I really like Bali, I love it. This God’s island frequently becomes my weekend escape destination. For years, I was stuck to just stay in Kuta and Legian area. Yes, I did move around visiting many attractions far from those areas but I always had booked a hotel there. My excuse is that I was so young that I could not move on from the party areas. That was until the moment when I tried to stay only in Ubud. I realized that it is fun not to be stuck in the same area. Then I explored more and it happened to be in Nusa Lembongan.
Nusa Lembongan is an island in south east part of Bali province along with Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida. These three islands are famous for their underwater charm, makes them to be one of the favorite destinations of divers from around the world.
1. Getting Here
There are several fast boat companies serving the transport to Nusa Lembongan from Sanur. Some are pricey and many others are offering a decent price. After some research, I decided to go with Sugriwa Express. If you book directly from their website, the return transport costs IDR 550,000 per person. But I was not satisfied with the price, so I went through another research. Voila! I could get IDR 465,000 return ticket per person because I booked for more than one traveler from Bali Trips. For single traveler, this website charges slightly more expensive than if you book directly from Sugriwa Express website, which is almost IDR 600,000. The journey with fast boat is taking 30 minutes and some of them will take you to Mushroom bay while some others, like Sugriwa Express, will take you to Jungutbatu. The good thing with this option, after the time efficiency, is that they will pick you up from your hotel in Sanur, Kuta or some other area to the boat departure point in Sanur and they will also give you a ride to reach your hotel in Nusa Lembongan.
For those with a tight budget but have more flexible time, there is also public wooden boat which is slower than the fast boat. The public boat leaves from Sanur everyday at 10:30 am and will take you to Nusa Lembongan with 1.5 hours of journey. This is a good option if you don’t want to spend too much for fast boat because the cost for this transport is only IDR 100,000 but they don’t have such hotel transfer facility.
Anyway, if you are not staying in Sanur area and still want to have the budget price, there is a company who runs a boat and bus service named Perama Tour. You can go to their office in your area or just simply make a booking through their website. Perama Tour is also using a wooden boat to transfer you to Nusa Lembongan with the same price as public wooden boat, IDR 100,000. Based on some reviews, Perama boat comfort level is higher than the public wooden boat.
2. Getting Around and Attractions
Nusa Lembongan is literally a tiny island that you could reach from edge to edge by motorbike. Standard price for renting motorbike is IDR 130,000 per day. This price is indeed double of the price in the main island, Bali, but its the best reliable option. Other than motorbike, you can also go around by bike IDR 50,000 per day, but I don’t recommend this due to the road in Nusa Lembongan is kind of up and down.
Beach, Beach and Beach
There are plenty of beach in Nusa Lembongan. Jungutbatu beach, Mushroom beach, Sandy beach, Sunset beach, Devil’s tear and Dream beach are some names of popular beach. To be realistic, in one day including the travel time from Sanur, you may only have time to visit 3 beaches if you really want to enjoy it. You can visit more than 3 if its just a quick stop though.
Mushroom beach is not really my preference, its too crowded and the beach is surrounded by so many boats. So I decided to just take a photo of it and move on to another beach.
My choice is Dream beach and yes, it is a nice beach to stay and swim. It is still a bit crowded but not too much that you can still enjoy the view and play around the beach. While Devil’s tear is a panoramic place for taking a photo but not for swimming and activities.
Like I mention earlier, Nusa Lembongan is one of the favorite destination of divers around the world, the water activity is one of the most successful business here. The reason is that the beauty of underwater lives around Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida are remarkably special. Barracuda fish, clown fish (nemo), moreover the big mola-mola (sun fish) and the giant manta are an attractive marine biota for every divers, not to mention the marvelous coral reef castles.
Both beginner and certified divers can easily find the watersport companies to bring them to the splendid diving spots.
The diving cost starts from IDR 750,000 for beginner with 1 open water. Another option if you are not into diving, you can still have a sublime underwater experience by snorkeling. Take the package that will bring you to Manta point Nusa Penida and get ready to be stunned by the giant mantas (not only one) swimming around you. The price of 3 hours snorkeling package with 3 snorkeling points from Nusa Lembongan to Nusa Penida with manta point on the list starting from IDR 300,000. All the packages include the pick-up and return transfer from your hotel. I had a nice deal for diving and snorkeling with Lembongan Discovery Dive.
In northern part of Nusa Lembongan, you have Mangrove point ready to be explored. Tour in Mangrove point lasts for only 30 minutes with price IDR 100,000 per boat that can accommodate 6 persons.
I had a weekend escape in Nusa Lembongan in the beginning of October 2016 with some friends from France who stopped by Indonesia for their trip round the world. We were renting motorbike to go around Nusa Lembongan and crossing the yellow bridge which was connecting Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. Unfortunately, couple of week later, on 16 October 2016 to be exact, this yellow bridge fell down. According to Governor of Bali, this connecting bridge will be re-built in 2017, which means this year.
However, I still would like to share the best spot in Nusa Ceningan which becomes my favorite spot for this trip. First of all, you need to know that the road in Nusa Ceningan is worse than Nusa Lembongan, so it takes some skill to ride a motorbike inside this island.
If you have a chance to stop by in this small island, go directly towards secret beach. As the name is secret beach, when I reached there, there was no one, like really no one on the beach. The beach was all ours. We spent some hours on this beach and it was wonderful.
Nevertheless, with all those activities above, you can make sometimes to appreciate the hotel where you stay. I was staying in Pondok Jenggala, Jungutbatu. When I booked the hotel, I didn’t expect such a lovely place. The price is lower than the other hotel but they have a nice swimming pool area and breakfast is included. As the other hotel/inn, they also manage their own restaurant with reasonable price. The nightly fare that I spent was only IDR 260,000 for double room.
If you go by fast boat to Nusa Lembongan, you will be requested to collect your flip-flop before entering the seat room. Some people may mistake their flip-flop with yours so its better to just wear a standard flip-flop that you would not cry if you lose it.
As always, apply sunblock before doing any activities with the sun exposure.
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