Kelingking beach

Kelingking Beach is a breathtaking rocky cliff in the ocean. I had the opportunity to visit for the first time in April 2017, nearly two years after my initial trip to Nusa Penida. At the time, the area was quite secluded… Although it became more crowded with tourists by 2019, it is once again a great time to visit. It is truly spectacular and definitely worth the journey.

Kelingking Beach is one of the most famous spot of Nusa Penida, often featured in advertisements for Bali and Indonesia. Its unique rock formations resemble the backbone of a dinosaur and it’s even nicknamed T-Rex Bay on Google Maps. From the top of the cliff, visitors may even spot Manta rays.

Tourists flock to the esplanade for breathtaking views and drone photography. The popularity of Kelingking Beach has greatly contributed to the tourist growth of Nusa Penida island, particularly through social media. Interestingly, “Kelingking” also means pinky finger in Indonesian, but the reason behind it requires a little imagination.

Kelingking Beach Nusa Penida Bali Vertical Drone viewPinky finger
More than 400 000 photos on Instagram
The star attraction of Kelingking Beach is the breathtaking viewpoint atop the cliff. While the coastline boasts magnificent cliffs, this one is truly exceptional! A selfie with the T-Rex is a must, but be prepared to share the spotlight with other Instagrammers. As of January 2018, over 13,000 photos had been posted with #Kelingking and over 25,000 with #kelingkingbeach. Fast forward to February 2023, and those numbers have skyrocketed to over 100,000 and 450,000, respectively ! Everyone strives for the perfect photo, some even climb the dead tree (joining the crowds, of course).

Kelingking Beach Nusa Penida Bali Indonesia burnt cliff
The locals are constantly brainstorming unique bamboo platforms, offering distinct perspectives and backdrops for that coveted photo op. And we increasingly see couples accompanied by professional photographers equipped with drones to capture incredible videos and photos! I recommend heading up the cliff a bit, to the right when facing the sea, to get away from the crowd and capture some nicer photos without the hustle and bustle.

Pantai Kelingking Beach Nusa Penida BaliCave at the end of the beach
Please avoid any accident at Kelingking Beach
Tourists often showcase their creativity to capture unique photographs, but some may take their adventures too far. In 2019, a press article reported a tragic incident at Kelingking Beach, where a young Russian girl fell off a cliff while riding a scooter. Shockingly, the article mentioned that scooter remained intact at the cliff’s top. Unfortunately, another accident occurred on December 22nd, 2020 and many more since the reopening of the borders. Swimming at Kelingking Beach is now forbidden, after a European tourist drawned in violent waves after trying to rescue another tourist in February 2023.

If you plan to hike down the cliff to the beach (which I highly recommend!), please exercise caution. Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated, wear a hat to prevent sunstroke, and most importantly, wear proper shoes. The first time I descended, I made the mistake of wearing flip-flops, which was a poor choice. Luckily, proper stairs have been installed, making the path much easier to navigate than it was a few years ago.

Kelingking Beach Nusa Penida Bali waves Beware of Kelingking Beach waves
After descending, you’ll be greeted by a stunning beach. While the allure of swimming may be irresistible, be wary of the powerful waves and currents that can carry you out to sea. Sadly, Kelingking Beach has experienced multiple drowning incidents, making the warnings imperative.

However, don’t let these precautions dampen your enthusiasm – the trip to the beach is well worth the effort.

Kelingking Beach T Rex Beach Nusa Penida BaliDown to Kelingking Beach
Kelingking Beach : do you really deserve it ?
Kelingking Beach is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque beaches in Nusa Penida island, and in my opinion, the most stunning in Bali under the “wild beach” category. Even if you are not inclined to descend to the beach, take a stroll along the narrow path that meanders down the ridge line for a few meters. It’s a quieter spot to admire the panoramic views and click better photographs.

I have a piece of advice for you – take your pictures before descending the trail, as climbing back up might leave you less photogenic. The initial part of the trail, up to the first turn, is relatively easy and gives you a fair idea of the entire trek. You can decide here if you have the grit to hike down to the beach or head to other accessible beaches like Crystal Bay or Atuh Beach, especially if you are with kids.

Some time ago a fire destroyed the vegetation and the elaborate network of ropes and wooden poles that facilitated the descent. However, the trail to the beach has been reconstructed and is much safer now. So, don’t abandon the trek halfway, as the climb up is more manageable than the climb down. The incline is towards you, making it more secure and paradoxically less strenuous.

Kelingking Beach Nusa Penida Bali down to the beachDown to the beach
How long to go down to Kelingking Beach?
It takes 20 minutes to get down to Kelingking Beach. To ensure safety, it is important to wear proper footwear and take caution with each step. Signs clearly state that access to the beach is solely the responsibility of the individual. The ascent back to the starting point may take up to 30 minutes.

How tall is Kelingking cliff ?
Kelingking Beach cliff is around 150 meters high.

Staircase to Kelingking Beach Nusa Penida BaliStaircase to the beach
For those who love records, here are the challenges to beat.
Setting a new speed record for descending to Kelingking Beach: A particularly athletic young man, who didn’t want to leave his girlfriend alone for too long, managed to descend and ascend the steep cliff path in just 20 minutes (according to him). He was obviously very much in love and / or very jealous.

Making a double descent to Kelingking Beach: Another tourist, having returned to his scooter, realized that he had left his keys on the beach. He went down the cliff path again to search for them, and fortunately, he found them!

Going down to Kelingking Beach daily : Local vendors now bring down cold drinks to sell on the beach every day. However, they don’t seem to understand the law of supply and demand as they charge the same price as elsewhere. It’s likely they pack up shop when their cooler is empty, but they may refill it several times throughout the day.

The beach down at Kelingking is stunning. But, as with everywhere on Nusa Penida island, be cautious of strong waves and currents that could pull you away.

How do you get to Kelingking Beach ?
The route leading to Kelingking Beach has been recently renovated and is in excellent condition, except for some relatively large potholes on the side towards the end. It’s quite feasible to navigate the route independently by riding a scooter, but do exercise caution on the road as traffic can be heavy. If you’re traveling in a group of four or more, it may be more convenient to rent a car with a driver.

To get there, turn left after the village of Sakti (the right road leads to Crystal Bay) when coming from Toyapakeh. Then, take the first road on the right and follow the signs. The route is straightforward and signposted at every intersection. It should take about 30 minutes to get to Kelingking Beach from either Toyapakeh or Crystal Bay.

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