This is your sign to step beyond Bali and visit the islands nearby!

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Bali is a popular tropical paradise for many around the world, and in particular, Australians like us! However, in recent years, Bali has become busier, more overrun with tourism, and the infrastructure has struggled to cope. Traffic is suffocatingly busy, streets are dirty and uneven, and prices are rising. So what’s the solution? Visit the nearby islands! Read on for a few of the key islands located nearby that we think you should definitely add to your list!

Why visit the island from Bali?

Don’t get us wrong, there’s some great spots in Bali (like Uluwatu – see our Uluwatu guide here). However, if given the choice, we would return to the islands every time. Firstly, they are calmer, have less people and minimal (or no) traffic. The beaches are incredible, and so, so much better than the mainland Bali beaches. The water is clear, and warm! Locals seem to be friendlier and happier than the mainland, often adopting a philosophy that they call ‘island living’. Additionally, visiting these islands opens up the possibility of numerous adventure activities that aren’t possible on the mainland, including snorkelling, scuba diving, and much more. Read on for a few of the top island picks located nearby to Bali that you should consider visiting.

What islands should you visit near Bali?

Indonesia has over 18,000 islands, meaning you have so many to choose from! There are some great options located nearby Bali that are worth considering.

Our top 3 islands located nearby Bali:

1. Nusa Lembongan: Nusa Lembongan is a perfect example of embracing ‘island living’. Located only 30minutes via ferry from Bali, it’s an easy gateway to the islands. You will instantly feel relaxed when you step off the boat right onto the sand. With numerous day-trip activities (including visits to sister Nusa islands), we think Nusa Lembongan should be high on your list. See our Nusa Lembongan guide here!

2. The Gili Islands: Another favourite and a top pick for your visit to Bali! The Gili Islands are true tropical paradise locations! Think amazing beaches, incredible water clarity, sensational snorkelling and much more. We would recommend staying at Gili Trawangan purely due to the ease of access and the amount of things you can do there compared to the quieter and smaller other Gili Islands. This would be number one on our list if it was a little closer (ferry takes around 4-5 hours). See our Gili Trawangan guide here!  

3. Komodo Islands: These islands look like something out of a movie or your Instagram feed. Think incredible views, hikes, snorkelling, pink sand beaches, and of course.. the infamous Komodo dragons reside here (one of few places in the world). These islands are a bucket list destination for us, but unfortunately we haven’t visited yet due to the difficulty in getting there, putting of many people. To reach the Komodo Islands, you either need to take a flight from Denpasar to Labuan Bajo (Flores Island), then get a tour to the islands from. Alternatively, you can get a multi day boat tour leaving from Lombok or the Gili Islands. If interested, we urge you to do your research, and you will likely need a minimum of 3 days (including travel) but ideally 4-5 days to fully enjoy the experience.

A few other great options to consider:

  • Nusa Ceningan: the sleepier sister island of Nusa Lembongan is defintely worth visiting, especially if you stay in Nusa Lembongan.
  • Lombok: located east of Bali, Lombok is around the same size as Bali, but has far less tourists. Filled with great beaches, waterfalls, rice terraces, and the famous Mount Rinjani volcano hike.
  • Nusa Penida: While it is a little ‘touristy’, the views and ‘highlights’ of the island are incredible.
  • Other great picks include Sulawesi, Sumatra, Java, Mentawai, Flores and more.

Have we convinced you to leave the Bali mainland and visit the picturesque and tropical islands located nearby? Consider adding these destinations to your Indonesian island hopping!

See a few more of our Bali tips and recommendations below:

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