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Less than an hour’s boat ride from Bali, you reach the much quieter islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. These small islands are definitely growing in terms of tourism but they offer an escape from the well established Bali. Things here are chilled and it feels much more local. It’s charming, relaxed and has plenty to offer – think great local food, beautiful beaches and some awesome viewpoints and you’re on the way to experiencing these islands!
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Things to know before you go
- There aren’t a lot of taxis on the island and despite its small size, if you use one, you’re going to be spending a lot more than you would in Bali. The taxi drivers seem to charge IDR100,000 no matter what and they don’t accept bartering. I would recommend speaking to your accommodation and seeing if they would be able to pick you up from the ferry.
- Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan are connected by the famous yellow bridge which you can either walk or drive a motorbike over. There’s no need to catch a ferry between them.
- Prices here are a little higher in general compared to Bali in terms of accommodation but it’s so worth spending that little extra to experience it!
How to get to Nusa Lembongan
Boats run from 2 ports on Bali – Sanur and Padang Bai and arrive into Mushroom Beach on Nusa Lembongan. There is a range of boats to choose from depending on what you would like. I would recommend catching a fast boat as opposed to the absolute cheapest slow boat as you’ll spend a lot longer getting over to Nusa Lembongan. I took a public fast boat from Sanur and had no problems and bought my ticket from one of the stalls along the waterfront. Be sure to compare prices and don’t be afraid to haggle.
It’s worth noting that the ferry port at Sanur doesn’t have a pier and you will need to wade into the sea to get onto the boat. There were plenty of guys there to help and they were happy to carry my backpack for me and put it on top of the boat whilst I took just my small rucksack containing my valuables with me. I would recommend putting waterproof covers over your luggage just as a precaution but both mine and Tom’s backpacks were actually fine and dry when we reached the other side.
The boats going between Bali and Nusa Lembongan are also constricted by the waves and if the swell is too big, the fast boats don’t run as it’s simply not safe. Be sure to leave plenty of time during your trip to allow for this to possibly happen so you don’t miss out on visiting and you don’t get stuck on Nusa Lembongan especially if you have a flight to catch from Bali.
Where to stay in Nusa Lembongan
Whilst there are some great places to stay on Nusa Ceningan, they are generally more pricey than on Nusa Lembongan. I actually visited Nusa Lembongan twice (before and after visiting Nusa Penida) so stayed in a couple of great places.
Kakiang Homestay is located a little bit away from the main tourist streets on Nusa Lembongan but is closer to spots such as the Devil’s Tear. It’s clean, comfy and pretty modern for a homestay and has an awesome outside bathroom. Soka Homestay is close to Mushroom Beach and the main restaurant area. The owners are super nice and again, the rooms are modern, comfy and clean and it’s down a nice quiet street.
You can check the availability below here:
Things to do on Nusa Lembongan
1. Rent a motorbike
Due to the lack of taxis on the islands, hiring a motorbike is definitely the best way to explore. The islands are small so if you get one for a couple of days you’ll definitely get to see lots of what both islands have to offer.
2. Visit Devil’s Tear in the day…
Devil’s Tear was the first place I visited in Nusa Lembongan and it was addictive watching the water there. On a good day, the water hits the rock hard and the sea water comes flying up in waves of spray. It’s really fun to watch and a great place to get some photos. Don’t miss out on walking around the corner a little bit to the other inlet there as it’s less busy but still as awesome as the main part. It gets busy here so be sure to get there early to avoid the crowds.
3. And visit it for sunset
Devil’s Tear is one of the best spots to watch the sunset on Nusa Lembongan and as a Bali sunset rarely disappoints, you’re bound to get some awesome colours in the sky. It makes for a dramatic sunset with the crashing waves still coming in but it’s awesome and a unique place to end the day.
4. Grab a bite with a view at Mushroom Bay
As well as being the main point for boats coming in from Bali, Mushroom Bay also has some nice restaurants and bars along the seafront. They are pricier than the nearby warungs but if you’re looking for some great seafood, steaks or just want a great view then this is a good place to head to.
5. Experience the Mangrove Forests
Ok, so this is something that I ran out of time to do but I really wish I had done after hearing people’s amazing stories. The north of Nusa Lembongan is home to an incredible Mangrove Forest from which tours run that will take you on small boats through it and also allows time for snorkelling. If you want to experience something a bit different in the water then I think this would be a great trip to take, especially as I was told that someone saw a turtle there!
6. Walk along Jungut Batu Beach
This long sweeping beach makes for another great spot to relax. It’s the longest beach in Nusa Lembongan and it’s where lots of wooden fishing boats anchor up making the beach colourful. The waves are nice and calm here so it’s great for swimming and there’s a wave break a little way out if you want to surf. A number of diving boats also go from Jungut Batu beach so this is a good place to head if you’re looking to do that whilst on the island.
7. Visit the quieter Sandy Bay
This beach is definitely one of the lesser-known beaches as it’s a little bit out the way but it’s super pretty. Sadly I visited on a day when the weather was stormy and not ideal for having a beach day but I think it would be great on a sunny day.
8. Chill out on Dream Beach
Dream Beach is pretty small but is definitely one of the most popular on the island. With is white sand and clear blue waters, it’s a bit of a contrast to the black sand found over on Bali. The waves can be quite strong here but it’s a beautiful and clean beach to relax on. It also has a swing at the entrance for a good photo.
9. Have a spa treatment
As with everywhere in Bali, spa treatments are super affordable and great way to treat yourself. All along the main area around Mushroom Bay you’ll find a number of spas and salons. There’s a range of prices depending on what you want so have a shop around first to find the right place for you.
Things to do on Nusa Ceningan
10. Go across the Yellow Bridge
Ok, so it’s technically as much on Nusa Lembongan as it is Nusa Ceningan, but the bridge is pretty iconic to the islands. We sent the drone up to get some shots and the colour against the blue water is really pretty. You cross the bridge to get to Nusa Ceningan either on foot or by motorbike where it’s just wide enough to squeeze 2 side by side to pass.
11. Check out the Blue Lagoon
I loved this spot on Nusa Ceningan and when we visited, there was no one else there. Nusa Ceningan is even smaller than Nusa Lembongan and has far fewer tourists visiting too. It’s also a spot for some cliff jumping if you fancy a go.
12. Mahana Point Cliff Jump
This spot is pretty popular on the island and another spot to throw yourself into the water. It’s really high up and there’s no way I was going to do it, but if it takes your fancy then be sure to head here! There is also a restaurant and bar there if, like me, you’d rather eat and drink the afternoon away instead of jumping.
13. Relax at the beachside bars and restaurants
Nusa Ceningan is a seriously relaxed place. It’s so much quieter than even sleepy Lembongan and the bars lining the beaches are the place to go to chill. They are all incredibly pretty decorated in bright colours and artwork and many of them have sea swings to get a great photo. I also saw a place with an infinity pool in it which looked like the perfect way to spend an afternoon!