Written by Beverley Lennon
Indonesia is filled with beautiful beaches and islands, but very often, these require some long hours of transit and connecting flights. Of course, not all islands and beaches are created equal – some are slow-paced and laid back and then there’s Bali!
Ahh we know, the total cliché, you might think, but probably the most accessible one! Bali offers unimaginative ways to have a relaxing and eventful holiday, all at the same time. Think palm trees, white-sand beaches, almost see-through waters and the pristine Nusa islands nearby!
As a sun-kissed beach lover, I can never make it to Bali without exploring beyond just the mainland so you can trust me when I say that I’m the real island connoisseur. And if just like me, you want to have a good time at the beach, under the sun, this 5D4N itinerary to Bali and Nusa islands is something that’ll suit you! We’ve covered all of what you can do in these sunny climes.
🏝⛵️Need help with your bookings? Enjoy a hassle-free trip with Klook as you enjoy great deals when you book your private car charter and tours.
🔔 Prefer exploring all three Nusa Islands in one day? Opt for a 3-in-1 Day Cruise with Klook!
Guide to the Nusa Islands (Bali) – Best things to do, where to stay and eat in Nusa Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida!
30 min from Bali: 12 Beachfront restaurants in Nusa Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida with stunning ocean views
Have you been to a destination where every day is a holiday? For me, it’s Bali and its surrounding islands. So if you want to feel what paradise is like, you’ll enjoy exploring with our itinerary as you discover hidden beaches, stunning natural wonders, all of the three pristine Nusa islands, chill at beach clubs, indulge in exceptional food and more!
Enjoy ocean views and explore Bali’s top hidden beaches!
We hope you have your swimmers, sunscreen and poses packed for Bali as today you’ll be exploring the best hidden beaches and bask in sublime ocean views from your dining spots. It’s a day you’ll cherish forever – a feast for all the senses as you relax and detach from your daily grind!
🏝For even more fun on your island-hopping vacation
1️⃣Pre-book your private car charter with Klook and enjoy the convenience of being picked up by a driver!
2️⃣Book a SIM card from Klook and share your beach memories with the world!
3️⃣Turn your pictures more fun and book some funky pool floats!
High dining at this oceanview clifftop restaurant (that’s also a beach club)! – The Cliff Restaurant at Ulu Cliffhouse (2 hours)
Backdrops don’t get more dramatic than this. The aptly named Ulu Cliffhouse is set on top of the cliffs of Uluwatu – a surfer’s paradise where waves roll in the vast expanse of ocean below.
Deck loungers rest against the Indian Ocean offering the most stunning views, while you’re served with a playful selection of drinks to suit every palate and occasion. Not a restaurant, hotel, nor bar and more than just the traditional beach club, Ulu Cliffhouse deserves at least half a day out of your itinerary in Bali with your lunch to dinner craves being catered for.
Note: Come in early to secure front row seats – the venue is particularly popular on weekends, when affordable brunch packages hit the spit along with free-flow prosecco to the sound of groovy beach house music.
Photo Via Myguidebali
Designed as perfect spots to seek solitude, the bamboo huts are hidden on top of a green lush hill with Padang Padang Beach lying just a kilometre away – making it ideal for beach bums!
The thatched-roof villas here are built with natural limestone and black bamboo, bringing a unique back-to-nature feel to the experience. As most of the villas are two-storey buildings, you will get to lounge upstairs and enjoy a majestic scenery of lush greenery with the vast ocean lying in front.
Photo Via Sarahd.collins
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Bali has tons of beaches; of course – it is an island after all! But from our personal experiences, we believe that there are some hidden gems you’ll love going on a mission for.
Our favourite is Suluban Beach – a surfer’s paradise. It is one like no other as it features a secret cave. Looking almost like a movie set from the Pirates of the Caribbean series with its otherworldly glamour, Suluban Cave oozes both mystery and mystique.
Photo Via Adzsax, Couple.express, Ritaalimkina
Another secret nook we want to reveal is Green Bowl Beach – probably where you can find turquoise waters to enjoy a dip in. With its secluded location, you can be sure to enjoy fewer crowds than the typical Double Six or Kuta Beach. Follow the few steps down and you’re in for one of the best Bali beaches.
Photo Via Leaguetravels, Brookeleonhardt, Petrik39
Although we know plenty of other hidden beaches, we’d also recommend you to drop by Nyang Nyang Beach. If you are quite the explorer and looking for some solitude, this secluded beach in Southern Bali is perfect for a little adventure along virgin sands.
Photo Via Whatsthehelen, Victuzictuz
Views are complementary offerings at Mana Uluwatu. The scenic restaurant is part of Uluwatu Surf Villas, and is a unique place to immerse in laid-back surfer vibes while enjoying majestic endless views of the Indian Ocean from the cliffs.
Get ready to tickle your palates as the restaurant proposes a delectable menu of Asian and Latino dishes. Their Chino-Latino cuisine combines the best of both worlds! Get your hands on their Baja shrimp tacos and Soft shell crab gazpacho for an explosion of flavours. What’s even more Latino is their Mojito and Margarita that come with a twist of passion fruit and sour hibiscus.
Photo Via Lawrence_photo, Bellymag
Day 1: Route
Hop over to the fantasy paradise of Nusa Lembongan!
Yay, today is the day you get to explore one of Indonesia’s 18,000+ islands! You’ll find no cars to rent on Nusa Lembongan; only motorbikes (and it was quite tough to bargain on the price) but that’ll do as it’s definitely the best way to explore around the island if you have limited time and want to discover hidden gems. The island is also connected by a bridge to nearby Nusa Ceningan.
⛴ Boat options: You can get to Nusa Lembongan from Serangan (near Nusa Dua), Sanur and Padang Bai. Journey time from Serangan and Sanur to Jungut Batu Nusa Lembongan is approximately 30 minutes. If you’re coming from Padang Bai, the boat might also drop you off at the yellow bridge connecting to Nusa Ceningan. For your boat transfer, we recommend Blue Water Express. Most boat transfers also include transfers to your hotel as there is no car on Nusa Lembongan (only pick up trucks for transfers and motorbikes for rental).
🛥Prefer a luxury experience to Nusa Lembongan? Book an exclusive yacht cruise with Klook!
⏱No time to stay overnight? Opt for a day tour to Nusa Lembongan!
I highly recommend you to drop your luggage at your hotel before exploring around. Chances are you’ll reach before official check-in time and with no car to drive around, it might not be convenient to move around the island with your bags.
At Sandy Bay Beach Club, the swaying cane lanterns and gorgeous infinity pool with a sweeping view of the ocean simply light up a romantic ambience, and all you’ll want to do is to cuddle with your partner on a daybed or take a lovely dip in the pool, cocktails in hand. The beach club is located in a stunning setting on a white sandy beach overlooking Devil’s Tear.
They serve delicious food with their fajitas and burger being the best-sellers. If you’re not driving around by yourself, they also offer free pick-up and drop-off from and to your hotel!
Photo Via Tamizgt
With gorgeous, white-painted wood architecture perched right above the water, The Deck allows you to sit back with your munchies as you look out towards the crystal clear waters right beneath your toes! Don’t miss out on their delectable pizzas!
Photo Via Brookeeacott, Sukariniiiiii
Dream Beach is probably the most popular beach stretch on Nusa Lembongan. I recall visiting with my Dad and was shocked by the number of tourists coming in buses, so my recommendation is to come after lunchtime (or early in the morning). However, most tourists don’t go down to the beach, they only admire from the upper cliff which serves as a viewpoint (they even have some Instagrammable swings there!).
Dream Beach is where you’ll find turquoise waters, surrounded by cliffs and secured by reefs. We saw a bunch of people risking their lives with cliff jumping here but I would strongly not recommend you to try it as it can be fatal!
I’ll also personally suggest you to explore the shore and walk along the beach stretch. Not only is it good to feel the sand in between your toes but there are several secret caves near the bay that are worth exploring. We also enjoyed a few drinks at the bar overlooking the beach – there’s a nice infinity pool too!
Photo Via Mathchnl
Once you drop by Ohana Beach Lounge, you’ve officially left your worries behind for a laid back and carefree life. The best seats are smack-bang on the beach and are perfect for listening to crashing waves, taking in stunning sunsets, and sipping on sherbet-coloured cocktails.
Note: Bookings are strongly recommended for day beds or dining.
🎉Want more beach-clubbing? Opt for a beach club cruise to Nusa Lembongan!
Photo Via Rhiannon_oloughlinxox
Nusa Lembongan’s beachside dining scene just climbed a notch higher with Hai Ri Zen – smart of them for building an all-natural bamboo restaurant with sweeping sea views! If in the past it’s been a tradeoff between ocean views or good food, Hai Ri Zen aims at offering a fabulous quality dining option right by the island’s equally fabulous coastline.
Overlooking the beautiful Mushroom Bay, settling down for a meal at Hai Ri Zen is a complete feast for both eyes and stomach. Their award-winning chef creates a mouthwatering fusion of classic Western and Asian cuisine with something new every week, making Hai Ri Zen a strong contender in the beachside dining game.
Note: They also provide free pick-up and drop-off services.
Note: Le Pirate Beach Club is located on Nusa Ceningan – just cross over the yellow bridge and requires minimum 2 nights booking.
Day 2: Route
Explore Nusa Penida – the most rugged Nusa island!
Today, we take a day trip to the bigger island of Nusa Penida. I recall heading there on my first time to Bali and gosh it was rugged! Barely any proper road so you’ll go jumping up and down as you drive to the scenic spots.
The island is a little less developed in terms of infrastructure, yet it attracts a good bunch of visitors who mostly come for the day. We’ll bring you to some stunning natural wonders so we hope you have your belt all buckled up!
⛴ Lembongan to Penida: While you could opt for an organised day tour from Nusa Lembongan to Nusa Penida, you can also simply choose to hop on a boat (departs from the yellow bridge all morning) to drop you off at Toya Pakeh Harbour, Nusa Penida and vice versa.
The ticket counter is located right by the yellow bridge in Nusa Lembongan. It will cost you approximately Rp. 60,000 and the journey will not take more than 15 minutes. Once on Nusa Penida (if visiting on your own), you can rent a scooter or a car with driver.
☎️ If you’re not in Nusa Lembongan but coming directly from Bali, you can book a day trip to West Nusa Penida, get picked up and dropped off back in Bali! There’s also a day trip covering hidden gems in East Nusa Penida!
On the way to Angel’s Billabong, you’ll also be passing by the ever-so-popular Broken Beach where you can relish in the rugged scenery as waves crash against the cliff.
The locals refer to it as “Pantai Pasih Uug” and this is where you get to relish on Mother Nature’s greatest artwork as you walk on a natural arch over the Indian Ocean. If you’re in luck, chances are that you might spot on some manta rays from up there!
Photo Via Anandagotama, Mrpalij
Angel’s Billabong is a beautiful tidal pool on the West side of Nusa Penida. As any natural tidal pool, it is very important for you to make it here at the right time so you get the best views but also more chances to dip right in! Best is to check on the tide conditions with a local or on a website but most of the time, it should be perfect in the early morning.
Angel’s Billabong is surely a magical place to tick off your bucket list when in Nusa Penida but keep in mind that it is very popular – a must-do so it gets crowded once the tour companies come in with their flock of tourists.
Photo Via Brianpughe, Kamabtara
Most organised day tours to Nusa Penida will include a snorkelling trip to Crystal Bay and I highly recommend you to sign up for one where you are accompanied by a local as the sea can get rough, depending on the tide and season.
When we visited some time ago, the sea was calm and it was amazing to see lively corals filled with beautiful colourful fishes. The beach is very similar to the ones you find in Sri Lanka or the Philippines, outlined by tall palm trees. However, we have heard of drowning cases as well so be very careful and don’t venture to sea alone while in Nusa Penida.
Photo Via Adventure_eagles
If you are on the lookout for spectacular views, Kelingking Beach is an absolute must while in Nusa Penida. Blame it on its Tyrannosaurus Rex looks! In fact, it is an iconic natural sight that can’t be missed! You haven’t been to Nusa Penida if you did not snap a picture of you overlooking this dinosaur-like cliff!
Standing atop the sea cliff here will feel a bit like positioning yourself on the top of the world. The vast expanse of turquoise water that stretches out before you makes everything else seem small and distant. Steep footpaths lead to the beach and we would only recommend it to those who are fit and adventurous as it is a little risky.
Note: Though the waters are swimmable, please note that the undercurrents can be strong and that there are no lifeguards in the surroundings.
Photo Via Leaguetravels
Take a trip through Tembeling Forest that will lead you to a secret natural pool with crystal-blue water before you get to explore the beach which also features a small cave.
Our recommendation to you is to rent a motorbike from the locals (Approximately Rp. 50,000 for a round trip) at the entrance as the walk down is quite long and tiring.
You’ll find two natural pools once there, one overlooking the ocean and another one hidden deep in the forest. It’s a wild location which attracts those on the lookout for hidden gems and hear me – it’s known as Nusa Penida’s best-kept secret.
Photo Via Aditbendoth
As of 2018, Nusa Penida has stepped into the beach club game with the grand Maruti Beach Club. More than just a place to chill, the venue is equally great for a meal by the ocean!
Since it’s located close to the boat pick-up point, the beach club markets itself as an ultimate chill spot while you wait for your transfer back to the main island of Bali or Lembongan. You get to enjoy an expansive pool and find respite under one of their poolside bales.
They also serve delectable floating high-tea which you can enjoy directly in the pool!
Photo Via R.rusli13, Esterfujiwara
The yellow bridge connects you from Lembongan to Ceningan with just a 10-minute walk.
Photo Via Gunk_dna
Once you’ve crossed over to Nusa Ceningan, you get to enjoy shallow clear waters and stunning sea views right from Seabreeze. This whimsical beachfront venue is the perfect place to catch sunset with a few drinks. It has Instagrammable swings and hammocks as well as colourful Balinese umbrellas to chill under as you find a seat in a beanbag.
Photo Via Jakecoleman, Liisaschaf
Sign up for your second night in paradise!
Day 3: Route (Nusa Penida)
Day 3: Route (Nusa Lembongan to Nusa Ceningan)
Relax at the most laid-back Nusa island – Nusa Ceningan!
Now that you’ve seen the best of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, time to experience the shy little Nusa Ceningan. This is my favourite island among the three; it’s a little more slow-paced and laid-back and it’s definitely one where you can truly relax! It’s almost what Bali mainland was some 30 years ago.
From Nusa Lembongan, you simply have to cross the yellow bridge and voila, you’ll be in Nusa Ceningan!
The Sand really is everything beachside chilling in Nusa Ceningan should be and hits the mark where others have struggled (or failed) before. Grab one of their famous Dragon Collada, a Club Sandwich and soak up the quintessential lagoon views.
The beautiful settings, epic ocean swing, delicious smoothie bowls and stunning view mean it’s always packed to the brim (at any time of the day).
Photo Via _ninala
The crystal blue waters of Nusa Ceningan’s Blue Lagoon are the picture-perfect idea of an island paradise. Most people come to simply admire the million-dollar view, but a few adventure seekers and daredevil locals have claimed an overhanging ledge as a legendary cliff-jumping spot. (Cliff jumping is now prohibited due to safety reasons.)
Unfortunately, do note that a few unsuspecting travellers have been washed off the ledge in rough weather, and local authorities actively discourage jumping.
Photo Via Gunkdeyoga
So you want to get a taste of the best thrills on the island? You can experience ‘gliding’, ‘sea’, ‘zipline’, and ‘cliffs’ all through one activity – The Abyss Zipline. Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan are famous for their cliffs and crashing waves. Imagine enjoying that spectacular scenery while gliding along a zipline. How cool is that!
Photo Via Linafossaa
Now that you’ve ticked off all three Nusa Islands, time to head back to Bali. If you’re using BlueWater Express for your boat transfer, you can opt for an afternoon pick up (around 4pm) and you’ll be in Bali (Serangan) by 5.30pm latest.
Utilizing locally grown ingredients while being perfectly set in natural surroundings, Dugong Restaurant promises more than just an oceanfront dining experience. We simply love the fact that it aims at being an ethical eatery by sourcing ingredients within a 50-kilometre radius, thus contributing to local farmers and producers!
The restaurant is set in a sustainable, yet sophisticated open-air bamboo house where you get to enjoy a panoramic 220 metre-high cliff top ocean view.
The chef’s recommendations include their Steamed South-Asian Turbot with Soy Bouillon or the delectable Chicken wrapped in banana leaf, both highly praised by previous diners who would often put a sweet ending to their experience by ordering one of their heart-warming Chocolate Fondant.
Photo Via Cindy_flintsy
Day 4: Route (Nusa Ceningan)
Day 4: Route (Bali)
Brunch it the Bali way before heading home!
Your ultimate island-hopping trip to Bali and nearby Nusa islands has come to an end. Indulge in a delectable lunch, take a last dip in the pool and pack your memories before heading back home. There are tons of other islands to explore around Indonesia. We personally love the Thousand Islands, Lombok and Gili Islands too!
You sure will be in your element at The Elementum – there’s a unique-looking pool and above all, good food! We absolutely love the semi-outdoor setting of the restaurant where you can enjoy views of the pool right from where you’re sitting. The menu suits everyone’s taste as well, whether you want something light like a smoothie bowl or go a little extra with a seafood platter!
*Note: Non-staying guests need to spend a minimum of Rp. 250,000 per person to use the pool
Photo Via Bali_cafes
Yay! Endings don’t have to be sad ones. Be happy that you’ve been able to see Bali and the Nusa Islands. You have plenty of other islands to visit around Indonesia (if that’s what you fancy, just like me!).
Day 5: Route
Best time to travel
Bali has a reliable, warm and tropical climate all year round.
Temperatures generally linger between 26°C and 28°C, except for places located on higher grounds like Ubud and Bedugul (where it would be more chilly!).
The dry season is generally from May to September, and the wet season from October to April.
In May, June, September (non-peak period), you will find that prices of accommodation are 30% to 50% cheaper than peak season rates. Plus, you still get great dry season weather most of the time.
April and October are great if you enjoy watersports, such as surfing, as the waves are good at this time of year. You might have some refreshing rain showers, but you will also see plenty of sunshine. These are also great months to travel with children as most theme parks and attractions are quieter, and getting around would be less crowded and stressful.
Peak season in Bali is July and August, as well as Easter holidays, Christmas and New Year.