Nusa Lembongan is an island located off the east coast of Bali. It is a place where tranquility meets the wildness of the Indian Ocean and it will surely put you in a state of mind similar to that of an adventurer.
Lembongan is populated with around 7000 locals most of whom came from Bali's Klungklung regency. The locals themselves are wonderful people to meet and you may find yourself sharing coffee and being told about seaweed. This is what makes lembongan so special; it is a place where a lot of the locals have been farming seaweed since the goverment started to support the commercial use of this algae in the 80's. A lot of the seaweed is farmed and then sent to Japan for food and cosmetic purposes. With the constant production of this algae, you can expect to see alot of it. Walking along the beach you will come across numerous patches of seaweed where the locals lay it out to dry. It is not just along the beach and the villages where you will stumble upon this green, yellow, brown crop. It is in the sea where you gain a much spectacular view of what is being farmed here. Maybe from your hotel terrace or balcony perched on the side of the hill, you will be greeted by a most spectacular view in the way of a patchwork quilt with literally hundreds of shades of greens and browns. It is said that the farms themselves when viewed from high are nothing short of works of art.
The main village of Lembongan is Jungut Batu and this is where most of the farmers reside. It is also here where you will find the best and cheapest accommodation. There are two parts to Jungut Batu; those being the village where accommodation is for the budget backpacker and " the hill" it is the latter where development has taken hold and you can expect to find some pretty amazing hotels perched on the side of the hill offering great views of the bay and its colourful canvas of seaweed.
In the early nineties Lembongan attracted the hardened surfer who had had enough of fighting for waves amongst the crowded Kuta beach. There are three excellent surf spots on Lembongan, those being Lacerations, shipwrecks and playgrounds. As some of the names suggest, these surf spots are not for the novice. Laceractions is called this as the wave breaks onto the reef and some unlucky surfers have returned bleeding from head to foot. Shipwrecks gained its name due to the running aground of a ship on the reef. The ship itself is slowly eroding away and can be seen from the shore. The latter surf spot: playgrounds is justly named as it really is a place where those not wanting to venture into the danger zone. All three spots are accessible from Jungut beach and most surfers agree a deal with a local fisherman to take them out to the breaks. There is a great site with the latest surf reports on shipwrecks: shipwreck's surf report
If surfing isn't your thing then are other activities to entertain you. Snorkeling is a fantastic way to get to see some of the abundant sea life that surrounds Lembongan. The best way to go about this is to agree a price with a local boatman to take you out past the reef and a half tour of the island. The price varies but expect to pay anything from 25 – 40 dollars for a half day trip. Once past thebreaking waves you will be greeted by warm shallow water all offering views of the pristine coral. Make sure to pack some lunch and don't forget your sunscreen as the sun on the water is extremely strong.
Lembongan has started to gain a name for itself as some of the best diving in Bali. You will find numerous dive operations most of them located in Jungut Batu offering your basic PADI to more advanced courses. Gotravelindonesia highly recommends World Diving Lembongan.
Aside from the main village of Jungut Batu there are other places of interest on Nusa Lembongan. There is a very beautiful bay named Mushroom bay on the other side of the hill. This place was one of the first areas of Lembongan to be developed and is peaceful with pristine sand covering the crescent shaped beach. There are a scattering of resorts here yet they can be quite pricey. Mushroom beach attracts the honeymooners as it is a great place for peace and quiet. The swimming here is also great and you won't be covered in any seaweed. There are a few restaurants to choose from all offering great seafood as well as western dishes.
Arond 20 minutes on a bike from Mushroom beach is the wild and untamed part of the island. Dream Beach which is located on the southern tip of Nusa Lembongan. Dream Beach will amaze you with its natrual beauty. It is a perfectly shaped beach with some of the finest sand on the island. Due to its location it is not so completely over-run with tourists and you will often find yourself on the beach gathering your thoughts and admiring the wildness of the ocean. Dream beach is not a recommended spot for swimming as the currents, at times, can be very strong. The waves themselves cannot really be surfed, but are there to be admired. Be careful as they can crash onto the beach with great force. There is accommodation here and the owner of this hotel has recently expanded to more than a scattering of bungalows that are very charming. There are numerous bungalows built up away from the beach all offering spectacular vistas. There is also a nice restaurant and bar preched on the cliff as well as an infinity swimming pool. It is a great way to spend the day watching Mother Nature at her finest.
There really is only one way to get to Nusa Lembongan and that is of course by boat. There are numerous operations all serving Lembongan,the cheapest would be the public boat that leaves from Sanur at 8:00 am everymorning. This Boat service is the cheapest yet can be an adventure in itself. The engines have been known to fail in the middle of the channel and the swell can at times get high. Not advisable for families travelling with small children. The cost is roughly Rp60,000 – Rp80,000 one way.
The most popular option would be to use the services of Scoot. This water taxi company operates from Sanur Beach and will take you directly to Jungut Batu beach. Tickets can be purchased from their office which is located next to Dunkin Donuts on Jalan Hangtuah Sanur. There are three departures daily from Sanur the first being 9:30 am, 1:30pm and the afternoon crossing at 4:00pm.
The fares are around 27 Dollars (one way) and 45 dollars (return). They can arrange to pick you up at your hotel. +62 361 285522
There are other options available to you and you can always ask your hotel if you have pre booked to pick you up from Bali. A private charter is popular amongst families and with large groups. Just ask your hotel for more information.
Nusa Lembongan is a great place to while away the days. If you find yourself with added time stuck in Kuta then Lembongan is a great escape from the everyday hassle. You will come across some fantastic scenery, beaches, coral and sea life and not forgetting the Majestic Mount Agung that sits quietly on the not so distant island of Bali.