All the highlights
Published/Last edited or updated: 4th September, 2017
Jump on a speedboat from Sanur in Bali and 45 minutes later you can enjoy an island-getaway-from-an-island-getaway. Here’s how we’d spend a two-day break on Nusa Lembongan.
Bag the earliest fast boat to make the most of your stay, and if you haven’t booked lodgings, ask the boat company to watch your bags while you wander around for a look. Jungut Batu offers the largest choice of hotels and restaurants, but hundreds of other options for every budget pepper the entire island. If you prefer things a little more planned than us, the boat companies will usually drop you at your pre-booked accommodation, or ask your hotel to include a transfer.
Many of Nusa Lembongan’s highlights are below the sea. So first up we’d head out for a day of diving or snorkelling (you may have to prearrange this to fit it in on day one). Be warned that the currents around Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida can be very strong; choose a reputable operator and if diving, a divemaster you feel confident with. If you’re on the island on a Tuesday or Thursday, be sure to catch Marine Megafauna Foundation’s talk in the evening to learn about the critters you’ve seen (18:30 at Secret Garden Bungalow).
Alternatively, if the waves are a bigger draw, surfers will want to go straight for it if the conditions are right: April to October are the best months for a swell, and there are three key breaks. Watch the tides here though. Surfboards can be hired, so it’s not absolutely necessary to BYO. It’s possible for beginners to learn to surf, but stick to “Playgrounds”—the other breaks are not called Lacerations and Shipwreck for naught. We’d recommend the more predictable and even waves at Kuta if it’s your first time on a board.
As the sun lowers in the sky—when the most birdlife is around—tour Nusa Lembongan’s extensive mangrove forest. Higher tides mean that the boat will be able to manoeuvre further. Choose a gondola-style tour rather than a speedboat and enjoy the blissful silence. When it comes to sunset, wander back to Mangrove Beach for a magnificent view of Bali’s Gunung Agung. Grab a cold drink and a chair at one of the warungs while you wait for them to fire up the barbie (we like Nyoman’s for the delicious ikan pepes) and just soak it all in. Later in the evening catch some live music (and maybe dessert) at Lemongrass or one of the bars along Jungut Batu Headland.
Start your second day with a sun salutation in a yoga class followed by a healthy breakfast (try Bali Eco Deli), then off for a day exploring Nusa Lembongan’s bays and beaches by bicycle, motorbike, golf buggy (ideal for a family) or if you’re feeling super energetic, on foot. Don’t forget your swimmers and sunblock! Pushbikes, motorbikes, and golf buggies can be hired at a few shops in Jungut Batu and Mushroom Bay and some hotels may supply bicycles for free. With the exception of a couple of rough tracks off the main circuit, most of the roads are fairly well sealed. If you choose the pushbike option, we recommend riding in a clockwise direction, as it means you get to roll down the big hill into Jungut Batu village rather than push your bike up it. If you have the stamina, you could cross the yellow suspension bridge to explore neighbouring Nusa Ceningan too.
Beach highlights include Sandy Bay, Dream Beach, the Devil’s Tear, Mushroom Beach (after the crowds have left) and Tamarind Beach, with each of these reached by bumpy roads off to the west of Lembongan village. Heed the warning signs; sometimes the seas can be rough. Take particular care at Devil’s Tear—don’t aimlessly follow the selfie-stick crowd as tourists have been swept to their death here.
For folks with a penchant for the quirky, once you reach Nusa Lembongan village look for the signs for Gala Gala Underground House, a cave dwelling dug by hand. Nearby climb to the temple on the hill, Pura Puncak Sari (bring a sarong and sash) with panoramic views over to Nusa Ceningan.
To wind down for the day, a massage will help, and a range of spas suit every budget on Nusa Lembongan. Then call for a pick up to Sandy Bay Beach Club, where you can have a dip in the pool and enjoy a cocktail as the sun sets over the wild crashing waves. Enjoy dinner in their restaurant with your toes in the sand. Alternatively The Hai Bar at Mushroom Bay or Indiana Kenaga at Jungut Batu both offer sea views and decent grub.
Now you’ve started to relax, you may want to consider just one more day...
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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