Just 30 minutes off the coast of Bali, Nusa Lembongan provides a much more rustic and tranquil experience for those looking to escape the crowds.
Having been to Bali a number of times, I wanted to experience something new and decided to take a private fast boat (approx $15 / 45 min) from Sanur to Mushroom beach. My wife and I decided to spend two nights around Sunset beach and another two nights in the main beach area. There’s not a heck of a lot to do on the island and being the low season at the time we went (Jan/Feb), it was very quiet.
For the first couple of days, we rented a scooter to experience the scenery and to witness the incredible views such as Blue Lagoon and Devil’s Tear. Although the weather was incredibly hot when we were there, there’s not a lot of opportunities to jump in the water. Most of the beaches are too rough for swimming and the longest beaches (main beach for example) are often crowded with boats. However, we did find a few small tranquil beaches, which provided a much needed relief from the scorching sun. If you really want to ensure time in the water, we recommend finding accommodation with a pool for part of your trip.
Nusa Lembongan is a great place to rent a scooter and explore the island. It’s very small and rustic and having a bike will certainly add to the adventure. This is the best way to see all the different views. For those who don’t want to rent a scooter, the island can be walked as well but make sure to bring a hat as the sun can be very strong.
The Sunset beach area is known for slightly more upscale hotels and doesn’t offer anything for nightlife. We stayed here to simply enjoy the views, relax, and swim in the pool that our hotel offered. After two days, we decided to go to the main beach area where there would be a little more action. We ended up staying at Rama Garden Retreat, which is also home to Pisang-Pisang, a popular restaurant and smoothie bar. In fact, our welcome drink became my favourite smoothie. Plus, the straws are made out of glass. How awesome is that?
Our room was a rustic bungalow-style traditional hut where the room is on the upper level and the open-bathroom is on the bottom along with two hammocks to chill out in. It’s the type of accommodation you imagine when staying near a beach. I loved that the showers were open-air but still private. It also helped that they are partnered with Monkey Surf School since surfing was high on our list of things to do. After settling in, we grabbed dinner at a beach restaurant nearby.
The next day we were booked in to go surfing. After getting equipped with surf boards, booties and a rash shirt, we walked to the beach for some dry-land training before jumping in the boat and heading out to the waves. For those nervous of deep water, it wasn’t that bad. Actually, you could stand up if it wasn’t for the coral. The guys from Monkey Surf School are really awesome and will make you feel super comfortable.
As usual, we both had a hard time standing up (surfing is not easy) but loved getting out in the water nonetheless. We both had a great time but after an hour of paddling, falling off, and getting tossed around in the waves, it was time to get back to land. Plus, I was craving another smoothie from Pisang-Pisang.
Aside from surfing, spending time on the beaches, and cruising around the island, we also did some yoga one day at the yoga shack and rented some paddle boards while visiting Mushroom beach.
All in all, our time on Nusa was much more relaxing than last trips. There weren’t a lot of things to do, especially at night, but this helped us to really relax after a week scuba diving in Raja Ampat. We really enjoyed the views, surfing the reef break, and riding around the island on motorbike.
If you’re looking to escape the business of Bali, the quietness of Nusa Lembongan is just a short ferry ride away.
If you find yourself in Nusa Lembongan, make sure to check out the Rama Garden for a place to stay and pisang-pisang restaurant for a delicious smoothie. If you’re up for surfing the waves, Monkey Surf School is the place to go!