Exploring the nusa islands

My last trip to the Nusa islands was a little, uhm what can I say, disappointing? Due to a round of not-so-nice balibelly we weren’t able to explore as much as we wanted. That is why I was even more excited to go back with Ingvild and Ellie the other week. We managed to see and do just about everything that we wanted to in the 3 nights we spent there, and have a whole bunch of tips and pictures to share with you guys. If you’re interested in reading my post from my last trip to the Nusas, you can check it out here.

Firstly, the best and most convenient way to get around is by scooter. We had a slightly hysterical/traumatising moment where both Ingvild and Ellie attempted to drive one. Both realised within a few dramatic seconds that that was not gonna happen. So instead of risking all of our lives by squeezing all three on my scooter, we opted for walking, and got a few lifts from our very lovely and helpful host.

On our first full day we did a snorkelling trip to Manta Bay, Crystal Bay and Gamat Bay. Manta Bay was definitely the highlight of the three, as we had an amazing experience snorkelling with three beautiful manta rays. At times there was less than ten centimeters separating us and the mantas, and it almost felt as though they were playing or dancing with us. Crystal Bay and Gamat Bay both had amazing, clear water and a lot of beautiful fish, but the water there was a lot colder and with pretty strong currents. Still gorgeous though.

Day two went to Nusa Penida, the bigger, less developed island of the three. We got a small fishing boat from the harbour by the bridge on Nusa Lembongan over to the harbour on Penida. Our host advised us not to pay more than 200K IDR in total one way. We ended up agreeing to 450K/return, as the guy was happy to pick us up whenever we wanted later in the day.

Once we got to Penida we hired two scooters, one that I drove with Ingvild on the back, and one with a driver and Ellie on the back. This worked out pretty well, although it did cost us a little extra. For the full day we payed 330K for both scooters and the driver. The only bad thing with the sights on Penida is that they’re a bit far away from each other, and the roads are not good, haha. You could say our bums were a little numb after 4 + hours on bumpy roads and bad scooter seats. The sights and nature was beautiful though, and most definitely worth it!

We drove to Kelingking Secret beach first, also known as the T-Rex (see above). Up there we got an absolutely stunning view of the secret beach and the surrounding T-Rex shaped cliffs. This was where I annoyingly realised that I had forgotten the memory card to my camera, so I ended up having to make do with my phone. Luckily this place is impressive enough to look good on most devices.

Next stop was Broken Beach and Billabong (see below). Nature and the strong waves here have created magnificent cliffs where the waves play around and crash up against the walls. Hard to describe, but beautiful to watch.

Apart from the above, we also explored Lembongan. The top spots to check out here are Dream Beach and Mushroom Beach (where I recommend the Margherita pizza at Hai Bar). As well as Sandy Beach (where you can get amazing tuna steak while watching the sunset) and Devil’s Tears. We also got to see many of the sights like the Blue Lagoon and Devil’s Tears while we were at sea on the snorkelling trip.

I think three days/nights at the islands is the perfect amount of time if you just want to explore a little. There are tons of boat companies that offer roundtrips including pick up and drop off at the harbour/hotel. Boats leave from Sanur and Padangbai on Bali and shouldn’t cost you more than around 4-6ooK IDR for the return (depending on where you departure from). I’ve tried Arthamas express, Scoot fast cruises and a few others but always book through  my homestay or one of the small stalls along the streets (if you book there you can sometimes bargain, although homestays normally have good rates).

As for accommodation, you can book in advance and get some great deals on fairly luxurious bungalows like Kencana Gardens or Dream Beach Cottages (highly recommend both). Or you can walk in to guesthouses that lie near the harbour/main beach and ask for available rooms on arrival. You’re bound to find something cheap here although the standard tends to be more basic. Perfect if you want easy access to the surf spots though.

And that’s about it! The Nusas are absolutely stunning and definitely worth a visit (or three, like me haha). If you go or have been, let us know what you thought.

Emilie x

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