What to do in Nusa Lembongan (& how to get there from Bali)
The beautiful Nusa Lembongan is part of the three Nusa-islands that lie off the coast of Bali. Nusa Penida is the largest and most pristine island, Nusa Ceningan is a small and rather undeveloped island in the middle, and closest to the Balinese coast lies Nusa Lembongan. It is by far the most developed island of the three, even though its only a little bigger than the small Ceningan. There’s quite a lot of tourism on the islands, mainly from Chinese tour groups, but it doesn’t take much effort to avoid them.
The paradise-like Nusa Lembongan is known as a resort island. It is less rugged than neighboring island Penida, which makes it more suitable for a beach holiday. Lembongan has a couple of wonderful hotels and some great beaches and restaurants. Besides that, it’s all about the easy island life. Stress? What’s that? The island is so small that you can drive from one end to the other in half an hour.
In this article, I will share my Nusa Lembongan tips with you: I’ll provide a list of the best things to see and do, where to eat and which hotels to stay at. Nusa Lembongan is a perfect destination while on a longer trip to Bali and I would definitely recommend visiting the island for a few days. Here are my tips!
How to get to Nusa Lembongan from Bali:
I was very lucky, because my sweet boyfriend took me on a trip to Nusa Lembongan for Valentine’s Day. He booked our little getaway with a local driver from Canggu and paid 500,000 IDR per person (about €30). This included: our pick-up and transfer to the port of Sanur, the boat trip (return) and the transfer from the port of Lembongan to our hotel. You could also arrange all this yourself by getting to the port of Sanur and buying tickets for the boat on the spot. Know that Uber probably won’t be able to take you all the way to the port, because of the taxi monopoly. Tickets for the boat can be bought right there and will include your hotel transfer. We took a ferry from the company Sri Rejeki which commutes between Sanur and Lembongan twice a day.
Sanur-Lembongan: 09:15 & 13:00
Lembongan-Sanur: 11:15 & 16.30.
The boat trip takes about 30 minutes. Click here to see the most recent prices for Sri Rejeki’s boat trips. If you were to book a trip to Nusa Lembongan with a local driver, don’t forget that you’ll have to negotiate. The price we paid should be a good guideline for you.
Tip: Make sure to put your electronics in a dry bag. You will have to get on the boat directly from the beach, which means that your stuff might get wet. Make sure to bring enough cash with you as well, because there might be fewer ATMs on the island than what you’re used to.
Transport on Nusa Lembongan:
I often discourage riding a scooter in Asia, but in comparison with Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan is much less rugged. It is more developed and the roads are well maintained in most places. You should be fine if you have been on a scooter before. On the island, traffic is calm and since it’s so small, a scooter is the best way to move around. It makes exploring easier and it’s pretty cheap as well. Renting a scooter cost us 80,000 IRD per day.
Please take note that you are most likely not insured if you ride a scooter here. In Asia, scooters are so strong that we in the Netherlands consider them motorcycles, so without a motorcycle license you will not insured in case of an accident. This means that you would be responsible for any medical costs and/or the costs for the scooter yourself. You should probably check if this applies to you too. In this case, I do recommend riding a scooter, because Nusa Lembongan is so calm that you can safely do so if you have some experience and use your common sense.
What to do on Nusa Lembongan:
- Snorkeling with Manta Rays
Okay, this really is my best advice. If you like snorkeling, doing so on Nusa lembongan is a must. You will see the most beautiful and colorful fishies, so that in itself is worth it. The absolute best thing to do, though, is snorkeling with Manta Rays. We got super lucky and saw three of them, two of which came very close. Seeing them up close was such an intense experience. They are such curious creatures that come very close to you. The ones we saw were only about two meters away from us! The best snorkeling locations can be found on Nusa Penida: Crystal Bay, Gamat Bay and Manta Bay (this is where you have the best chance to spot Manta Rays). On Nusa Lembongan, you can snorkel at the Mangrove Forest, but we didn’t personally do this. You can book a snorkel trip online, they take about three to four hours We booked it at Mushroom Beach with a local captain, so we had a private boat, and we paid 500,000 IDR (€30) for the two of us.
- Mangrove forest
I like nature that differs from the nature we have in the Netherlands, so you can definitely make me happy with a mangrove forest. There’s much less tourism on the eastern part of the island than there is on the western part, and jumping on a scooter and escaping the tourists resulted in a calm trip discovering the east of the island. Our trip across Nusa Lembongan ended at the mangrove forest which we, unfortunately, couldn’t visit due to lack of time (we got there at sunset). Next time I want do this for sure!
- Dream Beach
Most of the highlights on Nusa Lembongan are beaches that are generally white and very paradisiacal. Dream Beach is the most famous one, which means that you will encounter quite a lot of Chinese tourists taking selfies here. Do not be seduced by the beautiful water! Swimming here is extremely dangerous because of the strong current. My roommate in Bali told me that one of her family members had almost drowned here. Google will quickly inform you that several tourists drown on Nusa Lembongan every year. The strong currents are thus definitely something to keep in mind on all the beaches.
- Devil’s Tear
This natural gorge is a popular spot where people can admire the wild ocean hitting the cliffs with full force and watch the sunset. Do not get too close to the edge, because there are plenty of stories about tourists that (almost) drowned after the waves caught them by surprise. We only saw the Devil’s Tear from the boat, but it was impressive nonetheless.
- Blue Lagoon
The following sights are all located on Nusa Ceningan, the island that can be reached via a yellow bridge. You can get to the island in no time, and since both of the islands are quite small, it would be a shame not to explore Nusa Ceningan a little bit too. The Blue Lagoon cove was a pleasant surprise for both of us. The beautiful, bright blue water makes for a popular cliff jumping spot.
- Secret Point
If you drive a bit further from the Blue Lagoon, you’ll arrive at Secret Point. The viewpoint is quite small, but the amazing view over the nice arch in the rocks and the wild waves makes up for that.
- Secret Beach
A secret beach is always fun. Reaching it was quite a challenge with an interesting path that ends right at the gate of a hotel, without any further explanation. In the end, we figured out that the beach is part of the hotel property. You can spend some time at the beach if you have a drink at the restaurant of the hotel, and since there are no other shops or restaurants in the neighborhood, that isn’t a bad thing at all. The beach was beautifully located in a bay and it was super quiet when we were there. It’s the perfect spot to relax and peacefully read a book.
- Watching the sunset & dinner at Mama Mia Bar & Grill
One of our roommates told us to eat at Mama Mia and we got there just in time to catch the sunset and admire the brightly colored sky. You should definitely try the seafood here, even though all the food looked delicious. Joris ordered crab and I had shrimps. Both dishes were very tasty! It was clear why Mama Mia is considered one of the best restaurants on the island.
Things you should take with you to Nusa Lembongan:
Depending on how long your trip will be, you’ll have to bring more stuff with you, of course, but this list should be all you need for a day trip:
- Water and snacks
- Plastic bags for your wet stuff and electronics
- Pills to prevent seasickness (just in case you get sick on the boat)
- Perhaps another set of clothes
- A quick-drying towel
Photo from Booking.com
Hotels on Nusa Lembongan:
€ – The cute shacks of The Seaman Garden Hut’s are located at only a four-minute walk from the beach. The bungalows have Wi-Fi and air conditioning. The shacks don’t have a swimming pool, but the price definitely makes up for that. Click here to see the most recent prices and availability.
€€ – Three-star resort Bali Nusa Villa is located at only a two-minute walk from Mushroom Bay. All the rooms have Wi-Fi, air conditioning and partially open bathrooms. There’s a lovely outdoor swimming rooftop pool. Click here to see the most recent prices and availability.
€€€ – Hotel The Puncak Sunset Ceningan Villa’s is located on Nusa Ceningan. It’s only a few minutes’ drive from Nusa Lembongan. The hotel is located high up, so you’ll have an amazing view over the sea and you’ll be able to behold a beautiful sunset every evening. The villa has two bedrooms and is more than 400 square meters. It has air conditioning, Wi-Fi and a terrace overlooking the sea. Click here to see the latest prices and availability.
What are your best tips for a visiting Nusa Lembongan?
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