I am really excited to finally be able to write more about my trip to Bali here. Bali is like my second home. When writing about it, it feels like going back to the island and puts a smile on my face. Probably all travel bloggers feel the same about their favorite place. Anyway, I chose to write about Nusa Lembongan first because to tell you the truth, I have been planning to visit this island for years.
I’ve heard (and read) so many good things about this island’s beauty from other travelers. How amazing the view is, not only above the water (or a bridge) but also under the water. Not to mention the white sandy beach… So for a beach + underwater lover like me, Nusa Lembongan is a must-visit place. But there was always a reason not to go until last year when I finally got to step foot on this lovely island… and more than once.
Nusa Lembongan or Lembongan island (“nusa” means island) is situated in the southeast of Bali, about a 45 minute fast boat ride from Sanur. The population is estimated to be about 5,000 people. It’s only 8km2 in area, so a small island indeed and you can do a tour of the whole island in one day. Be aware that because this is a small island away from Bali, everything here is much more expensive than in Bali.
On my first visit to Nusa Lembongan I stayed in the Mushroom Bay area which is about a 30 minute ride from the fast boat dock in Junggut Batu bay. The transport options on this island remind me of Tuk Tuks in Thailand – a pickup truck converted into a passenger vehicle. It also drives at high speed in a narrow lane. The ride to Mushroom Bay was bumpy and passing many trees, like you were going into a jungle because part of this island is still untouched. It is something I’ve hardly seen.
I stayed in Harta Lembongan Villas, located on top of a hill and the pathway to the beach is from these Villas is quite steep. You need to pull out your last energy when going back to the hotel. At night, there is no light in there so make sure you have a torch with you. When staying in this hotel, I noticed that somehow it always has problem with water and electricity during the day. Luckily the view makes up for this as well as the swimming pool.
Mushroom Bay itself is a nice place to relax. It has a white sandy beach and the water is calm. The only downside is that this beach is also the fast boat dock to/from Bali. So it can be busy with boats coming and going in the water. But you can swim to the left or right side of the Bay and there are restaurants all along this beach.
The food is overpriced though but again, this is Nusa Lembongan. All is expensive here. Plus imo, it is difficult to find the food that tastes good here. It was on the weekend but no nightlife so it is suitable for those of you that prefer having a quiet time or to be away from the hectic/tourist atmosphere.
The things I loved most about Mushroom Bay is the banana pancake in Lumbung Bali Huts Restaurant. Ow.. I kept coming back for their pancake and the girl still knew me when I returned a few months later.
Then another thing I love is that they offer the cheapest snorkeling tour in the island (comparied to other shops I know). We got it for Rp450k/2 persons for 3 spots, Mangrove, Gamat bay, and Crystal bay. On another visit, I went with my family and then with a friend and stayed in Junggut Batu village. This area is the liveliest place in the island (but not as ‘alive’ as Kuta of course). There are many places to eat and stay from any range of price you can choose here.
I’ve stayed in a budget place like Nitya Home Stay Lembongan (nice owner, bathroom needs a lot of work), Pondok Baruna Frangipani (friendly staff, big room but the worst snorkeling arrangement), and my family tried Putra 7 Cottage (friendly owner, loved their wood bungalow).
I also stayed in a nice resort, Mahagiri Resort Nusa Lembongan, during the New Year. Nice food like in Lemongrass but Mahagiri is pricy for sure compared to Bali. There is live music entertainment at night on certain days only.
Apart from taking the regular island tour, I spent most of my time on the beach. Either walking along Junggut Batu bay or sunbathing on the Mahagiri private beach while enjoying the beautiful turquoise sea view and Bali’s mountains in the background.
Being on this island is like… you want to sleep in, no problem. You have missed nothing. You want to read a book all day, no problem. Then you can go for lunch on the beach, your feet in the sand, with a beer or a glass of wine or a fruit juice… no need to worry about shopping or other activities in the afternoon. You arrive from the boat, your feet straight in the water, walking towards the white sandy beach. I believe that is what we call “laid back”.
The ambience is so much different in Nusa Lembongan than Bali. I still love Bali though. But once in a while, you need to go off from the touristic part of Bali to a laid-back place like Nusa Lembongan.
Lonely Planet Indonesia: Check price on Amazon