Best Things To Do on The Nusa Islands
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Best Things To Do on The Nusa Islands
- Getting to the Nusa Islands From Bali
- Getting Around the Nusa Islands
- Where to Stay on the Nusa Islands
- Food on Nusa Lembongan
- Best Things to do in Nusa Lembongan
- Best Things to do in Nusa Ceningan
- Best Things to do in Nusa Penida
- Other Tips to Know about the Nusa Islands
- Nusa Islands Overview
Heading to Bali? Make sure to add the Nusa Islands to your itinerary! They are the perfect getaway for a more remote and off the beaten path experience in Indonesia. They consist of 3 islands, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, and Nusa Penida located just about 30 minutes from Bali by Ferry. If you are looking for a bungalow experience and exploring more off the beaten path, the Nusa Islands are for you!
You will find great snorkeling, cliff jumps, lots of scenic views and even a chance to swim with Manta Rays! Below, we go into detail on the best things to do on each of the Nusa Islands, where to stay and more!
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Getting to the Nusa Islands From Bali
From Bali, the best way to reach Nusa Lembongan, Ceningan, and Nusa Penida is by ferry. Depending on the island you want to head to, time can range from 30 – 50 minutes. It’s best to take ferries out of Sanur harbor. Ferries come in all different capacities and speeds. We used Scoot to and from the Nusa Lembongan. You can find ferry tickets with 12Go Asia.
Please note, there is no actual dock! Once you arrive at the ferry, you will be wading through the water up to the boat. You will also need to remove your shoes beforehand which will be put into a bag for when you dock. I would recommend wearing sandals.I happen to like these two for Southeast Asia: Birkins | Teva
The ocean in Bali can be pretty rough, especially during a full moon. Make sure to bring seasickness remedies if you need them. I got incredibly sick; so the second I got back home, I invested in Sea-Band that has worked like a charm on other boat trips. Once we arrive, you can either take a taxi or rent a scooter to your accommodation.
Getting Around the Nusa Islands
The only way to get around the 3 Nusa Islands is by scooter or taxi. Since these islands are less developed, you will find it’s much harder to find taxis, and when I say taxi- they are pickup trucks with seating in the bed of the truck. We found they are also more expensive than the mainland since they are aware there you have little options.
If you feel comfortable driving a scooter on the left side of rocky unpaved roads, then go for it. It’s the cheapest and best way to get around these islands. You can get a scooter for about $4-8 USD a day depending on your negotiating skills. You will find a lot of places renting them where you dock.
We also found a lot of rentals by Mushroom Beach, where we stayed. Another way you can try to get around is by bicycle. We learned about this at the end of our trip and were difficult to find.
Where to Stay on the Nusa Islands
Out of the 3 Nusa Islands, I would recommend staying on Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Penida. We choose Nusa Lembongan because it is the most developed out of the 3 islands. If you have 4 days, I would recommend trying 2 days at each.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly bungalow with extremely nice staff, we stayed at the Well House. We had a cute bungalow with a mosquito net and a private outside bathroom and shower. The shower water is cold, but Bali is hot, so it was really refreshing most times. Its also located less than 3 minutes from Mushroom beach. Agoda | Booking.com
Food on Nusa Lembongan
We tried a couple of restaurants along Mushroom Beach but kept coming back to Hai-Bar and Grill. They were a little pricier, but the atmosphere was nice, and the food was tasty!
Best Things to do in Nusa Lembongan
This is a scenic outlook from the cliffs and it gets busy, but it’s a beautiful spot. The waves, especially during high tide hit the cliffs and shoot up. When you get there, I would recommend walking all the way down to the right. There are fewer people and you will see the water shoot up better.
My favorite time to come here is during sunset. Grab a beer at the devil’s tear bar (all the way down on the right) find a seat and watch the show. We made this our ritual every night. Since we visited, they have put ropes up for safety. Waves have been known to pull people in.
Located closeby Devils tear is Dream Beach. This is probably the best beach on the island for swimming as long as the currents are not too strong. For a small fee, you can even hang by the pool which is apart of Dream Beach hotel.
Best Things to do in Nusa Ceningan
Nusa Ceningan is just a hop skip and a jump from Nusa Lembongan. You can either take a taxi or scooter to the yellow bridge, but only scooters and people are allowed to cross (no cars).
Nusa Ceningan is small, so the island is walkable, however, its much easier to explore this island by scooter. While we don’t suggest staying overnight here, you will find tons of Instagram favorites and cliff jumping.
Yellow Bridge (Bridge of Love)
The Yellow Bridge holds significance to Bali. In October 2016, the bridge collapsed and killed 8 people and injured more. You can’t miss it when crossing from one island to another. The bay it covers has a lot of boats coming in and out, and the water is crystal clear.
After crossing the Yellow bridge, about 5-10 minutes down you will find cute swings in the bay. Perfect to cool down and take some fun photos.
Tip: Make sure to do this during high tide. If not, all the water will be gone!
The Blue Lagoon is a scenic outlook over the bay of stunning blue water. It can be a little confusing to get here, but just try to follow the signs; you will be rewarded!
Secret Beach is part of a resort and not exactly what you can call a secret. For a small cost, enjoy the views, swim in the pool and hang by the beach. We enjoyed a couple of beers and pizza with these views. The staff was incredibly nice, I might add!
Mahana Point (surf place)
Looking for a designated cliff dive? This cute cliff bar has awesome vibes and a spot to cliff jump, conditions allowing. When we went, the currents were too strong to go in the water.
Best Things to do in Nusa Penida
The staff at The Well House was able to book us an amazing trip with one other couple to go snorkeling and then take a day trip through the best spots of Nusa Penida.
Tips Before Visiting Nusa Penida
- I would recommend bringing your own snorkeling equipment since the ones that were provided were… not so sanitary looking.
- We really wanted to swim with manta rays, however, the water was too rough to go out. If this is high on your bucket list, try not to go around a full moon when the tides are heavily affected.
- Bring a waterproof camera! (I use a GoPro Hero 7) and coral safe sunscreen. I use Blue Lizard Australian Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30 or Juice Beauty SPF 30 Sport Moisturizer.
During our tour, we snorkeled at 3 different reefs in a traditional Bali balancing boat. .After snorkeling, we were dropped off in Nusa Penida where a driver picked us up in an air-conditioned SUV (we couldn’t believe it!).
Insider tip: I would recommend motion sickness remedies. Driving through Nusa Penida is like taking a bad roller coaster ride at Disney! Many of the roads are unpaved and rocky with a lot of up and down hills, but you will find some of the most stunning views.
Welcome to the Insta-famous T-Rex beach. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait in line to take a picture here. If possible, I would try to arrive early in the morning to beat the crowds, but even with the crowds, the views are still out of this world. You can climb down a very steep path to the beach.
Not too far from Kelingking beach is Angels Billabong. Here you can find scenic views and a natural swimming pool. If you want to swim in the natural pool, make sure you go during low tide when the waves are not coming over! People have been pulled out to sea from waves crashing over.
Next, head over to the insta-famous Broken Beach! It is walking distance of Angels Billabong and overall the scenery is just stunning here.
Tip: When you sit down for your insta-pic, just beware, the dirt stains!
Crystal Bay Beach
Finally, a beach you can actually swim at! This beach has tons of food and fresh coconuts, but please make sure to clean up after yourself. During our visit, we found lots of trash on the beach along with tons of broken coral.
To help reduce waste, reusable water bottles, metal straws, making sure your waste makes it to the trash bins and coral safe sunscreen are ways to help keep the beach beautiful. For more of my sustainable travel tips, Click Here!
Diamond Beach is another top place to visit on Nusa Penida. Only consider visiting this beach if you are staying on the island. Diamond beach is located on the far east side of the island making it difficult to see in just a day.
Other Tips to Know about the Nusa Islands
- The islands get extremely dark at night since there are no street lamps.
- There are a lot of stray dogs. Don’t try and pet them, just walk on the other side of the road.
- There is a lot of pollution. You will find garbage piles in a lot of areas. You will also see they burn their garbage. Unfortunately, as a small island with limited resources and capital, it’s their only current option. Do what you can to help reduce your waste.
- The tap water is not safe to drink.
- You will need bug spray with DEET.
Nusa Islands Overview
This concludes the best things to do on the Nusa Islands of Bali. No matter which island you decide to stay at, you will be rewarded with amazing scenery and a more off the beaten path feel!
For more Bali Guides including Ubud, Seminyak, and things to know before visiting, click here.
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