Nusa Lembongan: 3 days in paradise

Nusa Lembongan is a small island 30-40 min away from Bali. We had planned 3.5 days there, to chill and relax on the island, but our plans changed. We wanted to return on a Sunday but Saturday evening was full moon and there were religious ceremonies going on. The people on Nusa Lembongan island believe that the next day no boats should go out to sea. Flexibility (and booking with free cancellation) is key. 

To get to Nusa Lembongan, we had to go to Sanur port. We purchased the tickets with the help of the person running the hotel we stayed at in Ubud. This was very helpful because we had read a lot about scams when buying the ticket for the fast boat. Thanks to our hotel, we had no problems and managed to get a good price (we think). We had researched and asked around for prices and with this information asked the person in our hotel to negotiate in our behalf. We negotiated for: transport to sanur port, tickets for the fast boat (round trip) and transport from sanur to Uluwatu. It’s a good idea to negotiate everything as a package, they already do so as well, especially make sure you have a transport from the port to your next destination (whether it’s the airport or a town) because the port is very busy and if you hire a taxi it will be hard to find and expensive. 

In our case, having the transport from Sanur port to Uluwatu when we returned was crucial because of the full moon ceremonies, most people were not working so getting a taxi was really hard. Another tip from our taxi driver, is to avoid returning on the last boat from Lembongan because the traffic in Bali at that time is insane. 

Day 1

We arrived to Nusa Lembongan on the first boat and were at our hotel around noon. Our room wasn’t ready so we rented our scooter and left to explore the island. 

We crossed over the yellow bridge (which is an experience in itself…it’s only for scooters and pedestrians) onto Nusa Ceningan. We went to Secret Point beach. To get there you have to go to Secret Point Huts, cross through the hotel to the beach. It was beautiful, the water was the perfect temperature, not too warm, not too cold and refreshing. 

We had lunch in the hotel above the beach with a beautiful view and then went back to the beach to chill. For sunset, we went to Mahana Point a bar that’s next to this beach. But first we peeked at Blue Lagoon, a famous beach where people would jump in from a cliff and now it’s forbidden because someone broke their back. It looked pretty scary and dangerous, I don’t know how people used to jump off that cliff. Anyway, if you want to jump into the sea, you can do so from Mahana Point but you have to pay about $1-2. It looked pretty fun because you wait for the wave to come, jump and then the people from Mahana through a tyre into the water to “save you” and help you climb back to the bar. 

Day 2

Day 2 was the BEST day! We hired a tour from our hotel to see manta rays. The boat parted around 9am with just the 2 of us and set out to Nusa Penida. When we got there there were a few other boats but it was not crowded like most tours are (that’s another great thing about Nusa Lembongan, it’s not very touristy). As soon as we arrived our boat driver started pointing out manta rays! There were many of them. We jumped in the ocean and must have spent about 1 hour swimming around. At one point it was just me and Bruce being circled by 2 manta rays. It was as if they were dancing around us. It was amazing, we had never experienced anything like that. 

After that amazing experience, the boats usually take you to Crystal Bay for snorkeling but our friends had been here before and recommended we go to Gamat bay. We asked the captain if he could take us there instead and off we went. The snorkeling was beautiful. So many fish and coral, it was so colorful. 
We returned to Nusa Lembongan around noon and decided to explore more of the island. We went to Tamarind beach, had a swim and then continued to the mangroves area. We did not really like the mangroves because it wasn’t very friendly for swimming and seemed like the perfect area to get eaten up by mosquitoes. Finally we went to see the sunset at Devil’s Tear and then went for a bintang at Sandy Bay beach club from which you can also enjoy the sunset. 

Day 3

Our last day, we spent it at the famous Dream beach. This beach is stunning. The problem is that the tide is pretty strong so you can’t always swim in it. This time we were lucky and were able to swim for hours here. 

We didn’t want to leave Nusa Lembongan. But we had no choice, so we said goodbye to Suri (the wonderful owner of the hotel we stayed at) and the island. I hope we can return. 

Travel Tips

Hotel

  • Sunset Garden Hotel – we loved it. The food is really good, the pool is nice, the location is great, the rooms are beautiful and the staff are amazing. Suri is the best, he is very attentive and helpful. 


Bars & Restaurants

  • Mahana Point
  • Sandy Bay Beach Club
  • Secret Point Huts
  • Sunset Garden Hotel


Best beaches

  • Secret Point
  • Dream Beach
  • Tamarind Beach
  • Mushroom beach (if you don’t mind the boats that arrive from Bali)


Random

  • Wear tons of mosquito repelent and sunblock
  • Book transport to and from Sanur Port with the boat tickets to Nusa Lembongan together
  • Take cash, lots of places do not take credit card or have a 3% surcharge (which to the US Dollar or Euro exchange rate is not expensive). 
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