I love walking, and I love eating good food. The more I eat, the more I need to walk, so I plan to walk all around the world, eating good food, at nice places. It's a worthwhile quest and I'd love you to follow at www.walkeatshare.wordpress.com
Published August 17th 2018
Baliís best secret
Just off the east coast of Bali, there are three small islands. The largest is Nusa Penida and the most well known is Nusa Lembongan. The third is a lesser-known treasure.
Fringed by white-sand beaches and surrounded by clear, aquamarine water is Nusa Ceningan.
The most common way for travellers to reach Ceningan is by fast boat from Sanur. The two most well-regarded boat companies are 'Rocky' and 'Scoot', although my husband and I went with 'Sri Rejeki' who we found to be excellent. A road transfer from our Sanur accommodation to Sanur Harbour, the boat trip from Sanur to Lembongan, by road from Lembongan Harbour (beach actually) to our Lembongan accommodation, the return boat trip then hotel transfers in reverse cost Rp400.000 (around $40Aus) per person.
We spent the first few days staying at a small, family-run hotel on Nusa Lembongan. There's plenty to do on Lembongan, probably more than Ceningan in terms of restaurants, shopping and live music but we found the traffic inhibiting and the rubbish depressing. So on our third day, we hopped on our rented scooter and headed over the bridge.
The bridge between the 'nusas'
The 'Yellow Bridge' is the iconic link between Lembongan and Ceningan. Designed only for motorbikes and foot traffic, the bridge helps restrict cars on the smaller island while providing easy access for locals and travellers when the tide is in. More about that phenomenon later...
The coastline around Ceningan, like its neighbouring islands, is ruggedly beautiful. You can hire a motorbike and drive around the coast or walk a circuit if you are of an energetic persuasion. Alternatively, you can jump on a traditional style boat and see the coastline from the clean, clear water.
There are excellent diving and snorkelling sites and a spot where it's possible to swim with Manta Rays. We did and it was an unforgettable experience watching those majestic undersea creatures glide past us within touching distance (we didn't but we could have).
There are many and varied opportunities for fun on the island including surfing, kayaking, noisy jetskis (unfortunately), cliff jumping and even ziplining. Anchored just offshore are a series of large boats with water slides attached. Apparently, the go is to have lunch, drink beer then slide into the sea. Can't give a first-hand report about that activity.
We found a selection of enticing restaurants overlooking the water, most noticeably 'Ceningan Cliff Restaurant' which has a commanding view of the whole length of Nusa Penida and the sparkling blue channel between the two islands. 'The Sand' and 'Sea Breeze' were our favourites on the west side of the island. Both serve luscious food at reasonable prices and cocktails well suited to sunset watching.
Sunset. Nusa Ceningan.
The aforementioned phenomenon involves the tide which changes the seascape between Ceningan and Lembongan from an inviting aquamarine sea to a rippled sandy expanse.
Having lived and travelled in Bali over a period of thirty years I have seen the ever more rapid boom of tourism change sleepy small villages into busy and crowded tourist destinations. I fear this will happen soon enough on Nusa Cenginan in which case right now might be a very good time to visit.