If I was wearing flip flops, I’d be dead by now.
This thought is buzzing in my head like a fly as I’m making my way up from Atuh Beach. Small rocks occasionally slip from under my bare feet and roll all the way down, and the sand-filled sacks that pretend to be stairs are torn to shreds. The rope dangling somewhere above my head is not very helpful. Somehow the way down didn’t seem this terrifying.
We could have gotten to Atuh Beach from the Atuh Cliff. The stairs down from the warung at the top are way more civilized and easier to climb. But you can’t see a dizzying staircase on Google Maps, so we figured we might as well drive to Atuh Beach and park our scooter right above it.
What’s Atuh Beach like?
Atuh didn’t impress us all that much at first. At low tide it was mostly black pebbles and the signature rocky shape towering above them. But when we came back at higher tide, the beach filled with lovely emerald water, and the gentle waves made it perfect for a swim.
Perhaps because it’s not that accessible, Atuh has a sleepy, laidback feel. Shabby warungs sell banana pancakes and coconuts, and the waiters snooze in bean bags with few customers to serve. Many of the shops offer food and even Wi-Fi, but none of them blast pop music like the westernized bars on more popular beaches in Bali.
The food prices are local: I paid 50K IDR ($3.6) for a mie goreng (fried noodles), 25K ($1.8) for a pancake, and another 25K for a coconut. But the sunbeds are oddly expensive, around 100K, and you don’t get one for free even as a customer. So if you’re not ready to cough up a two meals’ worth of money for a sunbed, remember to bring a blanket!
How to get to Atuh Beach on Nusa Penida
There are two ways to get to the beach. You can go to the Atuh Beach location on Google Maps and then climb down the so-called staircase, like we did. Or, you can go to Diamond Beach first, and from there go to Lebah Ampuak, a small shop and restaurant on the Atuh Cliff. The steps down from Lebah Ampuak to Atuh Beach are broad, made of concrete, and way easier to go up and down.
We built a route to Atuh Beach on Google Maps, which worked perfectly for us. But make sure you have a good connection and enough data. My phone was completely useless on Nusa Penida, so I’d recommend getting a local SIM card with unlimited data.
As far as transportation is concerned, here’s how you can get to Atuh Beach on Nusa Penida:
- Ride a scooter. The road to Atuh Beach is hilly and winding, like most roads on the island. But it’s decent quality and scenic towards the end. There are several warungs above the beach offering free parking if you buy something from them.
☝If you take the road to Diamond Beach, be very, very careful. About 10 minutes away from the destination the paved road disappears into gravel and dirt. This is where we had the only accident on this trip, and the very next scooter after us had an accident here too.
- Hire a car with a driver. Most hotels offer this service, and since there are no car rentals on the island, it’s the only way to see Nusa Penida by car. Depending on what spots you want to hit and what coast they are on, the car can cost you between 600K and 1M IDR ($43-70) a day.
- Go on a Nusa Penida day trip. Endless tour companies locally and online offer day trips to Nusa Penida from Bali and Nusa Lembongan. Not all of them include Atuh Beach, though. This Nusa Penida Island East Tour covers the east coast of the island, including Atuh Beach, Diamond Beach, the Thousand Islands Viewpoint, and Molenteng Tree House for $49. That’s a pretty good deal, considering that it also includes a return boat transfer from Sanur.
How to get from Atuh Beach to Diamond Beach
With the ocean to your left and the shops to your right, go to the very end of Atuh Beach and keep an eye out for concrete stairs on the cliff. When you follow those, you’ll get to Lebah Ampuak, a warung atop the Atuh Cliff. The path to Diamond Beach is to the left of the shop
When is Atuh Beach open?
Atuh Beach is open from 7 am to 6 pm. Of course, it’s not like there’s a wire fence preventing you from going in, but trust me: you don’t want to go to Atuh Beach outside those hours. The steep climb down is not something you should attempt in the dark. Plus, the high tide can make the beach kinda dangerous at night.
Best time to go to Atuh Beach
You should definitely hit Atuh Beach when the tide is going up, but before it gets too high. We first got there at 10 am only to see the bare rocky bottom. But at 12 pm the tide was already high enough for swimming. So I would say mid-tide is the best time to be at Atuh Beach, before the water gets even higher and there’s no more beach left to hang out on. In our case, that was 12 pm to 2 pm, but do check the tide times for your date. They always differ.
What hotels are near Atuh Beach, Nusa Penida?
When we were doing our research, there were noticeably fewer hotels and guesthouses on the east coast of Nusa Penida. And because there are more attractions on the western coast, it might make more sense to stay over there.
But if you want to spend the night by Atuh Beach and enjoy a stunning sunrise, you have options. Check out these hotels on HotelsCombined. It shows you the prices on the most popular websites like Agoda and Booking, so you can decide which one to book on.
📍Rumah Pohon Molenteng Tree House, Tree House – $34 per night
This Insta-famous tree house hotel is in a dizzying location at the Thousand Islands Viewpoint. With a view that good the room probably doesn’t matter. But keep in mind that the bathroom is outside and shared, and there’s no AC, only a fan. Be sure to ask for the tree house with a view, because not all of them have it.
📍Atuh Forest Cottage, Deluxe Double Room – $34 per night
Atuh Forest Cottage is a bit out of the way, which is actually a good thing. You’ll avoid the noise and the tourists, but still be a 5-minute ride away from Atuh Beach and Diamond Beach. Views of forest from your room and chirping birds in the morning sound very appealing, and the cleanliness and the food get a lot of praise from the guests.
Is Atuh Beach worth a visit?
If Atuh Beach was the only point of interest on this coast, it wouldn’t be worth the trip. But because it’s so close to Diamond Beach and the Thousand Islands Viewpoint, you should definitely include it in your Bali itinerary. Plus, unlike Diamond Beach, Atuh has calm-ish water you can swim in, so give it a go.