Bali? All over it. Seminyak, Ubud, Kuta, Uluwatu, check, check, check. But wait….
This is the island in Bali you may never have heard of, but let me warn you, once you go, the only thing you can think about is planning your next trip back.
Nusa Lembongan is the place where you can find all the beauty and serenity of Bali, without the crowds and busy-ness of the more popular tourist areas. With plenty of adventure options for those wanting to explore, and plenty of relaxation options for those wanting to relax, there is truly something for everyone here.
What to do:
Nusa Lembongan has stunning beaches, incredible snorkelling and some beautiful vantage points just a quick scooter ride from anywhere on the island. Scooters can be rented from about $7AUD per day and are easily available. This is a great way to see the island and get around at your own pace. It is worth noting that a lot of the resorts and high end restaurants also offer a pick up service – drink driving on a scooter doesn’t end well!
For those really looking to get the adrenalin racing, cliff jumping at Mahana point is hard to beat. For a very cheap entry (about $1AUD) you can choose the high or low jumping point, and there is a ladder to swim around and climb up to back up to the top for your next jump!
For the ultimate nature experience, swimming with Manta Rays was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. Their curiosity and serenity is simply breathtaking.
These beautiful creatures engage with you on their own terms, as the boat takes you to an area near a cleaning station, and you are free to jump out of the boat with your snorkelling gear on. From then, it is usually just a matter of time before you encounter a curious Manta who will swim past gracefully to check you out! Many people find this idea scary or intimidating, however the rays are very gentle and swim quite slowly, and not one time did I feel any fear at all.
We hired a boat from about $60 AUD off the beach, and for 4 adults and 2 kids, we got 3 hours of snorkelling and swimming with Mantas. Not $60 per person – $60 total!!! Tip: the tides can be strong so flippers are advised, although your boat driver will follow the group as the tide moves.
Food & Drink:
It’s very hard to go past The Deck, at Batu Karang resort.
For breakfast, lunch, and sunset drinks, I just had to keep coming back here. The great thing is there are fresh and healthy options as well as things that will satisfy those looking for a treat. Topped off by great coffee, this place is the full package.
At the right time of year the Sunday sessions crank with DJs brought over from the mainland to get the party going.
There are a huge range of Balinese warungs around the island for cheap local food. A highly recommended spot with a great view across to Nusa Ceningan is Warung Putu, with a traditional range of food options, and it is very wallet friendly at about $1-2 AUD per meal!
There are plenty of bars with beautiful views, no doubt! You will be absolutely spoiled for choice. But for something just a little different, check out The Howff, which is an underground Scotch bar on the water, with no external signage, and is the best kind of secret to find out about. With snacks available to complement their quite incredible cocktail list, you will be happy you stopped by to check out this bar that is very far from the Bali norm.
Where to stay:
For luxury, you can’t go past Batu Karang Lembongan – quite seriously, this resort is heaven. With various room types available, all with their own certain charm to make to make you fall in love. The massage packages here are lovely, whilst not the cheapest on the island they were really wonderful.
Having stayed here a couple of times, the challenge is deciding my favourite room highlight – having an outdoor bath in the Superior 1 bedroom villa – or drinks on the balcony from the Villa Mt Agung at sunset? Take me back….
For mid range, check out the newly opened Playgrounds Wave Lodge. With a view that equals that of the luxury resorts on the island, and overlooking several incredible surf breaks (including the famous ‘Playgrounds’ break for which the lodge is named, this 6 room boutique hotel is designed for a quick surf check from your clean and convenient hotel. With a great deck restaurant (The Thai Pantry) with an obviously Thai influence for lunch and dinner menus and a Western breakfast. With rooftop yoga specials as part of the offering, this is the perfect place for couples or families to stay!!!
For budget accommodation, check out Le Pirate over the bridge on Nusa Ceningan. They have small but adorable rooms (aka Beach Boxes), with hammocks out the front, a cute pool area and a restaurant with lots of options.
Nusa Lembongan is a great place for couples or families to visit. A quick 30 minute fast boat trip from Sanur beach on the mainland (I use Rocky Fast Cruise) for $50USD return trip, these boats are fine for kids, although I suggest wearing clothes you don’t mind getting wet, because you are wading in the shallow water to get in and out of the boat.
I hope these tips have motivated you to check out this slice of heaven! Enjoy!!