Photo: Late light on Jungut Batu.

Introduction

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If you’re a keen island hopper, visiting Bali simply isn’t going to be enough once you spot those vast looming cliffs off the east coast in the distance. Now those actually belong to Nusa Penida, a rugged, desolate, stunning island in its own right; next door though is slightly more easily accessible Nusa Lembongan.



Nusa Lembongan’s laidback charm has been attracting tourists since the first surfer stepped off a jukung here in the early 1970s in search of the perfect wave. The industry has grown steadily from those days, when 150 visitors a month was seen as an influx. These days that’s fewer than a couple of boatloads arriving in a morning.

Pick a beanbag any beanbag. Photo taken in or around Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Pick a beanbag any beanbag. Photo: Sally Arnold

The surf breaks still bring the surfers, and a magnificent underwater world makes it a favourite diving and snorkelling destination too, but if lazing about on the sand is your idea of the perfect break, Nusa Lembongan is ideal for a bit of time out, too. Until very recently, seaweed farming was the mainstay of the inhabitants, but it’s been crushed by the tide of tourism. Now the island is rapidly developing into a more upmarket beach resort, but the friendly bunch of locals help to retain the quaint village vibe.

Boatloads of daytrippers arrive from Bali for packaged tours, watersports and lunch (beware the selfie sticks), but we’d recommend at least two or three days to make the most of the island—there’s a range of accommodation all over the island and some decent food too. Besides the ocean activities, you can spend your days exploring the island by bicycle, motorbike, golf buggy or on foot checking out the beaches and bays or just relax in a yoga class or chill out in a spa.

Grazing by the sea. Photo taken in or around Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Grazing by the sea. Photo: Sally Arnold

Mangroves wrap around the northern corner of the island. This is a magical place for a paddle on a kayak or a gondola-style tour. As with anywhere on Bali, there are temples to visit (bring a sarong and sash) and for something a little quirky, an underground house may be of interest to some. Our favourite (non-) activity on Nusa Lembongan is watching the photogenic sunsets over Gunung Agung in distant Bali with toes in the sand and a coldie in hand, a splendid way to while away a late afternoon.

Popular attractions in Nusa Lembongan

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Nusa Lembongan.





Best places to stay in Nusa Lembongan

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Nusa Lembongan.


Orientation
Nusa Lembongan has two main villages, Lembongan village to the south, which is the main centre, and Jungut Batu village to the north. Dotted between these at almost every bay smaller developments continue to grow. The majority of the accommodation and restaurants are around Jungut Batu, but food and lodgings are available almost all over the island.

Explore the mangroves. Photo taken in or around Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Explore the mangroves. Photo: Sally Arnold

As Nusa Lembongan develops, the divisions between villages and bays are no longer as distinct. Do check the location of your hotel when booking—what sounds like it’s by the sea may actually be a short walk away. Prices on the island are typically steeper than the Bali mainland, but there’s a broad assortment of lodgings to suit most, although offerings are a little thin at the backpacker price point. Note that in most places, water in the bathrooms is practically as salty as the sea.

The main boat landing points are at the southern end of Jungut Batu Beach. On the western side of the island a narrow suspension bridge joins Nusa Ceningan, known imaginatively as the Yellow Bridge. It can be crossed by foot or motorbike but we’d be reluctant to try in a golf buggy. The bridge collapsed in October 2016 causing several fatalities, but has since been rebuilt.

Catch a wave or two. Photo taken in or around Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Catch a wave or two. Photo: Sally Arnold

Minimarkets are numerable and stock snacks and sundries, but prices are generally high (because it’s an island, we were told). The Walking Tree boutique has branches at Sandy Bay and Jungut Batu and sells a range of stylish swimwear, other clothing and homewares.

Jungut Batu has two ATMs, one near the local health clinic, and one near 99 Warung. Mushroom Bay has one behind Hai Tide Beach Resort. We suspect with the rate of development many more will be available soon, however they are still fickle and run out of money, so bring cash.

Changing fast—and not always for the better. Photo taken in or around Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Changing fast—and not always for the better. Photo: Sally Arnold

Most hotels and cafes offer free WiFi, but it’s generally slow, patchy or glacial. 4G coverage tends to be a little faster but it’s non-existent in the mangroves.

The local hospital is in Jungut Batu with a 24-hour emergency service and ambulance. For medical evacuations, helicopters can land on the football field at Jungut Batu. At the time of research in July 2017 an international standard clinic was under construction on the western side of the island between Mushroom Bay and Dream Beach (not far from Warisan Villa).

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Nusa Lembongan.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Nusa Lembongan.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Nusa Lembongan.
 Read up on how to get to Nusa Lembongan.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Nusa Lembongan? Please read this.





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