Bali is an incredibly interesting, beautiful island that has a lot to offer. Especially the south of the island however can be quite stressful. Because of that reason we decided to take a break from Bali and spend a weekend on Nusa Lembongan. Life on the small island is just a bit slower and despite the limited space there is much to see.
How do I get to Nusa Lembongan?
Nusa Lembongan is located in the southeast of the balinese “Mainland” and can be reached from Sanur. On the Internet you can probably find many different operators offering to bring you from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan, however we can tell you, that the reasearch is not really necessary. All ferries start from the same place and you can get the tickets for each ferry right at the house next to the pier.
We came to realize, that there are only two different types of ferries anyways: the fast boats and the slow ferries.
The fast boats need about half an hour to bring you to either Mushroom Bay in the south of Nusa Lembongan or to Jungut Batu in the north. These cost 175.000 Rupiah per person.
The slow ferries on the other hand only cost 100.000 rupiah, only do the trip once per day and take a total of 1 1/2 hours. Additionally, you should note that slow ferries only do the trip under good weather conditions – on our trip, we didn’t actually have that choice because of the strong waves.
If you already booked your hotel, you should ask around which boat to take, so that you really arrive at your destination and not on the other side of the island.
How long should we stay in Nusa Lembongan?
Many visitor only come to the island for a day trip and in fact, if you rent a scooter or get around with a taxi, it is definitely possible to see everything that there is to see. Nevertheless, we cannot recommend to do so, because you will not have enough time to lay down on the beach and see the sunset at the sunset beach – after all, you will have to leave the island before sunset, to reach Bali in daylight.
To get a real impression of the island, we decided to stay a total of 4 days. This way, we had enough time to lay down on the beach and reach our destinations in a nice hike around the island. By the way, going from one side to the other took us 1 1/2 hours, so if you plan efficiently, you won’t really need any other transportation.
Where can we stay on Nusa Lembongan?
There is a big variety in hotels available on Nusa Lembongan – from a beautiful bungalow with swimming pool to a simple home stay almost everything is available. For the more expensive hotels and bugalows it should be noted though, that they were fully booked when we visited. A reservation would be recommended.
During our stay on Nusa Lembongan we stayed in a small homestay. Most of them are a little bit further from the beach (in our case only 10 minutes from Mushroom Bay), but offer the cheapest prices on the island: 200.000 Rupiahs per room per night.
By the way, there were many construction sites on the island during our stay – without doubt to build more hotels. The prices are therefore very likely to change in the next few months.
What can I do on Nusa Lembongan?
Nusa Lembongan is a very good place to go if you want to relax a little bit, therefore the best sights on the island are beautiful beaches. There’s more to the island than just a beach though, so let us split up the island in to three areas: The south of Nusa Lembongan from Dream Beach to Sunset Beach in the South, the Mangrove Forest in the North and the beaches from Mushroom Bay to Junggut Batu in the West.
The South of the island
Let is start with the Dreambeach, a beautiful beach in the south of the island. Here you can find some nice restaurants, white beach and the blue water. A perfect place to relax and take a bath.
We have to warn you when you go into the water though: The waves can be very strong and in some cases, the tide can pull you out of the bay. The water is therefore good to cool down from the hot sun, but do not swim out too far.
About 5 minutes from Dreambeach you can find Devils Tears, an impressive natural sight. As on the Dreambeach, the waves here are very strong and the spray can go up very far. In fact, sometimes you can see the spray from other high places on the island.
There’s another, even more impressive location at Devils Tears though: There is a cave, that the waves go in, to build up pressure and release a big cloud a few seconds later. It looks a little bit as if a dragon was sitting right below the rocks here and you could just see the smoke from his breath.
If you are more interested in Animals, do not worry: When we visited Devils Tears, we were fortunate to see wild turtles in the water below. Every now and then they had to come up to breathe, so we could get a glimpse at them. Of course I would’ve prefered to see them underwater, still it was an interesting experience!
The last destination in this area is the Sunset Beach. As the name already suggests, it’s a great place to watch the sunset. We can however not recommend to go swimming here, same as at the Dreambeach the waves are very strong and the ground is made of hard rock.
Nevertheless it’s a nice place to see the sunset, maybe in one of the restaurants that are here right at the beach.
The Mangrove Forest
The Mangrove forest is about 20 minutes North of Junggut Batu. We recommend to do a small boattour here, we paid 50.000 Rupiahs for a tour of 30 minutes. The mangrove forest itself is already a sight on its own, but there are also very colourfull mudcrabs living in certain places around the Forest.
You can also explore the forest on a kayak 😉
Forthermore, there is the „Mangrove Point“, a location for snorkeling just about 300 meters off the coast. There are several guides as well as local people recommending visitors to go there, even to go there by foot. I strongly have to object to this recommendation.
To get to the mangrove point, you will have to walk (and swim) to the boats that you can usually see around there. The first part of the way is no problem, it’s shallow and there is just a bit of seagrass, nothing to worry about. After 200 meters however, you will encounter a lot of corals, just 50 cm below the surface. For the protection of the fragile corals I decided to swim through there, not exactly easy.
At the mangrove point itself the water is a lot deeper of course. There are many fish, but there were many destroyed corals as well – a depressing and alarming sight. I directly returned to the beach.
For the wellbeing of the corals that are still there und to safe you the disappointment: Go somewhere else. There are more beautiful coral reefs all around Bali, especially in Padang Bai and in Amed and there are many tours on offer in Nusa Lembongan that sound very interesting as well.
The West of Nusa Lembongan
Next to the Village of Junggut Batu you can find some very beautiful beaches on the western shore of Nusa Lembongan. Mushroom Bay is the most southern of them, there was clear blue water and all in all it was a very beautiful destination to go swimming. You should only pay attention to the boats that come in here frequently – not a big problem, just try not to be in the way.
The next beach was Coconut Bay, you can reach via a small path leading north from Tamaring Bay. This beach is a lot more quiet than the Mushroom Bay and also the most popular beach on Nusa Lembongan for surfing. All in all a very relaxing place if you don’t mind the long way.
Finally we reach Jungut Batu, the small village on the island. Next to a few stores and restaurants you can find a beach, that runs all along the western side of the village. There can be a few boats here as well, so watch out when you decide to go swimming.
Many products have to be transported from Bali to the island, therefore you will have to calculate higher costs for basically everything you buy on Nusa Lembongan.
If you do realize, that your money is not enough, do not worry. While there were no ATMs in the south, we could find several ATMs around Jungut Batu.
Nusa Lembongan was one of our favourite destinations during our trip to Bali and we can recommend a trip to every visitor. It might be very small compared to Bali itself, but there’s quite a lot to see and it’s just easier to relax. I would however not recommend to spent a whole holiday on Nusa Lembongan. Depending on how much time you want to spend on the beach, one weekend can be enough.
We hope that you liked out article about Nusa Lembongan and wish you a pleasant holidays on Bali. If you need further advice for your stay in Bali, feel free to take at the articles linked below.
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