After travelling around through the busy and touristy island of Bali for a while, you find that you have an urge to go somewhere quieter and closer to nature. Either you can stay in Bali and go more north towards Ubud or Amed or you can hop on a ferry to one of the surrounding islands; Nusa Lembongang and Ceningan, Nusa Penida or the Gili islands. We chose to go and visit the Nusa islands because Gili seemed a bit more touristy and party-oriented (not that we don’t like partying but we already had our fill during our time on Bali).
How to get there
The best option is to take a ferry from Sanur (South East Bali) to one of the Nusa island’s. This ferry will bring you across in about 30 minutes depending on how calm the sea is. If you have a weak stomach and get seasick easily then we would recommend to take a ferry early in the morning as the sea will be less rough than later in the day. When you get to Sanur there will be a lot of salesmen trying to sell you ferry tickets for a ‘cheap price’. Although these prices seem temptingly good it is best to just go to the waterfront and go to the actual ferry ticket offices. After reading some reviews we went for ‘Rocky fast cruises‘.
If you are staying somewhere in Bali you can book a ferry over the phone with Rocky and they should provide a free shuttle pick up from your accommodation and drop off at the accommodation on Nusa (and the same vice-versa if you book a return ticket).
- One way ticket : 300k IDR
- Open return ticket : 500k IDR
On Nusa Lembongang, one of the most known and touristy island of the three, there is all different sorts of accommodation for every kind of traveler. From very fancy and chique hotels to the nice quiet and cheap backpacker hostels. We decided to stay on Nusa Lembongang in a very small but clean hostel called ‘Suba Homestay‘ for only 6 euro a night where we met a good few other backpackers in a chilled out atmosphere. If you are planning on staying on Nusa Penida you should try to book your accommodation in advance as the island is small and the choice of hostels/hotels is small. The ‘Nusa Penida Hostel’ is well quoted on Hostelworld if you would like to stay on that island.
Duration of stay
Nusa lembongang and Ceningan are two islands that are connected with a very scenic but narrow ‘yellow bridge’. In one day you can basically see every highlight of both these islands without having to rush and have ample time to swim and relax at a beach or if you dare you can jump off one of the few cliff-jumps. On the other hand Nusa Penida is twice the size of these two islands and you may need more time to visit this island to see it in it’s entirety. Also, the roads are not entirely paved and especially on Nusa Penida you will get slowed down by some dangerous gravel roads. If possible, stay one or two nights in Nusa Penida to make the most of it.
Getting around on the islands
Both islands have much less traffic than in Bali and are therefore a paradise for riding a scooter. You can hire a scooter at your accommodation or rent one near the Jungut Batu Harbor. Normally they charge around 50k – 70k IDR per 24 hours. When you are on Nusa Lembongang and you would want to go to Nusa Penida go to the ‘yellow bridge’ and from there you can take a small boat. There will be several scooter rental places where the boat arrives. Get your scooter and go explore Penida’s beautiful highlights but drive carefully because of the gravel and unpaved roads!
- Devil’s Tears – cliffs and still pools with water splashing high up in the air. Very nice at sunset.
- Dreambeach – a very nice and clear water beach.
- Jungut Batu Beach – white sand, sun and blue water although it is full of boats and hotels it still is a very nice beach to spent your time on.
- Mushroom bay – a small and cosy beach where you can snorkel and rent a SUP board. In the evening there are some small and good restaurants and bars with live music in the weekends.
- Mangrove Forest – there are organised snorkel and kayak tours on offer here.
- The ‘Yellow bridge’ – the very narrow bridge that connects Nusa Lembongang to Nusa Ceningan over very clear blue water.
- Diving – All Nusa island’s are famous for diving and snorkeling especially with Manta Rays. Also it is full of PADI schools where you can cheap and fairly quick get your open water Dive certification.
- The Blue Lagoon – You don’t want to fall in this beautiful blue water but it is a very beautiful sight and a must see on Nusa Ceningan.
- Secret Beach – A shallow reef without many tourists and a very small but gorgeous beach. Not always suitable for swimming because of the waves and strong currents.
- Nusa Ceningan Hill lookout – It is a bit of a difficult off road track to mo-ped on but well worth going there to have a very nice lookout on the yellow bridge and the crystal blue water the Nusa’s have to offer.
- Kelingking Beach – most probably you would already have seen tons of pictures of this on your social media account. But even though it is so touristy (and it was pouring rain as hell when i was there) it was still one of the most breathtaking spots i’ve seen so far. You can also head down to the beach but make sure you bring appopriate shoes!
- Broken bay and Angel’s billabong – Natural phenomenon where the ocean has created a natural infinity pool and a bridge. Also big cliff’s with big waves splashing against it are a treat for your eyes.
- Crystal Bay beach – Crystal blue waters and white sand beaches but many tourists that are snorkeling over here with a tour boat.
We found the Nusa islands a very nice change of scenery coming from busy Bali. Although Gerald got ‘Bali Belly’ the moment we stepped foot on Nusa Lembongang (and he had to stay in bed for a day). However we still made it around and got a very nice and relaxing time on these beautiful island’s. We would recommend to everyone to at least stay two or three days on these island’s and if you are a diver you could stay here forever because of the many sea species you can find here ( Manta’s, Mola mola, dolphins, etc…).