Vietnam has been blessed to be surrounded by a variety of places to be visited. If you are looking to travel to places that can offer; (1) beach to relax, (2) an added element of a theme park on an island, (3) with a very low budget, then look no further because Nha Trang is a perfect destination for you.
Nha Trang is a coastal city on the South-Central Coast of Vietnam. It is well–known for its beaches, scuba diving, and managed to develop into a popular place for tourists. The best attractions Nha Trang could offer are set to its six–kilometers stretch of white sandy beaches, mountains ranges on all three sides of Nha Trang and 19 unexplored islands.
With its rapid development of the building and infrastructure in Nha Trang, its natural beauty starts to take a toll. The Tran Phu beach in central Nha Trang especially starts to look less impressive, and the water seems cloudy. All around the area, Nha Trang is packed with burgeoning numbers of tourists coming from Russia and Asia especially from mainland China.
However, Nha Trang still possesses unique attractions and with its unbeatable low price for food and accommodations, it is still a worthy place to visit.
Where are the best attractions?
Choosing what beaches to go would be a great challenge since in Nha Trang there are no two beaches which are the same. The options are up to you on which beaches you look after. From overcrowded to secluded beaches, all of it is available if you look for it when you in Nha Trang.
Tran Phu Beach
Located just an easy walk from almost anywhere in Nha Trang City, this beach is the most popular beach in Nha Trang. As I mentioned before, I would strongly advise to not bother about this beach at all. Yes, the location is super convenient but if you are okay with its current state; you are most welcome to visit this beach. Spending just 30 minutes on this beach and you will mostly be done.
There is a noticeable amount of trash in places, murky waters, overloaded on holidays and high buildings decrease the peace of the beach.
However, Tran Phu Beach is famous for its nightlife. The Sailing Club, ZIMA and Rooftop Beach Club are among the highly recommended bars to spend during night time.
Hon Chong Beach
Just on the north side of Tran Phu Beach, you will find Hon Chong Beach. If you visited Bo Panagar Cham Towers, this beach is only 5 minutes’ drive from it.
This beach has a formation of piled rocks that stretch out towards the sea. Some of an interesting thing to do while in Hon Chong Beach is to climb the rocks to enjoy the panorama of nearby islets and Nha Trang. This activity requires you to pay a fee of VND 22,000 (USD 1).
Bai Tru Beach
Located on Hon Tre Island, Bai Tru Beach is situated inside the Vinpearl Amusement Park. This beach will be among the best beach to spend your time as this beach is carefully being maintained by Vinpearl Land.
To get to this beach, you need to pay the entrance fee to go inside the amusement park; VND 1,100,000 (USD 47). This fee includes the entrance to the park, lunch buffet and a return ticket to Hon Tre Island via cable car.
Bai Dai Beach
Located 28km away from the center of Nha Trang, Bai Dai Beach is a perfect beach for those who seek a beautiful beach, secluded area with the hippy-like atmosphere.
You could spend hours swimming in the clear water or just sunbathing on the beach. And if you are feeling hungry, there are seafood delicacies, western cuisine, beer or juices from the beachside restaurants nearby.
ii) Vinpearl Land
Build by Vietnamese billionaire; Pham Nhat Vuong, Vinpearl Land is established in their effort to increase its tourism industry in Nha Trang itself. Officially open to the public in April 2018, Vinpearl Land on average manage to attract 12,000 visitors per day and 95,000 visitors during public holidays.
In order to get here, first, you need to get to the cable car terminal station via bus, taxi or Grab. Oh! This theme park is built on an island; hence it is only accessible via cable car and boat only. Upon arriving here, purchase a ticket at the counter or book online in order to skip the line.
The admission fees will cost you around VND 1,100,000 (USD 47) which includes return trips via cable car, admission to the theme park and a lunch buffet. Vinpearl Land is divided into different sections namely; outdoor water park, outdoor and indoor arcade centers, an aquarium, shopping street, zoos, movie castle, performance stage and a huge variety of gardens called the blooming hill.
The price is considered being acceptable since the theme park offers a lot of attractions that some of it might catch your attention. After roaming around the theme park from the morning, you could then try its lunch buffet which is included in your ticket fees. The lunch buffet ranges from Western to Local cuisine.
The amusement park is so large, it is 200,000 square meters. Some attractions might catch your interests and some might not. I could say that since there are vast attractions to visit here, you might be interested in some of it.
There are tons of activities to do here. Some of it is;
Outdoor Waterpark. A huge area in 50,000 square meters in size and the only seaside water park in Vietnam. Among the slides in this water park is kamikaze (free fall from a height of 21 meters), tsunami, space holes, flying boat, body slide.
Beach Sports Games at Bai Tru Beach. Some of the activities are sailing, jet-skiing, parachute, a fly board, and splash bay.
Outdoor Game Area. Tons of ride awaits you but not mind-blowing namely as the giant sky wheel, mine adventure, swing carousel, bungee jumping, alpine coaster.
Blooming Hill. A large botanical park which houses thousands of floras and faunas from all continents.
King’s Garden. A Zoo for rare animals such as rhino, lions, Bengal tigers, antelope, and flamingos.
Indoor Playground. Some of it is the interactive 3D museum and bull riding.
Aquarium. Displaying over 3000 species of rare marines species from many countries around the world.
Performances. There is quite a variety of performances to watch based on their specified timing such as dolphin show, a mermaid show and musical water fountain (equipped with modern water, sound, lighting and fire systems).
iii) Po Nagar Cham Towers
If you fancy learning about Nha Trang, this temple will be the perfect place for you. Po Nagar Cham Towers were built to honor the goddess of Po Nagar – ‘The mother of the country’.
It is built between the 7th and 12th centuries and is actively used for worship by Cham, Chinese and Vietnamese Buddhists.
These towers of Po Nagar Cham are in a square red brick structure. Once, there are actually 10 buildings each dedicated to a different deity, but now only four remain.
How cheap is Nha Trang?
i) Places to stay
Nha Trang is flooded with hotels and apartments build along the beach area. There are a lot of options you have to cater to all the demands. Since there is a lot of competition for places to stay in Nha Trang, the price drop makes staying in Nha Trang is very cheap.
On average, one whole apartment with 2 rooms in Nha Trang can be rented as low as USD 10 per night. Prices for hotels are cheap too. The prices will start from USD 10 for one night for an average 3-star hotel.
Upon arrival at Cam Ranh International Airport, the cheapest way to arrive in Nha Trang is by bus. Just walk outside the airport and you will never miss the airport bus. Another option is to take a Grab or taxi which easily accessible. The journey from the airport to Nha Trang will take around 30 minutes.
Exploring the city in Nha Trang is easy too. Walking is always an option but you can opt to ride a bike around the city. The city is not big so you won’t get lost easily. Plus, the rental price for a bike is only VND 80,000 (USD 3) per day.
Tasting local foods in Nha Trang is a must. And what a waste for you not to try Pho–a local noodle soup well known to Vietnam. Pho comprises flat rice noodles in a light meat-based broth. The dish usually accompanied by basil, lime, chili and other extras on the side.
Everywhere you look, seafood is widely available all around Nha Trang. Even ordering a variety of seafood still will not burn a hole in your pocket.
Along the beach, you will find locals selling roasted lobsters. The price for two lobsters is VND 150,000. Very cheap indeed. Even if you are not a fan of seafood, but you must at least try this.
Ice Cream Roll
Fancy for a local snack? This fruity ice cream roll will be great to enjoy especially when the sun is scorching hot. You will find this ice cream almost anywhere around Nha Trang as it is famous among locals and visitors.
Jeju Island belongs to South Korea and has long been the country’s favorite domestic holiday and also for travelers. What made Jeju become a popular destination is thanks to its beautiful beaches, freshest seafood, volcanic landmarks, green tea plantations, and its natural world heritage sites.
Going to Jeju is easy since this place practicing a liberal visa requirement. All year round, Jeju has a moderate climate and even in winter, the temperature rarely falls below 0 °C.
This island features a dormant volcanic Hallasan in the center of the island, a 224-kilometer semi-topical forested national park, a coastline filled with waterfalls and the longest lava tube in the world. With all these features, Jeju recently has been listed as one of the new seven wonders of the natural world.
i) The Initial Preparation
Our visit to Jeju Island happens to be between the six of us. Our mission while visiting Jeju is to cover all the top attractions on the island with our main highlight which is to hike Mount Hallasan.
Before starting our journey to Jeju, we did some preparations beforehand. Since Jeju is a visa-free entry for most countries, applying a visa does not apply to us. Our next step is to book places for us to stay and also our mode of transportation.
For places to stay, we choose to use booking.com to search for the best place for us to stay. And based on our needs, we divide our stay to be in two different locations which are north and south of Jeju. As for your information, booking.com right now has this neat feature whereby you can choose either to search for a hotel or apartment to stay during your vacations. This proves to be useful since now you can exactly plan which type of places might suit your budget and preferences.
As for our transportation, we choose to rent a car for our stay in Jeju. But before we could rent a car, some requirements are needed. First is you must have a valid driving license from your original country (if you are from the United States of America, driving permit issued by The American Automobile Association is acceptable) and secondly you have to apply for the International Driving Permit issued by Geneva or Vienna Convention. Plus, they have certain age limits for a type of car for you could rent. As for an example, the age limit to drive a 4-seater car is 21 years old.
I highly recommend you to choose Lotte Rent-a-Car if you decide to rent a car while in Jeju. Booking a car from them is easy and you could get up to a 60% discount when you register to be a member of their website at lotterentacar.net. And if you do have any questions, hit them an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and they will get back to you in a jiffy. But if renting a car is not your cup of tea, using public transportation in Jeju is also doable.
ii) Day 1 – Departing to Jeju Island
Upon our arrival in Jeju Island, we immediately headed out to get our rental car. Just head out from the airport, go to the right side and hop on to the shuttle bus that will take you to the car rental house. Be sure to take the correct shuttle bus according to your rental car company.
It took us around 15 minutes before we are ready to hit the road and head to check in to our first stay located on the outskirt of Seogwipo. It’s a beautiful villa with an enormous garden in front of it.
Since its winter season, it will get dark quite early. After unpacking our bags and stuff, we go out and found a small local restaurant not far away from our house to fill in our tummy before getting our rest for tomorrow’s adventure.
iii) Day 2 – Visiting Seogwipo
Osulloc Tea Museum
Innisfree Jeju House
Daepo Jusangjeolli Cliff
Yeomiji Botanical Garden
First thing in the morning we get our prepared breakfast before starting our first place to visit which is to Osulloc Tea Museum and Innisfree Jeju House. These two places located nearby within each other with just 3 minutes’ walking distance.
Here in Osulloc Tea Museum, you could learn about Korean tea history and its tradition. Inside here, there is an indoor garden, Tea Cup Gallery, Tea Stone, Tea Store, and Tea House.
While over the retail area, you will see a lot of diversity of tea that you could buy. If you are lucky, some of the tea is offered for free and serve as a tester. And while you are here, please don’t forget to try the insanely famous green tea latte and green tea roll cake at the Tea House.
After spending some time in Osulloc Tea Museum, we continue our tour to the Innisfree Jeju House. If you are wondering about Innisfree, here’s some insight about it. Innisfree is a South Korean all-natural ingredients cosmetics brand and originated from Jeju. All of their products are created with high-quality ingredients and sourced from Jeju.
Other than offering you with Innisfree products line, the Innisfree Jeju House also offers natural soap making classes, cosmetic testing, making a face mask, free plain postcards for you to stamp on it and also Innisfree Café.
After spending ample time in both of these places, we head out to Yongmeori Coast. Yongmeori which means dragon head got its name because the beach looks like a dragon jumping into the ocean with its head raised.
In here, you will see a sandstone bed created by layers of sand that have been deposited for ten million years. It is highly advisable before you come here to check the tides since visitors are only allowed to walk along the Yongmeori Coast during low tides only. Nevertheless, this place will also be closed during high tides, high winds, high waves, and any dangerous weather conditions.
Our next stop will be to Daepo Jusangjeolli Cliff. This place offers you a view of stone pillars piled up along the coast that is formed when the lava from the Hallasan Mountain erupted into the Sea of Jungmun.
There is nothing much to do other than viewing the Jusangjeolli Cliff and taking pictures of this spectacular place. We did spend around 30 minutes in this area and quickly hop on to our next stop.
Next on our list is Yeomiji Botanical Garden. This place is without a doubt is a place for those who love gardening and photography. Yeomiji Botanical Garden is one of the best botanical gardens in Asia. This place divided into two spaces to explore namely;
i) Indoor Garden
These three acres glass greenhouse have a divided section which is Mystery Garden, Central Hall, Flower Garden, Aquatic Garden, Cactus Garden, Jungle Garden, and Tropical Fruit Garden. While at the center there is a 35-meter tall observation tower in which you could take an elevator to go all the way to the top.
ii) Outdoor Garden
A 24-acres big land that holds various kinds of warm temperate and temperate zone plants in various gardens including Japanese, Korean, Italian, French as well as Jeju Natives Garden.
During our visit to Yeomiji Botanical Garden which is in the winter season, the condition of the outdoor garden was not very overwhelming. Although the indoor garden was still spectacular to see, our overall expectation for this place gets tarnish with the presentation of the outdoor garden. Well, what’s more, to expect for us to have when you have a 6°C temperature outside. Perhaps when it is during summer or spring season, this place was worth the time to visit, if not, might as well skip it.
The last stop for us today will be to Cheonjeyeon Waterfall which means “the ponds of God”. It is located just a 2-minute drive away from Yeomiji Botanical Garden. Before reaching any of the waterfalls, you will cross the Seonimgyo Bridge which means seven nymphs bridge. Cheonjeyeon Waterfall could be divided into 3 sections of waterfalls;
i) The First Tier Waterfall
The first-tier waterfall runs from the floor of the mountain on the upper part of Jungmun –dong and pours which create fall for 22 meters. The waterfall in this area could only be seen when there are rains.
ii) Second Tier Waterfall
From the first tier, the waterfall will fall again creating the second-tier waterfall (30 meters).
iii) Third Tier Waterfall
Finally, the water flows into the ocean after falling from the third-tier waterfall. The trail to the third-tier waterfall is the longest which requires you to climb stairs for about 10 – 15 minutes.
iv) Day 3 – Hike to Mount Hallasan
Our main highlight for our trip to Jeju is to hike Mount Hallasan during winter. As this is our first-time hiking during winter, here is our best recommendation for those who wish to do the same. Click on this link to read further; Winter Hiking: Useful Tips for Beginner.
Mount Hallasan has four to five trails for you to choose from. However, there are only two trails that will lead you to the summit of the mountain which is Gwaneumsa Trail and Seongpanak Trail.
i) Gwaneumsa Trail
Gwaneumsa – Dongneung Peak
8.7 km distance one way
Take about 4 to 5 hours one way
Gwaneumsa is a shorter and steeper trail but will offer a more scenic and making it well worth to get here.
ii) Seongpanak Trail
Seongpanak – Dongneung Peak
9.7 km distance one way
Take 3 to 4.5 hours one way
Seongpanak is the longest trail but it is also the easiest trail to get to the summit of Mount Hallasan, making this trail to be the most used trail by visitors. This trail usually gets busy at the weekend and could be reached via public transport.
Both of these trails start at different spots. Usually, most of the hikers choose to climb using Seongpanak Trail and descent using Gwaneumsa Trail since it is easier using this way and you get to experience both trails in one climb.
We woke up early this morning. Around 05:30 am all of us are already woke up and ready to go. The journey to the starting point will be at Gwaneumsa Camping Site. The night before, all of us agree to choose Gwaneumsa Trail for our hike today. We agreed to do this since we are already in Jeju and why not challenge ourselves and see how far our body can go. It is once in a lifetime experience and we need to savor every minute of it.
Do take note that if you wanted to hike using Seongpanak Trail, the starting point will be at Seongpanak Trail Information Center, which located nearby Seogwipo.
We start our hike around 06:30 am. Although it’s still dark, a lot of hikers already start their hiking way ahead of us. Along the way, you’ll see signage and approximate kilometers on how far to go making getting lost while hiking Mount Hallasan is almost impossible to happen.
Based on our experience, although the official website and all the signage shows us the total kilometer for you to hike Mount Hallasan is 8.7 km, my fitness tracker recorded otherwise. Total we hike from the starting point to the summit of Mount Hallasan is actually almost 12.5 km. Way more than what they claimed.
The first hour of our hike went smoothly. The trail is fairly easy and there are no snows in our ways. After the first 3 km of our hike, things start to get tough for us. Most of the time, we need to ascend and the terrains are getting harder for us. The cold weather added with snows making our journey even harder.
During our hike, the snow falling on us making the temperature drop to –7 °C. With our limited water and food supplies that we bring, it even makes our hike even challenging that what we anticipated.
The first checkpoint before climbing to the top of Mount Hallasan will be at Samgakbong shelter. Here is the point where you need to arrive before 12:30 pm or else you are not allowed to climb to the summit of Mount Hallasan.
According to them, hiking at night is not permitted because it is dangerous to do so. And for us, we manage to arrive at Samgakbong shelter around 11:30 am. There is a small shelter for us to rest together with other hikers.
A toilet is also available here with a heater inside it. Unfortunately, there are no sellers that could be found in Samgakbong shelter. In our imagination, there will be sellers selling snacks, foods or drinks so we could replenish our energy but sadly none of it could be found.
Around 12:30 pm, we resume our journey to the top of Mount Hallasan. Along the way, we met a lot of other hikers who are using Gwaneumsa Trail to descend and using Seongpanak Trail to climb to the summit of Mount Hallasan.
At this hour, although we are tired, we have to push ourselves to the top because after 01:30 pm the ranger at the top of Mount Hallasan will start to ask all hikers to begin clearing the area and start descending from the mountain.
Using all our effort, we manage to reach the summit at 01:20 pm. The view was breathtaking and with our little preparation, we finally manage to arrive here at the top of it. Something that we could proud of.
There is a frozen lake at the center of the crater. The wind blows heavily while we taking our pictures. And right at 01:30 pm, the ranger sounds the siren indicating all hikers to hike back down.
To us, the view from Samgakbong shelter until the top of Mount Hallasan is the best view that we see. At 05:30 pm, we end our hike with the new experience gained.
We believe our time spend to hike in Mount Hallasan could be better if we did our homework and prepare properly beforehand. And if you are happened to be a first-time hiker during winter, please do read the guide here at Winter Hiking: Useful Tips for Beginner, so that your next hike during winter will sail without a problem.
After we had our dinner, all of us called it a day as we deserved an early rest.
v) Day 4 – A Trip to Jeongbang Waterfall and Manjanggul Cave
After getting enough rest, today, most of us are already fully recovered from our hike yesterday. Today is also our last day staying in Seogwipo before we will be moving on to the cabin house by the lake located in West of Jeju Island, Gujwa – eup.
We purposely start our day a little bit late than usual since today our list of places to visit is not a lot. Our aim is to visit Jeongbang Waterfall and Manjanggul Cave.
At 10:00 am in the morning, all of us are ready to start our day. Our first stop for today is Jeongbang Waterfall. This waterfall was chosen as one of the Ten Scenic Sights of Jeju with the name of “Jeongbanghapok”.
What makes Jeongbang Waterfall even special is because it is the only waterfall in Asia that falls directly into the ocean. After paying for the entrance fee, there is a platform to walk down to take us to the whole scene of 23 meters high waterfall shooting over the cliff and falling to the rocks below that lead to the ocean.
Just nearby the Jeongbang Waterfall, you can see a group of ajummas under the small tent. They are Haenyeo which means sea divers; diving for seaweeds, sea cucumbers and abalone. It is possible to try and taste fresh abalone sashimi by directly buying from them as they are more than happy if you do so.
We spend almost an hour in Jeongbang Waterfall before we moving on to check in to our second stay which is a cabin house located at Gujwa – eup. This time in front of our house the view has changed to a beautiful lake view that flows into the ocean.
There are a lot of cranes, ducks swimming in the lake adding a bonus to the serenity and peacefulness of this place. Later in the evening at 03:00 pm, we made ourselves available for our second place to visit; Manjanggul Cave.
Manjanggul Cave is a UNESCO World Heritage, which was formed by volcanic lava. The total length of the Manjanggul Cave is about 7.4 km but only 1 km is open to visitors. The main tunnel width is about 18m and its height is about 23m.
Manjanggul Cave is one of the largest and well-preserved lava tubes in the world. Along the way inside Manjanggul Cave, we learn a lot from the information board that is available for visitors to read.
There is various cave formation made from the lava flows such as stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones, lava tubes, lava shelves, and lava rafts. At the end of the visitor area, there is a lava column which is 7.6m high and known to be the highest lava column in the world.
After spending some time in Manjanggul Cave, we head out to get our dinner before going back to get our rest.
vi) Day 5 – Sunrise in SeongsangIllchulbong Peak
Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak
Jeju Folk Village Museum
Today, we woke up early at 04:30 am in order to catch the sunrise in Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak. It is wise to check what time the sun will rise before planning for the day. And for us, google told us the sunrise will happen at Seongsan Ilchulbong exactly at 06:20 am.
Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak is made from a volcanic eruption over 100,000 years ago. The huge crater of 600m in diameter and 90m tall could be observed at the top of Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak.
In 2011, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak is named as one of the seven wonders of nature in the world. Plus, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Hence, no trip to Jeju Island will be complete without a hike up to the Sunrise Peak.
We give ourselves ample time to hike to the top. There are two hiking trails available. One trail leads uphill while the other path is downhill.
Hiking up to Seongsan Ilchulbong is not hard. Usually, it takes 20 to 30 minutes to walk up to the Sunrise Peak without taking a rest. We took exactly 20 minutes and get a front view to sit and wait for the sunrise.
We then return to our house shortly after that and get our quick shower before heading for our second location; Seopjikoji. This coast located at the end of the eastern shore of Jeju Island. What makes Seopjikoji different from any other coast in Jeju Island is because this coast is made of red volcanic ash and possesses strange rock formations which are very unique.
The entrance for this place is totally free and the activities that you can do here is to walk along the coast while viewing the nice view Seopjikoji could offer you. The walk along the coast is easy and with the nice view surround you, most probably you will never realize how far you already walk and how fast the time passes by.
Our next stop is at Jeju Folk Village Museum. Here is the place for visitors to learn and explore more about Jeju’s traditions and culture. There are over 100 houses and facilities that were once actual residences are being displayed here.
The Jeju Folk Village Museum displays scenes of Jeju’s village from the year of the 1890s. This place is so huge covering a 4500 – hectares site holding places like mountain village, fishing village, botanical garden, market place and old government building and also an authentic shamanistic rite.
With over 8,000 pieces of folk articles explaining things such as household equipment, farming instruments, fishing tools, furniture, and earthenwares; we learn so many things about Jeju’s past.
Our last stop for the day is to Loveland. This place opens from 09:00 am until 12:00 am so it’s best to place Loveland to be visited last since you could visit this place even late at night.
Jeju Loveland is a theme sculpture park based on sensuality and erotism. It took 30 to 40 minutes to look around the park. This park holds around 140 sculptures and it’s a piece of land art. Although Jeju Loveland always being associate as a site for couples, but for us, it is also best for a group of friends going together and experience the art, unlike the others.
Soon after that, we end our day by enjoying our dinner and ready to get our rest.
vii) Day 6 – Farewell Jeju Island
As today is our last day in Jeju, all of us spend our morning just enjoying the lake view in front of our cabin house while enjoying our breakfast.
We head to the airport later in the afternoon to get ready for our flight in the evening. And before that, we need to return our rental car at Lotte Rent – a – car. The returning process is such a breeze. They only ask about the car keys without any other questions asked.
Our last moments in Jeju are filled with our flashback on how good Jeju treats us and all the memories will surely stick to our mind until the rest of our life.
When you ask about Bali; Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Ubud, and Tanah Lot are among the ordinary places people will recommend you to visit. Little that you know, Bali actually hides a gem you could explore to uncover the true beauty of it. The gem that I’m talking about is Nusa Penida.
This island located southeast of Bali that includes the neighboring small islands; Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. Nusa Penida covers a wide area for snorkeling and diving locations together with several spots that can be considered as Insta-worthy.
How to get to Nusa Penida
The only option available to get to Nusa Penida is to hop on a speedboat from Sanur Beach. From here you have several options available;
Book your ticket online via this link. Please be mindful that booking must be done one day before departure.
Grab your ticket manually at their counter. I highly recommend you to come as early as you can to secure your ticket to Nusa Penida.
Book a travel agent to take care all your trip to Nusa Penida (more about this later).
One-way trip cost you around IDR 300,000 and the journey will take approximately 30 minutes. Upon your arrival at Nusa Penida, you will be greeted by locals who will offer you to rent their car or motorbike or even to offer you the best price for their tour packages.
Booking Nusa Penida tour or do it on your own?
Start from here, it is all up to your taste on which way you want to continue your adventure at Nusa Penida.
You can rent a motorbike or car to explore Nusa Penida. But please be careful when you drive as the road could be treacherous. Most of the road is not properly built and maintain. A signboard is scarce and you will heavily rely on your Google Maps and internet connection.
Book a travel agent that can offer a wide range of activities available.
Based on my experience visiting Nusa Penida, I highly recommended you to book a tour as I find this alternative is the best option available in order for you to experience the full blast of what Nusa Penida can offer. Oh! Let me be honest and tell you that one-day tour in Nusa Penida is definitely not enough to cover all the famous spots. What considered being sufficient is to book two days tours that include sightseeing and snorkeling around Nusa Penida.
Booking a Nusa Penida tour is easy since you can spot them offering their services on the internet and some even open a tour booth around Bali. All you have to do is to do some research to find the best tour that fit your taste, budget, and timing. As for me, I book my two days tours from Go Explore Nusa Penida website. This tour gives the price depending on how big your group is (as I’m traveling in two, the price per person is IDR 1,250,000) and their two days tours cover pretty much everything together with food, transportation, and accommodation.
The Activities: Day 1
i) Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach
Right after when we reach Nusa Penida, the tour agent welcomes us. He will be the one to guide us around in an air—conditioning mini MPV. Our first destination to go is Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach. As this place is located next to each other, you will kill two birds with one stone.
Angel’s Billabong is a beautiful natural rock pool. To get the best shot here really depend on the weather, the tides and your luck. I am definitely not lucky on that day since it is raining season in Nusa Penida, hence the pool definitely not clear and looks muddy.
A few steps ahead from Angel’s Billabong, you will arrive at Broken Beach; an arched tunnel in the cliffs. You can’t climb down to the Broken Beach since there are no accessible routes to go there unless you are taking a boat and make your way in through the arched tunnel.
ii) Paluang Cliff
Our next destination is at Paluang Cliff. This cliff is actually located at the backside of Kelingking Beach. There is no barrier whatsoever near the cliff. Whenever you wish to take a picture, please watch your steps. The view here is spectacular as you are particularly standing at the edge of the cliff and you can watch the blue ocean as far as your eyes can see.
iii) Kelingking Beach
I can bet you this is the most famous spot to go based on its popularity on social media. Even if you Google an image of Nusa Penida, the picture of Kelingking Beach will keep popping up on your search results. It is easy to see the reason behind it. It’s so stunning, right?
Did you notice the white beach surrounded by azure seas at the bottom of it?
In Kelingking Beach, it is possible to descend there. However, the path is not safe. Some path is too steep, narrow and broken. If you still decide to go all the way down, please be extra cautious and patient at the same time as there are many others who will try to go up or down using the same path.
iv) Crystal Bay Beach
Crystal Bay Beach is a beautiful beach surrounded by clear water. This location is getting a lot of attention because it is one of the best sites to snorkel or dive around Nusa Penida. Having a wide 200—meters stretches of sand in the secluded area, this is a commonplace to relax and to have a piece of your mind.
We end our first-day tour by relaxing and swimming at Crystal Bay Beach before we finally get our rest and to continue our adventure tomorrow morning.
The Activities: Day 2
i) Rumah Pohon
After having a full rest with a delightful breakfast, we are ready to start our day in Nusa Penida. Our guide picks us up to bring us to Rumah Pohon.
Rumah Pohon has a total number of three treehouses inside its area. In order to get here, you need to walk a long way down to the Rumah Pohon. The view is absolutely breathtaking and seeing this place will make you want to live here forever. However, I definitely have a mixed feeling regarding this Rumah Pohon or also called Tree House.
The way the owner operates his business spoils the experience when people come and visit Tree House. This Tree House operates with two different ways at the same time;
Tree House is open to being visited with a fee of IDR 10,000 per person.
You can book and stay at one of the treehouses for IDR 500,000 per night.
Here is where the contradiction begins. When you come and pay the fee to visit Tree House, all you want is to snap a picture while exploring their beautiful treehouses. However, you will definitely be shocked to see there is actually someone live inside the houses. On the other hand, if you booked to stay at the Tree House, you will definitely have zero privacy. People who come to visit Tree House will climb up your house and annoyed the hell out of you.
ii) Pulau Seribu / Raja Lima
After a few stairs up from the Tree House, you will arrive at Raja Lima. The viewpoint you see here is what they call as Pulau Seribu or Thousand Island Viewpoint.
iii) Diamond Beach
Diamond Beach is among one of the most amazing beaches I have ever been to. It is located on the most eastern point of Nusa Penida. The beach is not accessible before until recently it is open to the public when they carved a limestone making a stair heading down to the Diamond Beach.
The route going down to the Diamond Beach is better than the path you find in Kelingking Beach since it is safer and secure.
iv) Snorkeling (3 locations)
Our next destination is to go back to the first place where we drop off at Nusa Penida. But wait, we are not heading back to Sanur Beach yet. The plan to get here is to take a private boat so we could continue our next activity; snorkeling. Nusa Penida has five best spots for snorkeling which is; Crystal Bay Beach, Gamat Bay Beach, Wall Point, Buddha Temple, and Manta Point. Our tour allows us to choose a maximum of three spots for our snorkeling activity.
We could not choose Manta Point since the minimum number to do this is five people. Since there is only two of us, Manta Point is out of the option. Our next option to go to Buddha Temple but our guide told us this spot is currently under maintenance during our visit. Hence, we are left to pick these three locations which are; Crystal Bay Beach, Gamat Bay Beach and Wall Point.
Snorkeling will be the last activities we did for our tour to Nusa Penida which marks the end for our unordinary trip to Bali. Our tour agent bid us farewell as we take the last boat from the harbor to Sanur Beach before we heading back to Bali.
A lot of misconception by people thinking Krabi is an island. It is not, people. Nevertheless, Krabi is the perfect place if you wanted to clear off your mind from your work or from your hectic city.
I wanted to share you all the stuff that makes Krabi so famous so the next time you visit Krabi, you can straight away try it.
Krabi have 2 famous beaches you can stay. Both is almost the same. Ao Nang is the main tourist attractions and Railay beach is its sister and has an island feel. It is entirely up to your preference on which beach you like to stay. Or if you prefer to stay at both places why not spend one night in Ao Nang and another night at Railay Beach?
For this part I will enlist all the top activities you can try when you are in Krabi;
i) Phi Phi Island tour
If you are visiting Krabi for the first time, Phi Phi island tour is a must place for you to go. This island is the most visited place for tourists when they come to visit Krabi or Phuket. Mostly when you come here, you can either spend a night on this island or just to take a one-day tour to this island. Most of the time, the place you will cover when doing Phi Phi Island tour is like sightseeing, swimming or snorkeling at Maya Bay, Loh Samah Bay, Pileh Cove, Viking Cave, and Monkey Beach.
ii) Krabi Island tour
Krabi surrounded by many small islands and it is not surprising to see tours offering various kind of island hopping around Krabi. An example of island tour you could take is like Krabi 4 island tour, Koh Hong day tour, James Bond island tour and Krabi 7 island sunset tour.
I still remember ended up taking Krabi 7 island sunset tour. Well, it is not 7 islands but instead of 7 places. The whole package is good since you could go to lots of places in one day. However, the activities in each place rushed as you need to cover 7 places. The time allocated in each place is only around 30 minutes only.
The highlight of the activity is when after getting our dinner, they will bring you to the middle of the sea to see bioluminescent plankton. The light of the boat will be switched off and we are at total darkness. Then they told us to snorkel around the boat surrounded by darkness. At first, I hesitate to jump out of the boat as it is pitch black out there. But the moment I entering the water, I could see the light of the plankton. It is quite a nice scene to see.
iii) Emerald Pool & Hot Springs
If you want something that is not related to the beach, you can definitely try to soak yourself at the famous emerald pool in Krabi. This emerald pool can be found if you go to the Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve. If you are not taking a tour and decide to drive, you need to pay THB200 at the entrance for both hot springs and the emerald pool.
In order to reach the emerald pool, you need to walk for around 20 minutes from the entrance to the pool. On your way to the emerald pool, you will witness a hot spring available for you to soak yourself into. At the emerald pool, you also could swim over there and enjoy the scenery. And if you walk for another 20 minutes further up from the emerald pool, you can enjoy seeing the blue pool. This place is unfortunately not open for swimming and only for taking pictures.
If you wanted to experience something else, there are tons of activities you can do. Some of them are rock climbing, riding ATV, kayaking, riding a horse along a beach and many more.
There are like over 50+ activities you could do in Krabi. All of it you can mix and match based on what your budget and your time. There is a lot of a travel agent setting up a booth along Ao Nang and Railay beach. Just walk a few of them and search for the best price. They will bargain the price since the competition is high among them. If you found the best deal, grab it and make a booking. Whether you like it or not, I believe if you want to do any activities here in Krabi, it will always a better choice to pick a travel agent as they really control the majority of activities in Krabi. But there is always an alternative if you want to do it yourself without hiring any travel agent. This is entirely up to you to make up the choices.
I read a lot of bloggers who recommend trying banana pancake in Krabi. To me honestly, I cannot find why it is so famous and craving by so many people. I detest none of the Thai food, in fact, I love them! I bet there are many other Thai foods in Krabi that is better and taste good. But for me banana pancake is like the normal ‘roti canai’ that I could find back in my town; Kuala Lumpur which is cheaper and taste exactly the same. One banana pancake in Krabi cost almost THB50 (USD1.5) based on what flavor you want to add while in Kuala Lumpur you can get the same pancake with only THB20 (USD 0.5).
The resemblance is uncanny, isn’t it? Okay. Enough ranting about this pancake. My advice just does not skip this signature food in Krabi. Try this banana pancake once to taste it. If you like it, good, buy another one. But, if you did not like it, then you can try other Thai food like Pad Thai or Mango Sticky Rice which are way better.
Pubs & Bars
Unlike its neighbor, Phuket which has its famous Bangla Road where most people spend their nightlife by either partying and drinking until morning surrounded by a loud noise and crowded people. Here in Krabi, such night is rare to be seen. Krabi is a much quieter town with not so much entertainment available at night. For me, its good news. After spending a whole day snorkeling, swimming or doing island hopping for the whole day; what would be more relaxing other than chilling at the bar drinking and feasting your ears with good music.
Krabi is crawling with pubs and bars. Almost every corner has one. You need to search for which one that suits your taste and preferences and pay them a visit. They will surely welcome you with an open heart.
And so, Krabi is really a perfect place for you to go if you want to take your mind off and to take your body to rest. Enjoy every moment you spend in Krabi and have fun with it.