9 August 2022

The ‘Ugly Truth’ About Staying In An Instagram-Famous Treehouse


A video blowing up on Instagram purports to show the “ugly truth” about staying in a treehouse in Nusa Penida. The video shows how – although the view is amazing – the inside leaves a lot to be desired.


Nusa Penida is beautiful. Despite there being a whole lot more to it than brain-melting views, that’s basically all us tourist hordes know it for. But just because you see fantastic things on Instagram, doesn’t mean everything behind the screen is as amazing. And at the risk of sounding picky, there is one Instagram-famous house in the clifftop trees of Nusa Penida (an island 12 km South-East of Bali) where the interior doesn’t quite match the incredible expectations generated by the exterior.

Enter: Instagram user @daianadaiana. Daiana recently took to Instagram with an ‘Instagram vs. Reality’ video of Nusa Penida’s celebrated tree house accommodation: Rumah Pohon, Tree House Molenteng.

The tree house sits high on a cliff on the southeastern side of Nusa Penida, near the Atuh Beaches and Diamond beaches. This mountain is called Thousand Islands Viewpoints, and from it you get spectacular views of the coast both ways, as well as Batupadasan and Batuabah islands. The video starts by showing viewers the magnificent cliff-top house sitting pretty over a cliff and the shimmering beaches.

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Things take a turn for the worse, however, as the music changes, and viewers are led up the steps and into the house. You enter the wooden tree house only to see a bare bones set up. The house comprises a grey mattress on the floor, crumpled sheets, a water bottle (also on the floor) and a fan on a desk. Not exactly Guantanamo, but a little closer to a squatter’s flat than you might expect.

WATCH: Video shows what Nusa Penida’s treehouse accommodation is like inside

Not everyone agreed it was grim, with many Instagram users calling it a petty complaint and encouraging Daiana to be more understanding of the limitations of a remote accommodation.

“Sorry but there is nothing ugly about it,” one wrote. “Still a vibe,” said another. “They only put that thing to be a photo attraction,” claimed yet another.

“I wouldn’t expect a fridge nor proper heavy bed inside, that tree house is better than a concrete building, just as a nature place should be,” weighed in a further Instagram user.

Despite the claim the house is just a lookout in the Instagram comments section, the treehouse really is an accommodation. There are three of them and they tend to be booked out many months in advance. According to Wandering Wheatleys they cost about $40 a night to book.

That said, a fair few travellers have complained the main thing you are paying for is the view, with one Tripadvisor user similarly pointing out the bare bones aspect of the facilities (and going in even harder).

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The Tripadvisor user wrote in December 2019: “First arriving and you realise how you are on the edge of a cliff. You are then told you must walk down very dangerous stairs to get to the tree houses. Once down the area is filled with rubbish and burning plastic, plus the bathroom is shockingly bad also. The ladder to the tree house is used constantly for photos by people who haven’t paid to stay there.”

They continued: “You also have to pay for photos unless you go after the staff leave. Inside is just a mattress on the floor and a fan. We left our bags to go and climb back up the cliff side before it got dark as they have no lights. Once we had eaten and had to use our phone torches to get back to the tree house I saw a few bugs but upon further inspection realised the place was infested and we couldn’t stay the night there.”

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“So we had to hike out in the dark with our bags. We informed the owner and he seemed to already be aware of the issue and put us in his uncles room which resembled that of a prison cell. We asked to leave in a taxi as early as we could which he then charged us 350K for but we didn’t really have any other choice. The driver who picked us up was quite possibly the worst driver I have ever been in a car with. I genuinely feared for mine and my friends life as he drove at 90mph on cliff edges whilst almost hitting oncoming traffic.”

“DO NOT STAY HERE!!!! Yes the view is nice but there are many other great views around the islands.”

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We’d suggest you take the above review with a grain of salt, as they seem unnaturally pissed off, and because it’s a few years old now. Still: food for thought. Or if you want a more balanced take on what it’s like to stay there, check out the following Tripadvisor review from another user.

“Unbelievable view!!! A magical place to watch the sunrise, wake up with that breathtaking view was really special. An unforgettable experience. During your whole stay [though] someone will be at your doorstop taking pictures, even at night or early morning like 6am.”

“In my opinion they should close the access for tourists 5pm an reopen 8am, so the guests who paid for the experience could enjoy the place. The bathroom is shared and outside, you need to use a light to go there because is really dark. One night is enough.”

There you have it. Some words of advice for the next time you stay at one of the world’s coolest, most Instagram famous treehouses.

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