I have been hopping around on the Nusa Islands and I finally have time to fill you in.
So grab your popcorn, get comfy, and tell your boyfriend to stop talking about football for five damn minutes so you can focus.
*Cough cough* (That was me dropping a hint to Stephen.)
I want to be really clear on the break down of the Nusa Islands, because before traveling here I was trying to research on which one to go to and I really never found a good answer, so I ended up going to all three of them.
Getting to the Nusa Islands was a task in itself. We left from the Sanur port about fifteen minutes from the place we were staying. We hired a car from our villa to the port, found the sketchy place to buy boat tickets and bought a one way (about 100.000 RP per person) on the slow boat and was told the boat would leave in approx. 43 minutes.
We opted out of taking the fast boat because it was almost doubled the price and we weren’t in a hurry. Good thing we weren’t in a hurry because the boat was about thirty minutes late due to them loading the boat with all sorts of goodies for the Islands… like water jugs, fruits, and other items. I swear these men have super powers, they were carrying double their weight…down rocks….in water… I quickly stopped bitching about my backpack. When we finally were able to board the boat we did so in kneedeep water carrying our belongings above our heads and were then crammed in the back of the boat with about six other people…I guess being on the slow boat and saving money meant squeezing in between the water jugs and backpacks.
We had a (not so) quick hour and a half trip to Nusa Lembongan where we unloaded and looked more lost than ever. We knew we were staying on Ceningan and we knew there was the famous yellow bridge that connected the two islands, but that was about it. We walked up from the beach to the village, found a man who offered to take us to the yellow bridge for about 150.000 Rp, and accepted the deal:
- because we really didn’t have any other option and 2. We weren’t going anywhere fast with two backpacks, luggage, and a camera bag.
It turns out that the yellow bridge is more like a yellow path because you are only able to take a scooter across it or walk. We were let out next to the bridge and had a local tell us that we could’ve arranged for the place we were staying at to pick us up from the yellow bridge………………..
With no phone, no wifi, and no way to get in contact with them we were shit out of luck.
We hauled our heavy ass backpack across the bridge and I was instantly regretting bringing seven pairs of shorts and three pairs of shoes and whatever else was weighing me down. We got on the other end of the bridge and began searching for a way to our villa. We decided that walking was about the only option we had so we started up hill and luckily had the map of the area already downloaded. About 15 minutes into our 30 minute up hill battle, a god send of a woman who happened to work at the place we were staying got us a ride and what was going to be fifteen minutes of hell ended up being a quick two-minute ride on a bumpy road.
Our first night in Ceningan was at Le Pirate. It was a very little (emphasis on the word little), cute and quiet place with yet another awesome infinity pool right by the water. The room’s were teeny tiny and literally only consisted of a bed, but I wasn’t complaining…I was actually napping. Literally the minute we got there I stuffed my face with spring rolls and took a good hour power nap. We enjoyed another beautiful Bali sunset and spent some time with the local pups. I found it interesting that the entire island only runs on salt water. The shower and sinks run only on salt water and our place didn’t have hot water at all. Let’s just say my shower was extremely quick.
The next morning we grabbed some fruit, packed up and headed to our next place Ceningan Resort. Luckily it was right down the street and Le Pirate offered us a ride, we definitely didn’t turn it down.
Ceningan Resort was more like a little village. All of the rooms were villas and it had an outdoor restaurant under huts next to the water and a salt water pool. We knew we wanted to explore the other islands while being here so we arranged for a boat to pick us up from the resort the next morning at 7 am to get an early start because we had to be back by 3 pm for dive lessons.
We headed to Nusa Penida, which was a super quick 15 minute boat ride from Ceningan. We explored Angel’s Billabong, Broken Beach (which by the way is not at all a beach) and Kelinking Beach (one of the hardest beaches to get to, but totally worth it). Unfortuntely due to the full moon, the tide was high and Angel’s Billabong wasn’t accesible, but that was our only drawback. The roads here are not paved at all, and getting around by scooter is rather difficult…but nonetheless totally worth it.
If you are at all contemplating visitng Kelinking Beach, which I highly suggest you do, keep in mind it is about an hour hike down and an hour (at least) hike back up. So give yourself plenty of time, also bring lots of water and something to eat once you make it down. That hike is no joke. It is a straight slope down and you rely on hand-made bamboo steps built by the locals tied together with blue boat string.
I must say it was one of the most beautiful beaches and there were only two other people down there because not a lot of people make the trek down.
We only had the chance of exploring these places before jumping back on our boat and heading back to Ceningan.
The next day I had the absolute pleasure of scuba diving for the first time with the Ceningan Divers. Having never done this before, I was super nervous and almost backed out last-minute.
Something about learning to breathe underwater was a little intimidating.
I am so glad Sandra, our instructor, talked me through it.
I have been snorkeling millions of times, okay not millions but enough to know that this was fifty times better than snorkeling.
It is literally a whole different world down there. I have never been so amazed. There really isn’t a word to describe the feeling of floating 10 meters underwater with hundreds of neon colored fish circling you.
I may or may not have hummed the little mermaid’s theme song for the first thirty minutes of being underwater. (Stop judging me.)
It was an experience I will never forget and one that I am so thankful to have gotten to experience. If you ever have the chance to go scuba diving…do not pass it up.
After doing two dives we headed back for a quick salt water shower, rented a scooter and headed to Nusa Lembongan (the island we had arrived on).
We wanted to check out the beaches there and see how it measured up to the two other islands.
We checked out mushroom beach and dream beach, both were beautiful but after seeing Kelinking, nothing quite measured up. Don’t get me wrong these were way easier to get to and still very beautiful, but Kelinking will always be my favorite. There was more of a variety of restaurants and this seemed to be the busiest island out of the three of them. We caught the sunset at Devil’s Tear and watched they sky turn into a cotton candy mixture of pink and blue before heading back to the yellow bridge (which happens to light up different colors at night).
To sum up the three islands for you:
Nusa Lembongan– more touristy, seems like the main island people go to. Way more restaurants, night life, and places to stay.
Ceningan-Quiet, best for diving and getting off the beaten path.
Nusa Penida-Less civilized island with big views. I wouldn’t recommend staying the night on this island but definitely visit if you are ever in the area and spend a day exploring.
Time flew by, and after a quick four days we were headed back to Bali.
We managed to get a ride from Ceningan Resort where a local and his wife somehow loaded our luggage onto scooters and had us follow them on a different scooter back to the port to head back to Sanur. Putu, the kind man who gave us a ride, got us the local price for the fast boat back to Bali so we had a quick thirty minute ride back.
Another thing to take note of, when boarding boats, they will offer to carry your luggage for you, which is great, but be prepared to pay a fee. A man picked up our luggage without us even asking, carried it to the boat, and then turned around and asked us for 50.000 RP. We later find out the most you should ever pay for them to help you with luggage is around 20.000 RP.
Just another lesson learned.
I feel like I blinked and the last week went by. It is crazy how fast time is going by.
My days left in Bali are numbered and I look forward to sharing each and every one with you.