As explained, Nusa Lembongan is one of the three small islands south east of Bali. As on Bali people are mostly Hindu. We stayed on Nusa Lebongan for three days. If we had time, we would definitely extend our stay for an extra few. We recommend visiting, if you are fond of secluded beaches, places with fewer tourists and if you love the local vibe.
So how can you make your time memorable?
Relax on sandy beaches
Swim with manta rays
We read that snorkeling around the three islands is one of the best places to see manta rays and large sunfish (mola mola), but the last ones only in summer months (July – September). You can do a whole or just ½ day snorkeling or diving trips. In our ½ day snorkeling trip we went on two different locations, near Nusa Penida (the largest one of the three islands). At the first snorkeling point we saw some beautifully colored corals and many small tropic fish. Other snorkelers on the boat were quite happy with what they saw, but for us, the main reason for that trip was seeing manta rays. We did quite a lot of snorkeling around the world on many different locations (Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Maldives and Philippines) so we are a little spoiled, but if you are a first-timer, it is worth taking a trip.
So did we saw mantas, did we?!?
Yes, WE SAW MANTAS, we swam with them!! Two, quite small (2m) manta rays were in the water when we came and we went straight in. The hell with freezing water and strong current. The only thing that took the wow factor away was that mantas were not as big as we have hoped. Manta rays can grow up to 7 meters in width, so seeing “only” 2 meters wide mantas were not what we expected. But still, it was a memorable experience and we consider ourselves lucky to have seen them.
Rent a scooter and do an island trip
You can rent a scooter and cruise around the island. From Jungutbatu village (where the boats dock) it’s a short trip to the Mushroom bay or Dream beach. The hill above the Jungutbatu village offers you a breathtaking view of surroundings. You can easily drive around the island in an hour or two.
The road conditions are as story for itself. Rally Dakar cannot compare with this roads, but it was quite fun. Don’t be scared off, with a bit of attention, you should do just fine.
Cross the bridge and explore Nusa Ceningan
Nusa Lembongan is connected to Nusa Ceningan – it’s the smaller island between Lembongan and the large Penida. You can drive to Ceningan island over narrow bridge (really narrow, two pedestrians barely meet). Just make sure that you have enough petrol, since we didn’t see any petrol station on Ceningan. The island is not developed as much as Lembongan, so if you’re up for some walking or driving into less known places, go for it!
Watch the locals do their chores
We loved the local vibe that the island has. It is more present than anywhere we visited in Bali. They have a well established seaweed farming industry and you can see how they collect seaweed almost anywhere on the shore. Very fascinating thing in Nusa (and whole Indonesia) is a head capacity of the locals. Seriously, you cannot believe how much they can carry on their heads and how easily. Respect!
Do a mangrove trip
At the North part of the island is a very beautiful mangrove forest. You can rent a local boat, which takes you into the mangrove forest. Unfortunately, we didn’t go, but the pictures look nice. They say it’s good to leave something for your next visit, so that you have a reason to return. 🙂
Kick back & relax
Nusa Lembongan has some really nice bars directly on the beach. Have some freshly squeezed juice or a fresh coconut (or, of course ice cold Bintang). We found the island very calming and quiet, which was the best possible introduction to the rest of Indonesia.
Do you think that you have enough reasons to visit Nusa Lebongan?
– The main getaway to the island is Sanur, where you have many agencies selling tickets for boat riders to the island. You can choose cheaper and slower public boat or more expensive fast boat to get to the island. With public boat it takes 1 hour and a half to get there. Fast boat is much quicker way – you need only 30 minutes.
– For ½ day snorkeling trip we paid 250.000 IDR per person. The trip includes packed lunch on the boat. We made reservations on the spot through Lembongan Dive Center. They also do diving trips. Since we don’t dive, we can’t comment on that part, but the snorkeling was awesome. We could not recommend it more. Everything was perfect and we enjoyed every minute of our trip.
– We rented a scooter for 70.000 IDR/day (you could probably get it for less, if you tried). The scooter was arranged by Moyo, a very helpful girl, working at Lembongan dive center.
– If you are traveling in the off-season, there is no need to arrange your accommodation in advance. They had vacant bungalows almost everywhere. We slept in Mega Cottage, in Jungutbatu village (more about the bungalows in our previous post).
Have you ever seen manta rays? Did you find them amazing as well?