Our Trip To Nusa Lembongan And Nusa Ceninngan
We went to Nusa islands on Kate's birthday. I booked a hotel and ferry online to avoid any scams with private boats. You can go directly to Sanur and find boats to Nusa and Gili islands there, but it will definitely be 2 or 3 times more expensive. It's no longer easy to negotiate the price with Balinese people.
I used Scoot Cruise company which seems the most organized and promising and they have a free transfer on islands. So they can pick you up at your hotel and drop off at a hotel on the other island. Which is good because transport in Bali and these islands is a different story.
Nusa islands consist of 3 islands: Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Cenningan, and Nusa Penida. We explored 2 of them, and I'll share what we liked and what we didn't like about this trip. I can say for sure that we stopped watching travel videos after this trip. Because it's no longer makes sense to us. Things are really different from what you consume from nicely made videos with best things to see and what it is in real life.
Our transfer from Canggu to Sanur went smoothly except traffic jams, but this is the usual thing for Bali, and you can expect to commute from one area to another for 1-2 hours even if it's 10-30 kilometers.
When we came to Nusa Lembongan, I realized that I booked the hotel in the middle of nowhere and I'd say that roads on the islands do not exist. You can commute, but it's bumpy and consists of small and medium rocks. So we canceled our booking and went to more developed part of the island near Mushroom beach.
There was no any transport, but it took us about 20-30 minutes to go there by foot. We stopped by a cafe to have cold drinks and find something in the area in hotel booking apps. I usually use Agoda to book hotels. I like their app and overall User eXperience, but for some reason on this island hotels, villas and guest houses prefer more using Booking to list their options. So you actually can find more options there than on Agoda.
Lots of places were already booked. Make sure you'll book your hotel there a week or even more before your trip. Finally, we found a place with a good rating and reviews. It wasn't something fancy and cozy, but at least clean and with mosquitos repellent in the room. Which is convenient if you have a room or bungalow with a wooden roof.
The island is still in the development stage and seems much drier than Bali. What I've heard is that they used to grow rice, but figured out that tourists bring more money. So they started building hotels, villas, cafes to get the most out of it.
After checking in, we went to check Mushroom beach nearby. Also, we wanted to rent a scooter somewhere there.
Probably, September is not a season for swimming or even surfing. The Mushroom beach and others weren't ok to swim at this time because of the low tide, but probably they're good if you come in winter or summer.
It was challenging to rent a scooter. They are more expensive than in Bali and in bad condition in most of the cases. Our bike was with one mirror on the right side, broken seat, no lights, no horn and no fuel indicator. I asked for helmets, but the guy who rented it out me in the "tourist office" smiled and said that there is no police on the island and we don't need helmets. Then I asked about fuel, and he checked the tank and said it's enough for one day.
We went explore cliffs at Devil's Tear, and there was a really good sunset point with the view on Bali and Agung volcano which was dangerous these days. The unusual thing was to watch how the water massively hits cliffs. That's a genuinely huge power.
The bike worked smoothly concerning riding on these harsh “roads,” but it was really funny to use the light on our phones to go to our hotel at night. There is not much light on the island in the night time. Only in places where you can find cafes, some shops, etc.
However, we found a benefit of this after we noticed how beautiful was the night sky. It might the first time in my life I saw milky way and stars were so bright. So it's hard to explain it with words.
The next day we went to explore other parts of Nusa Lembongan and try to find a place to swim and get a little bit of rest on a beach.
Our breakfast at the vegetarian restaurant was really good. We had breakfast bowls with fruits and homemade yogurt. It's located at Jungutbatu, the area where we came to the island. They have a long coastal area there, but unfortunately, it's not clean because of the boats, old buildings that looked like barns and boats that arrive and departs many times during the day. I believe that the development of the island started from there and it was the main area of import and export.
We spent some time on the beach, but just to get some rest. It wasn't swimmable.
The next thing we wanted to check out is Mangrove forest, but when we came there, it seemed too touristy for us and paying an enormous amount to watch for trees growing from water wasn't something we wanted to spend time on. So we went further to explore the rest of the island and go to a neighboring island Nusa Cenningan by the gold bridge.
So far so good, but we ran out of fuel in the middle of nowhere. Since the fuel indicator didn't work and it was indicating half of the tank all the time since we rented it. We stuck right in the most undeveloped part of the island. There was only the road and jungle and no-one else. I checked the map and seemed like in a couple of kilometers there was a village or something similar to this.
We have met local people near some hotel or villa on our way there, and they offered us to get petrol from them for 5 times more than it costs in Bali, and on our way further, we have met a nice old lady that sold us one litter for half the price previous guys offered us.
The second island is smaller than Nusa Lembongan but much more interesting. It's located between 3 islands, but the third one that called Nusa Penida is not connected to first two islands. So if you want to go there, you can arrange a boat on Nusa Cenningan.
We passed through the golden bridge that connects first 2 islands and instantly went exploring what it has. At first, we've been skeptical about Nusa Ceninngan and didn't expect it to be so interesting. However, despite its size, we found lots of interesting places like beaches, cliffs, mountain views including an amazing view of Nusa Penida.
These are some of the places that we recommend to visit on Nusa Ceninngan.
There are also nice looking and creative cafes.
We didn't go to Nusa Penida since it's even less developed than others and we decided to leave this idea for now. Anyway, it was nice to go to these two Nusa islands. There were some negative moments traveling there, but it's a part of an experience and the rule number is to not expect anything before going to a place and take the most out of it. So at the end of the day, we're happy with the trip and remember only the best moments like the amazing Secret beach, clear night sky, our story with the scooter and things like that.