Nusa Islands, Bali A complete guide to Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida by JetSettingFools.com

Nusa Islands, Bali: A Complete Guide to Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida

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The Nusa Islands, located in the Bali Sea, sit in a small cluster off the southeastern coast of mainland Bali. Comprised of three islands – Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida – the Nusa Islands, Bali are a popular tourist destination. The islands, which are accessible via a 30-minute boat ride, attract active travelers, day trippers and tourists seeking a break from the crowds and chaos of mainland Bali.

Many travelers only get a glimpse of the islands on a Nusa Lembongan day trip from the mainland, but we think the Nusa Islands offer so much more than what can be seen in a day. We spent two weeks soaking up the sunshine and chill vibes of Island Life.

A Guide to Nusa Islands, Bali

We navigated our way to all three Nusa Islands and are sharing our best tips to help other travelers plan their trip. Our Nusa Islands guide is massive and includes top tips for all three islands, including things to do, what to eat and where to stay. Additionally, other pertinent information, like island maps and details of how to get to Nusa Lembongan from Bali, is provided at the end of the post.

Short on time but still want to see the Nusa Islands? Book a Nusa Lembongan day trip from Bali (book it here!) and spend the day snorkeling – or, better yet, stay overnight and tour both Lembongan and Penida (find out more!).

 

Lembongan Island: A Nusa Lembongan Travel Guide

Lembongan, Bali is the most developed of the three Nusa Islands and the island’s economy is based on tourism. The most northern of the Nusa Islands, Lembongan is also the second largest, with a land mass of 3 square miles. There are three villages on the island: Jungut Batu, Mushroom Bay and Lembongan Village – of which Junut Batu and Mushroom Bay are the most popular with visitors.

 

The Best Things To Do in Nusa Lembongan

Our list of what to do in Nusa Lembongan includes the absolute best Nusa Lembongan activities – none of which are far from that famous clear blue sea. Use our Nusa Lembongan tips to help plan your perfect trip!

#1 Lembongan Beaches

Palm tree and beach house on Jungut Batu Beach on Nusa Lembongan, Bali, Indonesia

Spending time on the island’s powder-sand shoreline needs to be on every Nusa Lembongan to-do list! Visitors can lounge on one of the long stretches of sand or seek out secluded coves. Beach walking, waterfront dining and sunbathing are just a few of the Nusa Lembongan things to do at the beach.

Nusa Lembongan Beach Guide

Beaches are listed in order from west to east. Beach locations are indicated on our Lembongan map (below). Top Tip: High tide in Nusa Lembongan can completely erase beaches – check tide charts for details on low and high tide on MagicSeaweed.com

  • Dream Beach Nusa Lembongan – The charming location of Dream Beach is postcard-worthy. Nestled in a bay surrounded by cliffs and home to upscale Lembongan Island resorts, Dream Beach is lovely. Be aware, however, of the strong currents; it’s not recommended to swim too far out in the bay.
  • Sunset Beach Nusa Lembongan – Occupied by the Sandy Bay Beach Club, Sunset Beach is a small, rocky beach. Not suitable for swimming, the waves crashing on the rocks at the open mouth of the bay is captivating.
  • Mushroom Beach Nusa Lembongan – The crescent-shaped Mushroom Beach is packed with beachside cafes and boutique hotels. A steady stream of tour boats motor in and out of Mushroom Bay, but there is an area roped off for swimmers to enjoy the cool, clear water.
  • Secret Beach Lembongan Island – Perhaps not so under-the-wraps (the beach is labeled on the Nusa Lembongan tourist map), Secret Beach still feels secluded. The quaint, natural beach is just north of Mushroom Beach on the northern side of the rocky outcrop. There are no services at Secret Beach. 
  • Tamarind Beach – Not really much of a beach at all, Tamarind Beach is a secondary drop-off point for Nusa Lembongan day tour visitors. 
  • Song Lambung Beach – Tucked into an alcove, Song Lambung Beach feels like a private beach with only a few beachfront warungs and secluded Nusa Lembongan places to stay.
  • Jungut Batu Beach – The central location, lengthy beach, powdery sand, waterfront eateries and west-facing orientation all contribute to making Jungut Batu the best beach in Nusa Lembongan. Many boats are moored along Jangut Batu Beach, but there is still plenty of room to go for a swim in the opaque azure water. 
  • Mahagiri Beach – Along the north side of Lembongan is a quiet beach that offers phenomenal views of Mount Agung, the steaming volcano and highest point on mainland Bali. The Mahagiri Beach Resort (which offers day passes for use of the pool) sits on this beach, but the beach is public.
  • Mangrove Beach – Located near Mangrove Point, Mangrove Beach offers a great viewpoint of Mount Agung, a handful of laid-back establishments and the opportunity to snorkel from the beach.

 

#2 Nusa Lembongan Snorkeling Day Trip

Concealed beneath the turquoise water surrounding the Nusa Islands is some of the best coral reefs in Bali. Visitors can get a first-hand look at the colorful marine life on one of the many Nusa Lembongan boat trips – group or private tours – that depart for snorkeling tours daily (get details here!). Most snorkel trips leave in the morning and make at least three stops for snorkeling (which will be decided by the captain based on the currents and swells). For a deeper water experience, many companies offer scuba diving excursions and PADI certification.

We took a group snorkel trip with D&B Lembongan, which far surpassed our expectations. The rough water required an adjustment of our plans, but our experienced captain was able to find calmer water where we could snorkel comfortably. The captain kept a watchful eye on everyone in our group, patiently helped a couple who was snorkeling for the first time and was adamant about protecting the coral. Bonus: We received a small discount for booking through our accommodations (more about Nusa Lembongan, Bali accommodation in a minute!).

Nusa Island Snorkel Spots

Most Nusa Island snorkel tours depart from Lembongan, but the best snorkeling spots are located around Penida Island. Note: Even though the location of the snorkel spots are around Penida, we included them on our Lembongan map because that is where the majority of snorkel tours originate. 

  • Manta Bay (Penida) – A popular spot to see the local Manta Rays in their natural habitat.
  • Crystal Bay (Penida) – A cove protected by an island, the bay gets its name from the crystal-clear waters.
  • Gamat Bay (Penida) – A small cove filled with colorful coral that is home to many clownfish (a.k.a. Nemo fish!).
  • The Wall (Penida) – A sheer rock wall submerged in water, The Wall has strong currents that allows snorkelers to drift from one end to the other, where their boat awaits.  
  • Underwater Buddha (Ceningan Channel) – Also called the Nusa Lembongan Underwater Temple, the Buddha statues are part of a 2005 project to encourage new coral growth (not a sunken temple as some claim).
  • Mangrove Point (Lembongan) – Due to its size and location off the northern tip of the island, Mangrove Point is a regular stop on Lembongan Island day trip snorkel tours.

 

#3 Nusa Lembongan Surf, SUP and Swim

The intense, deep blue water surrounding the island is irresistible – and there are many ways to get out and enjoy it! With three main surf breaks – Playgrounds, Lacerations and Shipwrecks – surfing is one of the top things to do in Lembongan. Another popular water activity is Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) and visitors will find several shops renting equipment. There are not many favorable swimming spots around Lembongan, as strong currents can make it more strenuous than pleasurable, but most shorelines are favorable for frolicking knee-deep to cool off from the heat of the day.

 

#4 Coastal Walks: Devil’s Tears Bali and Beach Trails

Being a small island with an easily accessible shoreline, coastal trail walking ranks as one of the best Lembongan Island things to do. On our Lembongan trip, we discovered three walks that highlighted the stunning beauty of the island’s shoreline.

Walk 1 – Devil’s Tear Nusa Lembongan: Sunset Beach to Dream Beach

The western end of Lembongan features rocky terrain and elevated cliffs that are punctuated by small inlets and caves. The ocean’s waves smash against the rocks, sending spray and mist high into the sky. The most popular place to watch the spectacle is at Devil’s Tear Lembongan, where the water churns with every swell. However, we recommend walking the half-mile stretch of coastline from Sunset Beach to Dream Beach to witness the powerful force of the sea in more secluded spots. Top Tip: Keep an eye out for sea turtles that play in the rough waters.

Walk 2 – Jungut Batu Beach to Mushroom Bay Nusa Lembongan

Many visitors are unaware that there is a coastline trail that connects Jungut Batu to Mushroom Bay. From Jungut Batu Beach, it’s about a 1.5-mile walk to Mushroom Bay. Start by walking south on Jungut Batu Beach and climb the stairs to the resorts at the southern end. Turn right and follow the sidewalk past the resorts and restaurants. Continue walking on the dirt trail to Song Lambung Beach.

Cross Song Lambung beach and climb the hidden stairs on the southern end to walk along a natural path to Tamarind Beach. At the west end of Tamarind, head inland until you get to the first road heading west toward Lotus Garden Huts (passing cows along the way). At the end of the road, follow the trail to Secret Beach. From Secret Beach, head to the left – and, if you are brave enough, walk on top of the rocky outcrop for amazing views – then continue to the unmarked doorway through Mushroom Beach Bungalows to Mushroom Beach.

Walk 3 – Jungut Batu Beach to Mangroves

Beach walkers will be thrilled to know that there is a 2-mile stretch of sandy beach from Jangut Batu Beach to the Mangroves. The stretch of sand is only briefly interrupted by a small section of mangroves, at which point there is a beachside temple you can visit (but only do so with appropriate attire). Otherwise, simply cut up to the road and back down to the beach again once past the temple. Top Tip: Although we love long beach walks in bare feet, the beaches are often covered with pieces of coral rock. We found it much easier to walk in the sand wearing beach shoes.

 

#5 Mangrove Forest on Lembongan Island

The mangroves on the northeastern tip of the island are one of the unique Nusa Lembongan attractions. The forest acts as a natural protector of the island’s eco-system. The Lembongan mangroves are an exceptional example of the diverse environment found in the Nusa Islands. Local boatmen, who propel their canoes with poles, give tours into the forest of arching roots and narrow waterways.

 

#6 Sandy Bay Beach Club

While you can easily fill your days with fun activities, one of the best things to do on Lembongan Island is relax – and Sandy Bay Beach Club is the place to do it! The stylish beach club sits prominently on Sunset Beach – with tables, loungers and an infinity pool overlooking the waves. Guests who dine at Sandy Bay Beach Club are free to use the pool and loungers. Additionally, since the club is located on the far west side of the island, they provide free Nusa Lembongan transport to and from guests’ accommodations – just message them in advance to schedule a pickup time!

Top Tip: Make it a day at Sandy Bay Beach Club! We spent a full day at Sandy Bay. They picked us up from our hotel mid-morning so that we could eat brunch-with-a-view. After we ate, we set off on a coastal walk to Devil’s Tear and Dream Beach. When we returned, we ordered a late lunch, swam in the pool and sipped on cold beverages before getting a ride back to our hotel in the early evening, just in time for sunset.

 

#7 Jungut Batu Theater Cinema

Wondering what to do in Lembongan at night? Go to the movies! Not a traditional movie theater, but more of a restaurant with a large screen for films, watching a movie is a nice break from the typical beach-going activities. The outdoor Jungut Batu Theater Cinema shows a different movie every night, which is listed on the chalkboard by mid-day. To keep it simple, the purchase of a meal or a dessert and drink is the entry fee to watch the movie. Two movies that were showing when we there were Finding Nemo and Tropic Thunder.

 

#8 Watch Sunset

Of all the Lembongan things to do, watching sunset is an absolute must! With ample west-facing beaches, there are several supreme spots to watch the sun sink into the horizon. We preferred watching sunset from Jungut Batu Beach, where we could plop into the colorful beach bean bags at one of the many beachfront cafes. Agus Shipwreck was a place we returned to several times. For an elevated view, we liked the rooftop deck at Ware Ware. For a more secluded spot (no services), Sunset Point Nusa Lembongan is recommended (but we never made it there for sunset).

Top Tip: For travelers like us, who like to sip a cold adult beverage at sundown, there is no shortage of places offering happy hour deals. Look for specials on chalkboards or ask the waiter. 

 

Best Restaurants Nusa Lembongan

During our visit, we were on a mission to find the best restaurants in Nusa Lembongan – for both Indonesian and Western fare – with moderately priced menu options. We had an incredible number of delicious meals in Lembongan…but we had a few sub-par dinners, too. Our Best Restaurants Lembongan list includes the places we thought had a good value for the overall experience – plus the name of our recommended dish for each restaurant. Dining Tips: Meals are brought to the table as they are prepared, so for two or more people, dishes are often brought out at different times. Most Western restaurants (and some upmarket warungs) automatically add tax and tip – up to 21% – to the listed menu prices.

  • Pondok Baruna Warung – A warung with a touch of class, Pondok Baruna Warung is a great restaurant for a traditional Indonesian meal…even if the service is a bit slow. Recommended Dish: Nasi Campur.
  • Bali Eco Deli – Dedicated to a clean environment and clean eating, Bali Eco Deli focuses on healthy fare in a secret garden atmosphere. Recommended Dish: Watermelon Salad.
  • Ware Ware – Sitting alongside some of the more upscale establishments in Lembongon, Ware Ware offers a mid-range option with panoramic views (and a good happy hour, too). Recommended Dish: Tuna steak with mashed potatoes and garlic sauce.
  • Sandy Bay Beach Club – A posh beach club, Sandy Bay didn’t disappoint on the food front. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner from tables, pool chairs and loungers, you can make Sandy Bay Beach Club an all-day affair. Recommended Dish: Brekky Burger and Poke Bowl.
  • D&B Warung – A basic warung, D&B surpassed our expectations with tasty authentic fare at local prices. Recommended Dish: Calamari and Pepes Ikan (fish in banana leaf).
  • Tigerlilys – The boutique resort setting at Tigerlilys is inviting and picturesque. Recommended Dish: Sama-Sama Samosas and any of their fresh juices and smoothies.
  • Agung Beach Club – A bit like an adult playground, the quirky Agung Beach Club has swings, hammocks and a floating lounger. We only had drinks, but the food we saw coming from the kitchen looked and smelled delicious.
  • Ginger & Jamu – With an emphasis on quality ingredients and community, Ginger and Jamu is a fun beachfront spot for a good meal. Recommended Dish: Killer Nachos (perhaps not ‘killer’, but we liked the twist on one of our favorite classics).
  • Kawan’s Coffee Shop – A no-frills roadside restaurant with a short menu and smiling staff. By far our favorite spot for a good meal, Kawan’s has inexpensive breakfast (25K – about $1.75). Recommended Dish: Any egg dish – and the coffee!
  • Newman F1 Warung – Perhaps better known for their boat excursions, the beachfront Newman F1 Warung also serves inexpensive Indonesian favorites. As a bonus, they offer a front row view of the passenger and supply boats coming and going. Recommended Dish: Complete Jaffle (good for breakfast or lunch!).
  • Wala Wala Beach Bar Restaurant – The beachfront restaurant at Linda Resort, Wala Wala serves a wide range of dishes in a lovely setting.  Recommended Dish: We had mixed experiences at Wala Wala, but loved the creamy seafood and sate.
  • Blue Corner – An unpretentious and chill beachfront spot, Blue Corner is a good option for a light lunch or sunset happy hour (5 small Bintang bottles for 100K). Recommended Dish: The cheesy quesadilla satisfied our craving for Mexican food.
  • Lemongrass – The highly-rated Lemongrass restaurant is consistently busy – so much so that we were never able to get a seat! If it tops your list of restaurants in Lembongan, stop by and make a reservation early in the day.

 

Nusa Lembongan Accommodation

For our trip to Nusa Lembongan, we stayed at Chillhouse Homestay. For budget to mid-range travelers, we rank Chillhouse Homestay as the Best Accommodation Nusa Lembongan. Not only is Chillhouse centrally located in the heart of Jungut Batu (the best area to stay in Nusa Lembongan!), the rooms are clean, spacious and air-conditioned. However, what really made our stay notable was the remarkable service from the owner, Gede, and his family. Gede arranged our tours, helped us with rides and provided fantastic information about the island. His attention to detail and willingness to assist us went beyond our expectations. When searching for where to stay in Lembongan, we highly recommend Chillhouse.

Find out if rooms are available at Chillhouse for your trip! 

Where to stay in Nusa Lembongan if Chillhouse is Booked

Chillhouse Homestay only has four rooms, so if you don’t book in advance, there’s a good chance it will be sold out. If that’s the case, don’t fret: there are plenty of places to stay in Nusa Lembongan. When looking for the best hotels in Nusa Lembongan, we recommend starting your search on Booking.com – it’s how we started our search for the best place to stay in Lembongan!

 

Nusa Lembongan Map

Use this link for an online version of our Lembongan Island Map. 

 


 

Ceningan Island: A Nusa Ceningan Travel Guide

Ceningan is wedged between Lembongan and Penida. It is the smallest of the three Nusa Islands (measuring less than 2.5 miles in length and a little more than a half mile across). Nusa Ceningan Island is connected to Lembongan via the Yellow Bridge – which is only wide enough for pedestrians and scooters; anything wider must be transported via ferry. Tourism on Nusa Ceningan, Bali has only recently started to develop. We were often the sole visitors at some of the island’s sights. However, we anticipate that will change soon, as during our visit major hotel projects were in the works.

 

Things To Do in Nusa Ceningan

Even though tourism is relatively new on Ceningan Island, there are many Nusa Ceningan things to do – especially for visitors who like to slow down and enjoy the view.

 

#1 Secret Beach Nusa Ceningan

Unlike Lembongan, there are few beaches on Ceningan. Secret Beach, the most popular, is on the southwest side of the island in a rocky cove. With a shallow swath of sand and shade provided from overhanging trees, the sheltered nook feels remote and secluded…even though a resort occupies one end of it. Take note: there are two entry points to Secret Beach; one through the resort (which requires a fee) and one down an unpaved path (which is free and has an incredible viewpoint). At the main intersection by Two Raksa Cafe, signs pointing to Secret Beach lead south through the resort. To find the free entry point, head east to the first street going south (use these coordinates: -8.705030, 115.443689). Both routes end at the same Secret Nusa Ceningan Beach.

Top Tip: Secret Point Beach Nusa Ceningan is a different beach, which is located below the Secret Point Hut’s Beach Resort.

 

#2 Blue Lagoon Nusa Ceningan

The Blue Lagoon Ceningan is the island’s top attraction for one simple reason: the bay’s opalescent turquoise water is so surreal that has to be seen to be believed. The scenic lagoon sits below high cliffs that nearly encircle it. Although the best view is closest to the road (where a luxury hotel is currently under construction), visitors can trek along the coastline for other viewpoints. The cliff on the south side of the lagoon has remnants of a café. There is also a crumbling platform for cliff jumping, but it’s discouraged to take the plunge. The jump been deemed unsafe and there are no longer stairs to get out of the water.

 

#3 Mahana Point Cliff Jump

Adventure enthusiasts looking for a thrill should definitely go to Mahana Point Nusa Ceningan. Situated atop a rocky cliff, the viewpoint café has two cliff jumping platforms. The café charges a small fee to jump from the platforms. The cost for the five-meter jump is 25K, about $1.75 USD and the 10-meter jump costs 50K, about $3.50 USD. Also, they won’t let anyone jump if the tide is too low (which it was both times we wanted to take a dive!). 

Travelers not interested in the Mahana Point Cliff Jump might still want to visit the café. The panoramic vista is stunning and there are plenty of seats around the railing to take in the view. While enjoying the scenery from Mahana Point, we spotted dolphins and turtles in the water. And, it’s also a great spot for a casual lunch (more on places to eat in Ceningan in a minute!).

 

#4 Coastal Walk: Mahana Point to Secret Beach Ceningan

The rugged, natural coastline on Nusa Ceningan is one of the most beautiful features of the island. Many island visitors riding scooters stick to the roads and miss much of the island’s untarnished charm. During our exploration, we discovered a walking trail along the western coast that connects the top Nusa Ceningan sights. The rudimentary trail, which can only be traveled on foot, is about a mile in length and covers almost the entire southwestern tip of the island.

Starting at Mahana Point Ceningan, follow the road to the Blue Lagoon. The walk then passes through Driftwood Bar and Ceningan Zipline. Follow the dusty path on the opposite side of the restaurant that continues along an unnamed bay. (Keep your eyes peeled for sea turtles in the water; we spotted several here.) Keep walking along the southernmost tip of the island where the crashing waves and spray rival that of Devil’s Tear on Lembongan. From the southern edge of the island, Nusa Penida is clearly visible across the shallow channel. Continue until Secret Beach is in sight. We walked as far as the abandoned structure but couldn’t find a way to get down to Secret Beach. Instead, we ended our Ceningan coastal walk and back-tracked to the road.

 

#5 Ceningan Cliffs

The south-facing side of Ceningan Island is characterized by steeper cliffs, fewer ‘sights’ and far fewer tourists. Intrigued by the less-visited area of the island, we set off on our own self-guided Nusa Ceningan tour. Our mission was to trek across the island to the Ceningan Cliffs restaurant – one of two cliff-dwelling establishments near the northeast end of the island.  Determining a route was simple, as there is only one road that accesses Ceningan Island’s south side.

From the southwest, the road gradually inclines to the northeast, passing private residences, unkempt temples and small farms. Locals, not accustomed to seeing tourists explore the area on foot, flashed us smiles and waved us on our way. As we walked, we came across several paths that led south to the coast,. We were told most of the land is privately owned, so we stuck to the main road. Halfway to Ceningan Cliffs is the building site for a contemporary hotel complex, Hanging Villas. Although not much more than a shell during our visit, we scurried out to a concrete landing; the vantage point looks north over the Yellow Bridge and Lembongan Island – and it took our breath away.

By the time we made it to Ceningan Cliffs, we were hungry and thirsty (and they do expect visitors to make a purchase). The straightforward restaurant – a long row of open-air, south-facing tables – offers a simple menu…and magnificent views of Nusa Penida. Below the seating, there are swings at the cliff’s edge and a rickety protruding platform offering even broader views.

Top Tip: We made the journey to Ceningan Cliffs on foot. Even with stops, it took us less than 1.5 hours to get there from the west end of the island. If riding a scooter, be aware that the road is bumpy and narrow – and can be difficult for novice riders. We returned the same way we came; the road between Ceningan Cliffs and the north end of the island is extremely steep.

 

#6 Nusa Ceningan Surf and Swim

Ceningan isn’t the most popular surf destination in Bali. However, there is one break – aptly named Ceningan Surf Break – where experienced surfers can catch a wave. The lefthander forms around the rock cliffs below Mahana Point Nusa Ceningan. The dodgy access keeps some surfers away (well, those who aren’t towed in via boat).

There are not any really good options for swimming in the sea from the shore of Ceningan. At low tide, it’s possible to wade into the shallow channel between Lembongan and Ceningan. The low tide tidal pools on the west-facing shoreline are also fun for exploring. Instead of splashing in the sea, we recommend taking a dip in a pool.

 

#7 Sea Breeze Ceningan Island, Bali

On the north side of Ceningan, between the Yellow Bridge and the western tip, are numerous cafes and shabby chic bars. Most of the waterfront venues exude island vibes with incredible views, beach bean bags, hammocks, happy hour deals and over-the-water swings. The close proximity of the bars makes for a fun outing of bar-hopping; that being said, don’t miss Sea Breeze Restaurant and Bar! The most popular of the bunch, Sea Breeze elevates the experience with a negative edge pool where patrons swim with a view of the sea.

 

Best Restaurants Ceningan

When we arrived on the island, we were armed with a list of the top Nusa Ceningan restaurants. Even though Ceningan is a smaller island, there are ample dining options . Our list of the best restaurants in Nusa Ceningan includes a recommended dish to order, too.

  • Blue Lagoon Resto – A typical Balinese restaurant with an easy-going atmosphere, Blue Lagoon Resto is a gem! When we arrived shortly after 7:00pm, the tables were full, but other patrons kindly let us share their table. Bonus: They provided a free ride back to our hotel. Recommended Dish: Grilled Tuna Steak.
  • The Dungki Bendega Resto – The out-of-the-way Dungki Bendega Resto gets rave reviews (it’s #1 on TripAdvisor) and it didn’t disappoint! Well worth the effort to walk to and from the restaurant in the dark, we were glad we made reservations as seating is limited. Recommended Dish: White Snapper Fillet.
  • Next Level – A small restaurant on the second story of a waterfront building, Next Level offers an array of fare – from local eats to pizza to Mexican. Recommended Dish: Beef Tacos.
  • Nusa Veranda Sunset Villas and Restaurant – Part of a 4-room waterfront hotel, the meals we ate at Nusa Veranda Sunset were some of the best we had in Bali. The menu options are limited to classic Indonesian fare and are made with fresh ingredients. The colorful lights strung between palm trees and flickering candles on the tables created a romantic atmosphere. Note: They ask that you make a reservation and select your meal early in the day, so they can prepare. Recommended Dish:  Pepes Ikan (made with fish caught that afternoon!).
  • Mahana Point – Known as a cliff jumping spot and a chill place to toss back a few Bintang beers while taking in the view, Mahana Point restaurant has surprisingly good food, too. Recommended Dish: Mahana Cliff Chicken Sandwich.
  • Sunset Cafes – Watching a Ceningan sunset is a fantastic way to wind down a day of exploring. There are many cafes and restaurants on the island with ideal viewpoints. We had sunset drinks at Mahana Point, The Sand and Sea Breeze, but our favorite spot was at Twilight. If you want to watch sunset sans drinks (or BYOB), Dream Point is just two steps from Twilight. Note: Le Pirate and Jenny’s Place both get rave reviews as sunset spots, but we found their drink prices to be overpriced.

 

Nusa Ceningan Accommodation

We stayed at the family-run Nusa Veranda Sunset Villas, which is a new Ceningan Island resort, and we absolutely loved it! With just four water-facing villas, Nusa Veranda feels like a private retreat. The stylish villas have plush beds with quality linens, air-con and Balinese-style (open-air) ensuites. Each villa opens to a private deck and the infinity pool that overlooks the sea. The staff was helpful and friendly – and always smiling. We highly recommend staying at Nusa Veranda Sunset Villas for a boutique, waterfront experience!

Find out if rooms are available at Veranda Sunset Villas for your trip! 

You will need to book in advance if you want to stay at Nusa Veranda Sunset Villas. If they are booked during your trip, you can search for other Ceningan Island accommodations on Booking.com.

 

Nusa Ceningan Map

Use this link for an online version of our Ceningan Island Map.


 

Penida Island: A Nusa Penida Travel Guide

Nusa Penida is the most southern and largest island in the Nusa Islands trio – yet it is the least developed, especially in terms of tourism. Many roads to the top Nusa Penida attractions are unpaved and much of the land is still used for agriculture. Most visitors travel to Penida to see the beautifully carved coastline and a few temples.

Unlike Lembongan and Ceningan that can be explored on foot, a motorized vehicle is required to get around Nusa Penida. With the poor condition of the curving and inclined roads, only visitors skilled at riding scooters should attempt to drive around Penida. Because of the distance between sights and skills required to maneuver around Penida Island, taking a guided Penida Island Day Trip is the recommended way to see Penida sights. Most tours are private and sightseeing can be tailored to the specifications of the visitor. Keep in mind, however, that seeing all of the top Penida sights is not possible in one day.

For what to expect on a tour of the island, read our detailed post: Nusa Penida Day Trip

 

Things To Do in Nusa Penida

Our list of Nusa Penida Things To Do includes the island’s top attractions. Additionally, we’ve added a brief description of each place. The first four places on our list are the most popular day tour stops.

  • #1 Kelingking Beach – By far the most iconic stretch of coastline on Penida Island, Kelingking Beach is a must-see when visiting. Resembling the head of a dinosaur when seen from above, the peninsula of land is nicknamed T-Rex. The powder sand beach is accessible via a dodgy and steep staircase and requires substantial effort to reach. The views from the cliff are gorgeous.
  • #2 Broken Beach (Paish Uug) – Called Broken Beach for the ‘broken’ limestone rock that allows the sea’s waves to move in and out of the lagoon, the sight is incredibly picturesque. Visitors can walk the clifftop circumference of the lagoon, crossing over the natural arch bridge to complete the loop.
  • #3 Angel’s Billabong – Often touted as one of the world’s natural infinity pools, Angel’s Billabong is a long, narrow tidal pool between two larger cliffs that is filled with sea water from the crashing waves. Note: Angel’s Billabong is a beautiful place to swim, but only in favorable conditions. Sneaky waves have pulled swimmers out to sea. 
  • #4 Crystal Bay – A crescent-shaped beach between two rocky cliffs, Crystal Bay is a renowned snorkeling spot. It’s possible to wade into the water and snorkel from the beach. Enormous Mola Mola fish are known to swim near the bay.  
  • #5 Peguyangan Waterfall – Not an easy place to get to, Peguyangan Waterfall requires trekking down (and back up!) a long, steep staircase. The reward is dipping in the natural pool overlooking the sea at the bottom of the steps.
  • #6 Car Temple (Pura Paluang) – With an origin that no one can recall, the unique Pura Paluang Car Temple oddly incorporates two replica cars into its shrine.
  • #7 Banah Cliff Point – The dramatic cliffs at Banah Point offer stunning views of the offshore monoliths.
  • #8 Atuh Beach – The secluded Atuh Beach features arresting views of the striking (and eroding) limestone rocks.
  • #9 Thousand Island Viewpoint or King Five (Pulau Seribu or Raja Lima) – The Thousand Island lookout point, a favorite for photogs, provides panoramic views of the karst-strewn sea.
  • #10 Goa Giri Putri Temple – One of Penida Island’s cultural attractions, Goa Giri Putri Temple is located inside a deep cave that is accessed through a narrow opening.
  • #11 Pura Puncak Mundi – The Pura Puncak Mundi temple is located on Nusa Penida’s highest point (520 meters above sea level).
  • #12 Tembeling Forest – The lush vegetation of the Tembeling Forest is home to birds and other creatures, but visitors trek through the jungle to see (and swim in!) the two natural pools of clear, blue water.

 

Restaurants Penida

Most of the Nusa Penida restaurants are casual, family-owned warungs. There are several small restaurants on the cliff above Kelingking Beach, which is a nice place to eat lunch while touring the island. Read reviews of the top Penida Island restaurants on TripAdvisor.

 

Nusa Penida Accommodations

We didn’t stay on Penida Island. However, visitors wishing to stay on the island will find an array of accommodations – from bungalows to resorts. Two highly-rated Nusa Penida hotels are: Govardhan Bungalow and Coco Resort. To find your ideal place to stay on Nusa Penida, start your search on Booking.com.

 

Nusa Penida Map

Use this link for an online version of our map of Nusa Penida. 


 

How to get to Nusa Islands

Both Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida are accessible from mainland Bali. Most travelers staying on the Nusa Islands depart from Sanur via boat and arrive on Nusa Lembongan. However, there are direct boats to Nusa Penida, too. 

Bali to Nusa Lembongan

The options of how to get to Nusa Lembongan from Bali are pretty straight forward: boat or helicopter. Getting to Nusa Lembongan via helicopter is a bit extravagant ($400 USD per person). Most travelers opt for one of the more economical boats that run passengers from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan. 

Which Boat from Bali to Lembongan?

There are several types of boats that make the trip from the mainland to the Nusa Islands. 

Fast Boat from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan

The most popular choice for tourists is the fast boat to Lembongan. There are several boat companies that provide Nusa Lombongan boat service. The ride takes about 30 minutes and costs about $20-$35 USD. We used Scoot for our Nusa Lembongan trip, as they are the top-recommended company. We booked our tickets online. As part of the package, they provided transport from our hotel (in Uluwatu) and drop off at our hotel in Lembongan. Additionally, they had a crew on hand to load and unload passenger luggage, which not all companies provide. (And, quite frankly, we can’t imagine trying to board the boats from the beach with our luggage in hand!)

Public boat to Nusa Lembongan

Also called the Local Boat, the Lembongan Ferry is mostly used by backpackers and locals. The ferry to Lembongan Island costs less than the Bali to Lembongan fast boats (about $10 USD). However, the ferry to Nusa Lembongan takes 2-3 times longer. The Bali to Nusa Lembongan ferry schedule is posted at the ports.

Barge or Local Local Boat

Not a recommended way to travel between mainland Bali and Nusa Lembongan, but by far the cheapest option as the ride costs less than $10 USD. The barge takes an hour or longer and may lack safety standards found on the other boats.

Tips for riding the boat to Nusa Lembongan:

  • Travelers prone to motion sickness should invest in Sea Bands for the journey across the Badung Strait. It can be a rocky ride.
  • Wear shorts that are quick drying. Passengers making the Sanur to Lembongan journey must wade into the water to board the boats. Plan on getting wet from at least the knees down.
  • Book your fast boat to Nusa Lembongan online to reserve your space ahead of time. The service should include hotel pickup.

 

How To Get To Nusa Ceningan

The best way to get to Ceningan Island is via the Yellow Bridge that connects Nusa Lembongan to Nusa Ceningan. The narrow bridge can only accommodate pedestrians and scooters.

 

How To Get To Nusa Penida

Visitors travel to Penida Island by boat from Nusa Lembongan or mainland Bali. On Nusa Penida day tours, the company arranges the boat ride, which is included in the tour price. 

 

Getting Around Nusa Islands

We found getting around Nusa Lembongan to be the easiest of the three islands. Visitors can get around with hired taxis, rented scooters or on foot. We walked almost everywhere, but got rides to the far west side of the island (which was provided by Sandy Bay Beach Club) and to the Yellow Bridge when we moved to Ceningan Island (which was provided by our hotel owner, Gede). Everywhere else, we easily managed to walk on foot.

Because of its small size, Nusa Ceningan is also easy to get around on foot. Scooters are available for rent, but cost a few dollars more per day than on mainland Bali and Lembongan. There are very few cars on Ceningan. Hired rides will most likely require you hopping on the back of someone’s scooter.

As mentioned before, getting around Nusa Penida is no easy feat. We highly recommend hiring a driver to get around Penida Island.


 

Nusa Island Essentials

  • First and foremost: we think travel insurance is essential when traveling to Bali – and especially to the Nusa Islands. We didn’t need to use ours, but we saw way too many people bandaged up from scooter and water accidents. If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.
  • Don’t forget to pack your island necessities (as they can cost a bundle in the island warungs!). We recommend bringing plenty of high-SPF sunscreen, a wide-brimmed beach hat, mosquito repellent, water shoes and a swim suit, of course! 
  • We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos (that can later be beautifully compiled into a travel photo book). We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos, but can be a bit clunky) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures, is slim and lightweight – and the new models are wifi enabled so you can share your trip pics to social media in real time!).
  • For underwater pics and video, invest in a GoPro – or a less-expensive waterproof action camera – to capture the sights while snorkeling. 

 

Start planning your trip to Nusa Islands! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!

 

We want to know: Have you visited the Nusa Islands, Bali? What would you add to our guide? Give us your best tips and advice in the comments! 

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2 thoughts on “Nusa Islands, Bali: A Complete Guide to Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida

  1. Hi,
    Thank you for this detailed travel guide to the Nusa Islands.
    You wrote that Nusa Penida is best visited on a scooter, but also that you could take a driver.
    I would have favored a scooter, but now traveling with a 9 months old baby, it is definitely out of question.
    So: is it easy to find a driver to take us around the island ? And are all the roads feasible with a car ?
    Cheers
    Gilles

    • Hi Gilles,
      Yes, getting a car & driver should be fairly easy. It could be best to book your boat & driver together as we did as well. Oh, and we’d leave the driving to the locals:) Enjoy your trip!

      Cheers,

      Sarah & Kris

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