Nusa Lembongan is a small island (8km2) in the southeast of Bali and only a 30 minutes boat ride away. Even though one of it’s sister island, Nusa Penida, is with 200km2 way bigger, Nusa Lembongan is the most popular and touristy one. With this Nusa Lembongan travel guide, I will show you where to eat, sleep and what fun things to do on the island.
Why you should go
Even though Nusa Lembongan is getting more and more touristy it is still nothing compared to Bali, especially when it comes to traffic. On Nusa Lembongan, you still get the real island feeling. You can find empty beaches, crystal clear water, white sand, amazing corals to dive and snorkel and great waves to surf. It is the perfect island getaway to relax and enjoy nature’s beauty.
How to get there
There are several boat companies that are leaving three or four times a day from Bali (Sanur and Benoa Harbor) to Nusa Lembongan and it will only take you 30 minutes with the speed boat.
I suggest going with Rocky Fast Cruise because they are very reliable and even offer a pick-up in Bali. If you stay around Seminyak area the pick-up is included and if you are a little further away (e.g Canggu) they offer a pick-up for 250’000IDR.
Price: 500 IDR for a return ticket including drop-off to your hotel on Nusa Lembongan. If you go directly to their office in Sanur you can get tickets cheaper (around 300-400 IDR).
Times: Sanur to Nusa Lembongan 10.00 am, 12.00 noon, 14.00 pm, and 17.30 pm
Nusa Lembongan to Sanur 09.00 am, 11.00 am, 13.00 pm, and 16.30 pm
Best places to stay in Nusa Lembongan..
Nusa Lembongan hotels are not always cheap, especially in the high season (June-September).
However, with so many options available, finding somewhere awesome at a low price is certainly possible (you just need to know where to look..)
This brings me on to tell you about my all time favorite place to stay in Nusa Lembongan..
Sounds like it could be a little pricey right?
Well.. actually you’ll be surprised. (I certainly was!!)
This cute little Boutique Hotel is surrounded by a lush garden, has an amazing healthy restaurant; a nice pool and the rooms are in two-story beach huts.
It is centrally located about five minutes with the scooter from the boat drop-off point Jungutbatu. However, it is not a beachfront hotel, it will take you a five-minute walk to go to the beach.
If you get the upper room you get a little more light and privacy, but be aware: You have to go outside of your room and walk down the stairs because the (private) bathroom is downstairs.
If you stay in the room on the ground floor you have an ensuite bathroom, which I personally prefer. Don’t forget to try the Chia seed pudding and the Açaii Bowl in the Restaurant.
A close 2nd on my list of awesome places to stay in Nusa Lembongan is..
Now I mentioned before about prices being high, but Tarci Bungalow is another great value choice.
When you stay there you can rest assured that you’re getting somewhere that is both affordable and good quality at the same time.
It’s right on the beach, and next to the French restaurant which serves my favorite dessert! (What could be better right?!)
They also have bean bags and umbrellas at the beach and you can enjoy live music and BBQ at their restaurant (Agus ShipWreck).
Last but by no means least on my shortlist is..
This resort has its beach huts literally on the seafront with an amazing view over mushroom bay.
Since it is a resort it can be a bit busier than other places, but if you want to organize a lot of fun activities (like diving.. and eating amazing food (yeaa that’s an activity too :P), Hai Tide it definitely somewhere you’ll want to take a look at!
Last but not least a recommendation for those luxury seekers amongst you..
This place needs no introduction.. seriously guys just check it out here and you’ll see why! 🙂
Things to do
Nusa Lembongan Beach
Of course, you want to visit all the beautiful beaches in Nusa Lembongan. If you go to Nusa Lembongan dream beach you will not only see a wonderful beach, but also this cute little swing to take a picture. 🙂
There is also a restaurant where you can eat lunch (the food is not overly exciting though) and for 50’000 IDR entrance fee (approx. 4 USD) you can swim in the pool overlooking dream beach.
However, I suggest going for lunch to sandy bay beach club. The food there is amazing and you can swim in the pool for free. The beach at sandy bay is almost always empty and another nice spot to take pictures and enjoy the beauty of the ocean.
- Mushroom Bay. Next to mushroom bay is a small hidden beach. You have to walk over the hill and then walk back down, which is a bit of an adventure but it’s worth it because hardly anyone goes there
- Sunset Beach
- Tamarind Beach
- Scoby Doo Beach
Snorkeling and Diving
I am not a diver so I can’t go into detail but I did a snorkeling tour and it was amazing.
Nusa Lembongan is also famous for its Manta Rays and there are various companies, which offer special Manta Ray tours. This is still on my list for the next time, when I go.
If you are looking for a good massage I highly recommend going to Organic Lembongan Spa. Even though it looks a little more run down than the pictures online, it is definitely worth going because the massages are amazing. I suggest getting the classic Balinese Massage for IDR 150’000.
Where to eat & drink
Whether you want to try cute local warungs, healthy or even fancy restaurants on Nusa Lembongan, you have many options. Most of the restaurants offer a free pick-up and drop-off service for those among us who would like to have a cocktail or just don’t like to drive when it’s dark.
A must visit when you are in Nusa Lembongan. The deck cafe and bar overlooks the ocean and the view is just priceless. Sipp a cocktail and simply enjoy life and the breathtaking view.
Even if you don’t stay at the hotel you should definitely go there for food. Try the chia seed pudding, acai bowl or a pizza.
This place has healthy western options and also Indonesian food. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Nasi and Mie Goreng are amazing but my personal favorite is the chicken cordon blue with mashed potatoes – so yummy.
Crêperie Indiana / Indiana Kenanga Villas
This French restaurant is great at everything. I tried a lot of dishes and loved them all, but my all-time favorite is the chocolate fondant for dessert. It is right on the beach so you can even have a table with your feet in the sand or sit on a bean bag and watch the sunset.
The resort also has a yummy restaurant – I always go there for a pizza and a cocktail. If you want a table for sure it is a good idea to reserve a table. When you go for lunch you have a view of the boats arriving from Bali and can stare at the crystal clear water.
Good to know
Since almost everything has to be shipped in boats from Bali to Nusa Lembongan the prices are a bit higher. You can still find cheap and cute warungs, but in general, expect the price range higher than in Bali.
Talking about money: Until two months ago, there was NO ATM in Nusa Lembongan. Now there is one and they are just installing a second one, but I still recommend taking enough cash. In the bigger restaurants as well as hotels you can pay by card.
Motorbike rent: Yes you should rent a motorbike if you want to go explore all those beautiful places. There are not cars only taxis organized by hotels (for pick-up and drop-off). Since there is almost no traffic it is safer to drive than in Bali and you wont get lost, it is too small. 🙂 Price: 80’000 IDR per day.