NUSA ISLANDS GUIDE: LEMBONGAN, PENIDA, CENINGAN
The Nusa Islands are a tropical trio less than 30 minutes by boat from mainland Bali. The islands are still considered part of Bali, but you will feel worlds away from the rapid pace and buzz of Kuta and Seminyak. Life on the Nusa Islands all about enjoying nature, surfing, snorkeling, cliff jumping, hiking and relaxing in a chill island atmosphere.
This article will provide you with the top things to do on each of the Nusa Islands. I personally experienced everything on this list in five days.
Nusa Lembongan has slowly grown as a tourist destination thanks to its good surf. I had only heard about the crazy cliff jumping on nearby Nusa Ceningan but there was also so many awesome things to do on Nusa Lembongan. This is definitely known as the surf destination amongst the Nusa Islands.
How to get to Nusa Lembongan
The ferry leaves multiple times per day from Sanur (east Bali) If you book it in advance often you can have your pick-up from the hotel included. To book it online in advance for the guaranteed lowest price you can click the link below to reserve your ticket.
Book your ticket: Sanur(Bali) to Nusa Lembongan/Nusa Penida Ferry
I have now visited Nusa Penida twice. The first time I only came for one day (7 hours) and this was a huge mistake. You definitely need to spend at least 2 days if not 4!! This way you can fully explore all of these cool spots rather than just getting a glimpse at each location.
WHERE TO STAY ON NUSA LEMBONGAN
Swara Homestay 2 – Budget: On my first trip to Nusa Lembongan we stayed at Swara Homestay 2, which set us back $10 a night for a private room with a bathroom. It was incredibly basic but we weren’t there to enjoy a fancy room so it worked for us. It was a great base for our adventures as we got stuck into all of the things to do on Nusa Lembongan. Along the beachfront, there are plenty of fancy resorts if you have the cash to splash but you can get a private room with everything you need for under $20 a night with no problems.
Check rates and availability: Swara Homestay 2
Sukanusa Luxury Huts – Value/My Favorite: These beautiful huts are what a Nusa Lembongan getaway is all about. I think the most important part of the accommodation is the view or how unique it is. These huts are the ultimate getaway and although they seriously are a mix of island life and luxury. Definitely check these out before you book a luxury hotel for hundreds of dollars.
Check rates and availability: Sukanusa Luxury Huts
Tamarind Resort – Luxury: The second time I stayed on Nusa Lembongan was with my Nusa Islands Blogger Workshop. It was an upgrade from Swara Homestay 2! We stayed at the fancy Tamarind Resort, which was an insane property. It was a paradise hideaway with an awesome restaurant, gym, several infinity pools, and sunset views. If you are looking for an epic place to stay on Lembongan I would definitely recommend the Tamarind Resort!
Check rates and availability: Tamarind Resort
6 Awesome things to do on Nusa Lembongan
1. Dream beach
A very dreamy beach indeed. A hotel with an infinity pool and a restaurant overlooking this cute little cove of white sand and crystal clear water. We had a great time swimming in the decent shore break waves at this beach. A perfect spot to hang out for the day with good access to food, drinks, pools.
Read the full blog post here: Dream Beach on Nusa Lembongan
2. Devil’s tears
Exploring Devil’s Tears is the best thing to do on Nusa Lembongan in my opinion. The outcrop sucks the water in before it explodes out with a boom, creating the tears of the devil. Not only does it make the devil cry but the spray also creates a rainbow on many occasions. That wasn’t the only magic that we witnessed while at this popular location.
Read the full blog post here: Devil’s Tears on Nusa Lembongan
A local guide started clapping at a steady pace. At first, I thought he was cheering on the ocean. I could no longer hold back my curiosity and went and asked the old man why he was clapping the ocean. And he told he wasn’t cheering the ocean but he was, in fact, calling the turtle to appear. We laughed and joined him. He left and we stopped clapping but magically ten minutes later I spotted a turtle. Coincidence or not you tell me?
After enjoying the tears from the devil we headed around the corner to check out what we could find. More outcrops being smashed by water and some incredible tide pools. We knew we had to come back for sunset when we found the tide pools. This was definitely my favorite sunset spot on the Nusa Islands.
3. Sandy Bay
We explored even further around the corner and found Sandy Bay, another secluded beach. This is the location of the Sandy Bay Beach club, which is one of the most luxurious spots to stop off for lunch or dinner. They also have huge villas here for rent but they are incredibly upmarket and fancy often costing more than $400 per night.
4. Jungut Batu Beach
This beach is the main strip and the longest beach on Nusa Lembongan. All of the wooden tour boats and fishing vessels moor here. There is a surf break out quite a far way if you are keen to hit the swell. Almost every night we would come to Jungut Batu for the sunset and one of the nights was an absolute gem. The sky filled with electric orange and vibrant yellows.
We also followed this beach all the way down to the mangroves on a long exploratory walk. We came across everything from old wooden boats to volleyball courts to packs of stray dogs. The beauty about walking along this beach is that Mt Agung is always looming in the background. The volcano last erupted in 1963 but it is still an imposing feature in the distance.
5. Mushroom Bay
Mushroom Bay was an awesome spot to grab a bite, hang out in a relaxed atmosphere and even rent a SUP board. It had a great family/calm atmosphere to the entire bay with a range of restaurants along the strip. We managed to find a $4 Margherita pizza from a fancy restaurant overlooking the bay. Win!
6. Mangrove Forest
We thought about doing the Mangrove tour but had done a few in the past so we opted to just drone over it haha! Maybe I will just stay in my hotel room and drone to all the places in the future… It did look pretty interesting from the sky and we could visit a little of the forest when we caught the boat from Nusa Lembongan to Nusa Penida.
7. Devil’s Tears Cliff Jump
Devil’s Tears is a popular sunset spot and tourist spot in general on Nusa Lembongan. We always hang out here for sunset as the tide pools have insane reflections. However, the last time we hit Devil’s Tears the swell wasn’t too crazy and we sent a few jumps. It’s only about 3-4 meters where we jumped but a ton of fun. The waves here smash into the cliffs so don’t mess around here on a day of a big swell.
Read the full blog post: Devil’s Tears on Nusa Lembongan
8. Dream Beach Cliff Jump
When facing out to the ocean from the shore the right-hand side of the bay has a long rocky coastline stretching several hundred meters. If you wander out 2/3 of the way along the coast you will find a bit of a clearing. On a calm day, you can see the water is quite deep here. We climbed down and did a depth check and found a few deep spots. Once I had given it the all-clear as being safe. Things change underwater daily. Reef shifts, rocks move. Make sure you always do your own checks and don’t blindly follow what you read online.
There was a nice jump about 5-meters high with Dream Beach perfectly in the background. The scramble out wasn’t the safest exit ever with waves crashing into the rocks. You will need to wear shoes or reef shoes to help you climb out as the rocks are quite sharp. Other than the rocks and the necessary depth check it’s quite a fun cliff jump spot and will never be crowded… probably ever.
Read the full blog post: Dream Beach on Nusa Lembongan
Nusa Penida is the biggest of the three Nusa Islands just off from mainland Bali. Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan make up the trio of islands, each with uniquely breath-taking landscapes.
How to get to Nusa Penida
From Nusa Lembongan, the boat to Nusa Penida leaves from the ‘yellow bridge’ every hour and costs just $5 USD.
We hired a moped for $5 USD. For the first time in my travels, the owner said the fuel was full and we could return it at empty. Thank you very much, boss!
Best Day Trip from Bali to Nusa Penida
If you are based in Bali you can join a customizable tour from Bali with Four Elements Adventure Tour Company (best tour operator on Nusa Penida) that lets you pick the beaches spots you want to visit. They will pick you up in the morning from your hotel in Bali, take you across to Nusa Penida by fast-boat and then bring you back after an incredible day of adventures.
I recommend choosing the Nusa Island Epic Tour or Nusa Penida East Tour if you are keen to check out the best beaches, viewpoints or want to snorkel with Manta Rays. Remember to tell them which spots are on your Nusa Penida Bucket list and they will make it happen!
Where to stay on Nusa Penida
I’m going to recommend three places to stay on Nusa Penida. All three of these spots are in great locations but each one is a little different. One is a luxury pick, one is a value selection and the last recommendation I have for you is where I recommend for the budget backpackers.
Ananta Bungalow – Value: The Ananta Bungalow is an awesome location right next to Crystal Bay, which is the best sunset beach on Nusa Penida and where the Manta Ray and snorkel trips launch off from. Basing yourself where you want to spend every sunset is a great idea. The beautiful bungalows have a thatched roof, terrace and combine the island life with modern facilities. The bungalows how WiFi and air conditioning. These are iconic looking bungalows and for less than $25 a night they really are the best value place to stay on Nusa Penida.
Semabu Hills Resort – Luxury: Semabu Hills is definitely the best pick of the luxury options. It has an epic infinity pool that looks out over the ocean, which is an amazing spot to relax after adventuring around the island. With breakfast included each morning and luxury rooms, this is the kind of place you treat yourself to as a family or a couple.
Hostel Nusa Penida – Budget: There’s always a good hostel when backpacking in Indonesia and on Nusa Penida, this is your pick. Hostel Nusa Penida has free WiFi, is in a good central location, which is close to most of the main attractions, beaches, and hikes. It’s clean, modern and the staff are legends.
THINGS TO DO ON NUSA PENIDA
1. Pura Goa Giri Putri Cave
Our first stop was unbelievable! The Pura Goa Giri Putri Cave is perched midway up the mountain, accessible by a steep winding staircase. Before being allowed up the staircase we had to rent a sarong for 50 cents. We dodged a few rogue monkeys before arriving into the middle of prayer. With no idea what he had walked in on we were blessed with some water to the forehead before crawling through a tiny crack in the ground. Over 100 other people joined us down, crawling through the crack.
Once inside, the roof opened up and we were inside a 300m long cave. More prayer was underway but no-one seemed to mind us looking around. I would have loved to yell out and hear the echo in this massive underground temple. Instead, we wandered around, enjoyed the smell of the incense and the eerie atmosphere before crawling out again. This was one of the coolest but strangest experiences I had on the Nusa Islands.
2. Atuh Beach, Nusa Penida
After the interesting cave experience, we headed to the coast. We drove through a collection of villages waving to the kids as we dodged chickens, dogs, and potholes on the road. The poor road soon turned to a dirt hill so we abandoned the bikes and crossed our fingers we were in the right spot when all of a sudden we spotted an amazing view through the branches. Atuh Beach is a stunning white sand beach surrounded by the huge cliffs and remarkable rock formations. An arch sits directly out from the shore while several islets string off in the distance.
We explored the shore and the ocean before enjoying a fresh $2 coconut. Air Asia knew what they were doing when they provided these umbrellas to the resorts. I can’t imagine how many Instagram photos have inadvertently advertised the airline. This was up there in my top beaches on the Nusa Islands.
Read the full blog post here: Beautiful Atuh Beach
3. Peguyangan Waterfall
The Peguyangan Waterfall was on our way so we thought why not drop in for a look. Little did we know we would encounter the blue stairway to heaven. A steep cliffside trail comprised of blue steel stairs lead you down to the bottom of the cliffs and the waterfall.
Read the full blog post here: Peguyangan Waterfall on Nusa Penida
4. Seganing Falls
If you don’t like heights skip this trek. The path is at times less than half a yard in width. On one side is the giant vertical rock wall and on your other side a tiny wooden fence protecting you from a certain death if you were to fall. The fence looked like something you would see on an old farm. Nevertheless, we made the journey down with a self-appointed guide who insisted on joining us. He was incredibly funny despite not speaking any English. At each scenic point, he would throw his hands up and scream wow, motioning to us to take a photo of him.
The trek was incredible, which made up for the waterfall. We were dripping in sweat, my friend Joel had cut up his leg and we were out of energy hoping to find an amazing waterfall running into the ocean. Once at the bottom we were surprised to find a cascade of trickles running down the rock face. It was an anti-climax after the crazy trek down. I would suggest this trek as it was truly one of my favorite things to do on Nusa Penida. However, don’t expect Niagara Falls at the bottom.
5. Kelingking ‘T-Rex’
The Instagram famous coastal cliffscape, which truly does look like a T-rex didn’t disappoint. I still remember the moment I laid eyes on the beach below. I felt like a human drone. I watched the crystal clear water slowly form into a wave before crashing below us, in what seemed like slow motion.
We took a short trek down the spine of the T-Rex and took in the epic drop-offs down each side. This is definitely my favorite thing to do on Nusa Penida and is just one of those landscapes that make you feel small. It makes you feel lucky to be in its company, to be able to witness earth’s creation.
Nusa Penida has so many amazing views making it hard to pick a favorite. But when the cliffs form in the shape of a Tyrannosaurus Rex at Kelingking Secret Point Beach it is bound to be a crowd favorite. Kelingking actually translates into English meaning Pinkie a term referencing the smallest finger on the hand. Just like a pinkie promise, the land does also appear to take the form of a Kelingking or pinkie finger. However, it is the comparison to the T-Rex that has caused this location to become so popular.
Read the full blog post: Discovering Kelingking T-Rex on Nusa Penida
6. Manta Bay
I have experienced the tour both from Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan and both were very relaxing and great experiences. Our boat drove us the 20 minutes to Manta Point as we took in the beautiful coastline of Nusa Penida. Once we arrived at Manta Point, the captain looked for any Manta Rays and they are very good at spotting them before you even have your snorkel ready.
When we jumped into the water we were immediately staring face to face with a giant Manta Ray, which is one of the most majestic creatures of the ocean. More than five Manta Rays playfully looped around the bay, entertaining the group of snorkelers. The Manta Rays always seem playful and loop back again and again unlike turtles or fish, which often swim away at the sight of humans. The Manta Rays will often actually head straight for you and then dart off to the side at the last minute.
If you are based in Kuta or Seminyak, you can book a Manta Ray Snorkeling tour that will pick you up from your hotel in Bali. You will then be shuttled to the ferry station, catch a fast-boat for less than 40 minutes to Nusa Penida and before you know it, you will be in the water with the Giant Manta Rays. The tour includes lunch and several snorkeling spots on top of the Manta Point snorkel. It also includes lunch and all transports throughout the day.
Book now by clicking here: Nusa Penida Manta Snorkel Tour
Read the full blog post: Snorkeling with Giant Manta Rays in Bali
7. Crystal Bay Beach Nusa Penida
By now we were all so tired from swimming non-stop all morning that when we arrived at Crystal Bay we slumped on the sand and began an hour of recovery! Our captain then rounded us up and took us 100 yards out into the bay on the boat and we enjoyed the crystal clear water you would expect at Crystal Bay. Although we were more interested in flipping off the front of the boat. What’s new.
Read the full blog post: CRYSTAL BAY BEACH ON NUSA PENIDA
Our final stop on our Nusa Penida journey was to Toyapakeh. This awesome snorkel spot has a strong current. Our captain dropped us off and we hardly had to swim as the current slowly drifted us down towards a small cove. We were drifting on the edge of a huge drop-off with fish and coral in abundance.
9. Angel’s Billabong
Angel’s Billabong is one of the magical spots you can’t help but marvel at. A crystal clear tide pool cascades into the ocean on the east coast of Nusa Penida. Out in that ocean, Manta Rays cruise the coast at leisure.
As with all tidal pools you need to arrive at the right time of day. If you visit Angel’s Billabong during high-tide you will experience a very different pool than the one you see in photos. You will need to check the tide using a site like Magic Seaweed. Once you figure out when the low tide is, you should plan your itinerary around that. On the day we wanted to visit Angel’s Billabong the low tide was at 8 am so we arrived right at 8 am and it was perfect.
The Billabong is a remarkable formation. The crystal clear water allows you to see the patterns and textures beneath the surface. In some areas, the water is deep enough for a little dip! It is a highly photographed spot on Nusa Penida because of how unique the landscape is.
Read the full blog post: Angel’s Billabong on Nusa Penida
10. Broken Beach
Broken Beach is an incredible little cove on Nusa Penida island. The highlight of the cove and the reason it is called Broken Beach is due to the archway that wraps around the bay allowing water to flow in and out from the ocean.
All around the world, there are unique ways in which the earth has eroded over time. Sometimes mother nature leaves us with something quite remarkable. On Nusa Penida, one of those places that leave us in a state of awe at how over millions of years the earth has ended up as beautiful as it appears before us right now!
The arch at Broken Beach has been formed over many, many years and is now a true spectacle. From above the cove appears almost circular and closed in, however, at eye level the arch is quite high. Unfortunately, there is no way down into the cove for a refreshing dip although you can get in the water at Angel’s Billabong around the corner.
Read the full blog post: Broken Beach on Nusa Penida
11. Thousand Island (Pulau Seribu) Viewpoint
Firstly, you might be wondering what Pulau Seribu means and it actually just means Thousand Island. This location is sometimes referred to as Pulau Seribu and sometimes as the Thousand Island Viewpoint so I thought I would reference both.
There are several viewpoints that have had fences and structures added to them for the benefit of tourists. There are huge drop-offs here so the fences are to keep tourists safe! To get to the first viewpoint you need to climb down the steep stairway for about 10 minutes. Once we reached this first viewpoint we were pretty awestruck. The view is incredible! We could see a small little empty beach sitting at the bottom of the cliff. It was paradise.
We continued on to the second viewpoint and then to the Instagram famous Tree House. There was nobody inside but the door was locked. We took a few photos here and debated whether or not we would stay out here. We all concluded it would be worth it for the feeling of enjoying the sunrise on the balcony of the treehouse!
Read the full blog post: Thousand Island (Pulau Seribu) Viewpoint
12. Manta Ray Viewpoint
As you finish up at Angel’s Billabong it is common to walk around the corner to Broken Beach. The walk only takes 5 minutes but halfway through the journey is an archway made of trees. When you reach this archway don’t go through immediately! Head up the hill towards the coast on your right and look down into the ocean. This is where the Giant Manta Rays hang out. We sat on the cliffs watching the Mantas cruise around and surface time and time again. It was a pretty awesome discovery and we have aptly named the cliff, ‘Manta Ray Viewpoint’.
13. Kelingking Beach
After trekking down the stairs you will find another set of even steeper stairs on your right, which lead to the beach. When we reached the bottom of the stairs and hit the sand the waves were insane. It is a shore-break beach and the waves were barreling and dumping. This isn’t a beach for novice swimmers and the sets came out of nowhere. Please don’t swim if you aren’t 100% sure you can handle the conditions. My friends and I body surfed into the sunset. It was the most magical night of our time on Nusa Penida. Kelingking Secret Point Beach was and still is my favorite spot on Nusa Penida.
14. Kelingking Cliff Lookout
Here is a great little tip for enjoying Kelingking Secret Point Beach from a unique angle. Instead of hiking down the stairs, head to the right along the cliffs. There is a worn path along the cliff edge but no railing so be careful. Here you can find multiple epic viewpoints, with arguably a better look at the beach than the hike. It’s an awesome spot for sunset and doesn’t involve any hiking for those of you out there looking for the easy option. We came back two nights later after our beach session down at the bottom and just caught the sunset up on these cliffs. Definitely one of the best sunset spots on the island of Nusa Penida and a unique angle of Kelingking Secret Point Beach.
15. Nusa Penida Treehouse (Rumah Pohon)
The Tree House (Rumah Pohon) on Nusa Penida has become something of a craze. It is perched up on the mountain at Thousand Island (Pulau Seribu) viewpoint near Atuh Beach. Thanks to some talented photographers who shared this spot on social media, it has landed itself on the Nusa Penida bucket list of many travelers. It is part of the Thousand Island viewpoint area costing only 10,000 rupiahs to park and enter, which is less than $1 USD. The best part about this treehouse is that it is actually a house and you can rent it out for pretty cheap considering how popular this spot has become and how insane the view is.
Read the full blog post: The Nusa Penida Treehouse (Rumah Pohon) Airbnb
16. Banah Cliffs
Banah Cliffs is another epic viewpoint on Nusa Penida. The view down the coast at Banah is striking. As we sat on the edge and looked down we couldn’t even figure out how big the drop was. When we threw a rock off the edge, we never saw it hit the ground, such was the scale. The cliffs are known as a great sunset spot just like Kelingking, which is just down the road! There are two defined ‘spots’ at Banah Cliffs, one involves a short walk and one is right next to the parking lot. The highlight at Banah Cliffs is the arch out in the ocean. A small rock arch sits out in the crystal clear water. We spent a couple of hours at both sites at Banah Cliffs taking in the epic coastline.
17. Diamond Beach Viewpoint
On the right-hand side of Atuh Beach is a staircase that leads up the hill. At the top, you will find a parking lot and likely a local who will charge you 10,000 rupiah whether you have a car/moped or not to enter. The viewpoint is next to Atuh Beach but looks out over the bay next door. You can get the Atuh Beach view from both sides but I assumed you guys would find that anyway. This is just an epic little spot we stumbled upon and It’s a pretty epic viewpoint though so when you are at Atuh Beach definitely get up to this side of the beach and check it out. Here is a quick snap we grabbed looking down the coast from this spot.
18. Diamond Beach
It’s funny how the times change. I am updating this blog post now and instead of just the viewpoint as I mentioned above, you can now walk down to the beach. The locals built stairs into the cliff. Now, this beach that a year ago was only possible to view from the cliffs, is accessible from an incredible stairway.
As you head down the stairs, you can really take in how these stairs were constructed. It was so fresh we could still see all of the chisel marks in the wall. Often the cliff hangs entirely over your head. This walk down may scare some but it isn’t too challenging.
The huge cliffs tower over you as you lay on the untouched sand. It is almost a little nerve-wracking being below such a huge wall of rock. It reminded me of certain beaches near the twelve apostles on the Great Ocean Road. The most important rock though is the diamond shaped rock in the shallows of the water. The beach is after all named after this diamond-shaped rock I believe.
View the. full blog post: DIAMOND BEACH ON NUSA PENIDA ISLAND (INCREDIBLE STAIRWAY)
19. Tembeling Beach, Natural Pool and Forest
Tembeling Beach is a little hideaway bay at the end of a crazy motorbike ride down through the forest. Along the way, you will pass by the Tembeling natural pools. If you are looking for something a little off the beaten path and away from the tourist hot spots you may enjoy the adventure of Tembeling Beach, natural pools and forest.
After checking out the Tembeling Forest from within the canyon, which is like a scene out of a jungle movie, you can head down the spiral stairs towards the Tembeling Natural Pools. There are two but the first one is the biggest. Set nicely below the large cliff wall, the crystal clear water has a beautiful blue tone to it, which is strange considering all of the stones and cliffs around are orange and brown.
A number of traditional statues and fountains decorate this spot and are used for water ritual. You can cliff jump from a couple of ledges at this first pool but check the depth and debris first as things can change over time. Head down a bit further and you will reach the second pool. This one is a bit more of a jacuzzi and I actually liked it better. There are small pipe fountains you can wash under and it’s a great place to hang out. From here you can also keep an eye on the beach!
If you continue the trail down you will reach Tembeling Beach. It isn’t anything too crazy especially by Nusa Penida’s lofty standards. Big cliffs on either side dwarf the small patch of sand. The best swimming here is in the natural pools not in the ocean as the waves can get quite interesting here. Stay safe and watch the currents.
View full blog post: TEMBELING BEACH, NATURAL POOL & FOREST
20. Suwehan Beach
Suwehan Beach is a place that epitomizes Nusa Penida. You’ll find huge towering cliffs, crystal clear yet strikingly blue water, an insane staircase down to the beach and maybe a turtle or two. In 2018 an earthquake ruined the stairs but by the end of the year, the locals had fixed them enough to make the access possible yet very sketchy. I’m sure throughout 2019 they will repair the stairs to their former glory.
View full blog post: SUWEHAN BEACH ON NUSA PENIDA
21. Abangan Hills Viewpoint
On the drive down to Suwehan Beach, keep your eyes out on the left for a little hill. I pulled my bike over and went for a look at the viewpoint, which is known as Abangan Hills. The viewpoint has a few trees on it and looks out over the many rice fields on Nusa Penida. It could be a great spot for sunrise but was still nice during the midday sun.
22. Saren Cliff Viewpoint
If you continue on down the coast from Tembeling Beach, you will reach Saren Cliff Viewpoint. In fact, there is a shortcut road from Tembeling, which is pretty hard to explain and not on the maps. I’ll try. As you drive down towards Tembeling, halfway along you will see a road that goes up the hill on your left. This road is paved and will take you to Saren Cliff Viewpoint.
The drive there is pretty damn bumpy but that is nothing new on Nusa Penida. The viewpoint was, of course, empty but was such a chill spot to take in the towering cliffs. There was a sign for Saren Cliff Viewpoint that suggested it may have been more popular at some stage. There is a swing and some beautiful big trees but the highlight is sitting on the edge of cliffs in the middle of nowhere enjoying the grandeur of Nusa Penida.
23. Gamat Bay Snorkeling
Everyone does the Manta Ray snorkeling on Nusa Penida, and for good reason but the island also has some INSANE snorkeling spots. Gamat Bay is probably top of the lot from what I have experienced but I’m sure there are others too. Our boat driver asked me where we wanted to go after the Manta snorkeling and I looked at his poster. I had snorkeled at Crystal Bay and done the Toyapakeh drift before so I pointed at Gamat Bay and told him we could have a look there. What a decision!
We jumped off the boat, and immediately realized the water at Gamat Bay is much colder than at Manta Point and Crystal Bay. I’m not sure why that is. The second thing we noticed was the incredible coral structures and rock formations beneath the surface. The depth ranged from a few meters closer to shore all the way down to perfect free-diving depth of 5-20 meters.
Our guide told us this is where you can see a turtle if you are lucky. We looked long and hard and finally, we found a turtle who let us chill near him for ten minutes as he went about his business. The water clarity at Gamat was perfect!
24. Puncak Mundi (Highest Point on Nusa Penida)
The highest point on Nusa Penida is Puncak Mundi, which is a series of traditional temples. I decided to make the journey up the very, very steep hills to check it out. When I arrived, not much was happening but it was a cool little spot to check out. I would try and visit during prayer or an event so you can see all of the candles and rituals in action. The drive up here is incredibly scenic.
25. Teletubbie Hill Viewpoint
I have to admit, I almost didn’t visit because of the name. It sounded like some touristy photo spot. However, when I did finally make the drive into the mountains to see what this spot was all about, I was pleasantly surprised. Nusa Penida is known for its epic coastline. However, there are actually many rice fields and rolling hills throughout the island, which is actually really large.
Teletubbie Hill is a great spot to understand just how diverse the landscapes are on Nusa Penida and it was incredibly interesting flying the drone here scoping out all the different contours, valleys and canyons in this region. Here are a couple of my favorite shots from Teletubbie Hill.
26. Pandan Beach (Hike from Crystal Bay)
If you are feeling a bit adventurous there is a path that leads you from Crystal Bay up and over the hill. What you will discover on the other side of the hill next door is the beautiful Pandan Bay. It is safe to assume you will be the only person there as most people just hang out at Crystal Bay. There is one more bay called Puyung but I don’t think it’s accessible by walking. I will investigate on visit number four to Nusa Penida.
27. Banah Cliffs for sunset
If you head around the corner at Banah Cliffs near the arch in the water, you will get a great sunset show. There will definitely be no-one else around and it is one of the best spots for sunset without going all the way west to places like Crystal Bay. The blue water at the base of these cliffs is almost unbelievable. Here is a photo from our last sunset at Banah Cliffs. Easily one of the most relaxing placces in the Nusa Islands.
Things to know before you go to Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida Island is quite large compared to Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan. Therefore you may want to consider spending 2-3 nights on the island if you would like to see all of the points of interest without having to rush.
The roads in some parts are fantastic but to get to many of the waterfalls and beaches the roads were pretty crazy. At times we were just driving over small rocks. If you aren’t confident on a moped this could be some terrain too heavy to handle.
There were a few spots that locals asked us to pay a small entrance or parking fee at. For example, as we left Kelingking we had to hand over 50 cents for parking even though nothing was mentioned beforehand. Just enjoy the views hand over the small fee and continue on your journey.
Drive safe kids! This was me on my first solo trip to Indonesia!!! I learnt my lesson and drive a lot safer now and have had no troubles while on the Nusa Islands.
Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Penida?
Sometimes in life, you can’t have it all. If you are limited for time and only have a few days on the Nusa Islands you might have to choose one location as your base. However, you can still visit all three islands. This is a short Nusa Islands itinerary if you only have a few days to explore.
Day 1: Explore Nusa Lembongan attractions
Day: 2 Nusa Ceningan cliff jumping and beaches
Option 1) Half-day snorkel boat trip to Nusa Penida to swim with Manta Rays
Option 2) Catch a boat at sunrise to Nusa Penida, explore all day and catch the boat back for sunset.
However, if you do prefer to take in one place at a slower pace rather than rushing around to see every corner of every island you will have to make a decision. These are the key factors to consider to help you decide to stay on Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Penida.
Staying on Nusa Lembongan
Several great beaches
Access whole island in less than half hour on a moped
Great rocky coastline to explore such as Devil’s Tears
Bridge access to Nusa Ceningan for cliff jumping and exploring. (It almost becomes a double island)
The surf requires a boat to take you out to the reef
Half-day boat trip required to swim with Manta Rays or visit Nusa Penida
Staying on Nusa Penida
Awesome coastline with epic cliff views around every corner whereas Lembongan is not as epic
Moped adventures across the island, which is far far bigger than Nusa Lembongan
More of a chill vibe with eco-stays, vegan cafe’s and that kind of atmosphere
Manta Rays near the coastline
Roads can be quite rough for mopeds in some places
No access to cliff jumping on Nusa Ceningan
Little bit more expensive hotels than Nusa Lembongan (but still cheap!)
Personally, I love epic cliff views and exploring the land on crazy moped adventures so if I had my time over I would stay on Nusa Penida. However, missing out on cliff jumping at the Blue Lagoon on Nusa Ceningan would have been a disaster. It’s a hard decision but if you have to make it I would go with Penida and somehow try and get a day trip to Nusa Lembongan. The beauty of humble Nusa Lembongan is that it’s in the middle of the two best islands so naturally, it is the perfect base if you gotta do it all!
Nusa Ceningan is a small tropical island, which is part of Bali in Indonesia. The island is nestled between popular Nusa Lembongan and the large island of Nusa Penida. The trio of islands is an awesome spot to explore and get away from the craziness of mainland Bali. Nusa Ceningan was the adrenaline spot of the Nusa Islands in my opinion with cliff jumping around every corner. I will highlight four of the best Nusa Ceningan things to do!
I spent five nights on Nusa Lembongan and day tripped to Nusa Ceningan, which is accessible by bridge. Ceningan is quite a small island and I didn’t even rent a moped, instead, I opted to discover the coast on foot with my two mates.
5 Awesome things to do on Nusa Ceningan
1. The Nusa Ceningan Blue Lagoon
After crossing the bridge we walked for about thirty minutes and headed straight to Blue Lagoon. The Nusa Ceningan Blue Lagoon is a rocky cove of the brightest blue water I’ve laid my eyes on.
The Blue Lagoon isn’t just for looking at, you will find a prime cliff jumping spot at the entrance of the cove. There are relatively safe jumps from heights of 4m, 6m, 8m, and 13m. The water was very deep and we didn’t could see the bottom was way too far to worry about touching it. To get out of the water once you are in you will swim to your right back towards the coast and clamber up the cliffs when you find a gap in the waves. If the swell looks too big maybe save the jump for another day as you don’t want to get stuck unable to get out. The day we went had some decent waves but none to cause too much trouble. We all finished another awesome day on the Nusa Islands without a single scrape, just a big smile plastered on our faces.
Read the full blog post: Cliff Jumping at Blue Lagoon, Nusa Ceningan
2. Driftwood Bar
After the Blue Lagoon, we headed along the coast in search of Secret Beach. On the way, we accidentally stumbled into a classy hotel, which had an infinity pool overlooking another stunning blue cove. The hotel was called ‘Driftwood Bar’ and I definitely recommend stopping for a smoothie and enjoying the pool on your way to Secret Beach. One of the best things about the Nusa Islands was there were hardly any other people around. We got to enjoy so many locations all to ourselves.
3. Secret Beach
We walked our way through a maze of hedges along the coast to finally arrive at a lookout over Secret Beach. I waited at the lookout and snapped a shot of my friend Jorden down in the water before finally joining them on the beach. One other family was at the beach but other than that it lived up to its name.
A shallow reef spanned almost the entire beach, which didn’t make for great swimming. However, one small strip of sand had us snorkeling in what Jorden called, “The clearest water of his life.”
4. Mahana Point
Time was ticking on our day on Nusa Ceningan Island so we packed up and started the trek back towards another cliff jumping spot. This time we walked back past the Blue Lagoon and headed across to the other side of the cliffs. We came across a sunset bar with diving boards called Mahana Point. A 10m and 6m board overlooked a popular surf break. A few beers and a quality sunset topped off our amazing day on Nusa Ceningan!
Read the full blog post: Mahana Point Cliff Jump
5. Nusa Ceningan Yellow Bridge
On your way from Nusa Lembongan, you will have to cross the iconic yellow bridge. The bridge is quite a significant landmark and has a sad history. In 2016, 9 people lost their lives and almost 20 others were injured when the entire bridge collapsed into the shallow ocean beneath it. The bridge has been rebuilt and has been titled ‘The Bridge of Love’. If you are ever in the area at night, make sure to check out the bridge, which is adorned in lights and is fast becoming a spectacle for tourists! the yellow bridge is a bit of an icon for the Nusa Islands.
MORE NUSA ISLANDS BLOG POSTS
There’s a ton of epic things to do on Nusa Penida, but I also wrote detailed guides for all of the adventurous things to do on Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, and the Nusa Islands as an overall guide.
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Nusa Islands Map