Nusa Lembongan is hands down the best island I've been to in Southeast Asia. It's a pristine, exclusive and overwhelmingly beautiful island located southeast of Bali, Indonesia. The island gives you access to wonderful beaches, waterfalls, crazy cliff-jumps and hikes. There are plenty of things to do in Nusa Lembongan and in this post, I'll be sharing them with you.
HOW TO GET TO NUSA LEMBONGAN
You can get to Nusa Lembongan using the speedboat service from any of the companies at the Sanur port. It takes 30 minutes to reach the island from Sanur which is the main boarding point for all boats going to Lembongan and Penida.
Boats run all day long between Sanur and Lembongan so you can buy tickets to the island as per your convenience. An average speedboat return ticket costs 500,000 IDR (35 USD approx.) per person for a foreign citizen. Infants (0-2 years) travel for free.
NUSA LEMBONGAN ACCOMMODATION
My friend Marinela and I stayed in Water Blow Huts, Nusa Lembongan. And it was not just THE best accommodation on Lembongan island but also our best accommodation experience in Bali. The place has a rating of 9.4 on Booking.com for a reason.
Here's why you should choose to stay at this epic place :
1 -> Individual rooms, made in the form of huts with traditional thatch roofs give you the privacy you require. All modern amenities including air-conditioning, mosquito nets, safety-deposit box are available in the rooms.
2 -> The beachfront accommodation has the best location on the island. It's located on the Dream beach and gives you a panoramic view of the cliffs on both sides with the endless ocean in the middle.
3 -> The place boasts of an outdoor pool (with seating inside the pool to enjoy your cocktails) with a fantastic sea-view.
4 -> It has a Titanic-like viewpoint from where you can enjoy beautiful panoramic views. The resort has a spacious wooden deck area for you to wine and dine.
5 -> The resort serves you the most delectable vegetarian food and seafood on the island. Chefs here are Masterchefs in their own right. Proof of which lies in the fact that people from nearby resorts came here every day during our 3-night stay, just to enjoy the food and sunset views. Their morning breakfast is also the tastiest I had in Bali.
6 -> Staff members at the resort are extremely friendly, funny, helpful and spin some of the best cocktails during happy hours. They know what hospitality actually is and they make sure the guests feel at home. It also helps that the breakfast served is really tasty and filling.
7 -> A special mention to the amazing sunset views here. The sunset views here are surreal and will leave you spellbound. My family thoroughly enjoyed watching the painting-like Lembongan sunsets on video chat while sipping their evening tea in India.
Staying at Water Blow Huts is worth every penny of yours and the resort promises to give you the best accommodation experience you can possibly imagine. They even arrange day-trips, activities, and pickups/drops for you on request.
THINGS TO DO IN NUSA LEMBONGAN
1. VISIT THE DEVIL'S TEAR
I was curious to know the reason behind the spot being called "Devil's Tear". And after visiting the place, I got the answer to my question. Here you can see humongous waves crashing onto limestone cliffs, entering a narrow cavity in the cliff and producing a violent thunderous sound.
A sound so violent, that it shook the hordes of idiotic Chinese tourists sitting dangerously on the edge of the cliff with their selfie sticks. The raw power of nature can be felt here as the violent waves, post crashing into the cliff cavity create water plumes resembling tears.
Try visiting the Devil's Tear early in the morning or after 4 pm to avoid crowds and to enjoy the place to the fullest.
2. RELAX AT THE DREAM BEACH
Dream beach is located near Devil's Tear and is a 5-minute walk from the place. The beach has a happening vibe as it's situated right outside the Dream Beach Huts. You can spend your time relaxing on the beach, either lazing around in the white sands or enjoying a swim in the turquoise blue waters.
The beach makes for a picture postcard with waves aggressively kissing the clean white sands. Water current is strong so stay alert if you're planning to swim at the beach. Non-swimmers and little kids are advised to stay at the shore as there aren't many lifeguards on the beach.
Enjoy having cocktails and snacks in the nearby cafe at the Dream Beach Huts resort. Food and drink prices are relatively cheap and the view makes it an ideal location for families to chill.
3. ENJOY THE VIEW AT PANORAMA POINT
Nusa Lembongan has a picturesque landscape and there's no better place to witness it than the Panorama Point. Situated on a curved road there's a small board that indicates the location of the Panorama point. You can stand on the bench and enjoy panoramic views of Lembongan.
On the left side, you can see various alluring shades of blue waters with the boats docked at the shore of the Selambung beach. On the right side, you'll see a cluster of buildings with pointed roofs (giving you a Dubrovnik-like feel) amidst a thick belt of greenery.
There's also a cafe cum bar located right opposite the Panorama viewpoint. Here, you can have a drink or two, savouring panoramic views of the dazzling Lembongan island.
4. KAYAK THROUGH THE MANGROVE FORESTS
The mangrove forests in Nusa Lembongan are peaceful and worth exploring. You can either opt for a half hour mangrove tour in a small boat operated by a local for 150,000 IDR or rent a 2 person kayak for an hour for 100,000 IDR. The water is warm, shallow most of the time and once you get into a tributary, you experience absolute serenity in the mangroves.
It's a relaxing experience as you enjoy the sights and sounds of the mangroves. There's not much you get to see in terms of wildlife other than a few species of crabs and an occasional aqua bluebird flying past you.
Do include it in your itinerary if you're in Lembongan and hire a local instead of a motorboat company to contribute money to the local community.
5. ENJOY SWIMMING AT THE MAHAGIRI BEACH
Instead of wasting your time at Jungut Batu and Selambung beaches which are constantly crowded with motorboats going to and fro from Sanur, spend time at the white sand Mahagiri beach in Mahagiri resort. We came across the place after having visited the mangroves and absolutely loved it.
The sands are pristine white and the beach is super clean with palm trees and colourful flags adding to the beauty of the beach. The water is warm and absolutely ideal for a swim. Water current is not strong at all so kids and non-swimmers can enjoy a dip in the water too.
There's also a swing where you can sit and stare at the endless ocean ahead of you. It's quite an attractive photo spot. The exclusivity of the place can be measured by the fact that we were literally the only people at the beach. It's a place which commands a drink in your hand so enjoy sipping cocktails and gorging on delectable snacks at the beachside cafe.
6. VISIT THE YELLOW BRIDGE
I was interested in visiting the Yellow bridge after hearing stories about it's collapse in 2016. Fortunately, in the present scenario, it's a well-built robust structure connecting Nusa Lembongan to Nusa Ceningan. It's an iconic and a beautiful bridge which people traverse either on foot or on a scooter to get to Ceningan island.
With motorboats sailing in the water on both sides, the Yellow bridge provides visitors with a pleasing panoramic view. Though it's a 2-way, scooterists need to be aware while crossing the bridge simultaneously as it's a bit narrow. You can explore the Ceningan island once you cross the Yellow bridge.
And don't forget to stop traffic on the bridge just to get a photo like us.
7. EXPLORE THE BLUE LAGOON
The Blue Lagoon is one of the most scenic spots in Nusa Ceningan. It provides you with a spectacular view - vivid shades of stunning blue waters surrounded by rocky cliffs on three sides. You can sit here and admire the nature pornography on display as a strong breeze kisses your face. It's a must visit place in Nusa Ceningan.
You can also enjoy glorious sunset views from here. If you walk across to the other end, you'll reach the famous Blue Lagoon cliff-jumping spot. I wouldn't recommend you attempting the cliff jump from here as the waves are extremely violent and chances are, you'll most probably smash your head into the rocks.
8. EXPERIENCE THE ABYSS ZIP-LINE AT CENINGAN ISLAND RESORT
If you're in the mood for an adventure, then head to the Ceningan Island resort and try their Abyss Zip-line activity. Though it's a short zip-line that lasts about 20 seconds, you'll relish the whole "sailing over the water between the cliffs" experience. The staff members are friendly and take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety.
The activity costs 100,000 IDR per person. Post the zip-line ride, you can head to the infinity pool of the resort overlooking the ocean and relax for some time or have lunch and a few drinks at their restaurant.
9. TRY THE MAHANA POINT CLIFF JUMP
Feeling a bit wild? Want a taste of the ocean? Let's jump in it then!
This is one activity I was looking forward to since I'm an adrenaline junkie. And it did not disappoint. So there are basically two cliff jumping spots in this bar and restaurant situated on a rocky outcrop overlooking the ocean. Don't ask me why it's called the Mahana point as I tried asking the same question to the staff there but to no avail.
There are two cliff jumping spots - one's at a height of 25 feet and the other at 50 feet. I was advised to go for the 25 feet jump by the staff there as the water current was too strong.
They guided me right through the activity, be it - telling me the exact moment to jump and time it right or tossing the buoy and bringing me to the ladder once the waves almost pushed me to the shore. They charged me 25,000 IDR (1.8 USD) for the jump. The food here is terrible so I'd suggest you to just try the drinks.
10. ENJOY LUNCH WITH A VIEW AT THE CENINGAN CLIFF RESTAURANT
If you crave an exclusive place for food and drinks where you can enjoy idyllic views of Nusa Penida island and Crystal Bay, then head to the Ceningan Cliff restaurant. The road to this hidden gem is a bit rough so drive your scooter with caution. However, the view and food here make you forget the struggle to get to the place.
Food is tasty and drinks are dirt cheap. You can relax either at the main seating space of the restaurant or get down to the swing and enjoy panoramic views of the Nusa Penida island from the wooden deck. It's the perfect resting spot after enjoying the adventure-filled activities and a place you wouldn't want to miss out on!
11. GO ON A DAY TRIP TO EXPLORE NUSA PENIDA
If you're staying at Lembongan, then I totally recommend you to explore the splendid Nusa Penida island. Wear your trekking shoes, pack some sunscreen, carry enough drinking water and set off early (around 7 am) for a day trip to Nusa Penida from Lembongan island.
Why so early? So that :
a) You have more time to explore as many places as possible on this amazing island.
b) You don't have to do the difficult hikes in the harsh sun.
c) There are less to no crowds when you're enjoying your time at the beautiful attractions.
There's a public boat service that does trips all day between Lembongan & Penida (and is much cheaper than private boats). It takes roughly 20 minutes to reach Nusa Penida from Nusa Lembongan port. The rate for a one-way trip is 60,000 IDR per person, so I'd suggest you buy a return ticket.
NOTE: The last boat to Lembongan departs at 5 pm, so see to it that you reach the Penida port in time.
You can cover the following places on your day trip to Nusa Penida :
a) KELINGKING BEACH
I remember seeing a photo of this place on Instagram and thinking to myself "Damn. This can't be real. I have to see it with my own eyes to believe it". And that's what led me to plan my trip to Bali in the first place. This place takes the cake, the baker and the bakery for being the best beach in Bali!
Entry fee for the place is 5000 IDR per person. We were the lucky ones to have reached the place first as there was no other vehicle in the parking area (perks of leaving at 7 am).
After walking a bit we finally reached the point from where I could see the "Instagram view" of Kelingking beach. If you notice carefully, the cliffscape traces the shape of a T-Rex at the Kelingking beach. No wonder, it's one of the most wonderful creations of nature!
The panoramic view of the ocean kissing the cliffs on either side is the stuff of dreams. The natural splendour of the place mesmerises you and leaves you speechless. You can see a small beach on the right side from the top of the cliff. And that place my friend is the Kelingking beach.
Since I'd never seen anybody post images of the Kelingking beach while being down at the beach but just images from the top of the cliff, I decided to drag my travel buddy for a trek down to the beach to see what the real deal is like.
The trekking path is extremely rough, narrow and steep. So, if you have knee issues or you are a bit on the heavier side and fitness isn't your thing then my advice to you would be to drop the idea of getting down to the beach. The trek is physically demanding and requires a certain level of fitness & agility.
It took us half an hour to get down to the Kelingking beach and the best part was that we had the beach all to ourselves! It was a secluded piece of paradise.
Untouched pristine sand and crystal clear water (with more shades of blue than you can possibly imagine) seduce you for a swim. And swim we did, to our heart's content.
The water current is strong so if you're a good swimmer and aware of your surroundings, then you'll enjoy the wild waves.
I'm not a surfer but some waves literally had me flying back to the shore. Even now I get gooseflesh thinking about swimming with the waves at the Kelingking beach.
Climbing up the cliff is much easier as I remember getting to the top of the cliff in about 20-25 minutes. Words wouldn't do justice to the place so if you have a certain level of fitness and good trekking shoes, then getting down to the Kelingking beach is an absolute must!
b) PELUANG 'CAR' TEMPLE AND THE KELINGKING PANORAMA POINT
The Peluang temple is a unique attraction situated near the Kelingking beach, overlooking the Indian Ocean. It is also called "Pura Mobil" or the Car temple by people. This is because once you enter the temple, you'll notice shrines in the form of cars (not even joking).
Locals claim that the temple stood long before there were any cars in Indonesia. It's interesting because you rarely hear about such kind of temples. Wear a sarong before entering the temple as a mark of respect for the Hindu culture.
Not far from the Car temple is the Kelingking Panorama point - a small wooden boat-like structure with rubber tyres on the sides placed on the edge of a cliff. There's an elevated wooden pedestal near the panorama point.
You can either climb the wooden pedestal to click pictures of your travel companion seated on the boat or have an already standing photographer click your pictures for a small charge. It's a bit risky so don't jump or dance around in the wooden boat and just enjoy the view of the limestone cliffs romancing the blue waters of the ocean.
c) SEGANING WATERFALL
After swimming on the Kelingking beach, we had sand coming out from everywhere and needed a shower place before continuing our day-trip. So, we decided that we'd have a bath at the waterfall that's called the Secret of Nusa Penida - the Seganing waterfall.
But what we didn't realise was that we had chosen the most difficult and dangerous trek of our lives for a mere shower. What started off as a normal trek soon turned into one helluva journey as we literally side walked, one foot at a time, occasionally holding onto rocks for support.
The wooden railing that was tied together by ropes was dodgy and shaky at many places and had it failed us at any moment during the trek, we would have fallen right down the cliff and probably died. The path was extremely narrow, steep and slippery. I would NOT recommend you to do the trek if it's overcast or raining.
Thankfully, the weather gods were nice to us. We reached the waterfall with just a bleeding knee and a few sore toes from all the Ballerina moves while trekking. And you won't believe what we saw when we reached the spot! The "waterfall" was just a little stream of water filling a natural pool.
Yes, all that effort was to reach a natural pool where only two people could sit at a time. Nevertheless, we absolutely enjoyed having a bath and drinking some of the purest and sweetest tasting water on the island.
The view of the ocean waves crashing against the rocks and surrounding cliffs was simply magical. This place has to be on your bucket list if you're in Nusa Penida. The things that you need to conquer this one-of-a-kind place are good trekking shoes, nimble feet and a sprinkling of fearlessness.
d) ANGEL'S BILLABONG
From a natural rock pool at Seganing waterfall, we move to a natural infinity pool at Angel's Billabong. Angel's Billabong is one of the most popular sites in Nusa Penida. It's home to the most spectacular rock formation which forms a lagoon overlooking the Indian ocean.
You can get down into the crystal clear waters (with emerald hues) of the rock pool for a swim during low tide. But don't even think about taking a dip inside the rock pool during high tide. The sharp rocks and strong ocean current have resulted in many people losing their lives so you're better off enjoying the beauty of the place from the top.
The green colour of the seaweed covered rocks provides a beautiful contrast to the blue colour of the Indian Ocean. You can visit the place for free; however, you do have to pay a parking fee of 10,000 IDR for cars and 5,000 IDR for bikes.
e) BROKEN BEACH
Broken beach also known as Pasih Uug, is just walking distance from Angel's Billabong. It's a picturesque little cove that captures your attention with it's exquisite beauty.
It is easily identifiable by the rocky archway that stands tall with all it's might between a small beach on one side and an ocean on the other, allowing water to flow in and out from the ocean. That is also the reason why the place is named "Broken Beach".
The sheer beauty of the place made me want to get down to the beach and enjoy a swim in the turquoise blue waters but I resisted the temptation after noticing that there was no way up. It's an ideal spot for travel photographers to get that perfect nature shot. If you're hungry, then there's a little warung next to the spot where you can enjoy some food & drinks.
f) CRYSTAL BAY
Crystal Bay is a gorgeous beach where you can relax after all the heavy-duty hiking on the island. It's a heaven for swimming and snorkelling. The beach is beautiful, sand's soft, clean and water visibility for snorkelling is excellent. You can rent snorkelling equipment and explore the surreal marine life which the place has to offer.
There are many restaurants around which offer food & drinks. Charges for sunbeds and umbrella shades are not that pricey. Toilet and shower facilities are available but for a fee. Sunset views from here are delightful. All in all, it's a great spot for people to spend their evening in Nusa Penida.
Nusa Lembongan is just the island break you need if you're tired from all the hustle and bustle of Bali. It is tranquil, less crowded, visually stunning and easy to explore. With more tourist influx, the roads should only improve in the near future.
You got to spend at least three days on the island to explore it's attractions besides doing day trips to Nusa Ceningan & Nusa Penida. Afterall, what more do you need on your holiday than a refreshing cocktail, a song on your lips, a paradisiacal sunset and wind in your hair!
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