Nusa Lembongan (map) is located southeast of Bali and lies right next to Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida. There are no cars allowed on Nusa Lembongan. The only exceptions are the open mini busses that transport the guests from the speedboats to their accommodations. There are many different speedboat operators that offer trips from Sanur, Bali to Nusa Lembongan. Some boats are smaller and do not offer any kind of transport and are therefore cheaper than the larger ones. We chose a company called ‘Glory Express’ and payed 900.000 IDR for the 2 of us (return ticket/ included transportation). We first thought that this was quite expensive for a 30 min. boat ride, but later found out that the included transportation was worth the price. They picked us up from our accommodation in Sanur and when we returned to Bali, drove us all the way to Ubud. As Ubud was the last/ the furthest destination that was included in the ticket, we believe that it was a reasonable price.
When we arrived in Lembongan village on Nusa Lembongan, we were a bit shocked. As we knew that cars weren’t allowed on this island, we expected a very quiet atmosphere. But it was nothing like that. The harbour and the surrounding is the area where most tourists live and it seems to be that everyone has a scooter. There is basically just one main road and it is packed. As so often in Indonesia, there are also no sidewalks. In addition, the rubbish problem in Lembongan village is quite visible. So when we arrived at our accommodation, we weren’t in our best mood. But this was about to change quickly. We stayed at the ‘Kawans Inn’ for 3 days and this place was simply amazing. It was only 52€ for 2 persons, but very clean and comfortable. But most of all, our hosts were very friendly and helpful. After a bumpy start, we felt like exploring and finding the real Nusa Lembongan. We walked along the Jalan Jungutbatu towards the north side of the island to have dinner. When you leave Lembongan village and walk along the north coast it gets calmer and you will find some small and local Warungs. We ate at the Bambu Warung and liked it a lot – we can recommend the crispy chicken and the fish in banana leaves. From this moment on we only had great experiences on Nusa Lembongan.
During the next days we tried out different restaurants and Warungs on Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. The ‘lemongrass restaurant’ is quite popular and always fully booked. When we came there, we just ordered a large Bintang and waited until a table was free. The food is very modern and well prepared. Try their spareribs! The ‘Warung Bobo’ is very close to the ‘Bambu Warung’ and serves freshly cooked Indonesian food. The owner, Bobo, and his wife are very friendly and you can also go on fishing trips or Manta tours with them. The restaurant ‘Ware Ware’ is the perfect place for a drink in the evening and to enjoy the sunset. You can also get some snacks there, but we believe that their main courses are a bit too expensive. If you rent a scooter (about 50.000 IDR for a day) and explore the island, we can also recommend the ‘Warung Putu’. It is located closely to the bridge that connects Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. It offers traditional Indonesian food with a great view. Try the Beef Rendang! On Nusa Ceningan itself you will find the Hotel and restaurant ‘Le Pirate’. It is a very stylish and modern place in a very relaxed atmosphere.
But we did not only eat during our 3 days on Nusa Lembongan – we also explored the two islands with our scooter. There are countless bays and beaches that are worth a visit, but sometimes hard to find. When we were there (July) there were very large waves and we could only go for a swim at some beaches. We definitely liked Mushroom bay. In general it is just a lot of fun to drive along the two islands and stop where ever you want to.
As Nusa Lombongan offers a lot of maritime sports we also went on two different tours. There are many different tour operators and it is sometimes hard to choose the most suitable one. Our hosts recommended one of their friends: Bobo. We trusted their judgement and it was the best decision. On our first tour we went fishing. We went trolling for tuna and it was 450.000 for about 4 hours and for the whole boat. As we checked different prices in different regions of Indonesia, we can say that this is very cheap. And Bobo is also a great fisherman and a funny guy. It became an unforgettable trip and we caught 4 tuna. When we came back, Bobo’s wife put one of the fish on the bbq and we could enjoy the freshest fish you can get. If you like maritime sports, Bobo is your man! This is the reason why we also went on a snorkeling trip with him. July is Manta ray season and there is a great chance that you get to see one. We left at around 8 in the morning and went to the snorkeling spots around Nusa Ceningan. The water is usually about 20 meters deep. We were very lucky and saw 5 manta rays. It is an unbelievable feeling to dive with those calm and friendly creatures. And in comparison to other diving spots around the world, this 4 hour manta-trip only costs 200.000 IDR (about 14€).
In general, Nusa Lembongan is definitely worth a visit, especially if you like maritime sports. Together with Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Lembongan offers great fishing, surfing and snorkeling adventures. It is also a great place to hop on a scooter and explore the island on your own. It is only 30 min. away from busy Denpasar and Kuta, but feels like another world.