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Revision as of 15:22, 1 November 2011
Touches of Robinson Crusoe at Dream Beach
Nusa Lembongan is a small island off the southeast coast of the main island of Bali. Fast becoming one of Bali's most popular attractions, this island paradise is a world away from the hassle and hectic pace of South Bali. Neither hawkers nor traffic mar the magnificent scenery; this is a fine place to just put your feet up and relax. Main activities include surfing, diving and snorkeling. The water is some of the clearest you will find anywhere, and a vivid aqua blue in colour.
Nusa Lembongan is approximately 8 square km in size, and is one of three neighbouring islands, the others being much larger Nusa Penida and tiny Nusa Ceningan (also covered by this article). The three islands are separated from Bali by the Badung Strait. Some visitors may find Nusa Lembongan a little slow after the pace of South Bali.
Many areas around the island are good for diving and snorkeling, with abundant marine life and healthly coral. Surfing can get a bit crowded, but the waves are good. There are several white sand beaches away from the main centres which are virtually never crowded. There is a flourishing and well established seaweed farming industry here, and many visitors find it interesting to learn about this.
Southeast Nusa Lembongan with the hills of Nusa Penida in the background
Two main beach areas have traditionally attracted visitors.
Jungut Batu in the northwest is the bigger of the two, and has myriad hotels and cheap eateries. This is the area which traditionally attracted backpackers and surfers to the island. The white sand beach here is pleasant enough but nothing to get too excited about, and it is a little narrow in places. In more recent times, the hillside to the south of Jungut Batu known as the Bukit (the hill) has been developed and has attracted some higher level hotels and private villas. The views from the Bukit are perhaps second to none on Nusa Lembongan. Sunsets are best viewed along the main Jungut Batu beachfront.
Mushroom Bay to the southwest of Jungut Batu is a quaint, attractive and sheltered bay. It is an especially nice spot after 3PM when the day trippers have returned to Bali, and it has a great white sandy beach, along with some cozy little water-side restaurants.
Further south, the lesser known beaches either side of the Devil's Tear outcrop, known as Dream Beach and Sunset Beach (or Sandy Bay), are increasingly drawing more visitors. The coastal landscape in this part of the island is mostly low-lying limestone cliffs, and there are some dramatic cave formations.
The north end of the island is fringed by an important mangrove forest, and the eastern side of the island is separated from neighbouring Nusa Ceningan by a shallow estuarine channel.
The main population centre of the island is Lembongan Village in the southern interior, and it is here that you will find the homes of many traditional island families.
The climate of Nusa Lembongan is similar to neighbouring 'mainland' Bali, but it is noticeably drier here, particularly in the period of May to September. If there is a time to avoid, it would be the height of the rainy season in January and February.
The local Lembonganese are Hindu and visitors will notice little or no difference from the prevailing culture on the Bali mainland.
Balinese is the most common language of communication between local residents, with Bahasa Indonesia a distant second. The Balinese spoken here is a distinct dialect, and sharp-eared linguists would certainly notice this. English is widely understood and spoken, often with an Australian accent!
The only realistic way (although you can charter a helicopter ) to reach Nusa Lembongan from Bali is by boat. There are several options according to budget and speed. Most of the scheduled services leave from Sanur Beach at the end of Jalan Hangtuah, and involve getting your feet wet. The exact departure and arrival point on this beach depends on the tide. Other services run from Benoa Harbour, and there are local public boat services to and from Padang Bai and Kusamba in East Bali, but these are not recommended for reasons of safety and comfort.
From Sanur Beach
- Perama, . A local transfers-only operator for the budget traveller. Boat departures daily at 10:30AM. The ride across is approximately 90 min and there is no same day return option. The Sanur office of Perama can be found at Warung Pojok in Jalan Hangtuah. Daily Perama buses depart from here to Ubud, Kuta, the airport, Padang Bai (for Lombok) and Amed. Rp 100,000 per person one way.
- Public Boat (slow). Departs daily from Sanur beach at 8AM and 10:30AM in front of the Ananda Hotel or near the Grand Inna Bali Beach Hotel (depending on tide). These boats can be a bit sketchy at times, and are usually very crowded. No same day return facility. The ride across is approximately 90 min.
- Public Speed Boat, Sanur Beach (in front of Ananda beach hotel), ☎ +62 361 743 2344. Departs daily from Sanur beach at 9AM, 12:30PM, 4PM and returning at 8AM, 10:30AM and 3PM daily to Jungut Batu bay. To Mushroom Bay leaves Sanur at 11.30AM, 2:30PM and 4.30PM. Leaves Lembongan at 9PM, 1PM and 3:30PM. Book in advance as seats may be limited. Also offer hotel transfers from Sanur, Kuta, Nusa Dua, Seminyak, Legian, and jimbaran are included min 4 persons.Others area extra charge.Crossing time is 30 min. Private charters are available and subject to negotiation. Rp 175,000 per person one way.
- Rocky Fast Cruises, ☎ +62 361 8012324 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Reliable and very fast boat from Sanur Beach to Jungut Batu. Have offices in Jl Hangtuah, Sanur, on Sanur beach where the boat departs, and in Jungut Batu on Nusa Lembongan.Tickets can be purchased at any of those points. Crossing takes 25-35 mins depending on sea conditions. Departs Sanur 10AM, noon,12noon 2 PM and 4.30 PM. Departs Nusa Lembongan 9AM, 11 AM, 1 PM and 3.30 PM. One way fare Rp 250,000 and return Rp 450,000 including hotel pick up and drop off.
- Scoot Cruise, ☎ +62 361 285522, . Fast boats from Sanur Beach which take you to Jungut Batu. Hotel transfers are included. Tickets can be bought from the Scoot office next to Dunkin' Donuts in Jalan Hangtuah opposite the Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel, or on the beach near the departure point. Crossing takes 30-40 min. Departs Sanur 9:30AM, 1:30PM and 4PM. Departs Nusa Lembongan 8:30AM, 11:30AM and 3PM. One way fare US$27 and return US$45, including hotel pick up.
- The Tanis Lembongan Express, ☎ +62 361 7432344 (email@example.com, fax: +62 361 292441), . Daily scheduled speed boat service to Jungut Batu and Mushroom Bay taking 25-30 min from Sanur Beach near The Grand Bali Beach Hotel. Departure from Sanur at 11.30AM, 2.30PM, 4.30PM and departure from Mushroom Bay on Nusa Lembongan at 9AM, 1PM and 3.30PM. Tickets can be bought from Mushroom Beach Bungalow Office in Jln Hang Tuah 78 in front of Carla Spa. Special charters can be arranged. Rp 175,000/person one-way and Rp 350,000/person return, excluding hotel transfers. Hotel pick up transfer (Sanur, Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Jimbaran) at an extra charge of Rp 75,000/person one-way and Rp 100,000/person return (minimum 2 persons).
- Mushroom Paradise Cruise, Jl Hangtuah 78, Sanur (at Mushroom Beach Bungalow Office), ☎ +62 361 281974, +62 361 8074320,+ 62 081 91 63 20356 (firstname.lastname@example.org). .Daily fast boat transfer, takes 30 mins. Departure from Sanur Beach at 11:30AM, 2.30PM & 4.30PM. Departure from Mushroom Bay on Nusa Lembongan at 9AM, 1PM & 3:30PM. Rp 175,000/person one-way and Rp 350,000/person return, excluding hotel transfers.
From Benoa Harbour
- Bounty Cruises, ☎ +62 361 443765, . A high speed catamaran service which departs daily from Benoa Harbour at 9AM and from Nusa Lembongan at 3:15PM. If you have limited time, an option is to take a one day cruise to the Nusa Lembongan Bounty pontoon. On a twin-hull boat under sail you will reach the island within 90 min. Drinks and snacks are available on board. The trip includes water activities centred on the pontoon: banana boat, water slide, kayaking, snorkeling and glass bottom boat ride. You can take part in a Nusa Lembongan Village tour and visit a seaweed plantation and the Underground House. Transfer only prices: US$35 one-way and US$70 return. One day cruise is US$95, buffet lunch included.
- Island Explorer Cruises, ☎ +62 361 728 088, . Offers transfer only by fast boat or by fast catamaran and a day cruise by a leisurely sailing yacht or by fast catamaran ("fun ship"). The fast boat (transfer only) departs from Benoa Harbour at 10:30 AM en returns from Nusa Lembongan at 12:30PM. The yacht (day cruise) departs from Benoa Harbour at 9AM and will be back at about 5PM. Transfer only by fast boat US$23 one-way and US$40 return (hotel pick up included) or by fast catamaran US$20 one-way and US$35 return (hotel pick up excluded). Price for the day cruise is US$69 by yacht or US$79 by fast catamaran, including hotel pick up, buffet lunch & water sport activities.
- Lembongan Island Fast Boat, ☎ +62 361 361 0840, . The fast boat (transfer only) departs from Benoa Harbour at 10:30AM and 3:30PM departs and from Nusa Lembongan at 9AM and 1:30PM. Transfer only by fast boat US$25 one-way and US$45 return (hotel pick up included).
From Nusa Penida
Neighbouring Nusa Penida is seldom visited, and almost always from Nusa Lembongan. It is though relatively straightforward to get between the islands.
- Public boats depart daily from Toyapakeh and sometimes Buyuk Harbour, both in northern Nusa Penida. Departure times are a bit of moveable feast. Ask around at the time, but about 6AM is a fairly reliable slot. They run to either Jungut Batu or the the estuary bank near the suspension bridge on Nusa Lembongan, depending on tide. These can be very over-crowded and a little worrying at times. As a visitor, expect to pay about Rp 50,000 each way.
- Charter boats are available, departing from and arriving at the same areas as public boats. Rates vary greatly but expect to pay Rp 300,000-500,000. Please ensure that the full price is absolutely clarified with the operator prior to boarding the boat.
From the Gili Islands and Lombok
Scoot Cruises (see above) operate a daily service from Gili Trawangan and Lombok to Nusa Lembongan. The boat leaves Gili Trawangan at 12:45 PM, picking up at Teluk Kode on Lombok at 1:15PM, and arrives in Lembongan around 4PM. The service in the opposite direction departs Lembongan daily at 10:30AM arriving in Gili Trawangan at 12.45PM and Teluk Kode at 1.15PM. Fares are Rp 600,000 each way for adults and Rp 450,000 for children under 11.
The cliffs of southwest Nusa Lembongan make for excellent walking
Nusa Lembongan is a nice place to walk, with coastal paths linking nearly all the guest houses, hotels and restaurants. Most walks will take less than two hours. The less developed southwestern area of the island has some spectacular coast paths which provide easy walking, great views back to Bali, and spectacular sunsets. You can cross by foot to the small neighbouring island of Nusa Ceningan via a scenic suspension bridge.
From the end of the beach at Jungut Batu it is a 35 minute walk along the coast to Mushroom Bay.
Bicycles can be rented at most hotels and guest-houses. Some of the roads are quite well surfaced, but be prepared for some very degraded surfaces in places. This is a great way to see the island at your own pace. Expect to pay about Rp 20,000-30,000 per day.
Motorbikes are also widely available for rent, but may be unnecessary given the short distances involved — the island is only about 4 km end-to-end. Expect to pay Rp 60,000-100,000 per day, depending on how busy it is. Local boys are more than happy to transport you on the back of their motorbike for a fee.
There are virtually no cars on Nusa Lembongan, and any business or local resident wishing to bring one to the island needs special permission from the village elders. This will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. Local 4-wheeled transport is available though in the form of basic pick-up trucks which most hotels and restaurants use. These are useful for transport to and from the boat transfer point when you are likely to have heavy bags, but are otherwise not really necessary.
Local boatmen are willing to take you by boat from Jungut Batu to Mushroom Bay. One way should cost about Rp 30,000. A return trip can be negotiated down to Rp 50,000.
Crashing waves at Devil's Tear
The attractions here are mostly natural. The beaches and other coastal landscapes are obviously a key draw, as are the sunsets. There are a limited number of man-made attractions, most notably temples and the rickety suspension bridge.
- Dream Beach. A wonderful secluded beach with powdery, white sand, located on the south coast. From the main accommodation areas on the west coast, head southeast towards Lembongan Village where you should turn west, and then look for the signposted small track leading south to Dream Beach. There is a cafe attached to the single resort here, and this makes Dream Beach a great place to spend the whole day doing nothing. Be very careful though about entering the water here as the rips can be fierce. Only the strongest swimmers should consider this and even then, avoid the eastern end of the beach.
- Sandy Bay (Sunset Beach), (adjacent to Devil's Tear). A small but spectacular beach with white sand and crashing waves, located just to the north of Dream Beach, and easiest reached via the same route. The excellent Beach Club at Sandy Bay is located here and this should encourage visitors to spend the day. At low tide a dramatic cave is exposed in the low limestone cliff at the eastern side of the bay. Approach carefully and make sure you are not cut off from the beach by a rising tide. All-in-all, this is a delightful spot which is as laid back as anywhere in the whole of Bali.
- Tamarind Beach, (between Playgrounds surf break and Mushroom Bay). Good views back to Bali, and of Mount Agung especially.
Nusa Lembongan is famous for spectacular sunsets
- Devil's Tear. A rocky outcrop on the south western coast. Spectacular crashing waves and water plumes. Easily found by walking either a few minutes north from Dream Beach or south from Sunset Beach.
- Mangrove Forest, (continue north on the only west coast road from Jungut Batu until you reach the mangroves). Northern Nusa Lembongan has an extensive forest of mature mangroves which can be explored in a jukung outrigger boat.
- Puncak Sari Temple, Lembongan Village (just north of Lembongan Village on the main route back to Jungut Batu). The largest and grandest Hindu temple on the island. Good views over the straits back to Bali from this area.
- Seaweed Farms, (make your way to the shoreline anywhere in the southeast quarter of the island and just observe). Seaweed farming takes place in many parts of the island, but the most accessible farms are on the southern side of Lembongan Village. Most of the seaweed grown here is destined for the Asian cosmetics industry.
- Sunsets. One thing not to miss on Nusa Lembongan. The Sunset over Bali is awe-inspiring, and can be viewed from any west facing part of the island, but the beach at Jungut Batu is especially popular. A more rural alternative is to go over the bridge to Nusa Ceningan and view the sunset from one of the west-facing high ridges. Being just a few degrees south of the equator, sunset times do not vary much throughout the year here. Look to be in place between 5:30PM and 6PM.
- Suspension Bridge, (go through Lembongan Village heading west, sticking on the main road until you hit the estuarine channel). This quirky yellow suspension bridge should not be missed by any visitor. You can walk or bike across the bridge to neighbouring Nusa Ceningan. The noise it makes can be quite scary, and contributes to what is an all-round Indiana Jones-type experience. Although it is definitely getting more and more rickety as the years pass, the bridge is still safe, and there are many thousands of incident-free crossings every year. Free.
View towards Bali from Jungut Batu hill on Nusa Lembongan
Nusa Ceningan is the tiny island between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, which is easily reached via the suspension bridge on foot or by bicycle/motorbike. There is a notable surf break off Nusa Ceningan which attracts some surfers away from the more crowded breaks on Nusa Lembongan. Otherwise the island offers some scenic roads and paths, and the westward views back over Nusa Lembongan to Bali are impressive. Viewing the sunset over Bali from the central Ceningan ridge is very much worth the effort. The estuarine channel between Lembongan and Ceningan is home to many seaweed farms.
Very few visitors choose to stay on Nusa Ceningan, but a small bungalow complex opened in 2009, another in 2010, and more accommodation options are in the pipeline.
Activities are very much water-based, with surfing and scuba diving being especially notable.
Nusa Lembongan was first opened up as a tourist destination by surfers, and it has long been an established part of the Bali surf circuit.
There are three main breaks, all off the top half of the west coast, with another less well known just to the southwest off Nusa Ceningan. Playgrounds, Lacerations and Shipwrecks are all close offshore and reached via an energetic paddle from the beach, or in a more leisurely fashion, by a local boat (perahu) which can be chartered from the nearest beach.
Whilst the breaks usually suit intermediate to experienced surfers given they all break over coral reefs, the aptly named Playgrounds is a little more forgiving and can be enjoyed by beginners and experts alike. All the surf breaks become extremely crowded during the dry season
Although surfable all year round, waves are best when winds are in the southeast quarter, normally from April to September/October.
There is a thriving surf scene in Jungut Batu. When compared to its tiny population, Nusa Lembongan has produced a remarkable number of international competition-quality surfers. Any keen surfer will certainly not be short of company here.
- Monkey Surfing Surf School, Jungut Batu (close to the public boat office), ☎ +62 821 4409 2545 (email@example.com), . Surf lessons available in English and French. Friendly atmosphere and small groups. When the sea is flat you can try stand-up paddling.
Oceanic sunfish in the waters off Nusa Lembongan
Diving is of excellent quality in the crystal clear waters around the island. A number of reputable dive shops are present, and this is a notable teaching destination. Many hundreds of visitors have learned to dive here.
For more experienced divers, the most interesting sites are off neighbouring Nusa Penida. There are some challenging drift dives here, and dive operators will visit certain sites only when the sea conditions are safe. There are plenty of options for easier flat reef and wall dives as well. Marine highlights include large manta rays all year round, spectacular, massive oceanic sunfish (mola-mola) in season (July to October), white-tipped reef sharks, nurse sharks and the odd hammerhead. Whale sharks are far from regular, but the odd migrant is seen. Last but certainly not least, four species of sea turtle can be found here. All operators offer scheduled trips to the prime dive sites around all three islands.
Prices vary little from shop to shop. Course fees run from about US$60 for a half day Discover Scuba introduction, to US$395 for PADI Open Water certification. A fun dive will cost approximately US$35-45 including all equipment, with discounts offered for multiple dives. Dive shops have variable opening hours according to seasonal demand. Night dives are widely offered and offer a fantastic underwater experience.
- Bali Diving Academy Lembongan, Jungut Batu (at Bungalo No7), ☎ +62 361 270 252 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . A PADI 5 Star Dive Resort head-quartered in Sanur but with a permanent presence on Nusa Lembongan.
- Big Fish Diving, Jungut Batu, ☎ +62 813 5313 6861 (email@example.com), . A PADI & SSI dive resort based at the Secret Garden Bungalows offering daily diving, PADI courses in multiple languages and manta/mola specials. Small and friendly.
- Blue Corner Dive Lembongan, Jungut Batu (on the beach at the north end of the village), ☎ +62 877 6104 2438, +62 819 1623 1054 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . PADI Eco-Resort operated by marine biologists offering daily guided dive trips, scuba training courses, naturalist & scientific diving specialties. On-site purpose built training pool. Also has a beach-side bar and some accommodation.
- Lembongan Dive Adventures, Jungut Batu, ☎ +62 8193 6287232 (email@example.com), . A locally-owned dive resort catering to small groups, which offers PADI courses from open water through to divemaster in several languages, taught by international instructors, using the resort training pool.
- World Diving, Jungut Batu (at Pondok Baruna), ☎ +62 812 390 0686 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . The island's first full PADI 5 Star Dive Centre. All courses are offered from Discover Scuba through to Assistant Instructor. The largest operator on the island, and one with an established reputation which is second to none.
Healthy reef-life in clear waters off Nusa Lembongan
Non-divers should not feel left out, as good snorkeling is available close inshore at various spots around the island. Perhaps the two best areas are Mushroom Bay on the west coast, and the mangroves on the northern tip. Equipment can be hired from your hotel or on the beach, and depending on the quality of the gear, you should expect to pay Rp 20,000-50,000 for renting a mask, snorkel and set of fins.
If you fancy getting further offshore, dive shops may sell you a snorkeling space on a scheduled dive boat, subject to availability.
Also, local boatmen are willing to take you by boat to various snorkeling spots. Depending on the number of snorkeling spots you want to visit, a boat trip can be arranged for about Rp 200,000-300,000 (including snorkeling gear). An enjoyable snorkeling spot reached by boat only is the west coast of neighbouring Nusa Penida, with Crystal Bay being especially rewarding. There is a strong current along this coast. The boatman will drop you off at the beginning of the current, and you can drift while snorkeling along the drop off wall with beautiful coral and loads of fish. The boatmen will follow you and pick you up at the end of the drift.
Other water sports
Families with children will not be short of options. The full gamut of typical resort-type, mechanised water sports are available, including wake-boarding and banana boats. Those who care a little about the environment may be keener to patronise the sea kayaking option. Your hotel will be able to assist with booking any of these activities. Alternatively, just head down to the beach at either Mushroom Bay or Jungut Batu, and figure it out for yourself. Costs start at about Rp 150,000 for a single banana boat ride.
This is an excellent island for walking and keen visitors should not hesitate to just head off and explore the myriad tracks that criss-cross the island.
The low cliffs in the south offer some splendid coastal walking routes. Perhaps the best of them starts at Dream Beach, from where you should take the obvious footpath north over the Devil's Tear outcrop, pausing to see some of the most dramatic wave formations anywhere around the island. The crashing plumes are sometimes huge here, so be prepared to get wet! Continue northwards to Sunset Beach and explore the cove. If you time your arrival for low tide, the cave at the eastern end of the beach may be accessible.
At the opposite end of the beach you will find The Beach Club. From here follow the footpath leading northwest up the hill always keeping the private villas to your left, until you again hit the cliff line. From here you will see right across the Badung Strait to Bali. Follow the cliff path northwards and then around to the east, all the time pausing to appreciate the dramatic coastal formations. Birdwatchers should lookout for flashes of turquoise and white, as spectacular sacred kingfishers are common in this area, and offshore it is worth keeping an eye out for huge frigatebirds. Keep following this path eastwards, and you will drop down into Mushroom Bay where the suggested walk ends and refreshments are available.
- Lulur Spa, Jungut Batu (at Batu Karang Resort), ☎ +62 3662 4880. 10AM-8PM. Complete spa with rooms for facials, massages, pedicure, manicure and hair treatments. Local products are used as well as some imported from Australia. Each room is set with ambient music and A/C. Changing rooms with clean treated hot water and a relaxation room are provided. From about Rp 200,000.
- Mushroom Spa (at Mushroom Beach Bungalows), Tanjung Sanghyang Bay, ☎ +62 366 24515. 8AM-8PM. Relaxing massage, body scrub, pedicure or manicure overlooking the clear waters of Sanghyang Bay.
- Yoga Shack Lembongan, Secret Garden Bungalows, Jungut Batu, ☎ +62 813 53136861, . 8AM and 4PM, drop-in classes Mo-Sa, closed Su. Hatha, Rocket & Ashtanga Vinyasa, Pilates. All levels of experience. Multiple class discount cards available. Rp 60,000.
Some hotels and scuba shops will accept credit cards, although many of them charge a fee of 3-5% for charges to a credit card.
There are no ATMs here and visitors should bring enough cash with them. Money changing facilities are available at hotels, but the rate given is always unfavourable, so don't bring just cash, but rupiah. If you do run out of cash, a same day return ATM run to Sanur is possible. Alternatively, some hotels will do a cash advance on your credit card for a fee of 8%-10%.
Small shops are widespread, and they are geared towards basic visitor requirements, stocking sun-block, cheap knock-off boardshorts and hats, as well as the usual range of snacks, beer, soft drinks and cigarettes. Do not though expect anything too sophisticated. There is little in the way of souvenir type shopping on the island, and there is nothing of this nature which would not be better purchased on the Bali mainland.
Virtually any place you stay on Nusa Lembongan will have a cafe or restaurant attached to it, and the majority of these encourage non-staying guests to eat with them. These can be of hugely variable quality and any casual visitor could be forgiven for thinking the food on this island is terrible! Some of the better budget options can be found at Linda's Bungalows, Mainski, and Dream Beach Huts.
There are a few good local warungs to choose from, but by-and-large there have not been many decent independent restaurants on Nusa Lembongan. That is now changing at a pace though and the more notable exceptions to the old rule are listed below. Fish is naturally a great option.
Traditional jukung outrigger in the mangroves
- The Beach Club at Sandy Bay (formerly Scallywags Bar and Grill), Sunset Beach, ☎ +62 828 9700 5656 (email@example.com), . 8AM-10PM. A large open bar and restaurant area with a beach-front pool abutting a white sandy beach. Daily BBQ with seafood and steaks, extensive range of cocktails, the beer is very cold and they have a wine cellar. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. The quality of food here is extremely high for Nusa Lembongan and would not be out of place in top restaurants in mainland Bali. Free WiFi. Call for transport from Jungut Batu (10-15 min) and Mushroom Bay (5-7 min) - it is free if you make a phone or email booking. (-8.688844,115.430045)
- Ketut Warung, Jungut Batu (behind Mainski Lembongan Resort). About 11AM-9PM. One of the best local warungs on the island, great atmosphere, huge plates, good Indonesian and Thai food at really cheap prices. The owners, the Ketut Malom family, are friendly hosts. Rp 20,000-30,000 per head.
- Mangrove Restaurant. About noon-9PM. At the eastern end of the only spit of land that runs through the northern mangrove forest. From Jungut Batu, take the beach road north and turn into the mangroves (possible by motorcycle or of course on foot). Just keep going for about 1.5 km and you will find the restaurant. Alternatively, arrive by boat - any boat captain will know the way. Indonesian meals and some European options. Rp 50,000-80,000 per head.
- Nyoman's Warung, (head north out of Jungut Batu and turn right when you can go no further). Nyoman's Warung is on the north beach of the island with sweeping views of Mount Agung. The traditional Lembongan menu changes daily to reflect the catch of the day. Rp 20,000-30,000 per head.
- Juice Bar & Coffee Corner, Jungut Batu (southern side of the the main road). The place centers around cheap but good breakfast foods and snacks during the day. It stands out as a place to get away from resort all you can eat buffets and enjoy traditional Indonesian foods with some western favorites. Everything is made fresh on site and sourced locally in Indonesia.
As with restaurants, there are few independent drinking establishments. Most cafes and restaurants attached to hotels also double as bars. Nusa Lembongan is known as being very quiet for nightlife. A few beach parties are advertised around the island during high season, and there is sometimes a small monthly full moon party.
- Blue Corner Bar, On the beach north of Jungut Batu. mid-day until 10pm, Fridays open until 3am. Bar & restaurant located on the beachfront by Blue Corner Dive Resort. Bean-bag chairs with umbrellas on the beach, WiFi, and free use of swimming pool. On Friday nights expats, the dive community and tourists party here with a beach fire and drinks until very late.
- Cafe Bali, Mushroom Bay (eastern end of the bay). Usually 9AM-9PM. A great place to have a beer and watch the view back to Bali. Restaurant serving pasta and other options.
- Scooby Doo Beach Bar, Jungut Batu. Variable hours, but often busy 6PM-10PM. Beachside bar which is especially popular with the Australian surfing crowd. Expect cold beers, lots of chat about waves and sport on the television.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
|| Under Rp 300,000
|| Rp 300,000-1,000,000
|| Over Rp 1,000,000
There is a broad range of accommodation, with options to suit almost any budget. Most budget accommodations can be found at Jungut Batu, while more up market accommodation is further south, around Mushroom Bay, the Bukit and Dream Beach. Traditionally, budget guest houses aimed at young surfers and back-packers dominated, but that changed in recent years as more and more well-heeled visitors discovered the island. Some of the older budget options are very tired indeed, and visitors should bear that in mind when assessing where to stay.
Check-in and check-out times are something of a movable feast at most hotels. It is safe to assume a time of about 1PM for checkin and about 11AM for checkout, unless specifically stated otherwise.
There are no formal campsites on the island but travellers do sometimes pitch tents. A small donation to the local community is recommended.
There are myriad small, cheap back-packer places in the small lanes leading off the main road in Jungut Batu.
- Bungalo No7, Jungut Batu, (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Clean fan-cooled rooms around a garden right on the beach. WiFi available, if you pay. Rp 70,000-150,000.
- Cara Aji Guest House, Jungut Batu, (email@example.com). Opposite Pura Mpu Aji temple, just north of Jungut Batu. Simple and clean with 3 elegant bungalows with shared bathroom, landscaped gardens and plunge pool. Good option on a beer budget. Rp 200,000.
- Beach Hello Bungalows. (Suka Beach Bungalows), Jungut Batu (At the north end of Jungut Batu beach), (BeachHello@gmail.com), . New, traditional-style, wooden bungalows with thatched roofs. Two storeys, private bathroom with cold-water showers, and a deck with chairs and a table. On the beach with a view of the ocean, overlooking Shipwrecks surf break. Clean, fan-cooled rooms with double beds. Family-owned, helpful and friendly. Father cooks most meals and was trained as a chef in Bali. Price includes breakfast. about Rp 200,000.
- Ketut Losmen Bungalow, Jungut Batu, ☎ +62 813 3784 6555 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . A family-run complex of 12 bungalows with a small swimming pool overlooking the beach. All bungalows have fan, double bed, writing desk and ensuite bathroom with hot shower. The better bungalows are a little bit further from the beach. Basic rooms with fan from Rp 200,000 and more up-market bungalows with air-conditioning from Rp 400,000, no breakfast included.
- Linda Bungalows, Jungut Batu, ☎ +62 812 360 0867 (email@example.com), . Two-level bungalows. Rooms have views of Shipwrecks surf break. Cold saltwater showers, deck chairs and balcony seating. Towels provided. Restaurant serves pure beef burgers, daily specials, big pancakes and an 'American' breakfast. Reports that the place is increasingly tired, and the Australian owners less than friendly. From Rp 150,000.
- Lembongan Made Inn, Jungut Batu (50 metres from main boat landing), ☎ +62 813 38726730. Four bungalow rooms, two upstairs, two down. Opened in 2011. Good option for those on a tight budget, and popular with the younger dive and surf crowd. From Rp 150,000.
- Pondok Jengagala, Jungut Batu, ☎ +62 812 3605886 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . A bright and airy bungalow complex in the centre of Jungut Batu. Rooms are clean and comfortable. Has a decent cafe attached. From Rp 250,000.
- Secret Garden Bungalows, Jungut Batu (behind Baruna & Scooby Doo, beside the black temple about halfway between Shipwrecks & Playgrounds surf breaks), ☎ +62 813 5313 6861 (email@example.com), . Budget accommodation in a tropical garden, only 50 m from the beach. The nine fan-cooled double/twin rooms are clean and spacious with semi-outdoor bathrooms. Book exchange, tourist info, hammocks and a sofa area for relaxation. Big Fish Diving onsite as well as Yoga Shack with daily Yoga classes. From Rp 150,000.
- Two Thousand Bungalow, Jungut Batu (between Ketut Losmen and Mainski), ☎ +62 812 381 2775. checkin: 1PM; checkout: 9AM. Adjacent to Ketut Losmen and owned by one of Ketut's sons. Two storey bungalows, spacious rooms, cold and hot showers, fan or A/C. Room rate does not include breakfast. The restaurant is right on the sand. From Rp 250,000.
The aqua coloured waters of Mushroom Bay
- Adi Bungalow Huts, Mushroom Bay. checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. Balinese style huts with traditional alang-alang thatched roof and modern style bathroom, built in April 2011. Air-conditioned, fans, double beds with mosquito nets and mini bar. Seventy metres from Mushroom Bay. Rp 300,000.
- Alam Nusa Bungalow & Spa, Mushroom Bay (between Bali Hai and Waka Nusa), ☎ +62 813 3837 7482. checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. Traditional Balinese house with garden, bar and restaurant. Accommodation for couples with honeymoon packages available at budget prices. Balinese massage and other treatments available. Provide their own speedboat for a 25-30 min transfer to/from Bali at Rp 450,000 per person return. Charters also available. From Rp 400,000.
- Bali Lumbung Huts, Mushroom Bay. Mushroom Bay beachfront location with traditional Balinese style grass-roofed huts with ocean and sunset views. All room rates include daily breakfast and snorkeling gear, boat, and guide. Stays of more than 3 nights include free sea kayak activities. from US$75.
- Coconuts Beach Resort, Jungut Batu, ☎ +62 361 8070181 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Air-conditioned or fan-cooled cottages by the beach each with en-suite bathrooms and hot water. The hotel has two pools, restaurant, bar, internet and satellite TV. All cottages have views of the surf breaks and Mount Agung on Bali. from US$78.
- Dream Beach Huts, Dream Beach, ☎ +62 361 743 2344 or +62 813 3873 7344 (email@example.com, fax: +62 361 292 441), . checkout: noon. A secluded bungalow complex right on the beach-front at Dream Beach. The thatched roof huts have mosquito nets provided, open air private bathrooms, king size beds and balconies with sunset and ocean views. Swimming pool with Balinese umbrellas, long chairs near the beach, laundry service, pool table, cafe, bar and restaurant, mini library. Balinese massage and extra pillows on request. Tired and has seen far better days, but still popular with those wanted to get right away from it. from US$65.
- Lembongan Cliff Villas, Selambung Beach (Coconuts Beach), ☎ +62 813 3737 9396 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +62 361 465 086), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. Close to Puncak Sari Hindu temple and some of the island's surf breaks. Large rooms, swimming pool, bar, restaurant, BBQ dinners, free breakfast available. Air-conditioned and fan-cooled rooms with ocean and garden views. From US$64.
- Lembongan Secret Cliff Huts, Secret Beach (100 m from Mushroom Bay), ☎ +62 878 76593513 (email@example.com, fax: +62 366 24493), . checkin: 1PM; checkout: 11:30AM. Private Traditional huts with own bathroom, A/C, balcony, garden surrounds of Bungalow, bar and restaurant. They provide their own speedboat for a 25-30 min transfer upon request. Rp 450,000/person (return transfer) at 8:30AM, 1PM, and 3:30PM. Charters also available from Lembongan. Free pick up from anywhere on Nusa Lembongan.
- Mainski Lembongan Resort, Jungut Batu Beach, ☎ +62 361 9237322 or +62 815 5828 9123 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +6236624481), . checkin: Noon; checkout: 10AM. Infinity edge swimming pool right on the beach, poolside sun lounges, beachfront bar and restaurant, games area with pool table and table tennis. High speed internet and WiFi available. Restaurant has an Australian cook and offers an international a-la-carte menu. A BBQ with steaks and seafood is available every night. Standard fan-cooled room US$28, deluxe fan-cooled room US$35, deluxe A/C room US$45, luxury suite with fan US$75, 3 bedroom villa US$140. All including continental breakfast.
- Mushroom Bay Bungalows, Mushroom Bay, ☎ +62 361 413538 (email@example.com), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. Cottages overlooking Mushroom Bay with open air cold water showers and mosquito nets. A/C and fan-cooled rooms available. Swimming pool with sun lounges, massage room, BBQ dinners on the beach and a free daily breakfast. From US$55.
- Playgrounds Resort, Jungut Batu, ☎ +62 366 24524 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Accommodation from fan-cooled rooms to private self-contained villas with A/C. Views over the bay. Double rooms with A/C AU$85 and fan-cooled AU$75. Family rooms AU$100 and villas AU$100-170.
- Rigils Lembongan Bungalows & Spa, (email@example.com), . checkin: 1PM; checkout: 12 noon. Standard and large family room. Bar, restaurant and swimming pool with spa. Rooms are furnished with antique wooden beds, mosquito nets. Private terrace or balcony looks into the bungalows garden. The bathrooms have a cold shower. They provide their own speedboat for a 25-30 min transfer upon request. Rp 450,000/person (return transfer) at 8:30AM, 1PM, and 3:30PM. Charters also available from Lembongan for Rp 2.5 million. Fan-cooled family bungalow Rp 450,000, continental or Indonesian breakfast included.
- Rickey Lembongan Beach Huts, Tamarind Beach (Northeast of Mushroom Bay). checkin: 1PM; checkout: 12 noon. Small beach-side hotel nearby to local surf breaks, playgrounds and shipwrecks. Cottages provided with ceiling fans with either a large 1 bedroom or a 2 bedroom family option. All bathrooms have hot water. A bar and restaurant is provided and umbrellas are available for use on the beach. Ocean views across the strait to Mount Agung. Free pick-up from the boat docking point. Rp 550,000.
- Song Lambung Beach Bungalow & Huts, Song Lambung Beach (between Playgrounds surf break,and Selegimpak Bay), ☎ +62 366 5596401 (firstname.lastname@example.org). checkin: 1PM; checkout: 11:30AM. Balinese style bungalows with double bed, ceiling fan, mosquito nets, towels, private bath room, toilet, cold water shower. Bar and restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. A continental breakfast is included in the price. US$75.
- Tamarind Beach Bungalows, Tamarind Beach (between Playgrounds surf break and Mushroom Bay), ☎ +62 361 857 2572 (email@example.com), . Balinese style bungalows with double bed, ceiling fan, mosquito nets, towels, private bath room, toilet, cold water shower and bath tub. Facilities include a children's and adult swimming pool, mini library and BBQ on request. Bar and restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. A continental breakfast is included in the price. Standard rooms with fan US$40 and large rooms with fan US$50 per night.
- The Tanis Villas, Mushroom Bay, ☎ +62 361 743 2344 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. Cottages overlooking Mushroom Bay with open air cold/hot showers and mosquito nets. Air-conditioned and fan-cooled rooms available. Facilities include twin swimming pool in front of lobby and restaurant with sun lounges, massage room, TV with international channels at the lobby and free WiFi 24 hr. BBQ dinners on the wooden deck near the beach and a free daily breakfast are available. From US$60.
- Villa Atas Nusa Lembongan, Tamarind Beach (between Batu Karang and Playgrounds), (email@example.com), . Fully self-contained single villa. Ground level has an air-conditioned king size bedroom, and a large open indoor/outdoor lounge area that borders the plunge pool. Outdoor dining area steps down to a garden. Solar hot water system and CD player on both levels. Overlooks all three main surf breaks. Upstairs sleeps two in a king size bedroom, downstairs sleeps 2 in a kingsize bedroom plus 2 on daybeds in the open style living area. Minimum 3 day bookings, downstairs US$120/day, upstairs US$180/day, whole villa US$320/day.
- Villa Mimpi Manis (firstname.lastname@example.org), Jungut Batu, ☎ (Aust) +61 478 258346, . Balinese style two level villa located on the hill above Jungut Batu. Views towards Bali over the surf and reef. Two king size beds, two bathrooms with hot water, plunge pool, kitchenette, home theatre, room safe, two fridges, serviced daily. Linen and drinking water supplied. From A$100 per night.
- Ware Ware Surf Bungalows, Jungut Batu (south of the bay, up on the hill), ☎ +62 361 807 0181 (email@example.com), . Eight standard rooms and one family room. Bathroom with cold shower. Private terrace or balcony, furnished with antique wooden beds and mosquito nets, continental or Indonesian breakfast included. From Rp 500,000.
Looking across the Badung Strait to Mount Agung
- Batu Karang Lembongan Resort and Day Spa, Jungut Batu (the Bukit), ☎ +62 366 24880, . Includes Muntigs restaurant and bar, a day spa, 3 swimming pools (a 25m lap pool, a 9x9 m pool with swim up pool bar and a 9x9 m infinity edge pool), steam room, gymnasium, day lounge, wedding pavilion and conference facility. All rooms have air-conditioning, internet, safety box, 220 thread cotton sheets, king size double beds and a mini bar. The outdoor bathrooms have views over the surf breaks and across to Mount Agung in Bali. Has its own water and sewage treatment plants, so the water you use is fresh and clean. From US$210, breakfast included.
- Indiana Kenanga Villas, Jungut Batu, ☎ +62 366 24471 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . A French-owned and run suite/villa resort which opened in July 2009. Offers 6 one bedroom suites and 2 two bedroom villas. US$120-170 for a suite and US$320-370 for a two bedroom villa.
- Nusa Lembongan Resort, Mushroom Bay, ☎ +62 361 725864 (email@example.com), . This 12 cottage hotel has been around for a while, and it has definitely seen far better days. The location is superb though right on the western headland of Mushroom Bay. 7 of the cottages have clear ocean views, as does the bar and restaurant. Garden view villa from US$235 and ocean view villa from US$300, American breakfast included.
- Waka Nusa Resort, Mushroom Bay, ☎ +62 361 484 085 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . A small resort from the boutique hotel group Waka, located right on the beach at Mushroom Bay. The resort consists of 10 grass-roofed bungalows, restaurant and a pool. No air-conditioning, TV sets or telephones in the rooms. Free (slow) WiFi in the public area. Well-designed, breezy individual cottages. From US$127, breakfast included.
The following are all stand-alone, self-contained villas with private swimming pools.
- Villa Pantai, Celagi Bay, ☎ +62 877 6124 6475 (email@example.com), . A high quality beach-front property which would not be out of place in the top echelons of the mainland Bali villa market. It has seven bedrooms sleeping up to 18 guests, a 10 metre swimming pool, fully equipped gym and spa, and comes fully staffed. From US$720.
- Villa Shambala, (just west of Mushroom Bay, on the coastal path), (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Two bedroom oceanfront private villa with a small cliff edge swimming pool. US$120.
- Jenny's Bed & Breakfast, Nusa Ceningan, ☎ +62 812 3627 7650 (email@example.com). Bungalows at the remote southwestern tip of Nusa Ceningan which opened in mid 2009. Clean rooms and breakfast is served right at the beach. Motorbike rental available. Friendly American manager and local guidance. They can arrange pick up from Jungut Batu on Nusa Lembongan. Rp 200,000.
- Secret Point Huts, Nusa Ceningan, ☎ +62 819 16268871, . checkout: Noon. Close to the Secret Point surf break. Facilities include air-conditioning, fan, towels and private bathroom. All huts have ocean views, and direct access to the beach. US$60.
This is a safe island and reports of crime, major or minor, are rare. Most common is the theft of items left in unlocked rooms, so as you would anywhere in the world, just be sensible.
Drugs are not especially widespread here, but you may be offered marijuana or mushrooms, and more rarely, harder drugs. Be aware that the former is highly illegal in Indonesia and penalties are harsh. The Indonesian legal position on mushrooms is unclear and to be totally safe, visitors should steer clear.
The biggest dangers to visitors are related to the sea. Swimming is not be taken lightly in any waters around Bali, and Nusa Lembongan is no exception. Mushroom Bay and the area around the mangroves in the north are largely safe for swimming, but still take care. Swimming at Dream Beach and Sunset Beach (in particular) should be avoided by all but the very strongest of swimmers, and even then with great caution. Surfing at all four breaks is challenging for beginners.
There is a small medical clinic in Jungut Batu with an attendant doctor. This is a perfectly good facility for treating minor ailments, but visitors with anything approaching a serious problem should get back to Bali as quickly as possible. Opening hours are erratic and unpredictable. Ask at your hotel.
Like all of Bali, Nusa Lembongan is officially a malaria-free zone. Dengue fever is a potential problem. Unlike in mainland Bali, there are no recent cases of rabies.
It is possible to make phone calls from Nusa Lembongan. Although a little pricey, public telephone offices (wartels) can be found at the Scoot boat office and at Bungalow No7.
- International phone operators: 101.
- International Direct Dialing prefix: 001, 007, or 008.
- The area code for Nusa Lembongan is officially 0366, although 0361 is also widely used.
- Landlines are not that common, and even many well-established businesses operate with mobile telephones only. All of the major Indonesian mobile networks have coverage of the island.
- For directory inquiries, dial 108 from a landline or 0361-108 from a mobile phone.
A few of the better places to stay have wireless internet capability for guests. The fastest and most reliable WiFi is offered by the Beach Club at Sandy Bay, and this is free for all guests at the restaurant.
There are a couple of basic, well signed public internet cafes at the southern end of the main coast road in Jungut Batu. Look for the signs and expect to pay about Rp 30,000 per hour. Service is sometimes very slow. Most of the internet cafes also have a download limit in addition to charging for time, so save your media streaming activities for Bali.
The national phone company, Telkomsel, provides a decent 3G connection.
- The vast majority of visitors leave the way they came in, i.e. back to Sanur and then on to elsewhere in Bali.
- For the adventurous, a side trip to Nusa Penida island will get you well off the beaten path.
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