had to put his feet on the ground to break the fall. It turned out that the breaks stopped working because we kept using them while going downhill. Then we had flat tires because of the sharp rocks along the way in the middle of nowhere. We had to drag the motorbike for kilometers before we could reach a repair shop.
For safety, always wear a helmet, drive slow, and get travel insurance. We’ve met several travelers with bruises, abrasions, and cuts from accidents they met during their time on the island.
While there are many travel agencies that offer tours around the island in a car, exploring the island on a motorbike is still, for me, the best option. Just remember to be safe.
Overall, the islands of Bali and Nusa Penida are best discovered on a motorbike. It is cheaper and it allows for more freedom. However, not everyone should do it, especially inexperienced tourists. After all, it’s better to experience paradise with intact bones and skin. I hope this guide on how to go from Bali to Nusa Penida on a motorbike will help you on your next adventure.