The Ultimate Guide to Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan

The Ultimate Guide to Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan

Plan a trip down to these dreamy islands before it becomes as commercialised as the mainland.

Although Bali is synonymous with island paradise, you might find yourself standing on the crowded beaches of Kuta and Seminyak asking yourself “where’s paradise?”

Bali has undergone massive commercialisation over the years and truly paradise-worthy spots have sadly dwindled. Before you go off weeping, here’s some good news! You can rediscover Bali’s true beauty at Nusa Islands, only 30 minutes away from the mainland.

Image credit: Max Ravier (left / right)

The Nusa Islands (Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan) are still relatively less developed and touristy, giving visitors a slice of paradise. Before you jump on the next flight to Bali, here’s everything you need to know about Nusa Islands:

How to get to Nusa Islands

Boats to Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida depart from the end of Jalan Hang Tuah at Sanur. Depending on your comfort level, you can choose to organise your own transport or let tour agencies do it for you.

1. Organize your own transport

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Image credit: Magul

First, make your way to Sanur, which is about 45 to 60 minutes from Canggu, via motorbike or taxi. Make your way down to Sanur Beach and you will see many boats lined up on the shore. Simply ask the friendly boat operators which boat goes to Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan or Nusa Penida and they will direct you accordingly.

There are mainly two types of boats; local boats and fast boats. While local boats are cheaper (price ranges between IDR60,000 (~USD4.20) to IDR150,000 (~USD10.40)), the boats are slower than fast boats and the journey can take about 60 to 90 minutes. Fast boats only takes about 30 minutes to reach the Nusa Islands, but costs between IDR250,000 (~USD17.40) to IDR300,000 (~USD20.85).

2. Book your transport with tour agencies

For a hassle-free journey, you can book your transport to Nusa Islands with tour agencies found in Bali or via trusted third-party travel websites. Most of these companies also offer transport from your accommodation to Sanur, the boat ride over to your preferred Nusa Island, hotel transfer on the island and the return trip. Depending on the company and your needs, a package usually costs between IDR 500,000 (~USD34.75) to IDR 650,000 (~USD45.20).

Island-hopping between Nusa Islands

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Image credit: Shura

Getting from one island to another is pretty easy. Simply head to the main dock on the island you’re at and board a boat from there. The main dock on Nusa Lembongan is in front of the Yellow Bridge, while the main dock on Nusa Penida is Toya Pakeh Harbour.

Image credit: Aussie Assault

To get to Nusa Ceningan, simply cross over the Yellow Bridge which connects the island to Nusa Lembongan. Whether you choose to walk or take a scooter across the bridge, you can easily reach Nusa Ceningan in under a minute.

Getting around Nusa Islands

Since Nusa Islands’ attractions are pretty spread out, here are some ways you can opt for to explore the islands:

1. Rent a scooter

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Image credit: Artem Beliaikin

It’s not a secret that scooters are very popular in Bali. On Nusa Islands, scooter rental prices start from IDR70,000 (~USD4.90) per day. You may also get cheaper prices if you rent scooters from your accommodation.

Most of the roads on Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan are paved, so it’s safe to ride on, even for beginners. However, do note that most of the roads on Nusa Penida are unpaved. Do ride cautiously on the loose gravel roads, especially when traversing slopes.

2. Book a tour or car hire

If you’re travelling in large groups, you can opt to hire a car with a driver which typically costs around IDR350,000 (~USD24.30) per day. Alternatively, you can arrange a tour with tour agencies found in Bali or via trusted third-party travel websites. An all-inclusive tour (which includes boat transfers, inland transportation, food, etc.) approximately costs IDR1,220,000 (~USD84.80) per person.

Things to do or see at Nusa Islands

Nusa Islands is brimming with spectacular natural gems spread across the three islands. Here are some highlights that you simply cannot miss when visiting Nusa Islands.

Attractions at Nusa Lembongan

1. Devil’s Tear

Image credit: Alain Bachellier

Witness the beauty and power of mother nature at the same time at Devil’s Tear. When the large waves crash into the rocky cliffs, be prepared for a truly magnificent sight – a huge ocean spray that rises up several metres into the sky! Needless to say, don’t get too close to the cliff edge as the wave can knock you off your feet.

2. Mangrove Forest

Image credit: rheins

Did you know that mangroves play an essential role in protecting the island’s environment by preventing coastline erosions and shielding the effects of natural disasters? Explore the intriguing Mangrove Forest as you dodge roots that are jotting out from the water and the large trees that intertwines overhead. You can opt to go on a boat tour, kayak or even stand-up paddleboard!

3. Dream Beach

Image credit: sarahdom666

Living up to its name, Dream Beach is indeed everyone’s dream beach. Despite being relatively small, the beach offers powder-white sand and crystal clear waters which will undoubtedly beget you to take a dip. What’s more, the beach is also close to a wide array of food establishments and little shops.

Attractions at Nusa Penida

1. Angel’s Billabong

Image credit: Anastasia R

Yet another dreamy sounding attraction, Angel’s Billabong is a calm pool of emerald water framed by towering rock cliffs. The natural pool is filled with water by large waves that strike the rocks. Hence, don’t get too close to the edge of the billabong as the unexpected waves might knock you down. That being said, don’t miss the chance to swim in the calmer sections of the billabong and let your worries wash away.

2. Broken Beach

Image credit: Anastasia R

Located just a stone’s throw away from Angel’s Billabong is the stunning Broken Beach. The beach got its name as part of the cliff has eroded over time and created an archway which allows water to enter the bay, hence creating a mini beach. Although you can’t set foot on the small strip of sand, Broken Beach still boasts a remarkable view.

3. Kelingking Beach

Image credit: Shrigusti

Do you see the shape of a T-rex in the cliffs? Other than bearing a stark similarity to the prehistoric animal, Kelingking Beach offers breathtaking views of the beautiful blue ocean which is contrasted with the green cliff towers. It is no wonder Kelingking Beach is one of the most recognisable attractions of Nusa Islands. You can hike down to the beach but be warned, rock-carved steps are incredibly steep and the bamboo railing is not super secure!

4. Manta Bay

You simply can’t leave Nusa Penida without swimming alongside one of the most majestic creatures of the ocean – Manta Rays! Get up close and personal to these gentle giants as they swim around Manta Bay. Instead of swimming away at the sight of humans like most sea creatures, Manta Rays aren’t shy to get close to you. You can book a snorkelling or diving tour on the island or on the mainland at Kuta or Seminyak.

Attractions at Nusa Ceningan

1. Blue Lagoon

Image credit: Hapci8

Although there’s nothing much to do at Blue Lagoon, it is still worth the trip as the cove holds some of the brightest, bluest water you’ll ever see in Bali! Photography enthusiasts will fall head over heels with this spot as the turquoise waters turn up beautifully photographs. Stay till the end of the day for a gorgeous sunset view.  

2. Mahana Point

Image credit: _eviesillar

For those adrenaline junkies, a trip to Mahana Point is a must. Spread your arms and jump off the Mahana Cliff jump. Some daredevils even perform stunts, twists and turns as they leap off the 15-meter high cliff. If your legs turn to jelly at great heights, you don’t have to cliff dive to enjoy Mahana Point. Grab a drink at the restaurant and spend the day watching surfers catching some waves nearby.

3. Nusa Ceningan Yellow Bridge

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At the beginning and end of your trip to Nusa Ceningan, you will certainly have to cross the iconic Yellow Bridge. After its collapse in 2016, the new bridge has been named as ‘The Bridge of Love’. Drop by the bridge in the evening and watch it get illuminated by a myriad of bright lights!

Tips when visiting Nusa Islands

Image credit: Lrns

  • The best time to visit Nusa Islands is during the dry season (May to September). January and February are some of the wettest months of the year.
  • Have some small notes with you as you might be asked for an entrance fee to some tourist spots.
  • If you’re taking the scooter, bring a handkerchief to cover your mouth and nose as you ride on the dusty, gravel roads.
  • As much as you want the perfect Insta-worthy shot, do exercise caution. There have been many accidents of tourists getting hurt as they got too close to cliff edges.
  • Although most people visit Nusa Islands on day trips, it is advisable to spend a few days on one of the islands to truly experience its beauty. There are many accommodations that cater to different budgets on the islands.  

Now that you’re armed with all the information you need on Nusa Islands, head down there soon before it becomes the next Kuta or Seminyak!

About Author

Sara Amira
Sara Amira

Sara’s passions in life are travelling, writing and eating. When she’s not in a window seat of a plane, she’s either cafe-hunting or exploring new neighbourhoods


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