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Ceningan Island – The octopus's garden

On and around Ceningan Island

While there might not be a great number of octopi under the sea around Ceningan Island, there is an awful lot of garden. Or more specifically, seaweed farms. Seaweed is the mainstay of the population of Ceningan and it can be seen everywhere, spread colorfully on tarpaulins, drying in the sun.

Ceningan is tucked behind the bigger, touristy island of Lembongan on Bali’s east coast. Life here is hot and relaxed. The seaweed farmers get up early to go out to sea, and rest in the heat of the early afternoon. Later, as the day cools, they go out again, and their boats can be seen crowding around their plantations, like a floating marketplace.

Ceningan’s residents have had to fight for this life however. A few years ago the local government proposed to sell the island to resort developers. Only unwavering local opposition stopped the plan, a win for both the community and the environment.

Ceningan is small and at certain times of the year, quite dry. Water supply is becoming an issue. Yet Ceningan is extremely pretty. Exploring the island, from the coral reef on the eastern tip to the cave of nesting swallows on the western, with lots of stops for chats with friendly locals in between, makes for a wonderful day.

Note that all trips to Ceningan require at least one overnight stay due to the ferry schedules. The boat trip takes one hour from Sanur, and is a pleasant and scenic ride with the locals. Don’t wear long trousers, as you’ll have to wade on and off the boat!

Accommodation in Ceningan

Accommodation in Ceningan is a homestay with a local family - Pak and Ibu Sita and the collection of family members, cats and chickens that come and go. You will have your own basic but comfortable room with a single bed, and share the family bathroom. The Sitas’ house overlooks the strait to Lembongan Island.

Read the ‘Tips for comfortable and responsible travel’ page for more details on what to expect…

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