Exploring The Nusas
A lot is happening in Bali’s three sister islands. Named Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, and Nusa Penida, the islands are popular among those seeking a quick getaway from the increasingly hectic pace of mainland Bali. Anyone entering any of these three ‘Nusas’ will instantly appreciate the islands’ magnificent, tranquil atmosphere.
There are a myriad of things for visitors to do here, for the three islands are a great place to splash through a holiday with fun water games and activities. The surrounding azure waters inviting you in to join the activities that will surely thrill and excite you.
Nusa Lembongan’s pristine beaches lure quite a number of sun worshippers. Dream Beach, no doubt one of the prettiest beaches in Bali, is increasingly drawing more visitors. The coastal landscape in this part of Lembongan is mostly low-lying limestone cliffs, and there are some dramatic cave formations. A beautiful view can be seen from the cliff on the right side of Dream Beach, especially during sunset. A five-minute walk from here is the Devil’s Tears, a rocky outcrop with dramatic crashing waves and water plumes. Other popular beaches are Mushroom Bay and Jungut Batu.
Passing the bumpy beachside roads of Nusa Lembongan on the way to the sister island of Nusa Ceningan, you can spot a cove flooded by lots of canoes. The canoes are an attraction in themselves, especially for tourists’ cameras; but what lays underneath them is a story of how the coastal residents of the island support their humble lifestyle.
Looking out to the sea, you can see small groups of men and women bent over, tending their lines of seaweed. It isn’t a mega-agricultural site, but the seaweed farmers of Lembongan take the business very seriously, and are even going about it in an environmentally-friendly way!
All along the beach seaweed farmers come and go, bringing out bags of seedlings or loading the latest harvest into their boats. The farm consists of a few simple buildings the farmers use for resting and for preparing the seedlings. The remaining land is used for drying the seaweed, which, when dried, is sold to the local suppliers for less than five dollars per kilogram! The dried seaweed will then be shipped to Denpasar and other areas in neighbouring Java to later be used as an ingredient for food and beverages as well as cosmetic products.
The seaweed is easily visible as the water is normally clear, and this gives the farm extra appeal in the view of visitors. Fortunately, the farmers don’t feel disturbed by the presence of onlookers.
Anyway, it only takes a five-minute, scenic bike ride from the seaweed farms to Nusa Ceningan. Sandwiched between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan is also famous for its crystal clear waters, making diving and snorkelling popular activities there. A suspension bridge on the Ceningan Strait makes a visit to this island from Nusa Lembongan easy, it’s also one of the favourite spots for a photograph.
Initially frequented by surfers, Ceningan has now flown into the radar of honeymooners and those looking for a quiet, laid back atmosphere. The island has been established as part of the Bali surf circuit for quite some time now, for it houses three main breaks that are located on the west coast of the island. These famous three, including others, are especially crowded during the dry season.
Though the most popular mode of transportation in Ceningan is motorbike (just like in Lembongan), the island is excellent for walking; and keen visitors should not hesitate to just head out on foot and explore the myriad tracks that criss-cross Ceningan. The landscape of Ceningan composes scenic paths and small roads, with the westward views back over Nusa Lembongan to the main island of Bali. Viewing the sunset over Bali from the central Ceningan ridge is definitely worth the effort. The estuarine channel between Lembongan and Ceningan is home to many seaweed farms as well.
Here you can also find the bluest water you’ve ever seen at the aptly named Blue Lagoon.
The biggest of the three islands, Nusa Penida is commonly branded as an ultimate beach getaway; the island’s bays are white sand and the perfectly clear waters are perfect for snorkelling and diving. Some of the beaches are truly idyllic spots, and you’re likely to have it to yourself apart from the dive boats offshore. If you want to get off the beaten path then a trip to Nusa Penida is sure to do the trick. For some, the draw is the turquoise waters; for others, the pure privacy is more than enough.
Angel’s Billabong is located in an area called Pasih Uwug, meaning “broken beach”, and it is a brilliant geological phenomenon. Upon arriving in the area, you’ll be presented with the breathtaking view of Batu Bolong, a spectacular natural arch created by the rock cliffs that go down into the sea. Now, this is something broken we don’t want to be fixed!
Away from Batu Bolong and into Nusa Penida’s hidden gem that has currently been brought to fame, Kelingking Beach on the island’s Bunga Mekar village offers breathtaking views over the hills and small strip of white sand from atop a hill of the same name. The unique natural makeup here features a limestone peninsula covered in green with the blue water of the Indian Ocean in the background. Also known as the “T-Rex Bay”, Kelingking has a unique formation that resembles the head of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Only those who are fit and adventurous descend to the small stretch of white sand beach below, for you have to go down approximately 400 metres of the rugged cliffside. Alternatively, you can always rent a boat.
To reach Kelingking you will travel through asphalted roads that have been eroded and turned to gravel. The roads may be bumpy, but the breathtaking natural views will make the journey a pleasant one. You should make a stop in one of the villages on your way to the area – here you can get a glimpse of real Balinese life.
A sacred location in Nusa Penida is Goa Giri Putri. A meditation site, a Balinese Hindu temple and a Buddhist worshipping place rolled into one, the cave temple Goa Giri is a delight to discover. Loosely translated to “the cave of the daughter of the hill”, this temple is crowded by pilgrims especially from outside Nusa Penida during the weekend.
Getting into this temple one must crawl and kneel through a small hole before finally stepping on to a path that leads to a huge, natural, cathedral-like area where shrines and labyrinths for meditation are located. Occasionally, water drips from the walls of the cave. Near the exit, an altar is dedicated to the Buddhist goddess Dewi Kwan Im, the goddess of mercy and compassion. Non-worshippers are allowed entry given that they wear praying attire. Lights have been installed inside the cave, and this allows adequate lighting if you wish to snap some photos.
Another place of worship for the Balinese Hindus and a feast for the eyes for the visitors to Nusa Penida is Pura Paluang. Known as the Car Temple, Paluang is unique with two shrines in the shape of a car. The two cars are believed to be vehicles of the spirit of Ratu Gede Sakti Hyang Mami along with her children and subjects.
And just like anything else holy and sacred, the two cars are wrapped in checkered poleng cloth with offerings flooding them. Pura Paluang is located in Bunga Mekar village.
To explore the Nusas properly, we suggest you stay the night; a minimum of two-nights gives you enough time to discover the islands and also have time to relax.
The Tamarind Resort – Nusa Lembongan is perched on the heights of Nusa Lembongan, offering an unparalleled view over to mainland Bali. The Tamarind Resort is currently the only five-star resort in Lembongan, making it an indulgent escape for you and the whole family. The Tamarind offers 3 types of rooms – Candrika, Atapa and Pavana – each providing king-size beds, air conditioning, rain shower/bathtub, cable TV, Bluetooth speaker and private balcony on each room. The rooms also enjoy sweeping views of the ocean, majestic Mount Agung and Lembongan village. The resort also has decadent villas, each boasting three bedrooms, two of which can have twin bedding to host up to five children across two suites and 2 adults sharing a king-size suite. As a family-friendly resort, The Tamarind also provide a wonderful tailor-made pool space featuring waterfalls and spacious deck.
Here you can also indulge your taste buds at the resort’s Indica Restaurant, serving both local and international dishes. Here, fresh seafood, wood-fired oven pizza, healthy dining, their own blend of Kintamani coffee and a selection of Indonesian blend teas and much more make for a culinary experience on the island. For the health and wellness buffs, the resort has the only air-conditioned gym on the island, boasting international five-star equipment that has been professionally selected and installed by Life Fitness, whilst Amlika Spa offers signature massage treatments for some added indulgence.
The Tamarind Resort – Nusa Lembongan
Jalan Jungutbatu, Nusa Lembongan
+62 366 543 7888
Situated on a low cliff of Nusa Ceningan, The Purist Beach (formerly known as Aqua Nusa) overlooks a private enclave of white sand beach, presenting unsurpassed panoramic views stretching from Nusa Lembongan to Bali in the background. Designed by acclaimed tropical architect, Fredo Taffin, the villa is built on a seven-meter high cliff, with steps that lead to a small sandy private beach below. The main house boasts a spacious living room, equal to a loft sized 6 x 12 metres, complete with an open kitchen. Sliding doors on the sides of the living room lead to the two master bedrooms, each with an ensuite bathroom, with one completed with an extra sofa bed. On a lower level, there is another small double bedroom with a bathroom. In addition to the main house, the villa also has a guest-house with two bedrooms, each with an ensuite bathroom and private terrace.
Most of the rooms are overlooking the majestic sea, where you can spot surfers trying to ride the famous eight-metre high waves. Furthermore, you can enjoy the breathtaking, colourful sky during sunset from the villa’s wooden sundecks, or from the ivory-coloured infinity pool.
The Purist Beach
Jalan Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Ceningan
+62 812 3900 0917