Nusa Lembongan: The Magical Island Getaway in Bali, Indonesia
January 1, 1970
by Puspita Wardani
NUSA LEMBONGAN: THE MAGICAL ISLAND GETAWAY IN BALI, INDONESIA
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
I definitely agree with the quote above. The objective of the real travellers is not only visiting new spots but also experiencing new things and meeting new people from different backgrounds and understanding their point of views. So we can have bigger perspectives toward things and having higher level of tolerance to the difference when we go back to our hometown.
Bali, Indonesia – the place that I am currently living in, never stops to impress tourists all around the globe to visit. Many of them have become regular visitors, as this island offers some memorable nature beauty, the warmth of local people and the island keeps growing rapidly to offer more attractions for the tourists. People from various income levels are welcome in Bali, because it offers various kind of accommodations from luxury five stars to the budget ones. Besides that, plenty of restaurants for your culinary experiences are all here to offer – from Michelin five star fine dining to the street foods – and also the non stop entertainment which never makes you feel bored.
Those who have been in Bali for several times and seek for a new getaway experience, I suggest you to come to Nusa Lembongan. It’s the island (still counts as Bali) next to the mainland. It’s famous to be called as three islands with its neighbour islands – Nusa Penida (the biggest one) and Nusa Ceningan. Nusa Lembongan is the most growing island among all, yet it still offers the tranquil ambience and you can experience “Bali 20 years ago”.
You can go to Lembongan from Sanur beach (in the mainland) and it only takes you 30 minutes to reach there by a fast boat. You can go to the end of Hangtuah Street, Sanur, park your vehicle at the end of the road, then turn right and you will find some fast boat offices after 3-4 minutes walking. Another option is you can go to the entrance of Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel and you will see a carpark space on your left hand side approximately 5 minutes driving from the main entrance, go and park your vehicle there, find a small path heading to the ocean (this path is for walking only) and you will reach the same spot.
Some of the recommended fast cruises are Rocky Fast Cruise, Scoot Fast Cruise and Marlin Fast Cruise. There are approximately 4 times departure and to come back which make your journey more convenient. The price is more less about USD 50 returned/ person. And yeah, to make things easier, they actually offer pick up service from your hotel too. Call them up and all is settled so easy 🙂
There are various accommodations in Nusa Lembongan from the budget ones until the luxury ones around the island. I recommend you to stay around Jungut Batu area – as it has the direct access to the beach along the way & it is the most happening spot where you can easily go to the shops or restaurants by walking distance from where you stay, Batu Karang area – because it offers various luxury stays overlooking the ocean & the iconic Mount Agung or Dream Beach area for the secluded getaway with a secluded pristine beach.
The best thing to do is to book the room before you depart to Lembongan. Once you arrive in the hotel, you can get more information about the island at the hotel reception and they will assist you if you want to hire a scooter or a car to go around. Maybe the fun way is to book one night at where you stay, then after you explore the island a little bit, you can decide whether you will extend your stay at the same place or you find another better accommodation to experience for the rest of your days.
Some people only book 1 day trip water activities which doesn’t require you to stay over night, where some other people prefer to stay one or a few nights to explore the island more. And for me, I think two nights is the best option so I can relax on the first day and explore the island a little bit, going scuba diving or surfing on the second day then explore the island more for the rest of the time on the third day and take the fast boat back to Bali mainland in the afternoon. So, which one you prefer?
What to Do in Nusa Lembongan?
Many land & water activities to experience. Either you are the type of land explorer or ocean lover, all is there for you!
1. Devil’s Tears
It’s located in Lembongan island. The pristine view with stunning blue ocean is calm at times, but wait, watch your step and pay attention until waves come and crash the cliff, you will witness some stunning water blow. The bigger & stronger is the wave, the higher the water will blow up.
- Watch your step on the rocky cliff.
- Prepare your camera or video recorder (the one with waterproof case is recommended as you and your camera might get wet) to capture the moment.
- Stand near the edge as you might get shocked and the worst scenario is you fall down and hurt yourself from the rocky cliff.
Not far from this spot, there is a magnificent beach called Dream Beach which nowadays it can only be accessed from a resort named Dream Beach Hut, which is a recommended place to stay as well with more less USD 60/ night – depending on the season. The best thing is to check the rate on online travel agent. And if you are not staying there, you can come to just have your meal at the Beach Hut’s restaurant too. It offers a stunning view!
2. Yellow Bridge.
It’s the yellow colour bridge which connects Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan island. You can only go pass through it by walking or by riding a motorbike.
And also, many people have been taking pictures at this spot for their pre-wedding pictures, fashion pictures or simply just making some holiday memories.
3. Gala-gala Underground House.
It’s located in Lembongan Island as well. If you are an adventure seeker, this is for you. This 500 sqm underground cave was made by a local named Made Byasa for 15 years from 1961- 1976. He was a puppet shadow performer (in Indonesia we call them Dalang) and he had the inspiration to make this cave by a Hindu epic story called Mahabharata, which one of the episodes telling that Pandawas needed to evacuate to the forest for 12 years because of losing in gambling.
This is one of the most interesting spots in Nusa Lembongan. You need to pay as you please in the entrance and you can go down to experience this.
- Bring your friends when you go down the cave. Even though there will be a local guide who will be accompanying you but you know, just to be extra safe and more enjoyable if you grab your friends too.
- Bring your camera and capture the moment. You may find this cave just normal, but trust me, once its captured on the camera, it looks beyond amazing.
- Make some loud noises & scream. You know, it’s kinda sacred place so it’s better to respect the area.
4. Seaweed Farm.
During your trip around the island, I am sure you will find some seaweed on the side of the street. This is actually the main livelihood of local people. They sell it to some buyers and it’s distributed to the big cities in Indonesia, such as Surabaya, to be treated as the cosmetic ingredient and exported it overseas. Interesting, isn’t it?
I remember during my interview with the local, he mentioned that one of the destination countries is Japan. But since the years are changing, many hotels and restaurants have been built, the young generations prefer to work in hospitality industry rather than being seaweed farmers. That is why you will be seeing mostly old people who do this.
5. Mangrove Forest.
One spot that you may don’t want to miss during your land tour is Mangrove Forest. It’s located in the north west of Lembongan island. You can hire the jukung (the long traditional wooden boat which can fit up to 6 people) with a boat operator for around USD 5/ person. The man will take you into the mangrove forest and you will experience the total silence during the journey. Slowly, it will lead to the open ocean that will leave you amazed and feel grateful toward the nature.
Now, let’s talk about the water activities. One of the activities you can do is surfing. There are some spots that you can go to, depending on your surfing skill level. The most famous one is Playground. Same as the name, this spot is where we can play! It’s also the place for day trip water activity companies (such as banana boat, jet ski, snorkeling, frenzi, glass bottom boat to watch the coral and fishes, etc) lay their pontoons. The size of waves to surf are varied. There are some small waves for the beginners and if you paddle more to the ocean, there will be bigger waves for the intermediate and pro. And for some professional surfers, they prefer to go to the norther spot next to Playground called Lacerations and Shipwreck. Some other pro surfers are usually go to another island, Nusa Ceningan to find bigger waves.
7. Scuba Diving.
Another exciting activity to do to those who love ocean and appreciate the underwater beauty. There are so much to see down there! The most famous spot in Lembongan is called Mangrove Point and another spots are mostly in another island nearby, Nusa Penida. Don’t worry, once you reach the dive center in Nusa Lembongan, they will tell you that you can go to Nusa Penida by the fast boat provided by the dive center from Lembongan.
Manta Point in Nusa Penida is very popular as you will witness some mantas swimming to the surface. And it’s guaranteed that you will meet ones. Another exciting spot is Crystal Bay and if you are lucky, you can see some giant Sunfishes too around July – September each year.
- Go to the the certified Dive Centers. You need to take this activity seriously and go to the proper dive center. Ocean down there is very powerful and full of risks. There best thing to do is leave it to the experts. There are some recommended Dive Centers such as Blue Corner Dive, Big Fish Diving or Lembongan Dive Center.
- Bring your underwater camera to capture the moments. If you don’t have one, ask the dive center as usually they rent it. Once you have it with you, don’t be shy to ask your dive buddy to help you take the pictures.
- Always listen to what your dive buddy tell you to do and keep an eye to where he/ she goes so you can always follow and stay safe.
- Have fun! The underwater view down there is so amazing!
- Dive by yourself. It’s not recommended at all. Always follow where your dive buddy goes.
- Panic. Otherwise, you won’t have fun!
So, have you all got excited already? I bet 🙂