Off the south-east coast of the popular island of Bali lies Nusa Lembongan, a popular part of a three-island group of which the other two islands are Nusa Penida (famous for the snorkelling opportunities to witness Manta Rays), and Nusa Ceningan (where you’ll witness, and possibly participate in, some of the craziest cliff jumps). Nusa Lembongan was historically a surfer’s paradise and also their retreat from the mainland, with only the serious ones who want to ride the biggest and best waves taking one of the few speedboats over and staying in a modest shack which offered the bare essentials. The waves were world-class, and since they’re availability was all-year round, it’s no wonder surfers from all around the world often popped this a destination on their itinerary.
However, and we’re not entirely sure when, but visitors to Bali began to catch wind of this mysteriously small yet dynamite island, where the sand is the whitest many people have ever dipped their toes in, and the water is the most vivid aqua blue colour. Soon, the visitors on Nusa Lembongan were no longer just surf enthusiasts, but they were regular holidaymakers just wanting a slice of paradise that everyone seems to be talking about. Since this boom in tourism, activities catering to all types of travellers have flourished on the island, and whether you’re just hankering for a few private moments on the stunning beaches, or you want to take advantage of the crystal clear waters and do a bit of diving, it’s all available at Nusa Lembongan.
Let it be known that Nusa Lembongan is not for the party-people. There are no nightclubs, hardly any beach parties, and the culture certainly does not encourage drinking and dancing until the AM. Rather, it’s for those seeking tranquillity, a slowed-down pace in life, lazy Sundays waking up in the afternoon, and leisurely exploration of long stretches of beaches.
How to get there?
The easiest and most popular method of getting to Nusa Lembongan is via a boat. It is very easy to book a boat from the mainland, and they usually offer a good price for a return-trip which makes it highly convenient. Most of the scheduled high boat services leave from Sanur Beach, however, they can also leave from Serangan, Padangbai, and Benoa. If you have a look at the Gili Transfers website, you can see comparisons of a few of the more popular website’s prices for one-way and return fares, and book within a few minutes. Most of the fares include hotel pickups from the main areas of Bali (Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu, Ubud, Amed..).
However, if you’re a bit pressed for time, or would like to only visit it as a day trip, look no further than the Luxury Catamaran Day Cruise. We highly recommend this cruise, as it offers the best conditions for exploring the island. From the time you are picked up from your hotel (included pickup areas are listed in the link), all the way until you’re dropped off at your front door, you’ll be living the dream and treated like royalty.
The cruise begins with a delicious morning tea at Benoa Harbour, after which you will board the luxury catamaran and sail leisurely to the island where you’ll alight at the private beach. There will be plenty of activities to participate in, include semi-submersible coral viewing, village tours, banana boat rides, and snorkelling, and once you’ve worked up an appetite, a gourmet buffet lunch will be set out for your pleasure. After a few more hours of enjoying the wonderful island later, everyone will board the luxury catamaran once again and depart for Benoa Harbour, after which everyone will be personally transported back to their hotels.
This is the perfect alternative to staying on the island. What are you waiting for? Book the tour here.!
Where to stay?
Nusa Lembongan Guesthouse – Sunrise Hut’s Lembongan
One of the best and most affordable accommodations on the island, Sunrise Hut’s Lembongan lets you live in paradise without the price tag to match. There is a stunning infinity pool overlooking the ocean that offers possibly the greatest view of the sunset which you can spend the day soaking in, otherwise simply sunbake under the daybeds and beach umbrellas to your heart’s content. Never be out of touch with free Wi-Fi access in all areas, and if you ever want to get out, Mushroom Beach and Dream Beach are only 10-minutes drive away. The unique bungalows are all fitted with air-conditioning, a seating area, and a private bathroom. There’s also a free shuttle service and free use of the BBQ facilities, and if you’re after some additional services, laundry, babysitting and massages are available at an additional charge.
Why Guests Love It: “We felt very welcomed, nice bungalows with amazing views. You can wake up and look at the ocean. Very nice infinity pool,”, “Pool was amazing. Citra the manager was very accommodating with any information we needed. The bungalow was very cute with a nice bathroom”.
Book It Here: Sunrise Hut’s Lembongan
Nusa Lembongan Hotel – Lembongan Seaview
The most talked about feature of this hotel is the petite yet stunning infinity pool that overlooks the ocean. You can see for absolute miles if you’re perched on the edge, making it the perfect place to capture the stunning sunset. The hotel itself is close to multiple attractions, including Devil’s Tear, Sandy Bay Beach Club, Mushroom Bay, and Blue Lagoon. The in-house restaurant rocks a delicious diverse international menu which can be enjoyed throughout the day. All rooms are equipped with a private bathroom and shower, and some even boast a generous balcony. Many past patrons have claimed this hotel to be the best value for money accommodation they’ve ever stayed, and we’re inclined to agree!
Why Guests Love It: “Son and his family did everything to give us the most pleasant stay. They organised trips and scooters for us and reserved tables for dinner as well as the pick up here. And this view! Just paradise!”, “We loved everything about Lembongan Seaview! Great view, clean room and a shower with warm water. Also, Son, Ady and their family were so friendly. They provided a scooter, showed us the way to restaurants and arranged a snorkelling trip for us. Nothing we asked was too much for them, so a great place to stay”.
Book It Here: Lembongan Seaview
Nusa Lembongan Resort – Lembongan Beach Club & Resort
This resort is the epitome of a luxury island resort. Thatched grass roofs and surrounding palm trees make way for an understated tropical vibe, and the massive stunning pool by the Jungut Batu beach means that you’ll struggle every day whether you want to head out or stay in. The round daybeds are incredibly luxurious and inviting, so maybe that decision won’t be so hard after all. For those who after after a bit more privacy, villas with private pools can be reserved, so you won’t even have to leave the comfort of your own room if you don’t want to. The onsite Kayu Manis Restaurant offers a variety of Indonesian, Western, and international dishes for you to enjoy either by the ocean or in the comfort of your own room. If you want to participate in water activities, this hotel will happily arrange your diving and/or snorkelling trips for you – simply ask the reception desk!
Why Guests Love It: “WOW! What a place! The staff were so helpful and friendly throughout our stay. Beautiful pool and right on the beach. The private villa was stunning and very clean. Would definitely stay again.”, “Excellent staff. Nice bartenders. Perfect central location. Villas have very clean comfortable beds. Good breakfast with omelette station.”, “The accommodation here was absolutely spectacular. We had a private villa with a private pool which is amazing. The interior of the villa was incredibly well thought out with separate living areas and bedroom areas. The resort itself was like a jungle oasis with tropical flowers and fauna lining the path through the villas and towards the beachfront club. All together, very happy with this place”.
Book It Here: Lembongan Beach Club & Resort
Activity to Do in Nusa Lembongan #1 – Snorkelling
Snorkelling is an absolute must if you’re visiting this island (or any of the surrounding islands, to be honest). Being situated close to the Manta Bay means that an hour or two of preparation is all you need to be out in the waters amongst the majestic Manta Rays. The famous crystal clear waters of Nusa Lembongan and the much-welcomed all-year-round warm temperatures of the waters sets the perfect condition for anyone who wants to explore the waters a little more. If you don’t want to plan ahead, there are always shops located nearby the beaches that provide rental gear which you can just snap on and do a bit of self-exploration, however, the best way to get the most out of your snorkelling experience is to book with experts who will be able to take you out to the best areas for snorkelling and point out things you may not notice without a trained eye.
We recommend this Snorkelling Tour as they’re currently offering a whooping 25% off all bookings, and they’re probably the best in the business. Not only will you get to snorkel gear that you can snap on and hop straight into the waters with, but this tour also provides an amazing lunch at Warung Paradise in Lembongan as well as the opportunity to partake in activities such as kayaking and/or stand-up paddle-boarding.
As we’ve said before, snorkelling is an absolute must, it’s like going to France and not capturing the Eiffel Tower, or heading to India and not trying authentic curry – when you’re on one of these paradise islands, you just need to explore its marine life.
For more Scuba Diving spots, feel free to check this blog post: Scuba Diving Bali.
Activity to Do in Nusa Lembongan #2 – Catch the Sunset at Jungut Batu Beach or Sandy Bay Beach
We’re not sure if the sunset from Nusa Lembongan can be topped by any other viewpoint in the world. Almost everyone who goes to Nusa Lembongan (and is staying overnight) has made it one of their goals to be able to find a spot at the ever-popular Sandy Bay Beach or the more mainstream Jungut Beach. It’d be hard to argue against the fact that every viewpoint on the island has far superior views of the sunset than even the island of Bali, however, these two beaches offer complete uninterrupted, expansive, awe-inspiring views that you will likely never forget.
Most people will visit Sandy Bay Beach whilst they’re staying on the island, either for the Sandy Bay Beach Club where you can grab a delicious meal of local cuisine such as Nasi Goreng or a good ole’ beef patty burger reminiscent of home, or to sunbake on the white-sand as the gentle waves crash onto the bay. It’s also one of the most popular areas for visitors to get the true sense of Nusa Lembongan, so expect it to be busy.
Jungut Batu is where many people alight after coming from Sanur, so it’s fairly busy during the day, but the crowd does tend to thin out before sunset. The uninterrupted views of the sky from there is reminiscent of the sunset from Batu Ferringhi in Malaysia – incredibly breathtaking and overwhelming all at the same time.
Activity #3 – Explore Devil’s Tear
Just south of Sunset Beach lies Devil’s Tear, a small section of rock cliff jutting out from the island into the ocean. What makes it such a great attraction is that during high tide, when the waves and big and the flow is strong, the waters that smash up against the rocks produces an explosive display of water spray high up into the air, instantly capturing the attention of anyone around it. The smooth, glistening green algae surrounding the cliff and the turquoise blue hue of the ocean contrasts magnificently against the worn brown of the cliff, making it a spectacular sight by Mother Nature. Please note to be careful around these areas, as the water can be unassumingly powerful, and the surface surprisingly slipper.
To get to Devil’s Tear, you can walk south from Sunset Beach. However, the lava rocks are quite sharp and angled, so it is highly recommended that you wear shoes. If you are taking a motorbike out to this area, please be mindful that the road is not by any means smooth and very easy to navigate – you may want to take your time slowly traversing it.
Activity to Do in Nusa Lembongan #4 – Go Surfing
What would this list be if it didn’t list surfing, one of the absolute original attractions of Nusa Lembongan? The breaks in the ocean draw surfing enthusiasts from all around the world to this tiny island just to experience it. Although there are many areas on the island where most experienced surfers will be able to just paddle out and catch waves as they come, there are only a few that are suitable for beginners.
Below we’ve listed a few of the more popular areas:
- Playgrounds – This is probably the best option for beginners or those who aren’t too comfortable with the big waves yet. From Coconut Beach, you can paddle out and surf right away. It has a fun long-left and right-hander that is either ‘mushy’ or ‘short and barrelling’.
- Lacerations – If you head out a bit further out than Playgrounds through the boat channel, you’ll end up at Lacerations, which is slightly larger in size, has a better barrel, and thus has a slightly larger crowd. Again, beginners can still have fun and learn in this area, just know that the swells can go from small to medium.
- Shipwrecks – A right-hand break for the more experienced surfer. The only way to get to Shipwrecks is to hire a boat for a ride out, and it is best on mid to high, and high going to low. At its peak, it’s probably the best wave out there, but needs a decent swell to work with properly.
For the absolute beginners who believe they might have trouble picking it up on their first or second go, it’s probably best if you take lessons on the mainland Bali, where, on certain beaches, there’s ample space between you and other surf enthusiasts to enjoy your own space and not worry about taking people out.
Activity to Do in Nusa Lembongan #5 – Discover the Mangrove Forest
In the north-east section of the island is the Mangrove Forest. Many people love to explore these mangroves as they offer something tangibly different and unique on a tropical island like Nusa Lembongan. Whilst you can definitely book tours ahead of time, more often than not, you can just show up and hop onto one of the eagerly awaiting boats that will take you on a fun ride through the mangroves.
From there, they’ll take you through the mangroves and to a few hidden gems areas where you can snorkel and discover the unique underwater life, before finishing off and heading to one of the close-by beach bars afterwards. The mangroves are gorgeous, as are the butterflies that will flit past you as you’re cruising along the water, and riding under them gives you a sense of solitude in the world, much unlike the busy street of Kuta. This area of the island is a much quieter side of town as well, so acts as a great escape if you need one.
Price: from approximately 100,000 IDR for 1 person/30 minutes
Activity #6 – Dream Beach Cliff Jump
Dream Beach, located on the south coast of Nusa Lembongan, has been rated as one of the most picturesque beaches in Nusa Lembongan. The white sand beach is often peppered with people sunbaking and sometimes waddling in the waters, although there are quite a high number of rocks even on the shallow end, so you need to have a bit of caution when heading into the waters.
Located on the right-hand side of the bay along the rocky coastline, is a popular cliff-jumping area where you will often see tiny crowds of tourists eagerly cheering each other on as one-by-one they take a deep breath and jump headline onto the ocean. The depth is about 5m and the moment you plunge deep into the waters, the exhilaration of it all will make you want to do it again and again and again.
Things to Note: this isn’t an official activity of the island, so before you do so, please make sure you do a proper depth check of the water before you partake in this activity. Also, the climb up from the ocean back onto the rocks is not exactly easy-peasy, so make sure you’re wearing reef shoes or at least a pair of shoes to assist with getting out of the water.
Activity to Do in Nusa Lembongan #7 – Visit Nusa Ceningan via The Yellow Bridge
Nusa Ceningan, the smallest island of the trio of Nusa islands, is actually connected to Nusa Lembongan via a popular yellow suspension bridge. The reason why this bridge is so popular could be for a myriad of reasons, but mostly because it’s exhilarating to even try and ride your motorbike across it – it’s actually so small and narrow that you will most likely brush against the leg hair of fellow riders riding the opposite way if you encounter them. Of course, this means you should only partake in this activity if you’re confident in your bike-riding skills.
This bridge has quite a bit of history to it as well. In 2016, it had actually collapsed in a tragedy that ended up being fatal for a few riders. Since then, it’s been re-built stronger and sturdier than ever before, and overtime, has been given the title “The Bridge of Love”. This bridge is a bright, colourful structure that stands out on this small tropical island, and is a great way to appreciate the architecture on the island. You can even walk across if you’d like.
Nusa Ceningan itself is a whole new chapter of exploration. The small island is famous for it’s Blue Lagoon (a rocky cove area that’s home to the bluest water you’ll ever see), cliff-jumping (with heights from 4m, 6m, 8m, and 13m), and the famous Secret Beach (that’s so secret, it’s stunning beauty can usually be enjoyed in utmost privacy or with a handful of other people). You can explore Nusa Ceningan in one day if you start nice and early via a walk across the yellow bridge.
Activity to Do in Nusa Lembongan #8 – Check Out Some Amazing Eateries on the Island
It may surprise you that somewhere as remote and small as Nusa Lembongan has a wide variety of eateries, but indeed it does, and some of them are definitely worth checking out!
Hai Bar & Grill
Specialising in seafood and grill types of dishes, this place is raved on about by all those who dine there. The food is delicious (Fish of the Day is always recommended, the beef steaks are to-die-for, the crème brulee? Let’s just say you should always ask if there’s any left), the views are amazing (it’s beachfront, after all!), and the prices are decent. A great place to end an activity-filled day.
Hours: 7:00am – 11:00pm
Lemongrass Bar & Restaurant
A very popular restaurant located in Jungut Batu that offers both authentic Indonesian, American and Mediterranean style dishes. Don’t be fooled by its name, the chef’s take on dishes like lasagne and pizza have been well-received by many patrons! There’s always great music playing in the background, and being situated at such a central location, it seems this restaurant has it all going for it. If you’re after a no-frills meal and a great, relaxing restaurant ambience, head here for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner.
Hours: 8:00am – 10:00pm
Bali Eco Deli
A great eco-friendly café that serves up only the freshest dishes using fresh ingredients – is there anything greater to top your already magnificent holiday? You’ll see the likes of organic coffee, fresh fruit and vegetable juices, granola bowls, and traditional Indonesian dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients and lacking in artificial flavours. A great place for those who want a lighter alternative to the heavier dishes generally served in restaurants, or those who are conscious about making a different.
Hours: 7:00am – 9:00pm
For more restaurant recommendations in Bali, don’t hesitate to check this article too: Bali Restaurants.
We highly recommend sparing a few days in your itinerary to relax on or explore the island of Nusa Lembongan. It’s so easy to get to, it’s not nearly as overrun by tourists by the mainland, and the level of euphoria of waking up on an absolute paradise like this island is indescribable. Plan ahead to make the most of your money, or if you’re a risk-taker, simply book a boat the day before, head on over and see what the island has to offer.