So, you’ve been in Bali and are looking for something more relaxed for a few days? Wait, did I just write that? Yes, yes, I did, and as ridiculous as it may sound to someone who has not visited Bali, a break from Bali’s busy-ness can be much needed. The best way to get a break from hustle of Bali’s tourist areas and hours-long traffic jams is to hop a boat to Nusa Lembongan, located about 45 minutes south east of the island.

nusa lembongan

But Bali is so beautiful, why would I leave it behind to visit Nusa Lembongan?

Yes, Bali is incredible. BUT, did you visit any crystal blue beaches in Bali? Were you stuck in traffic jams you had to navigate through on your scooter? Nusa Lembongan is the perfect answer – beautiful beaches that are significantly less crowded than any of the beaches in Bali (no, you won’t meet anyone selling you bracelets here), and there are hardly any cars on the island, so you can be sure that you won’t need to navigate through any traffic jams. You will need to rent a scooter however it you’re interested in seeing more than just your hotel, but luckily, like in the rest of Bali, this will set you back €10 per day or less.

Nusa Lembongan

nusa lembongan

What to do in Nusa Lembongan

Relax on the beach

Mushroom Beach is just one example of how beautiful the beaches in Nusa Lembongan are. They are the quintessential clear watered, white sand beaches you’d expect to find in Bali, and are perfect for chilling out with a book.

mushroom beach nusa lembongan



Get under the sea and check out what lies … swims beneath

Snorkeling around the island and its neighboring islands Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida is the perfect way to explore the wild life under the sea. If you’re lucky, you might even see some manta rays on your tour. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any but we did see some pretty tremendous fish. Compared to the Gilis, Nusa Lembongan is much more relaxed which means fewer tourists sharing the water while you snorkel.

snorkel nusa lembongan
Any idea what type of fish these are?

Read more: Why you should visit Uluwatu instead of Kuta

Dig into organic eats at Bali Eco Deli

Bali, and Indonesia in general are not exactly known for sustainability (trash is burned in Bali and Lombok), so when we came across Bali Eco Deli we knew we wanted to check it out and support their mission. The Bali Eco Deli uses ingredients from fair-trade farms, compost 90% of their waste, and take in plastic bottles and Tetra-paks to be recycled. Besides their philosophy, the food is great, and it’s centrally located just off the main road.

Ride some waves

If you’re up for it, surfing is also possible just outside of the beach where all the boats pull up to the island. We rented boards with New Bro Surfing, which was just OK. I guess we were a bit spoiled after surfing in Lombok, so weren’t really impressed by the waves or the guidance on Nusa Lembongan, but hey, it’s still fun to be in the water.

Take in a gorgeous view over lunch

Have lunch at Mama Mia’s overlooking breathtaking seaweed plantations. Yes, I said seaweed plantations. The food at Mama Mia’s was nothing special, but hey, who cares when you have a beautiful view like this? I’d endure crappy food forever just to look out at this lunch view.

seaweed farm nusa lembongan

Watch the sun set

The sun sets on Nusa Lembongan were some of the best we had during our entire visit to Indonesia. Luckily our hotel was just a few minutes away from one of the best places to watch the sun go down, called Sunset Point (well, at least it’s easy to remember). Grab something comfortable to sit on (the rocks are pretty pokey and uncomfortable), and watch the sun sink into the ocean.

Sunset point

How to get to Nusa Lembongan

To reach the island, you’ll need to hop aboard a boat leaving from the “port” of Sanur. I use the word port in quotations because it isn’t so much a port but a beach where boats pull up 10 meters away from the beach and you need to wade out holding your luggage over your head to reach the boat – or if you’re lucky, one of the guys from the boat will take your luggage for you. All the more reason to pack lightly with everything in a backpack 😉

We booked our trip to Nusa Lembongan with Scoot Cruises, which was fine… at least on the way there. This experience was luckily better than our boat ride to Gili Air and seemed somewhat safer than that was. On the way back to Bali, our boat captain didn’t really seem to understand that weighing down the boat in shallow water might lead to get getting stuck in the sand, so some of us had to jump out of the boat and on to another one while we freed up enough weight for our boat to get free from the sand bank. This didn’t exactly build my confidence in our boat captain’s understanding of the sea, but hey, it’s Bali so you can’t really be surprised.

Once you arrive, your boat company will drive you to your hotel, so already when you land on the island you’ll be feeling care-free.

Where to stay in Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan is pretty small (it will take you about 30-40 minutes to drive around the entire island on your scooter… at a leisurely pace), so you could argue that it doesn’t really matter where you stay, but I suggest staying nearby Mushroom Beach. We stayed at Harta Lembongan Villas which was just lovely. We paid around €34 per night for our bungalow complete with an outdoor shower – the outdoor showers in Indonesia were one of my favorite features. Harta Lembongan Villas is located just a few minutes walk from Mushroom Beach where you’ll find several restaurants lining the small beach. Mushroom Beach is also an ideal jumping off point for snorkeling around the nearby islands. The pool at Harta Lembongan Villas is lovely, and usual in Bali, a breakfast of eggs, toast and fresh fruit juice is included.

harta lembongan villas

What to know before you go

  • There are only a couple ATM’s on the island, so you might want to grab some cash before you board your boat.
    • Lemongrass restaurant
    • Hai Tide Restaurant/Resort
  • Bridge collapse: in October 2016, the Yellow Bridge between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan for pedestrians and a few scooters, collapsed due to heavy traffic due to a nearby religious festival, killing 8 and injuring 30. Just keep it in mind that if it is rebuilt, you might want to be a bit wary of it before crossing since it initially was not well constructed.

 

 

 

36 Comments

  1. Ahh finally a proper guide to Nusa Lembongan! I am planning my second visit to Bali and want to take my mom to Nusa Lembongan for the beaches. This is perfect, I will definitely check out your accommodation recommendations too! Thanks for the info!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      great that you find this useful! have a wonderful time in Nusa Lembongan 🙂

  2. Nusa Lembongan is one of the best destinations I discovered reading blogs this week, the blue water looks inviting thanks for letting us know such off beat places.

  3. I would love to visit here. It seems like an oasis of beauty and serenity. Nice photos and guide. Thanks!

  4. I was in Bali only a couple of months back and really wanted to visit Nusa Lembongan But decided to go to Gili Trawangan instead. There is this underwater scooter that they do, which takes you to an old Buddhist temple buried under the sea in Nusa Lembongan and I’m so sad that I missed it!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      wow that sounds really cool! guess it gives you a good reason to go back 😉

  5. That looks like a place I wouldn’t leave behind if I am in Bali. I love the boats, so many of them. They bring life to the sea 🙂

  6. It seems like such a beautiful place. I love your photos. They were very beautiful and vibrant.

  7. This island looks amazing. Have visited Bali briefly twice and spent a month in the Gilis. Would love to visit Nusa Lembongan for the stunning sunsets and breathtaking views!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      hope you will get to visit Nusa Lembongan soon!

  8. I’m going to be honest, I’d never heard of Nusa Lembongan until right now. Great post, and the wanderlust right now is strong!

  9. I’ve only been to Bali once and only for a few days and quite agree it could be so busy because there’s so much things to try! Nusa Lembongan looks like a quiet paradise and a great choice for people coming back to Bali the second time. <3

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      yeah it is great to visit if you return to Bali!

  10. Wow, such lovely images. Reminded me of my visit to Raja Ampat last year. Indonesia is really blessed to have so many islands. I am going to check Nusa Lembongan next time I am in Bali.

  11. Bali’s at the top of my bucket list but I’ve never heard of Nusa Lembongan! The water is just so clear and blue, I’m in awe. Will definitely be sure to take the boat here on my future trip to Indonesia!

  12. That island looks incredible. What a crazy boat ride, though. I can’t believe he wasn’t aware about you guys weighing down the boat. It definitely sounds like a super chill place. Great tips since I’m heading to Bali in just over a month! Noted to not take that bridge if it’s been reconstructed.

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      ah wow have a great time! glad this guide is helpful for you and hope you will visit Nusa Lembongan!

  13. I think those fish are the Naso Unicornis… or we just called them Unicorn fish 😉 This is a really useful guide, as someone who has not yet visited Bali, as it is these useful tips (especially about the boats and bridges) that will make our visit that much easier when we do visit. And that sunset view – wow! I look forward to one day visiting Nusa Lembongan.

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      ah thanks for identifying them! brilliant that you know the name 🙂 and thanks for your kind comments about the post!

  14. oh! look at the water . Look at the sunset! This is just spectacular. I have been to Bali a couple of times but have never heard of this place. I would like to really live at one of those cottages

  15. That is actually one of my concern when I go to Bali. It seems like Bali is a “paradise” and a “party hub” at the same time. I wanted to go there to relax. I heard Kuta can be very busy and westernized. This seems like a good suggestion.

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      yeah it is a bit of both party hub and paradise, we definitely avoided the party hub part and enjoyed though, and it was still really relaxing!

  16. We visited Bali for a day and I can totally understand how a break might be needed. It’s a very lively and active city. I’m dying to return and visit more places, and Nusa Lembongan looks like a great spot for the list. It’s incredible you managed to get so close to fish on your snorkelling. Pity you didn’t see any manta rays.

  17. We visited Bali for a day and I can totally understand how a break might be needed. It’s a very lively and active city. I’m dying to return and visit more places, and Nusa Lembongan looks like a great spot for the list. It’s incredible you managed to get so close to fish on your snorkelling. Pity you didn’t see any manta rays.

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      yeah I hope you go back! why were you just there for a day? seems much too short!

  18. Having spent time on Bali and fought through a my fare share of Kuta beach traffic jams I can definitely attest to the need from a vacation from Bali! (though it sounds pretty spoiled to say that) Nusa Lembongan looks incredible and relaxing. Much like the Gilis were years ago before they were properly discovered. It sounds like a nice balance of having all the amenities you need while not yet being too built up. Thanks for putting this guide together!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      haha I know, I felt very spoiled writing that we needed a “break” from Bali! I’m surprised how many people who have visited Bali still haven’t visited Nusa Lembongan – hope it will remain less visited and not yet turn into another Gili – though I did find Gili Air pretty quiet!

  19. Fantastic post and pictures! Personally I did not like Bali so I found in Nusa Lembongan the perfect alternative to it . . . until I had to take the the flight back from Bali airport. Such a nice memories going through your text and pictues! I always had my breakfast at Bali Eco Deli before going to my diving class. And yes, gorgeous sunsets!!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      that’s awesome that you spent so much time there! I really liked Bali, but mostly my liking is limited to Uluwatu and Ubud – the other areas are too busy for me, so I totally understand your need to get away!

  20. I haven’t been to Bali yet, but from what I’ve heard I can definitely understand the need for an escape from the hectic busy scene. Jumping on a boat to Nusa Lembongan sounds like a great plan! I love that there are close to no cars on the island – and renting a scooter sounds quite adventurous!

    The snorkelling and sunsets here look fab too!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      yeah, Bali is surprisingly quite hectic (though not in all areas)! Thanks for stopping by

  21. Wow Nusa Lembongan is a paradise! those lovely beach and its underwater nature are just perfect for those who love beaches. You made the right decision of going here, Mushroom beach I’ll surely go there on day. Saved for my bucketlist 🙂

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