It only takes a 30-minutes-long boat ride from the East coast of Bali to get to Nusa Lembongan. This little gorgeous island has become one of my favorite spots in the world.
Despite the opinions of others saying that 3 days are totally enough, I would stay longer to soak in these great island vibes. Believe me, you will have more fun on Nusa Lembongan, because it’s the better Bali experience!
When you travel to Bali, you are most likely looking for dream beaches, good weather, snorkeling, and maybe some cultural experiences as well. However, Bali is not the paradise island that is described by the great travel websites. The beaches are super dirty, the streets are super crowded, the taxi drivers and sellers can be very insistent, etc. In addition, you have to drive long ways to see certain things. Bali is really huge! At Nusa Lembongan you don’t have this as much as on Bali – that’s why it is the better Bali experience.
Better beaches than on Bali
Are you dreaming of those beaches with white sand and turquoise blue water? You can find them on Nusa Lembongan for sure! The Dream beach – as the name tells – is a dream! If the white sand beach and the waves are not enough perfection, you can chill on the swing with the best view of the cove.
The little coves at the South-West of the island are definitely worth exploring! So rent a motorbike and drive around a little bit to find the secluded coves! The blue corner looks amazing, but in order to go in the water, you might need reef shoes. The pieces of dead corals are all along the beach and can hurt your feet pretty badly. However, the water is crystal-clear.
There is one main reason why I liked swimming at Nusa Lembongan more than at Bali’s beaches: No trash at the beaches or in the water! In the wet season, the water around Bali is dirtier than in the dry season, because the rain washes all the trash into the ocean. However, I have not experienced such thing in Nusa Lembongan. I haven’t seen trash islands in the water like I saw in Padang-Padang, Dreamland or Kuta beach.
The better snorkeling spots
The Mangrove Point is one of the most famous spots for snorkeling. You can either go by boat or swim out. It’s only like 600ft offshore. The high tide is the best time for snorkeling at Mangrove Point. You also cannot miss it, because there are many boats in this area. I just hope the locals will take care of it, that the coral reef won’t die within the next years because the reef is really beautiful and it offers a big habitat for many fish.
If you take a boat trip for snorkeling you will get to even better places! We went to The Wall. It is on the coast of Nusa Penida. You basically jump in and are taken along the coast by the current. There are lots of fish and corals. It’s amazing!! We paid only 100,000 IDR ($7.50) for 2 snorkeling spots.
Numerous dive sites
Diving around the Nusa Islands is just amazing! There are the most colorful coral reefs I have ever seen in my life! If you are a certified diver, you can get 2 dives for less than $75. If you are not certified, you will pay a little more, but it is definitely worth a try there! From July to October, you will be able to spot the giant bonefish called Mola Mola, or better known as the sunfish. We have seen one on a dive and I was thrilled to see it in real life and not in an aquarium.
Nusa Lembongan’s sunsets & sunrises
Nusa Lembongan has some great spots for sunsets. Just at the West side of the island, you will have a great view of all the boats. Some warungs there also offer the ocean-sunset-view. The best way to finish a day!
In the South is the “official” sunset point and sunset beach, which can be wonderful as well. If you are able to get up early enough, you can also enjoy beautiful sunrises. The sunlight puts a wonderful shine on Mount Agung in Bali so that the views are breathtaking.
At first, I thought a mangrove tour would be a little boring, but the guide we had made it super interesting. The boat reminded me of a Venetian gondola because it had no motor and was operated by a long bamboo stick.
After seeing a sleepy lizard on a tree, we took a glimpse of some colorful mini-crabs. The tour guide also brought us to the ocean side of the mangrove forest. The whole time we were looking around and observing the animals that lived in the forest. Because of that our tour guide jumped in the water, explained and showed us some aquatic organisms, like a blue sea star, sea cucumber, and a fat worm etc. I would never have touched sea creatures because I don’t want to hurt their natural skin, but he just gave them to us. In the end, it was an enjoyable and educational tour at the same time.
Having fun in or above the water
Nusa Lembongan has a lot of different activities for water enthusiasts: Surfing from starters to pros, banana boat, parasailing, kayaking, stand-up paddle, fun ship cruise, donut tube, Jet Ski, marine walk, glass bottom boat, and so on. So many things to do! To arrange such activities, you can contact certain tour websites beforehand or ask at your homestay/hotel. They may know, where to ask or offer tours themselves.
Sleeping & staying in Nusa Lembongan
The best place we have stayed at was the Chillhouse (click here to book your room)! It has beautiful, clean rooms and private bathrooms with no salt water. However, the reason why we liked it so much was: The staff. We felt welcome and they care about you more than in other places. They even took us to a Hindu ceremony and answered our 1000 questions we had about the ceremony and about growing up in Nusa Lembongan. They brought their culture closer to us and I am very thankful for this experience!
However, I want to give you some general notes about staying at Nusa Lembongan: Lots of places have salt water shower and/or cold showers. You have to deal with it. It’s kinda normal. The electricity can be gone for several hours so that the whole island or a big part of it is knocked out. They rely on the other islands. The same counts for the Wi-Fi. It can be terrible throughout the whole island. I just want you to keep this in mind before you hate on some places, because of these things.
The food itself is not really more expensive than Bali. Local food is just as cheap. The Wbc Warung in Jl. Jungutbatu is a great place for delicious local food!
If you want to have something western, go to Mickey’s Sportsbar. The Cordon Bleu is mouth-watering delicious! It’s obviously more expensive, but they have darts and a small pool table. We also used the happy hour to go there: Selected long drinks for only $2.
Day trips to other islands
You can, of course, go to the other 2 Nusa islands. Nusa Ceningan is the closest and smallest. The once “Yellow Bridge” is under construction at the moment. So you actually have to take a boat to the island. On Nusa Ceningan are some stunning beaches and cliff jump areas. Hence, if you have the time, use it to visit this little island as well.
Nusa Penida is a breathtaking place! We have done a day trip, which was too short for us, but totally worth it to get an impression of the island! You won’t be able to see the whole island because it’s actually big and the streets are partially really bad. But you will fall in love with the coastal views in the West, the natural infinity pool, etc.
You will love Nusa Lembongan, because of the location and the short distances to attractions and beaches. We literally walked 5min from our accommodation to swim in the blue ocean. Although it the island is so small you can still do a lot! And here is the most important part: The island vibes are just perfect!
Basic information about Nusa Lembongan
Best time to visit
A big factor in visiting the Nusa islands is probably the season. I have to point out that I went in January. This means I have experienced Nusa Lembongan in the wet season (October-March). It will rain more often in the afternoons and the tourism is not as extreme as in the dry season. Hence, in the dry season (April-September) the islands will be more crowded and I believe especially this little island can be super packed at these times. You should keep this in mind!
As I mentioned in the beginning, you can get there by boat.
Local boats, fast boats and the Perama local boat take off at Sanur and Padang Bai.
For Perama: You can book tickets online or by calling. They also have a pick-up service. The boat needs like 1-1.5 h to Nusa Lembongan and costs around $10.
For local boats: The local boats also take 1-1.5h and are smaller. The fare is definitely cheaper than a fast boat. They take off at Sanur as well. you obviously cannot book them online. So you have to go there and ask for the fare.
For fast boats: It’s more expensive, but in my point of view also safer. If you book a roundtrip ticket, the cost decreases. We booked our ticket at our hotel. It included pick-up and drop-off service for Bali and Nusa Lembongan and the 2 boat tickets. As we were a group of 7 people, we got this package for 380,000 IDR per person ($28.50). It sounds a lot at first, but it is with the return and with all needed transfers. It is also possible to leave your return date open, in case you want to stay longer.
Come with a lot of money, because they only have one ATM on this island. The second one is still under construction. Well, the house is there, but there is no machine inside…
My experiences show: When you really need money, the ATM is empty. So never wait until you are out of money to go to the ATM! Mondays around 11 am is a good time to go to the ATM because that’s when they refill it. Throughout the week must be another refill(s), but I honestly don’t know when.