Low-key and pleasant
Published/Last edited or updated: 4th September, 2017
Nusa Lembongan’s northeast corner is covered with a substantial mangrove forest which plays an important environmental role sheltering the coast and preventing erosion. It's possible to explore the area by boat.
While mangrove boat tours have long been available, since the seaweed industry closed down, many former seaweed farmers have put their boats to use offering them. Don’t expect a running commentary or even to glean any information, as most don’t speak English, but it’s a pleasant way to while away half an hour out of the sun.
From the main drag at Jungut Batu, it’s about two kilometres to the mangrove forest area, an easy walk, cycle or motorbike ride. A jungle of signs offer tours, and local boatmen will approach you to volunteer their services. Prices are negotiable, but most offered us 100,000 rupiah for one person or 150,000 rupiah for two people for a 20-minute trip (which ended up being a little longer).
The boats are simple wooden or fibreglass affairs with no cover—bring an umbrella if it looks like rain. Our boat was pushed gondola-style with a long bamboo pole, but we also saw tour groups in larger motorised craft. We enjoyed the silence of our non-motorised version, along with the ability to navigate narrower streams.
If you’d prefer to paddle yourself, kayaks can be hired for about 150,000 rupiah per hour. Waters are clear, but sometimes the tides bring rubbish, although the Lembongan Surf Team are helping to alleviate this with regular cleanups—contact them if you wish to be involved.
The best time for spotting bird- and wildlife is early or late in the day, when you may see crabs, lizards and nesting birds. Do watch the tides, as your trip can be more limited in low tide. Our boatwoman mentioned that the fruit bats from Pura Goa Lawar (the bat cave temple south of Padang Bai on Bali) fly over in the evenings to the mangroves for a feed, but no tours operate at that time.
This is a good trip to do with kids (ask for lifejackets) and an enjoyable way to experience a little serenity. Although it’s probably not a must-do, it is worth supporting the local boat pilots and important to encourage the protection of the mangroves. Pack the mozzie spray and stop by Nyoman’s Warung on Mangrove Beach on the way for some delicious fresh seafood.
Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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