So the adventure continues. As I said on my previous post, visiting Bali should also include at least one night on the tinny beautiful islands around it: Nusa Lembongan with its sisters Ceningan and Penida or Gili Islands, the most know being Trawangan, Air and Meno. They offer incredible beaches perfect for tanning, snorkeling and scuba diving. Let’s see together what suits you the most.
Firstly, I have to say that you will not find those amazing white beaches or that crystal clear water that you hope in Bali. That is why I totally recommend visiting the islands around.
Unfortunately, my time in Bali didn’t allow me to visit both and since the distance to Gili is much longer, I chose Nusa Lembongan. Despite that, I made a deep promise that I will be back for Gili, which looks like a piece of heaven on the internet.
So let’s start with Nusa Lembongan. Quickly becoming one of Bali’s most popular attractions, this paradise is a world away from the hassle and hectic pace of South Bali. Nusa Lembongan is approximately 8km² in size and is one of three neighbouring islands, the others being much larger Nusa Penida and tiny Nusa Ceningan.
HOW TO ARRIVE?
The good news is that you can arrive here in just 30 minutes with a speed boat from Sanur Beach. So this time, paradise is quite close. Lembongan and Ceningan are connected with a bridge, the well known Yellow Bridge, which gets quite colorful in the night due to its lightening. Penida is the big sister, much larger, but also wilder and offering the best scenery. You can get to Penida by boat, a 15 minutes ride from the Yellow Brigde for less than 5 EUR.
I personally booked the speed boat online (www.bali4ride.com) because they also offered free transportation from our hotel to Sanur Beach. It costs around 30 EUR/person for the return ticket. I am sure you can also find transportation on the spot, but I don’t like to have surprises. As a bonus, they offered us free drop off at the Yellow Bridge.
WHERE TO STAY?
Of course, there are a lot of tourists that come to the islands as a daytrip. But I believe you won’t be able to understand a thing in just a few hours. That being said, I recommend choosing Lembongan or Ceningan for accommodation. Personally, I stayed in both of them in order to see more, but you can choose either one and still be able to see all the attractions. Being the island where the boats come from Bali, Lembongan is the busiest and has a bigger choice of hotels. But for me, Ceningan was better, much quieter and peaceful.
Take a look at The Bridge Huts, right by the Yellow Bridge which makes it easy to visit both islands and even Penida since this is the place where the boats leave every morning. Agus, the owner is very friendly and helpful and he offers a piece of heaven. Only 5 cute wooden huts with dreamy baldaquins and outdoor bathroom. Taking a shower under the starts could be quite romantic, don’t you think? Prices start from 45 EUR/night and include a simple, but tasty breakfast. The infinity pool offers a beautiful view. The only downside is the low tide which kinda ruins the scenery, but it only lasts a few hours per day.
If you decide for Lembongan, try Dream Beach Huts situated on the famous Dream Beach (around 45 EUR/night) or Lumbung Bali Huts at Mushroom Bay (around 30-35 EUR/night).
You can also find accommodation on the beautiful Nusa Penida Island which is much bigger, but tourist infrastructure is very limited here. Due to a lack of natural fresh water, little is grown or produced on Nusa Penida, and even some basic food stuffs come in by boat. Visitors should therefore expect higher prices than in Bali. I chose to take the boat in the morning from Ceningan and return at sunset.
WHAT TO SEE?
Even though the islands are small compared to Bali, for example, you still have a lot of things to see and do here.
- On Lembongan Island you have 4 major attractions:
- Dream Beach – It is considered the most beautiful beach on the island. I recommend coming here early in the morning and enjoy it all by yourself. The scenery is pretty awesome and you can even drink your morning coffee at the restaurant upstairs. Quite a view to start your day, right?
- Devil’s Tear is just around the corner and you shouldn’t miss it. Massive crashing waves smashing the rocks create such a beautiful, yet almost scary landscape. You can even see rainbows after the big waves.
- Mushroom Bay – known as the second most beautiful beach in Lembongan. A white sandy beach with clear blue water adorned with tiny traditional boats. A postcard from heaven.
- Mangrove forest – don’t miss the opportunity to see the “lungs of the island”. The most beautiful way to explore the forest is by canoes owned by local fisherman. Mangrove forest is one of the most important marine ecosystems, both in terms of ecological, biodiversity and economic resources. As a keeper of coastal environment, the mangrove forest able to withstand abrasion and serves as a tourist attraction for environmental lovers and adventurers.
- Let’s continue with Ceningan where we have 3 major attractions:
- Blue Lagoon – I will start with it because is it my favorite part of the island. Crystal clear blue turquoise water that forms huge waves which hit the rocks leaving shades of white foam. Such a beautiful thing to see from the top of the cliff. You should just stay there, on the edge of the cliff, breathe and admire. For a few minutes, don’t think about anything; just realize how lucky you are to be there. It was one of the best moments of our holiday and probably one of the brightest blue water I’ve laid my eyes on.
- Mahana Point – if you are seeking for adventure, some cliff jumps might be the answer for you. And Mahana Point is the most recommended place for this activity and it is just around the corner from Blue Lagoon. If not, let me say that this is also one of the best places to watch the sunset in the whole of Bali regency.
- Secret Beach – even though this place is not a secret anymore, I definitely suggest you to check it out. The beach itself didn’t amaze me since it is full of rocks, but you may find a cute beach restaurant and sipping a pina colada there could make your day brighter. You know the saying: life is all about balance. The good and the bad. The highs and the lows. The pina and the colada! 🙂
- Nusa Penida is my special place for Bali and it deserves a separate post entirely dedicated. It will include tips for the perfect day on the magic island.
WHERE TO EAT?
- Sea Breeze Warung Nusa Ceningan – This gem was right around the corner from The Bridge Huts, the place we stayed on this island. I totally loved the looks of the beach restaurant. I am sad I wasn’t able to visit it also by day, but I totally recommend checking it out. Great food and beautiful scenery. They get a plus for the ingenious decorations. Simple, but catchy! Excellent sea food selection, tasty smoothies bowls and, of course, cold Bingtang!
- Warung Putu Nusa Lembongan – Close to the Yellow Bridge, this traditional warung offers tasty local food and burgers. Great location looking over the piece of ocean between the islands.
- The Deck Café & Bar Nusa Lembongan – Pristine views with a chilled atmosphere. A unique island spot that is candy for the eyes in itself where you can watch colorful sunsets with the boats coming and going. Check the schedule on the website, they even have DJs playing music some days of the week.
- L Good Bar & Grill – probably the best meal on the island. The downside is that you don’t have a view coming along with this great food, but believe me when I say it is worth trying. Excellent selection of seafood and fresh fish at a reasonable price.
- La Baia Bar & Resto at Villa Trevally Nusa Ceningan – this is the place I was talking about situated on the Secret Beach. I would not recommend the food with all my heart because the portions are small and not very good looking, but definitely worth going for drinks.
TRANSPORTATION ON THE ISLAND
- By scooter – I think this is the most popular and the easiest way to wander around the islands on your own schedule. The roads are not busy so you don’t have to worry if you are not a great scooter driver. I have even seen lots of girls “scootering” around. The distances are not big and the main attractions are close one to another. As a plus, a scooter cost around 5-6 EUR/day;
- By bike – I’m not ashamed to admit that I do not know how to ride a bike at the age of 26. This is simply not the thing for me. I can scuba dive, skydive, surf, but I won’t ride a bike. Funny, I know. Moving over, bikes could be a good idea of you are used to ride a few kilometers per day;
- By foot – the distances on every island are not that big, but you should also consider the temperatures and your backpack;
- By truck – truck hire is a great option for those not comfortable riding scooters and especially for a larger group;
- Free pickups – many restaurants on the island offer free pick-up and drop-off, you should ask your hotel for more info.
To sum up, Lembongan along with its sister Ceningan, were part of the Bali happiness formula. I regret not having more days to spend here. They are well known for scuba diving, but unfortunately I missed the chance for that. But, as I always say, I will definitely be back and complete my journey.
Don’t forget my next post will be about the amazing, breathtakingly beautiful Nusa Penida. All about this paradise island and many more tips for you. So do not forget to subscribe and follow me on Facebook and Instagram to be the first to get all the travel secrets.
Till next time!
And remember: Life is short and the world is wide…