My time in Indonesia has come to an end. As I write this I’m sitting in the Sea Breeze bar on Nusa Ceningan, having a large Bintang (Indonesian beer) and some lunch before I start my journey to London.
Why Nusa Ceningan?
<Pronounced chen – ing – an>
Many Australians go to Bali for a holiday of partying, drinking and all sorts of crazy mischief. Often they come home even more exhausted than they were when they left!
Due to this reputation, I’d never had any interest in visiting Bali… Indonesia? Yes… But Bali, no.
When planning my trip, I knew I wanted a week or two in a tropical beach setting to relax, do nothing and just recover. Then I could start my new adventure in good mental state. I knew I was going to the UK to catch up with friends, so wanted somewhere that was pretty much on the way and wouldn’t add much to the flight time or costs.
I looked at India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Philippines to name a few… I couldn’t find the perfect place with the perfect flight connections. Then I was looking at Indonesia, but the best flight connections were to the dreaded Bali!
While doing some research, I found out that “Bali” usually referred to a party district within Kuta… A small area in the south of the island, not far from the airport. Bali is actually a fairly large island, with many areas to chose from that are far less… Trashy Aussie. (no offence to people who love it. I just figure I can party with drunk Aussies at home!)
To start with I thought about some remote beaches on the north of the island, but decided they were a bit too much effort to get to. Then Ubud, which sounds awesome and I do want to go to one day… But I had my heart set on the beach.
Then I found Nusa Lembongan – an island off the south east of Bali which is easily accessible by speedboat in 30 minutes. And what’s more – there is an even smaller island just off that called Nusa Ceningan. Sounds perfect!
What is there to do in Nusa Ceningan?
Nusa Ceningan, and the larger Nusa Lembongan have a variety of things you can do to keep you occupied for ages. You can do as little or as much as you like! Some days I didn’t leave my resort, just lazed by the pool, on my balcony, in my room… Reading, drinking, playing online, lazing in the sun or swimming. Other days, I spend the entire day exploring the islands.
There are some awesome snorkelling sights around, and I had planned on going on a snorkelling trip – but honestly, I got lazy! This trip for me was really about relaxing, and recovering from ‘real life’ before starting my long term trip.
One day, I hired a motorbike and explored both islands – it was beautiful. I had lunch in the mangrove forest at the north of Nusa Lembongan which was beautiful. I visited the main village on the island, as well as smaller villages and beaches… And just enjoyed riding a motorbike around the somewhat challenging paths they call roads here!
There are some famous surf breaks here too. I enjoyed sitting in a bar on the point, watching surfers do their thing while I sat safely with my beer.
Honestly, whether you’re an active outdoorsy person or a lazy read in bed person… I think you’d love to spend some time in Ceningan and Lembongan.
How to get to Nusa Ceningan?
I used Marlin Fast Boats to get from Bali to Nusa Ceningan.
Technically you can book on their website, however I sent a reservation request and got an automatic confirmation that said they’d be in contact but then I didn’t hear anything else. I happened to walk past their office the next afternoon, so stopped to book face to face.
For r300,000 (AUD $30), they organised to pick me up from my hotel in Sanur and take me right to where the boat leaves from. They said they’d pick me up between 12:00 and 12:30, and were at my hotel right on 12:00.
The boat was scheduled to leave at 3pm, and left about 15 minutes after that which is very much on time for SE Asia!
We arrived at Mushroom Beach, Nusa Lembongan at 3:45pm and I was taken from there to the ‘Yellow Bridge’ – the small suspension bring joining Nusa Lembongan with Nusa Ceningan. This bridge is only wide (and strong) enough for pedestrians and motorbikes, so I walked across the bridge and on the other side was picked up by my hotel – Da Fish for the 5 min drive to where I was staying.
All in all, it was a very smoothly run trip and I felt safe and like everything was under control the whole time. I’d definitely recommend them.
Note: If you’re easily sea sick, I recommend taking sea sickness tablets before getting on this boat. It was not the smoothest boat ride of my life!
Where to stay in Nusa Ceningan?
There are a variety of hotels/resorts to chose from on Nusa Ceningan. Not as many as Nusa Lembongan, as it’s a much smaller and quieter island, however you definitely have choice – and they vary widely in price and luxury.
I stayed at DaFish Accommodation & Bar – and I really enjoyed myself. It’s a midrange place, and fairly small – only 6 bungalows, so you never feel crowded. The bungalows are comfortable, but not flash. There is a bar, restaurant, pool, ocean view… Everything you need!
At Da Fish, they can organise motorbike rental, transfers, snorkelling trips… All sorts of things! They do make it clear that they can do all of this for you, but are by no means pushy. I hired a motorbike for a day, but didn’t do any other organised trips or anything – and they never pushed the point.
The staff are super friendly and helpful – every time they saw me, they said “Hello Adam, how are you?” with a big smile. I’ve not stayed in many places that address you by name every time they see you. I felt very much at home here, and am sad to be leaving.
Questions or Comments?
Planning a trip to Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan or Bali? Have any questions that I’ve not answered here?
Have any additional thoughts or advice in relation to this post?
Please share in the comments section below!