Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan: Picking Your Island Paradise
Let us explain some of the differences between the two islands, so you can consider your preferences and decide if Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan is for you.
Nestled southeast of Bali, Indonesia, the neighbouring islands of Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan have emerged as sought-after tourist destinations, each offering a distinct set of experiences for travellers seeking a tropical escape.
Big or Small?
Nusa Penida is the big brother, 210 km² with wild and untamed coastlines giving it a rugged vibe. On the flip side, Nusa Lembongan is the smaller sibling, with a laid-back village vibe, offering significantly more developed tourism friendly areas, with a total of 9 km² including Nusa Ceningan.
Scenic Views Alert!
Nusa Penida is the go-to for jaw-dropping cliffs and incredible landscapes. Kelingking Beach and Angel’s Billabong are Insta-worthy spots you can’t miss. Expect to line up under the sun to get your perfect IG pics with Kelingking beach as your backdrop!
But if you’re more of a beach bum who loves ocean swims, and enjoying your time away from the screen, Nusa Lembongan has its own draw cards with Dream Beach and Mushroom Bay – pure paradise!
Chill or Thrill?
Penida is wild and raw, with more cars navigating thrilling hills and turns due to the island’s vast distances. However, it’s important to note that a single day trip might not be enough on Penida, as exploring both the east and west parts of the island is near on impossible to do all in one day.
However, Lembongan and Ceningan are all about ease, offering various transport options such as motorbikes (with driver options), pick-up trucks, or renting a buggy to explore the island’s charm. The good news is, a day trip on Lembongan is very much possible, allowing you to soak in the laid-back atmosphere and enjoy the island’s highlights without feeling rushed.
Whether you crave a wild road adventure on Penida or a laid-back exploration with diverse transport choices on Lembongan, both islands promise a unique escape.
Fun in the Water: To Surf or Not To Surf?
Penida is the spot for diving and snorkelling enthusiasts, with vibrant marine life buzzing beneath the waters. These can be easily accessed when staying on either Lembongan or Penida. However, it’s important to note that surfing isn’t an option in Nusa Penida.
On the other hand, Lembongan offers tranquil waters perfect for snorkelling, diving, or simply swimming from the shore – the choice is yours. What’s more, if you’re a fan of riding the waves, Lembongan boasts four fantastic surf breaks. These breaks are strategically situated on the western side of the island, lining the router-reef parallel to Jungutbatu, the main village of Nusa Lembongan. Nusa Ceningan also offers Mahana Point, a famous left hand surf break and also cliff jumping spot where you can leap into the ocean from different heights or simply sit back with a cold bintang and take in the action in the turquoise waters below.
So, whether you’re exploring the ocean depths or catching waves, both Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan cater to a diverse range of water adventures.
Getting There, Quick Hop or Longer Journey
Nusa Penida demands a bit more commitment as it involves a longer boat ride, approximately 45 minutes, from Bali. On the other hand, Lembongan, being closer, offers a shorter journey of around 30 minutes from Bali – making it ideal for those planning a quick day-trip from the mainland. Whether you’re up for a slightly longer voyage to Penida or a quicker jaunt to Lembongan, both islands promise an exciting escape just a boat ride away from the bustling vibes of Bali.
Fun Fact: Fueling Up on the Islands
Here’s a cool fact for your island trip: in Nusa Penida, there are two service stations to fill up your tank with petrol. But in Nusa Lembongan, there’s only one, and you have to cross the Yellow bridge to Nusa Ceningan to find it and get ready to be in a long queue! No worries, though! If you ever need petrol, you’ll find plenty of friendly folks selling gas right on the streets of both Nusa Penida and Lembongan.
Island Living: Navigating Accommodation Choices between Nusa Penida and Lembongan
Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan offer distinct accommodation experiences. Nusa Penida is renowned for its local and authentic feel, providing guesthouses and homestays that offer a budget-friendly stay with opportunities to engage closely with the local community. The island also features mid-range hotels and emerging eco-resorts, often situated in more secluded areas due to its larger size and less developed nature.
In contrast, Nusa Lembongan, being a more established tourist destination, boasts a greater concentration of beachfront resorts catering to luxury-seeking travellers. Additionally, mid-range options, private villas, bungalows, and budget-friendly guesthouses are more prevalent on Nusa Lembongan, offering a diverse range of accommodations for various preferences and budgets.
If you’re looking to explore accommodations in Lembongan, be sure to check out our Nusa Lembongan accommodation page to book and enjoy a 15% discount on boat transfers.
In a Nutshell: What’s Your Vibe?
So, whether you’re vibing with Penida’s wild side or feeling the chilled Lembongan vibes, both islands promise an unforgettable tropical getaway for discerning travellers.
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