Island hopping from Bali to the neighboring islands is a great way to explore the tropical beauty of Indonesia.
From Bali, a speedy boat ride can get you to the nearby islands of Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan, as well as Lombok and the Gili Islands.
Explore even more magnificent nature, and have a more calm and relaxed experience than the mainland – it’s basically the perfect opportunity for a holiday within a holiday!
Here is everything you need to know about island hopping from Bali.
Why Go Island Hopping in Bali?
Bali is surrounded by many different islands, each with unique cultures, landscapes and activities. All much smaller than Bali, you can easily explore a lot more of these islands in a shorter amount of time.
From relaxing on the beach, to exploring vibrant underwater life and learning the cultural heritage of the region, heading off the mainland is a great way to enjoy even more of this paradise part of the world.
Gili Trawangan, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Lombok are a few of the most popular islands to visit, while lesser-known islands such as Ceningan and Pemuteran are equally as beautiful.
Each of these islands has something a little different to offer, from snorkelling and diving, to trekking and hiking. Although it is possible to visit a handful of these islands for a day trip, taking the time for an overnight stay will give you the chance to really immerse in the tropical magic.
Travelers who backpack around Bali love to take the time to visit each of the islands and take advantage of the reasonable prices. If you have the time, add some of these amazing islands to your Bali bucket list!
Where to Island Hopping from Bali?
The Gili Islands for partying, Nusa Penida for nature, Nusa Lembongan for diving, Lombok for surfing – check out these INCREDIBLE islands just a quick trip from Bali.
Island Hopping to Gili Trawangan
Gili Trawangan is one of the small tropical islands located off the coast of Lombok. Lined with stunning white sand beaches, buzzing beach bars and small, independent restaurants and cafes, it has all the right vibes of Bali without the crowds.
There aren’t any motor vehicles on the island, only horse-drawn carts and bicycles. When you get off at the dock you will be lured into taking a horse-drawn cart to your accommodation, but you will be contributing to the harsh conditions of the horses. Everything is easily walkable around the island, and although you may be a little hot, you will have a clear conscience.
Snorkeling and diving are popular activities, with the coral reefs right off the beach with plenty of colorful fish, turtles and marine life.
Gili T has the most lively nightlife of the Gili islands. Their bars party into the early morning, with a healthy flood of travelers from all over the world. There is even a special night food market for those drunken bites after a heavy night of partying.
To get over to the Gilis, you will have an option of the cheaper, local boat that will take you to Lombok, or the speedy fast boat that drops you right in the ocean off the shore of each of the Gili Islands. The length of your journey will depend on which harbour, weather conditions and type of boat you get. The crowds can get a little bit manic around the harbours, but once you are on the island, you will feel the full paradise effect!
Once on the island, getting around is super easy by bicycle. You can get around the whole island in less than an hour!
Where to Stay in Gili Trawangan:
Island Hopping to Gili Air and Meno
Gili Air and Gili Meno are 2 smaller islands located beside Gili Trawangan. Just as stunningly tropical and idyllic, the white sand beaches meet crystal clear waters with beach bars and restaurants encompassing the perimeter.
Gili Meno sits between Trawangan and Air. It is a little less often visited than its neighbors, but boasts all the same magnificent features like clean beaches, great restaurants, accommodations and amenities.
The middle child, Gili Air, is known for its chill vibe and amazing snorkeling. When the hectic parties of Gili T don’t suit, Gili Air offers something a little more calm and relaxed.
It’s super easy to get from one Gili to another, whether you hire a small boat or hop on a transfer. Visiting all 3 is super recommended for a fun filled, island hopping weekend in Bali. You can just stop by from Gili T for an afternoon of snorkeling and exploring.
Where to Stay in Gili Air and Meno:
Island Hopping to Lombok
Island hopping from Bali to Lombok is great for the adventurous travelers among us.
The trip can be done either by air or sea, and takes around 1-2 hours depending on the method chosen. Flying from Bali to Lombok is the quickest and most convenient option, with flights taking around 45 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a ferry from Padang Bai for a 2 hour trip.
When travelling by ferry, it is important to check the departure times and book in advance to secure a seat. It is also best to bring along snacks and drinks, as there are limited options available on board. The sea can be rough at certain times of year, be sure to check weather conditions first if you are a nervous sailor.
During your time in Lombok, head to Bukit Merese to watch a magical sunset. It has breathtaking views of the island, and the ocean.
Another must-do is to spend a day at Selong Belanak Beach. You can relax and swim in the crystal blue waters, or take a walk along the sand with a picturesque view.
Lastly, don’t forget to buy some traditional Lombok Tenun as a souvenir! Tenun is a type of fabric that is hand-woven with intricate patterns, making a beautiful keepsake of your trip.
Where to Stay in Lombok:
Island Hopping to Nusa Penida
The easiest way to get to Nusa Penida from Bali is to take a ferry from Padang Bai, Sanur or Serangan. The trip takes only 45 minutes and the cost is around US$5. There are also fast boats available from Tanjung Benoa or Sanur, which take around 30 minutes and cost around US$20.
Once in Nusa Penida, you can expect to find some of the most remarkable scenery of the islands. The cliffs are some of the highest in Indonesia, and the beaches are pristine and unspoiled.
One popular spot is Atuh Beach, which is the most photographed beach on the island. The beach is surrounded by towering cliffs and crystal-clear waters, making it a favorite place for sunbathing, swimming, and exploring. The famous Angel’s Billabong is also nearby, a natural infinity pool where you can take a dip in the warm waters. Be careful when you are here because big dangerous waves might come unexpectedly. It’s important to always be vigilant and not get caught in the current.
Another must-visit is Kelingking Beach, which is home to an amazing viewpoint that overlooks the entire island. The picturesque view of the turquoise waters and lush greenery will take your breath away. For those looking for a more adrenaline-filled experience, you can go diving or snorkeling in the clear waters, or explore the nearby caves and coves.
When travelling to Nusa Penida be ready for winding roads and crazy drop offs. You won’t want to take your first scooter driving lesson here! It’s super easy to hire a driver – don’t take the risk!
Where to Stay in Nusa Penida:
Island Hopping to Nusa Lembongan
The easiest way to get to Nusa Lembongan from Bali is by ferry. Ferries depart from Sanur harbour and take around 30 minutes to reach the island. Once you arrive, you will be amazed at its natural beauty with lush green hills, white sandy beaches, and clean blue waters.
Nusa Lembongan is home to a number of famous natural attractions such as Dream Beach, Mushroom Bay, and Devil’s Tear. You can also find a variety of tropical activities to do such as snorkeling, diving, surfing, and fishing. If you want to immerse in the island’s culture, you can head out to explore the traditional villages and temples.
A must-go spot is Ohana’s Beach Club, for lounging in the sun and taking in the magnificent island views over the ocean.
When exploring, it is best to stick to the main roads, as the terrain can be difficult and off-road paths might not be safe.
Where to Stay in Nusa Lembongan:
Island Hopping to Nusa Ceningan
Nusa Ceningan is an island located off the east coast, about 15 km away from the mainland.
As with all the islands, the only way to get to Nusa Ceningan from Bali is by taking a ferry from Sanur or Padang Bai. Once on the island, you can rent a motorbike to get around and explore.
Nusa Ceningan is known for its stunning beaches and views. Some of the most beautiful places to visit include Crystal Bay, known for its crystal clear water, and Yellow Bridge, which is an outstanding suspension bridge connecting Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan. The Nusa Ceningan Cliffs have breathtaking views over the ocean, and the Secret Beach is a hidden beach with great snorkeling and swimming opportunities.
When planning your Bali island hopping trip, make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, as the sun is even stronger on the islands than the mainland.
Also, make sure to wear comfortable clothing, as you’ll be doing a lot of walking and getting around. It’s also a good idea to bring a waterproof bag to keep your items safe from the water.
The currents around Nusa Ceningan can be quite strong. Only confident swimmers should consider getting in the water, and stay within the outlined areas for safety.
Where to Stay in Nusa Ceningan:
Nusa Veranda Sunset Villas & Restaurant
Island Hopping to Menjangan Island
Menjangan Island is part of the West Bali National Park. It is a paradise for snorkelers, scuba divers, and beachgoers, with stunning, government protected coral reefs.
The journey to Menjangan Island starts from Labuhan Lalang, a small fishing village on the northwest coast of Bali. From here, you can take a boat to the island, which takes around two hours.
While the boat ride is a bit long, it is well worth the effort as it has impressive views of the coastline and the surrounding islands.
Once you reach Menjangan Island, you will be amazed by its beauty. The island is home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, wild pigs, and even peacocks.
The waters around the island are abundant with marine life, and the coral reefs are some of the best in Bali. For those who are feeling adventurous, there are plenty of activities to do, such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and snorkeling.
One of the most interesting things to do on Menjangan Island is dive around the ship wrecks. The waters are very shallow, so even novice divers in Bali can explore them!
If you’re planning a trip to Menjangan Island, it is important to remember that the island is part of a national park, so you should be respectful of the wildlife and environment. Additionally, the island is quite remote, so it is important to plan ahead and bring plenty of food and water.
Where to Stay in Menjangan Island:
Plataran Menjangan Resort and Spa
Island Hopping to Gili Putih
Gili Putih is located off the coast of Lombok, and is a hidden gem of an island.
On Gili Putih, there are pristine white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a multitude of Instagrammable beach swings.
As with all of the islands around Bali, you can venture into the water and see some of the stunning fish and marine life that live on the reefs.
Gili Putih is an idyllic destination for an escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. With its splendid beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and mesmerizing sunsets, it’s a real paradise on earth.
Where to Stay in Gili Putih:
Sun Suko Boutique Resort & Yoga Retreat
Travel Tips for Island Hopping from Bali
Island hopping from Bali is a great way to explore multiple islands in a short space of time. You can do it spur of the moment, or plan weeks in advance.
- Research in advance – researching which islands you want to go to, how to get there and what to do when you get there will make your island hopping journey seamless. With so much info available on the internet (Balipedia ;)) you can plan your whole trip, down to your transport before heading off!
- Choose the right transport – Depending on the islands you plan to visit, there are a number of transport options available. You may choose to take a ferry, charter a boat or take a plane. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to consider your budget, time constraints and the distance between the islands when making your decision.
- Pack light – Island hopping can involve a lot of moving around, so it’s important to pack light. Choose a backpack or suitcase that is easy to transport and that you can easily carry on and off boats and planes. Consider bringing versatile pieces of clothing that can be layered, as the weather can be unpredictable.
- Take the time to explore – Island hopping can be a busy experience, but make sure you take the time to explore the islands you visit. Stop and take in the views, try the local cuisine and take part in activities to help you make the most of your experience.
With so much to offer, island hopping Bali is a must-do for any traveler who wants to experience the best of the Indonesian archipelago. From the serene beauty of Nusa Lembongan and the vibrant nightlife of Gili Trawangan to the remote and untouched beauty of Lombok, island hopping from Bali offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or something in between, island hopping from Bali is a great way to experience the beauty and culture of Indonesia.
Featured image: Gili Air