Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan & Nusa Penida


The 3 islands that sits across the Badung Strait on the SE coast of Bali are Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan & Nusa Penida. These islands are part of the district of Klungkung and the population are Balinese Hindus. These 3 islands are somewhat impoverished, relying on seaweed farming, cattle and other low-return activities, with tourism the brightest light on the horizon.

All 3 islands have locations suitable for scuba diving, the clean, clear water being home to some magnificent coral. Strong currents and tides are part of the deal when diving on these islands, so care should be taken to use a certified dive shop, with good equipment, instructors and boat captain. The majority of the dive sites are located on the northern side of the islands, away from the ocean swell.

Surfing Nusa Lembongan can be a pleasant escape from the beach breaks of Kuta / Legian and the reef breaks on the Bukit. The 3 main breaks are Playgrounds, Shipwrecks and Lacerations.

Having no lakes or major rivers due to the porous limestone ground, the islands are somewhat dry. This limits population and development. The south coast of Nusa Penida does actually have fresh water springs and small waterfalls, great scenery, with breath taking limestone cliffs.

Getting to Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan & Nusa Penida means catching a boat from either Sanur jetty, at Jl. Hang Tuah, Benoa harbor, Kusamba or Padangbai. All the luxury operators sail out of Benoa harbor and head for the developed section of Nusa Lembongan or Toyapakeh (Quicksilver 0361-729564) on Nusa Penida. Most of these luxury operators offer snorkeling, some have a beach club equipped for overnight stays.

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The local operators sailing out of the other Bali ports use small boats, sailing when they are full. Crossings can be rough and all you get is the ride over. The great thing about the local boats is they offer some flexibility, in that you can catch them from locations east of Benoa and also arrange charters. Crossing time from Kusamba to Nusa Penida / Nusa Lembongan is around 1-2 hours, depending on the route and the conditions. From Sanur the journey time is about 1 hour 30 mins – 2 hours to Nusa Lembongan. From Padangbai to Nusa Penida the crossing time is 1 hour.

Prices for getting over to the 3 islands varies, according to the level of luxury. For a ride on a luxury boat, one way from Benoa harbor over to Nusa Lembongan you are looking at $15 and up one-way.

Boats from Sanur will get you to Nusa Lembongan for between 40,000-50,000rp. Perama also has a shuttle to Nusa Lembongan for roughly similar prices.

Sailing from Padangbai to Nusa Penida by local boat you can expect to pay around 30,000rp. Kusamba to Nusa Penida / Nusa Lembongan costs around 30,000rp. There are no direct boats to Nusa Ceningan.

Most of the quality accommodation is located in Nusa Lembongan around Mushrooms Bay & Jungutbatu.

Taking a relaxing trip and enjoying the tranquility on Nusa Lembongan, exploring Nusa Penida or doing a spot of surfing / diving can all be good reasons to visit the islands.