Staying at Rumah Pohon Treehouse Nusa Penida Bali (Review)
Thanks to Instagram, Nusa Penida — an island southeast of Bali — has become the place to be for any influencer worth their salt.
Apart from the dramatic coastal cliffs, another iconic sight on this island is the wooden tree house perched on a treetop, overlooking the ocean.
Known locally as “Rumah Pohon” (Indonesian for tree house), it’s one of the most popular places to stay in Nusa Penida.
Apparently, there are several tree-house hotels scattered in Nusa Penida. But this was a fact I only learned after my trip.
The most popular of them is Rumah Pohon Molenteng — located on the east coast, somewhere near the Thousand Island (Pulau Seribu) viewpoint and Atuh Beach.
It seems to be the only one that’s ever been talked about and featured on travel influencers’ Instagram pages. If you’ve seen any picture of a treehouse in Nusa Penida, it’s most likely this one — which is no surprise since it has the most stunning views.
But it led me to think that it was the only tree house on the entire island.
This — coupled with the fact that there was only one search result for “Rumah Pohon” on Booking.com — assured me that I had booked the one and only.
It turned out I had booked the one on Jalan Petinggian, which is fine in its own respect, but is further inland and nothing like I expected.
Apart from these two, there are also:
How to Book a Tree House in Nusa Penida
Rumah Pohon Molenteng is only available on Airbnb. There are only three houses in total, and considering how popular they are, you better book early.
The other tree house hotels are available on Booking.com. Just search for Rumah Pohon or Tree House, or click on the links below:
How to Get to Rumah Pohon (Jalan Petinggian)
There are no buses in Nusa Penida, so the easiest way to get around is by renting a scooter or a car (usually comes with a driver). There are a number of scooter rental shops and drivers waiting for passengers at the harbor.
A word of caution though: the roads are steep, rocky, and potholed at some parts, so only self-drive if you’re a highly skilled and experienced driver. I wouldn’t recommend renting a scooter in Nusa Penida if you’ve only just learned to drive one.
Alternatively, you can ask your tree house hotel if they could arrange a transport for you.
My partner and I had met another Malaysian traveler on the ferry from Bali, and we agreed to share the cost of a car with a driver. The driver took us on a half-day tour to some of the major attractions on the island.
After lunch, he drove us to the tree house. The journey was quite long (around 30 minutes or so from out last stop) and took us through winding roads up and down the hills.
Finally, he dropped us off at the Rumah Pohon car park area by the roadside. This is not where the tree house is; you still have to hike a short distance to get there.
There is a signboard pointing the way and the trail is well-marked, so there’s no way you’d get lost. You’ll likely be greeted by two friendly dogs that will show you the way (don’t worry — they’re very well-behaved).
What to Expect at Rumah Pohon Jalan Petinggian
The Tree House
There were a few tree houses, some higher than the others. Ours was probably the second highest, located next to the bathrooms, but not too close.
There was a small wooden gate at the landing of the stairs to keep the dogs out and a balcony with a bench to lounge on. Inside was a double bed with pillows, a bolster, a blanket, and a pair of clean towels.
The tree house shook with every little movement we made.
There was a small table and shelf for putting your stuff on, a mirror, a single light bulb to illuminate the entire room, and a fun-sized table fan.
If you’ve got multiple devices to charge, you’re in luck because there’s more than one power socket on the wall, so you can charge your devices without having to turn off the fan or light bulb.
Not gonna lie — the room was a little too warm for comfort, especially in the middle of the day, during the hot season, and with such a teeny weeny fan. But you can keep the door and window open to add extra ventilation.
Do note that the room doesn’t come with any mosquito netting. We didn’t have any problem with mosquitoes throughout our stay, but if you tend to attract them like a magnet, you might want to bring some insect repellent with you.
If the room is still a little too stuffy for you, you can sit on the balcony to enjoy the fresh air or chill out at the reception, which also doubles as a dining area.
In a clearing between the tree houses and the reception, there’s a hammock, but during our visit, it seemed to have not been used for a long time. We found a colony of ants making a nest on it.
Just before sunset, I climbed up another tree house, which was unoccupied and looked much smaller and more rickety than the rest. Probably not meant for paying guests, but the host told me it was the perfect spot to view sunset.
It got dark very fast in the forest. After dinner, we went back to our room, and — with nothing else to do — called it a night and switched off the light.
That was when we heard the strange sound. Loud, guttural squeaks that sometimes turned into cackles.
We were quite certain it was an animal sound but had never heard anything like it before. Was it an owl? A toad? An injured boar? Not that we knew what any of those animals sounded like.
Or worse — could it be a kuntilanak?
The sound seemed to have come from above. Peeking out from under our blanket, we gingerly scanned the room with our phone flashlights.
And there on the roof beam, staring down at us with glistening, round eyes was a huge striped gecko. That was our first time seeing a Tokay gecko up close. It was at least 5 times bigger than the common house lizards we were used to back home.
Being the wimpy city people that we were, we quickly hid under the covers and consulted each other. Does that thing bite? Should we just go to sleep and pretend it’s not there? Should we scream for help?
We decided to go to sleep. And silently prayed that the creature wouldn’t lose its footing and fall on us. It was a wonder how we managed to doze off at all.
When my phone alarm woke me up for sunrise the next morning, there was no more gecko.
Right next to our tree house were the shared bathrooms. They were clean enough. Be sure to bring your own toiletries.
There was WiFi — our phones connected to it, but it had no internet access. So, it was as good as none.
Bike hire is available at the property, and they can also arrange tours for you.
The room rate is inclusive of dinner and breakfast. Dinner was a packet of nasi goreng (fried rice) with chicken, eggs, and some crackers.
For breakfast, we had a choice of instant noodles, biscuits, and some local pastries. Coffee and tea were available all day long at the reception area.
If you’re the type who needs lots of snacks to get by (like me), make sure you bring enough with you, because there are no shops nearby. Keep them in secure bags and containers. You’re practically in a forest — there will be bugs. And geckos.
Checking out was a pleasant surprise for us. After saying goodbye to the dogs, we discovered that we didn’t have to do the short hike back to the car park. Instead, the host took us to another side of the forest, where a zipline was waiting.
Yes, we would be ziplining back to the trailhead! How cool is that?
Our motorbike drivers, whom we already booked the night before were already waiting for us on the other side to take us to the jetty, where we would be continuing our journey to Nusa Lembongan.
The Verdict on Rumah Pohon Nusa Penida
Is Rumah Pohon Jalan Petinggian Worth It?
It’s important to remember that this is not a glamping experience. Do not expect a luxurious air-conditioned hideaway with an ensuite bathroom, a bathtub, and a plasma TV.
Expect bugs. Bring insect repellent. And a sense of adventure.
It’s a unique once-in-a-lifetime experience, especially for those people who, like myself, grew up in the city and have never even climbed a tree. It’s for those who want to take a break from hectic city life or 5-star hotels and go back to basics.
Rumah Pohon Jalan Petinggian vs Molenteng
Unlike the more popular tree house, Rumah Pohon Jalan Petinggian provides peace and solitude.
Kristin from Be My Travel Muse shared her experience staying at Rumah Pohon Molenteng, which — due to its popularity — offered little privacy, as tourists kept climbing up to her tree house to take photos.
Last I checked, it was also four times as expensive.
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While I was adequately satisfied with my tree house experience, the highlight of this place — to me — was the host.
Very kind and accommodating, he clearly took great pride in keeping his guests happy. If you read the reviews on Booking.com, you’ll see that the majority of them mentioned his hospitality.
Meet this kind man and his two equally hospitable canine assistants by making your hotel reservation here.
“Rumah Pohon” Tree House (Jalan Petinggian)
Address: Jalan Petinggian, Nusapenida, Kutampi Kaler, Nusapenida, Kabupaten Klungkung, Bali 80771, Indonesia
Have you stayed in a treehouse before? Where was it? Share your experience in the comment section below.