A short boat ride away from Bali lies the relatively undeveloped island of Nusa Lembongan. It’s one of the three “Nusa Islands” — the others being Ceningan and Penida — and is by far the most popular one to stay on. This Nusa Lembongan travel guide will show you the best places to visit on the island, which beach I’d recommend staying at, how to get there and a brief look at the two neighbouring islands.
The Best Things to See and Do on Nusa Lembongan
The main appeal of Nusa Lembongan is the unique coastal attractions on offer. You can see the main sights on Nusa Lemongan and Nusa Ceningan (which are connected by a bridge) in a day.
This coastal feature is best described as a small circular horizontal blow hole thing (OK, maybe someone else could describe it better). You stand on the rocks above and watch the whooshing of the water as the ocean rushes out. I’m not selling this well, but it is a cool place. There is another blow hole further around the rocks and some nice views to enjoy. Don’t get too close to the water — it could get rough and sweep you away (then who would read my blog?).
READ MORE: Looking for a great (in my opinion at least) Bali Itinerary? Check out my post!
Dream Beach is by far the best beach on Nusa Lembongan (the best I saw anyway) and has that popular combination of white sand and clear blue water. Unfortunately the water is quite rough, so only venture in if you’re a confident swimmer (but even then I’d be very careful). There is a viewpoint above the beach (with a swing, obviously) where you’ll get some great photos, but the best thing about Dream Beach is that it’s spotless (at least it was when I visited). These islands suffer from a bit of a trash problem so finding a completely clean beach is exciting!
This beach is also close to Devil’s Tear (on the opposite side to Dream Beach) and is another great Nusa Lembongan Beach (I’d say the second best beach on Nusa Lembongan). There are a few upmarket places to stay in the area with lots more being built — this could be the next Mushroom Beach / Jungut Batu.
The Yellow Bridge
The Yellow Bridge connects Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan — you can walk / cycle across it or ride your scooter over. I really like the road leading to the bridge on the Nusa Lembongan side.
READ MORE: There are so many cool islands near Bali, and I wrote about some of them!
Blue Lagoon (Nusa Ceningan)
One of I’m sure hundreds of “Blue Lagoons” around the world, the one on Nusa Ceningan definitely earns its name (although I’m not sure it’s technically a lagoon). The water is one of the nicer shades of blue I’ve ever seen. There’s not much else to see or do there but it’s worth the trip to see it.
Secret Beach (Nusa Ceningan)
Nusa Ceningan’s Secret Beach is located a short distance from the Blue Lagoon (ask for directions as it can be confusing). There were six other people there, so it’s not a complete secret, but it is a very peaceful spot. Again the water is extremely rough so I’d advise against swimming there.
A Day Trip to Nusa Penida
One of the top things to do on a holiday to Bali is the day trip to Nusa Penida. You’ll see one of the world’s most breathtaking coastal viewpoints as well as other interesting natural features. You can organise a boat transfer from the Yellow Bridge — it’ll be around RP 50,000 – 75,000 per person or RP 200,000 per boat. Once on Nusa Penida you’ll need to rent a scooter or a car / driver as the sights are spread far and wide. You can also do this day trip from Bali (boats leave from Sanur).
Snorkelling and Diving
The Nusa Islands are known as a diving and snorkelling hotspot. You might see manta rays and dolphins on Nusa Penida (we saw them from the cliffs) and probably a lot of other marine life in other areas. Can you tell I’m not a diver and rarely snorkel?
Where to Stay
There are two main options — Mushroom Bay and Jungut Batu — and neither of the beaches is particularly special. Jungut Batu has a lot more options for eating, drinking and sleeping which I think makes it the better place to stay. The restaurants and guesthouses are spread along a 3 km stretch of beach and the sunset views (including Mount Agung) from anywhere along the beach are nice. There are some more upmarket places on the hill above the beach — it’s cool up there so it could be a good option if you’re splashing out.
I stayed at Surya Homestay, a great budget option in Jungut Batu. Check booking.com for more places to stay on Lembongan.
Getting Around Nusa Lembongan
The easiest way to get around Nusa Lembongan is a scooter, but what if you’re like me and never learned to ride one? I ended up walking everywhere and it was doable (hard work though). I was staying at Jungut Batu, so first I headed along the coastal path to Mushroom Bay. It’s an easy walk with some good views along the way. From there I walked inland and then over to Devil’s Tear / Dream Beach / Sandy Bay. After that I continued on to the yellow bridge and over to Nusa Ceningan to check out the Blue Lagoon and Secret Beach. It took me around four hours (including all the stops) and it was mostly flat. After eating lunch I then hitched a ride on the back of a motorbike back to my guesthouse for RP 50,000 — you could probably get it cheaper but I was too tired for bargaining!
You could also rent a bicycle but there is one big hill (the road between Mushroom Bay and Jungut Batu) where you’ll have to push it up (plus a few other hills here and there). Or you could take a tour or rent a motorbike / driver for the day.
Getting to Nusa Lembongan
Most boats to Nusa Lembogan leave from Sanur. The best option is to get to Sanur and buy your ticket just before you leave (or the night before) — or you if you’re staying in Seminyak or Kuta you could buy a ticket from agent which should include the transfer to Sanur. I paid RP 125,000 going there and RP 150,000 on the way back — there are heaps of companies and most seem pretty similar. I’ve heard the crossing can get rough but it was fine when I did it (mornings are apparently calmer).
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