Exploring the Tropical Trio off the coast of Mainland Bali — Suggested travel guide on what to see for 3 days exploring the Nusa Islands, Indonesia
If you have been to Bali a couple of times and have explored much of the main island, why not venture towards uncharted waters and explore the Nusa islands off mainland Bali?
If you want to get away from the craziness and busy tourist areas in mainland Bali, these islands are the perfect choice. While the Nusa islands are 30 minutes nearby, they still feel like worlds away with their more rough and adventurous spirit.
The Nusa Islands are in fact not for the faint-hearted. All throughout, the locals always tell us, ‘hati-hati’—which means ‘caution’ or ‘be careful’. While the Nusa Islands are 30 minutes nearby, they still feel like worlds away with a rough and adventurous spirit. Let’s dive deep and know more about the tropical trio: Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan.
While you can do a day trip to the islands, I recommend you give it at least 3 to 4 days to explore the neighboring islands.
Currency exchange of Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) in Philippine Peso (PHP) and United States Dollar (USD) (as of 10/2019)1 PHP = 280 IDR
1 USD = 14K IDR
Going around from island to island from and around Bali can be done via speedboat, with hourly trips until 4PM or 5PM. It is best to pre-book your trip, especially during high season!
The most convenient way to get around the island is via motorbike. It usually costs 100K to 150K IDR to rent a scooter for the day. Most villas and hotels allow you to borrow their scooters and take you around the island for free as well.
Nusa Penida, in a few words, is epic and breathtaking.
I have been to a lot of amazing beaches. We have plenty of spectacular beaches in Philippines! But Nusa Penida is still something you cannot unsee–something you have to experience by yourself.
I regret that we only spent 8 hours in this amazing island! We only had enough time to catch a glimpse of the amazing spots, so if you had the choice please stay at least 2 days in Nusa Penida to have ample time to explore deeper.
CAUTION: the roads in Nusa Penida are bumpy and ugly! If we knew how ugly the roads were, we would’ve chosen to go via van rather than by scooter. We even saw a girl on the side of the road, fresh from a motorbike accident with a big open wound on her precious legs! Please drive safe and as Indonesians say it, ‘hati-hati’ (be careful)– the roads in Nusa Penida deemed for an offroad vehicle!
How to Get to Nusa Penida
From Nusa Lembongan, there’s a boat that leaves hourly from 7AM by the ‘yellow bridge’ until 5PM. Don’t miss the last boat else you will have to stay the night in Nusa Penida! (we almost did!)
Things to do in Nusa Penida
- Kelingking Beach
Kelingking was one of the best beaches I’ve seen in my life, and I’ve seen a lot in my lifetime (and I have seen a lot, living in the tropical paradise of Philippines). It has been featured consistently in many platforms as World’s Best Beaches or Asia’s Best Beaches lists. Kelingking is something your mind cannot forget. Like your First Kiss. Or Napoli Pizza.
What a sweet view Kelingking offered! The cliffs were aptly nicknamed ‘T-Rex’, because the shape resembles the head of the dinosaur.
It is funny to see how feeble the makeshift fences built on the edges of the cliffs looked—the fences absolutely served no purpose as a safety barrier to onlookers. How easy it would be for someone to miss a step and fall 500 meters to your death! Please be careful when you make your way down!
Make your way down the very steep stairs to get to the beach. Once you get down, you will see an amazing beach with amazing waves crashing from everywhere. It’s not safe for swimming, so unless you are an expert swimmer I suggest you stay out of the water!
Another part you can check out is the famous Tree House (Romah Pohon) of Nusa Penida, perched up on the mountain at Thousand Island viewpoint.
Read about my story about Kelingking Beach and Indonesia culture by following this link: IS INDONESIA ‘JUST LIKE THE PHILIPPINES’?
- Angel’s Billabong
You will need to traverse through more ugly roads to get to Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach (thankfully, both are nearby)
Apart from that famous surf clothing label, I didn’t really know what a ‘billabong’ is–nothing Google can’t fix, and one search yields the definition in a millisecond:
“an Australian word, a branch of a river forming a backwater or stagnant pool, made by water flowing from the main stream during a flood.”from Oxford
Angel’s Billabong in Nusa Penida is another marvelous work of nature, with clear blue tidal pools located in the east coast of the island. If you look beyond the cliffs Manta Rays can be clearly seen swimming happilyon the coast.
As with tidal pools, you need to see it on the right time of day–the experience is different if you visit Angel’s Billabong during high tide and low tide. You can take a dip in the pool even.
- Broken Beach
Another crowd favorite is the amazing Broken Beach that features a natural archway that wraps around the bay. It is just a short 5-minute walk from Angel’s Billabong.
Unfortunately there is no ‘safe’ way to get in the cove and have a swim in the sparkling blue waters.
After Broken Beach, head towards the hill to your right to look down the ocean. There is the famous ‘Manta Ray Viewpoint’ cliffs where you can catch the big manta rays hang out.
There are still other places in Nusa Penida that we didn’t go to because of lack of time–I told you, come there for more than 2 days and you won’t regret it! Some of the recommended must-go places we missed were Crystal Bay, Diamond Beach, Teletubbies Hill, Atuh Beach and Thousand Islands Viewpoint. Ah well… more reason to come back to this magical place!
Nusa Lembongan is the known surf destination among the Nusa Islands. This was the very reason we stayed in Nusa Lembongan!
I didn’t get to surf though, nor did I see many surfers in the area. Maybe it still wasn’t surf season, and looking at the washing-machine waters I think it would be suicide to brave a ride.
True enough there is a feel of danger lurking in most spots in Nusa Lembongan. The rocks are sharp and edgy, and one wrong step could get you some cuts on your precious legs, so bring proper footwear!
Things to do in Nusa Lembongan
- Mushroom Bay
Mushroom Bay is where we were dropped off after taking the speedboat from Mainland Bali. There are a handful of great restaurants, shops and bars in the area, all within walking distance.
- Devil’s Tears
The best sunset spots in the Nusa Islands is in Devil’s Tears, Nusa Lembongan. Something about the rocky cliffs and angry waves that made the whole vibe so cinematic and out of this world—it looked so scary it was almost romantic, certainly otherworldly.
There is a part of the spectacle where big waves come crashing into a small cove, and a few seconds later it spits out the water back like a blowhole.
Sandy Bay is just adjacent to Devil’s Tears and has a secluded beach with upscale villas and romantic dinner spots in the area.
It’s super easy to get to Nusa Ceningan from Nusa Lembongan–just cross the yellow bridge. It’s a small island known for cliff jumping and other adrenaline-inducing outdoor activities.
Best thing to do in Nusa Ceningan
Nusa Ceningan is a small island known for cliff jumping, swimming with manta rays, and other adrenaline-inducing activities. There are a few amazing spots to visit, too.
- Yellow Bridge
To get to Nusa Ceningan, you just need to cross the Yellow Bridge from Nusa Lembongan. The Yellow Bridge connects the two island, it’s hard to miss it!
- Blue Lagoon
The view of Blue Lagoon is pristine—the brightest blue water you will ever see in your life (without filter!) The juxtaposition of the bright clear blue waters, the greens, and the white sands that make the whole scene so ethereal and dream-like.
You can do cliff jumps in the area at 4-meter, 6-meter, 8-meter and 13-meter.
- Secret Beach
Cebu Pacific flies to Bali (Denpasar) via Manila and back daily. To book a flight, you can go to the link: http://bit.ly/CEB_RArandilla_DPS
Have fun and Hati Hati!
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