Nusa Islands might just be our favorite travel destination in Bali. The Nusa Islands consist of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, and Nusa Ceningan and are often wrongly thought of as being part of Bali. The Nusa Islands are actually located in a different regency but you can easily visit them via a short ferry ride from Sanur Beach in Bali.
All three islands have something special to offer so if you have time, I highly recommend checking out these islands!
We stayed in Penida and Lembongan for 3 days and was able to visit all 3 islands during our time there. You can see Ceningan in a half day as it is the smallest of the three. It is accessed by a bright yellow bridge from Lembongan. Penida is the largest and most rugged of the 3. It is completely devoid of mass tourism and has so many awesome things to see!
Some favorite activities on the Nusa Islands include surfing, diving, and snorkeling, although you can also spend time trekking in the forests or exploring the other-worldly mangroves by boat. If you want to eschew the adventure activities however, then the Nusa Islands also make the perfect place to relax and get away from the crowds on Bali, and you can easily spend a week here sunbathing on the beautiful beaches and enjoying the peace and quiet nature.
Here are the 10 AWESOME places we went to…
1) A picturesque tree house or Rumah Pohon at Batu Molenteng
Magical! The location and view blew our minds. A unique experience indeed and a memory we’ll treasure. The tree house certainly requires a sense of adventure.
Located right smack on Nusa Penida and looking out at Atuh Beach – this beautiful treehouse is the latest unique addition to the island, providing stunning sights of the dramatic Balinese landscape.
Thankfully, the treehouse was built with a ladder, so you don’t have to literally climb the tree just to get to the treehouse! Just bring a picnic along and make it a stunning memory atop a tree, complete with crazy views and delicious food!
2) The scenic haven Atuh Beach
This beach took a steep hike to get down, but was totally worth it. It’s absolutely breathtaking! The plunging cliffs are freakishly tall and provides a beautiful setting. It takes about an hour drive from the port of Penida, then about a 10-15 minute hike down onto super steep steps/rocks.
3) The hike at Kelingking Secret Point
Arguably the most photogenic spot we visited on our entire Nusa Penida trip, and probably the most popular beach in Penida because of its shaped – like a T-Rex! You can walk down the vey steep steps/rocks down to the beach, bit it may take you awhile. Beach is one of those viewpoints that is hard to believe that it’s real when you see it for the first time. This entire coastal area is particularly beautiful – the white cliffs contrast dramatically with the turquoise blue waters.
This old tree sits right in front of the parking area in Kelingking and there is usually a queue to climb it. So get there early in the morning like we did, about 8, to have it all to yourself. And yes, I was about as comfortable as I look trying to strike a pose on that branch. haha!
4) The “not so” Broken Beach
The journey to Broken Beach is an overland adventure through Nusa Penida’s rugged limestone terrain. Most of the pathways are rocky and unpaved. But once you get to Broken Beach, you’ll be rewarded by a truly sweeping seascape.
Broken Beach (Pasih Uug) is a scenic coastal formation on the southwestern edge of Nusa Penida island. The spot is marked by a hilly arch-like rock formation, which is the distinguishable landmark of the area. Set over the crashing waves of the open Indian Ocean, Broken Beach is a great spot for travel photographers and panoramic view seekers.
5) Amazing Angel’s Billabong
Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach are probably the most popular destinations for tours due to their close proximity to the ports, but you will still experience less crowds than any attraction on the mainland. It’s worth the trek along the rough roads just to experience swimming in a natural infinity pool!
We expected the bottom of the pool to be slimy, but the seaweed was actually pretty comfortable and made the bottom feel like soft carpet! The water was also so much clearer than we thought it would be, as waves must refresh the water often.
Trivia: We were told about two people who had died in summer because they were standing by the edge, and a large wave suddenly crashed and sucked them out. As tempted as we were to stand on the ledge, we were extra cautious and kept our distance from the front of the pool, as I could see how you could easily get pulled into the ocean by a rogue wave.
6) Soak at the Crystal Bay
Geographically, Crystal Bay is situated between two great oceans, the Indian ocean and the Pacific. As a result of this ideal position, an enormous flow of water passes between Bali and Nusa Penida depositing plankton larvae that attract a high diversity of fish such as sharks, mantas, trevally and the Oceanic Sunfish, or Mola Mola.
Though we didn’t see them with our own naked eyes – at least we enjoyed soaking under the cold crystal clear water.
7) The Yellow Bridge
The rebuilt “Yellow Bridge” (Jembatan Kuning) now connecting Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan in the Klungkung Regency off the east coast of Bali has already become something of a tourism icon by virtue of the addition of colorful night lighting that adorns the bridge, as quoted from Bali Discovery.
Also known as the “Bridge of Love” (Jembatan Cinta), the bridge is attracting many foreign visitors who are flocking to the beach for photographic mementos.
8) Sway at the Dream Beach
I had a dream…about the beach.. 🙂 Dream Beach was our first stop when we stepped in to the Nusa Lembongan island. Just a perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty of this idyllic spot.
9) Devil’s Tears
Exploring Devil’s Tears is one of the highlights in our Nusa Lembongan trip. The outcrop sucks the water in before it explodes out with a boom, creating the massive waves break onto a narrow niche on a limestone cliff, producing a dramatic swash with a merciless, thundering sound. Devil’s Tears, aptly named for its daunting showcase of Mother Nature’s raw power on the eastern shore of Nusa Lembongan, is violently beautiful. Not only does it make the devil cry but the spray also creates a rainbow on many occasions.
After enjoying the dramatic swash at Devil’s Tears we headed around the corner to check out what we could find. More outcrops being smashed by water and some incredible tide pools. This is also the best view to just sit down at the bench while watching the sunset.
10) Mushroom Bay
Mushroom bay is more like a commercial place with luxurious hotels and bars. This beautiful beach is a well known beach beside the Dream beach in Nusa Lembongan.
We stayed overnight at Tanis Villa. This property is few steps away from the beach. The Tanis Hotel is situated on Lembongan Island at the beach front of Mushroom Bay, about 23 km off Bali’s East Coast. We enjoyed the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool and day cruise activities such as banana boat, doughnut boat and snorkeling.
At first sight, the villa doesn’t look very promising but when we stepped in the room it was newly renovated and clean!!! The room was huge with minibar and outdoor-type bathroom. Staff was very friendly, they helped us arrange our transport. Foods are okay and of course we had a very relaxing Balinese massage.
Apart from water sports and snorkeling we really had fun at our private sunset cruise. There is nothing better than watching a sunset over the ocean with your red wine. This is the simple pleasure in life I enjoy the most. Always peculiar, they range from wonderful to magical and mind-boggling. It’s one of the few times in nature that you can see a visible process of change happening. The sky changes colors, the clouds, the serenity, the sun is dim and close enough to the horizon. All within a predictable range of motion and a short enough span of time that you can pause to experience.
How to Get to Nusa Penida
- By public ferry from Lembongan (near the yellow bridge).
- The ferry goes at 7am. Be there at 6:30am to assure a spot. Costs for tourists is 50k (~$4).
- To get back, you may need to hire a private transfer that costs 200k (~$15).
- If you can find companions, you can split the cost. You just need to wait about 10-15 minutes so price would be around 50k each, the same as the public ferry!
- It takes less than 15 minutes for the crossing.
- There are also ferries from Bali (Sanur) that go to Penida.
- The public boat will drop you in the port of Toyapakeh in Penida
How to get around Nusa Penida
Rent a motorbike for around 50k (~$ 4). The vendors will start at 80k but make sure to negotiate. You can also rent a car, if you are adventurous you can rent a motorbike.
Note: The roads are VERY bumpy and unfinished with many potholes, especially going to Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong. If you feel confident on a motorbike and have good balance, you should be fine! However, if you’ve never driven a motorbike before (or on the left side), this isn’t a good place to start! And remember, they drive on the LEFT side in Indonesia!