Travel Guide Bali: The Nusa Islands

Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan

by stephmylifetravel

The Nusa Islands are 3 small islands south east of Bali. They are only a 25 minute boat trip from Sanur, which makes them a great place to visit on a short trip. Each island has something different to offer, from adventure to laid back paradise. Here is your guide to the islands, so that you can choose which one(s) to visit.

How to get to the islands

These islands are just 25 minutes from Bali, and boats leave from Sanur or Kusamba port. You can get a Grab or Gojek taxi to the pier,  and either purchase your ticket online or buy it at the pier. Note that during peak season the boats do sell out, so it’s recommended to book before you arrive at the pier.  The first departure is usually around 8, and the last is around 3/4pm.

You can book a boat to the Nusa islands online here. (You can get boats directly from the Gilis from here, if you want to see both sets of islands – so don’t buy a return ticket if you want to go to the Gili’s too.)

Things to know

  • Bring plenty of cash for your trip: There are no ATMs on Ceningan, and there are only one or two on Penida and Lembongan, so bring enough cash for your trip. Lots of cafe’s and restaurants will let you pay by card, but it’s best to be safe with cash for fuel, water, and meals in more remote places. When we were on Penida the only ATM broke, and we had to pay for our stay, but they let us PayPal them. So if you are stuck, chat to your accommodation and see how they can help.
  • Getting to Ceningan: If you do not have a scooter you might be dropped off at the yellow bridge that connects Ceningan to Lembongan. You’ll have to carry your luggage across and be picked up on the other side.
  • Driving: The roads on Ceningan & Penida are notoriously bad and can be difficult to navigate by scooter. It’s still possible, but just be careful when you’re driving. Definitely wear a helmet!
  • Jump points: Certain sights / cliff jumps are only safe during certain tidal conditions. Chat with the staff at your resort to find out the best times to jump.
  • Food Poisoning: Penida in particular is a place where some people fall victim to Bali Belly. Opt for cooked food over fresh salads, and fish which has been locally caught.
  • Crowds: Nusa Penida is usually the busiest island, so for that reason it might be best to wake up early and see the top sights before the crowds arrive. Many people visit on a day trip, which means they don’t arrive until about 10am.
  • Nightlife: Lembongan has the best nightlife, as the accommodation is mostly crowded into two areas (described below). Accommodation on Penida and Ceningan tends to be too spread across the island to offer much nightlife. However staying near the pier is your best bet for meeting people.

Nusa Penida

Broken Beach, Nusa Penida

The most rugged and adventurous of the three islands, Penida is for nature lovers (with strong legs!).

Picture tall, sweeping cliffs with crooked paths winding down to stunning beaches that have turquoise water and crashing waves. Imagine swimming with manta rays, swimming in rock pools, and finishing the day so tired from your adventures that you want to crawl into bed at 9pm.

If this sounds like it’s up your street, then stick Nusa Penida on your itineraries!

What To Do

I have a full travel guide to Nusa Penida here, which outlines the best things to do on the island. I also have written a 3-day itinerary for you to use to plan your trip.

Where to stay

  • Nuansa Penida Hostel (£11 per night) – One of the best reviewed accommodations on the island and with dorm rooms and private huts. Great location for sightseeing and close to the pier, bars and restaurants.
  • Sunrise Penida Hill (£20 per night) offers simple rooms.
  • Kabeh Jati Garden Villa (£22 per night) – 12 minute walk from the beach, on the east coast of Penida, these unique wooden huts are great value for money and get awesome reviews.
  • Atuh Forest Cottage (£24 per night) – Secluded, romantic huts close to Atuh Beach. Stay here if you have a scooter and are looking for a romantic escape.
  • Ocean Terrace Suite And Spa (£50 per night) offers sea view rooms.
  • BB Resort and villa is a more jungle option for the same price
  • Coco Resort (£60 per night) – Traditional bungalows with a restaurant, large pool and well located close to Crystal Bay.
  • Semabu Hills (£80 per night)- A luxury hotel near the pier with a stunning pool and restaurant that looks out over incredible views. This is one for a treat.

Nusa Lembongan

Devils Tears, Nusa Ceningan

Devils Tears, Nusa Lembongan

This laidback island has just enough adventure to keep you busy, but a trip here is a lot more relaxing than Nusa Penida. You can walk right out to the stunning beaches without climbing down a cliffside for a start!

Lembongan has a thriving community of local Balinese people and westerners who have adopted this island as home. There are beautiful cafes, thriving night spots, and a wide selection of accommodation to suit any budget.

One great thing about Nusa Lembongan is that it’s quite flat, so we found it pretty easy to get around on foot. If you don’t want to rent a scooter, you can get by on a bicycle – and if you’re active, you can go for some great runs around the island!

What To Do

There are some excellent things to see and do on Lembongan:

  • Visit the Devil’s Tears: Watch the waves crash dramatically against the coast at this stunning viewpoint.
  • Relax on Dream beach or Sandy bay which is my favourite beach on the island! It’s so beautiful and picturesque here, but really quiet. You might even have the entire beach to yourself.
  • Stop at the Sandy Bay beach club for lunch or cocktails by the pool overlooking the sea.
  • Take a boat trip through the mangrove forest: You don’t have to book a tour for this, we just rode up on our bikes and asked a local fisherman to take us out.
  • Watch the sunset at Jungut Batu beach: The longest and busiest beach on the island. This is a great place to meet other travellers and have a night out.
  • See Mushroom bay: Located On the south of the island, this is a good beach for swimming and has great beach bars and restaurants.
  • Go to Bali Eco Deli for a healthy breakfast on Jalan Jungut Batu.
  • Visit Organic Lembongan Spa for a massage or treatment – this is walking distance to Jungut Batu.
  • Ride the yellow bridge to Nusa Ceningan and spend an afternoon exploring.
  • Take a surf lesson: Nusa Lembongan is a great place to catch a wave, with plenty of surf schools to help beginners get out on the ocean.
  • Have a cocktail and tacos at Blue Corner Bar: This is popular on weekends with ex-pats!
  • Play some mini golf at Coconut Hut

Where to stay

I recommend staying in one of the following two areas of Nusa Lembongan:

  • Jalan Jungut Batu: This is the chilled out, laid back backpacker and surf / scuba area of the island. It has some great restaurants, chilled out bars, and yoga classes / spas etc. We didn’t drive a scooter and we were able to walk to restaurants and bars.
  • Mushroom Bay: The most popular area to stay with holiday makers as it has a very nice beach and it’s where all of the main resorts and hotels are. There are more upmarket places to stay and touristy restaurants and bars where you can dress up for dinner and watch the sunset etc.

Accommodation: Jungut Batu

  • Megacahya Bungalows are £13 per night for a double room just a few steps from the beach and the bars. This is obviously a budget option, so facilities will be basic and you won’t have things like daily cleaning etc. But we’ve stayed here and it’s cheap, simple, and well located. If you’d like something a bit fancier there are other options below.
  • Bamboo Bungalow offers garden view bungalows just 100m from Jungut Batu beach for just £25 per night. This is in a good location for eating and drinking, and a great choice if you’re looking for something private.
  • Segara beach is a similar style of property – close to the beach, and in a good location for eating and drinking. It’s twice the price of Megacahya at £26 per night but also includes breakfast so you can offset this cost. As you can see from the photos the rooms and facilities are of a higher standard.
  • Vista huts offer king huts for £20 per night with breakfast. These are popular with travellers and very close to some great places to eat. The rooms and huts are simple and pretty.
  • Shrining Cottages Bali offers cute white bungalows for £33 per night. You could book two of these next to each other for your stay if you’re comfortable with that!.

Accommodation: Mushroom Bay

  • Alam Nusa Bungalows offers really stunning traditional bungalows for £26 per night with breakfast. These one bed villas have a shared pool and are 150m away from Mushroom bay. They are really cute – take a look at the photo.
  • Bali Nusa Villa is 100m from the beach and offers private huts for just £25 per night each. It gets 8.8/10 on Booking.com and the room price includes breakfast. I do wonder if the bathrooms are nice enough for a week-long stay – so check out the photos of these.

Nusa Ceningan

Blue Lagoon, Nusa Ceningan

Blue Lagoon, Nusa Ceningan

Nusa Ceningan is a tiny island between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida that is accessible via a narrow yellow bridge from Nusa Lembongan. Most people visit the island for a day trip while staying on Nusa Lembongan, but if you’re looking for laid back island retreat at at low price then it’s the perfect place to go. Despite its tiny size there are many beautiful sights on the island, and it’s a wonderful place to escape to for a few days of exploration or relaxation! Here is your guide the best budget accommodation on Nusa Ceningan.

What To Do

Nusa Ceningan is really tiny, so there are just a few things to do here:

Where to stay

  • Ceningan Inn is the cheapest accommodation we could find, with an 8.2 rating on Booking.com. Ceningan Inn is a great budget option on the island. A deluxe double room with air-con, wifi, a patio, a balcony and private bathroom will set you back just £13 per night.
  • The Ocean Sunset Villas Ceningan: Sea view bungalows from £19 per night.  Rated the best value accommodation on the island, Ocean Sunset Villas is well worth the extra £6 a night compared with Ceningan Inn. Their air conditioned wooden bungalows have private bathrooms, a sea view, wifi, balcony area and mosquito net.
  • Twilight Lembongan offers double rooms from £23 per night. This stunning 3-star beachfront resort has an outdoor pool overlooking the ocean, along with a restaurant and a bar on site. You can walk down a set of steps from the swimming pool and dive straight into the crystal clear sea or chill out on the little beach beside the resort. This is a great place to stay if you want to have some chill out time along with sightseeing.
  • Secret Point Huts: Sea view Traditional Lumbung from £26 per night. Traditional Lumbung huts are the epitome of island living and the reason that Secret Point made this list; usually huts like these are a lot more expensive than £26 per night! These air conditioned wooden huts have an ocean view and a private balcony overlooking the ocean. The bedroom is spacious and comfortable, with a semi-outdoor bathroom and separate hot shower facilities.
  • Le Pirate Beach Club: From £34 per night for a hut.  One of the most popular spots to stay on Nusa Ceningan, you’ll probably have seen the famous white and turquoise Le Pirate huts on Instagram. Because of it’s popularity, combined with a good social media presence, the huts are on the expensive side. They are only available to book for a minimum of two nights, but I think it’s the kind of place you want to stay a few days.

 

Hopefully this post helps you plan your trip to the Nusa islands. If you have any questions, or suggestions of your own, drop them in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!
Steph
x

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1 comment

Zoe Faulkner February 1, 2023 - 4:40 am

Super helpful thank you! Great blog

Reply

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