Just half an hour from the well-known Indonesian island Bali you will find three more peaceful and smaller islands; Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida. You won’t find mass tourism like on Bali on these islands. Beautiful beaches, infinity pools, a beautiful underwater world and adorable locals. Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan are great destinations to escape the hassle of Bali. Read on if you want to know more about Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan.
Nusa Lembongan is one of the three Nusa’s that you find southeast of Bali. The largest island is Nusa Penida and the smallest island is Nusa Ceningan. Lembongan is only 8 square kilometers, making it easy to explore in one day. At different guesthouses you can rent a scooter for about 60,000 rupiah per day. It is also possible to explore the island by bike. Keep in mind, however, that many of the roads are unpaved and helmets are scarce on the island.
Bali 20 years ago
Although Nusa Lembongan is currently named Bali from 20 years ago, this is changing rapidly. The island is littered with construction sites and in a few months the first four-star hotel will be ready. It will not be the only luxury hotel so do not wait too long to visit to Nusa Lembongan.
Update October 2017: This year we have been to Bali again. From both tourists and locals we were told that Nusa Lembongan has become extremely popular lately. For a little more authenticity, we recommend Nusa Penida.
How to get to Nusa Lembongan?
Of course, Nusa Lembongan can be reached by boat. The prices per ferry service vary quite a bit, so be sure to do some research before buying a ticket. Keep in mind that some companies arrange transport from your hotel to the harbour and some don’t.
From Bali to Nusa Lembongan
Nusa Lembongan is accessible from various places in Bali by boat. We took the boat in Sanur and paid 300,000 rupiah per person. There are dozens of offices that offer boat tickets. The prices vary quite so probably it can be cheaper. We decided at the last moment to travel to Lembongan, so we had to make split decisions. We took the fast boat that brings you to Nusa Lembongan in about thirty minutes. Boats leave multiple times a day. Like mentioned before, some companies have pickup from your hotel included and some don’t. What is included for everyone is drop off at your hotel on the island. Boat services to Lembongan leave from multiple spots on Bali like Padangbai.
From Lombok to Nusa Lembongan and The Gili Islands to Nusa Lembongan
Alternatively, you can travel from Lombok or the Gili Islands to Nusa Lembongan. The prices for these fares are more or less the same as from Bali to Nusa Lembongan. The boat from Lombok and the Gili Islands stops in Padangbai, Bali. A beautiful boat trip where we even spot dolphins!
From Bali to Nusa Ceningan
Unfortunately, it is not (yet) possible to travel directly from Bali to Nusa Ceningan. To do this, you must first go to Nusa Lembongan by boat to travel to Ceningan from scooter or tuktuk. Another option is to travel from Bali to Nusa Penida and from there to Nusa Ceningan.
In addition to the fast boats to Nusa Lembongan there is an option to take the slow boat (local boat). However, this only goes once a day, early in the morning. The ride is less bumpy, but it also takes a lot longer. Finding the local boat is kind of a hassle as they want you to buy the expensive tickets to is islands. But be persistent and it will save you a lot of money.
Sights on Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Ceningan
As I mentioned earlier, Nusa Lembongan is a small island where it is easy to explore in one day. However, I recommend to extend a number of days so that you can get to know the island a little better.
Snorkeling with manta rays
Just like many islands of Indonesia, Nusa Lembongan is perfect for snorkeling. There are various snorkeling tours on the island that will bring you to multiple points around the Nusa. Although the underwater world is not as spectacular as, for example, the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia it is well worth it. For a snorkeling trip we paid 125,000 rupiah per person. When you book through your guesthouse or hotel you’ll end up easily paying 200,000 rupiah. Look around for yourself and find better prices for a trip that suits you. We booked the snorkel tour via Captain Flat Out. A really sweet guy who owns his own boat and doesn’t need more money than that. You can reach him at 08124622689. Manta Point is one of the spots many tours visit. We weren’t lucky enough to spot them, but you might be!
Chilling in an infinity pool
Although many guesthouses and hotels have their own swimming pool, there is no need to book a hotel with a swimming pool. Everywhere at Nusa Lembongan you will find infinity pools where you can jump in if you order a drink. Don’t worry about about the prices, because most of them have normal Indonesian prices. We paid 15,000 rupiah, which is about €1 for a beer. Also at Nusa Ceningan you will find several infinity pools where you can cool off. At Ceningan you can enjoy the beautiful views of the turquoise sea and its breathtaking cliffs. Especially the Blue Lagoon is a must visit!
Seaweed farmers between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan
It’s not tourism but seaweed which is the biggest source of income for the inhabitants of the nusa’s. Everywhere around the islands, seaweed farmers can be seen. The best spot to see them is in between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan, near the yellow bridge. Dozens of farmers float on their fields in their small boeats. Nice view!
Devil’s Tear is located between Dream Beach and Sunset Beach and is famous for the huge waves that hit the cliffs. We arrived at the right time and could see this enormous natural violence. The water is launched several meters in the air on impact. A truly breathtaking sight!
Beaches on Nusa Lembongan
If you think Bali has beautiful beaches then you should definitely visit Nusa Lembongan. The beaches are quite the same but the sea is a lot quieter at Lembongan. So if you like calm water to float around in, Lembongan is definitely for you. One of the most beautiful beaches on Lembongan is Dream Beach, right next to Devil’s Tear.
Sunsets on Nusa Lembongan
For an amazing sunset, visit Sunset Point. If the clouds allow it, beautiful sunset can be seen from here every day. If you don’t want to go there every day, don’t worry, because the sunset from the harbour is also pretty amazing.
Okay, for the temples you don’t have to travel to Nusa Lembongan. You can also find them on every street in Bali, but at Lembongan you can also marvel at beautiful temples. Also here you have to watch your step, because everywhere hindu offerings are being made, called Canang sari. These small, colorfull, pieces of banana leaf and flowers are offered everywhere. On the road, on cars, in temples, in shops. Everywhere!
Great food at a Warung
A Warung is a local restaurant that you do not only find on Nusa Lembongan, but throughout Indonesia. A warung is usually run by a family and you can choose from a number of local dishes. Overall no luxury, but if you want to experience the Indonesian culture, this is definitely the way to go. On top of that, it’s delicious and very cheap. Nowhere in Indonesia do we eat as good as in the warungs. Warung tip: We love Nusa Lembongan’s Warung Gili; a small warung at the main street. Every night it’s packed with locals and tourists. They also do take away, so no worries if the place is full. Dishes are prepared in one large wok, while the rest of the family cuts the meat and vegetables. The best nasi goreng I had so far was at Warung Gili. You will find Warung Gili at the Jalan Raya Jungutbatu, in the northwest of the island.
The Nusa Lembongan mangrove
Nearly the entire eastern shore of Nusa Lembongan is decorated with beautiful mangroves. You can rent a boat with a captain, but you can also rent a board or a canoe/kayak to explore the mangrove.
The smaller Nusa Ceningan is easily reachable from Nusa Lembongan. The islands are connected by a yellow Suspension bridge. In September 2016 a tragic accident happend when the bridge collapsed under the weight of too many people crossing it at once. Even though there were warning signs, most everybody ignored it, resulting in the death of a few people. As of 2017 the bridge has been rebuilt. We were there before the bridge collapsed, so it might look different than in our pictures.
Zipling over the waves at Nusa Ceningan
For those who are looking for a little action, do the zipline at Nusa Ceningan. It’s near the Blue Lagoon and it costs 100,000 rupiah to zipline across a small bay. It takes only a few seconds before reaching the end of the zip line, but it’s definitely fun! To cool down from all the adrenaline, buy a beer and cool down in the infinity pool.
Visit Nusa Penida
Do you have some time left after or during your visit to Nusa Lembongan? Be sure to visit the larger neighboring island of Nusa Penida. Penida is easily reached by local boat and is a lot less touristy than Lembongan. For more information, read this article on Nusa Penida.
Nusa Lembongan Accommodation
On Lembongan we stayed at two bungalows, both of which are great! Bunda 7 Bungalows offers delightful bungalows with a private terrace and private bathroom. In addition, there is a swimming pool where you can cool off and breakfast is included in the price.
Coconut Village Guesthouse is new and ran by the sweetest family we’ve ever met. The sad thing is that their view has been blocked by a huge resort that was being built when we were there. The construction noises were quite a nuicance, but that should be over by now. Although you might now see the sea anymore, they have a nice large garden which compensates for this. Breakfast is uncluded. Try their delicious banana bread!
Have you been on Nusa Lembongan lately?