Bali Island Hopping Ideas

By now, most Singaporeans are familiar with the beach clubs in Seminyak and Kuta. We set foot in the temples of Ubud, tasted the nasi gorengs greatly warungsand took our IG shots at Balinese cafes of all styles.

Is there more to do? D au -uh. Spice up your next return to the island with a few island hopping. We are not just talking about the beautiful and famous Nusa Penida; Here are some lesser-known islands near Bali for beach lovers looking for a quieter getaway. All it takes is a short boat ride.

For more things to do on your next visit to Bali:

1. Gili Putih – Mini islet with clear waters

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If there’s one thing we love about the Indonesian archipelagos, it’s that there are so many many islands, from the biggest like Bali and Lombok to the smallest like Gili Putih. This cute little islet is straight out of a castaway movie – think Pirates of the CaribbeanSola Fide beach.

Bali Island Hopping Tour - Gili Putih
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Find this hidden gem just off the north coast of Bali with clear turquoise waters for swimming and kayaking. From here you can also enjoy a majestic view of the mountain peaks of the mainland.

Book a island tour in Gili Putih.

Getting There : Book a tour with a local guide. Prices start from S$41.75/pax for a joint visit.

2. Gili Trawangan – Beach bars, night market and sunset swings

Gili Trawangan
There are no motorized vehicles on this island – cycling is the best way to get around.
Image credit: @wen.owem

Imagine Seminyak but calmer and you will have Gili Trawangan. Best lived during the dry season from July to October, the island has everything from beach bars to a night market on its 15 km² of land.

Bali island hopping - Gili Trawangan
Water swing near Kardia Resort.
Image credit: @stfncd

It has powdery white sand beaches and coral reefs teeming with friendly reef sharks. Yet, what will make your trip interesting are the picturesque sunsets that you can admire from the western part of the resorts, restaurants and beaches. There are also many shuttle boats that can take you to nearby Gili Meno, Gili Air and Lombok.

Book a speed boat to Gili Trawangan.

Getting There : Take a 2-hour speedboat (S$22.30) from Padang Bai Port in Bali.

3. Gili Meno – Snorkeling among a ring of underwater statues

Gili Meno
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Located between Gili Air and Gili Trawangan is the oval Gili Meno. Most make a trip here for one reason only: to swim among a surreal underwater artwork called “Nest”. Commissioned by a nearby resort, this ring of statues was created by world-renowned underwater sculptor and photographer Jason DeCaires Taylor.

Gili Meno
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It is located a short distance from the shore and best of all, just 4m below the water surface. Don a snorkel mask, take a deep breath, and descend to swim among fish and coral – the statues double as an artificial reef, so schools of fish are always present.

You might find that the artwork looks oddly realistic – for good reason; these are made from the cast of real people!

Getting There : Take a boat to Gili Trawangan then transfer to a speedboat to Gili Meno. The latter runs approximately every hour and costs IDR 100,000/person (~S$9.20). Alternatively, book a private charter boat from Bali.

4. Serangan Island – Bali’s “Kusu Island”

bali island hopping tour - Serangan Island
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As Singapore’s Kusu Island has a turtle conservation site, Serangan Island has one too. Drop by the Turtle Conservation and Education Center, where they treat injured animals, raise 3 different species of turtles, and hold releases into the wild.

There is no entrance fee and visitors are encouraged to donate, purchase merchandise or adopt a sea turtle instead.

bali island hopping tour - Serangan Island
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While wooden boats were once used to cross the narrow water passage separating Serangan Island from the mainland of Bali, the two islands are now connected by the Serangan Sakenan Bridge, making it one of the most easily accessible places on this list.

Getting There : Drive 15 minutes from Kuta.

5. Menjangan Island – Coral gardens and clear waters for snorkeling

Island Hopping in Bali - Menjangan Island
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Bali is set to have a brand new international airport in the north of the island in 2024, creating hidden gems such as Menjangan Island all the more accessible. Part of a government-protected marine park, the island has an extremely rich marine ecosystem and a premier dive site, Anchor Wreck, with an underwater vertical wall of coral teeming with marine life.

Menjangan Island
Image credit:
Muhammad Hafid Kustantyo

Little Mermaid-like the underwater paradise aside, those who have not yet obtained their PADI certification can also disembark and explore the island’s majestic waterfront temple. It is said that there is also a rare species of Java deer that roams the island.

Book a Menjangan Island Diving Package.

Getting There : From Labuhan Lalan in North Bali, take a 30-minute boat ride. Diving packages cost around S$200/person.

6. Gili Gede – Lesser Known Island for a Quiet Getaway

Bali Island Hopping - Gili Gede
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Gili Gede is considered one of the quietest of the 26 Gili Islands, perfect for those looking for a legit stay Eat Pray Love experience away from everyone.

Most of the island is taken up by small villages, with a scattering of backpacker resorts available for those wishing to stay overnight. The local community fishes and farms pearls, and there are no roads or vehicles on this island. You can expect a trip here to be a city rehab, complete with sunbathing, stand-up paddleboarding, and snorkeling.

Getting There : Gili Gede is 1h30-2h by boat from Serangan. Prices range around 48 USD (66.30 USD) one way, but may vary depending on the season. Water taxi services such as Gili Getaway provide hotel pick up.

7. Nusa Lembongan – Beach Clubs and Lookouts

Nusa LembonganImage credit: @firefly.freediver

Now Nusa Penida may be getting all the buzz on social media, but if you love jaw-dropping views, squeeze a visit to Nusa Lembongan in your route. Visitors can spend a day here wandering around and exploring everything from underground houses to scenic viewpoints.

Bali island hopping - Nusa Lembongan
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from Ohana

Sandy and Ginger are among the many beach bars at various price points on the island. At the much-loved Ohana’s Beach Bar, stretch out on a daybed while sipping martinis, margaritas and mojitos at IDR 125,000 (~USD 11.60) each.

Enjoy a night in one of their luxury hotels or book a sunset bar dinner to complete your visit. There are also plenty of beaches where surfers can catch a wave.

Book a fast boat ticket to Nusa Lembongan.

Getting There : There are many different boat services including Dcamel and Tanis Express. Prices start from S$19.45 for a 30-minute round trip each way.

8. Nusa Ceningan – Dream Beach Bars and Scuba Diving

Nusa Ceningan
Relax at Sea Breeze Cafe Ceningan.
Image credit: @airhernaez

Nusa Ceningan condenses everything Bali is best loved for into a small island just twice the size of Coney Island in Singapore.

Do you want adrenaline activities? Cliff dive 12m into the Blue Lagoon or zipline across the sea. Fancy some aesthetic beach cafes? It will be hard to beat the hanging hammocks at Sea Breeze Cafe Ceningan. Want cute hotels? Try the rustic white and blue Le Pirate Resort.

You can even find a secret beach called Secret Beach and minimarts for a quick and affordable snack.

Bali island hopping - Nusa Ceningan
The Blue Lagoon also has a café with a panoramic view nearby.
Image credit: @abbyaway

Book a day trip to Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan.

Getting There : Take a 30-minute boat ride from Nusa Lembongan. Cross the Yellow Bridge Point to reach Nusa Ceningan.

Go island hopping on your next Bali adventure

Bali conceals many gems but who can say that the offshore islands do not offer the same charm? These 8 islands off the hustle and bustle of Bali characteristic what Bali is loved without the hordes of tourists during peak season. Dive sites, pristine beaches and serene beaches are only a short day trip away.

For those with time to spare, also consider traveling further afield with a short flight to East Java, Lombok and Flores, with plenty more tropical gems to offer.

For more travel ideas, check out:

Cover image adapted from: @wen.owem, @luciinka_kol, @airhernaez


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