Nusa Lembongan Travel Guide
One beautiful, tropical and vibrant island that is surrounded by turquoise waters, swaying trees, golden sands and filled with a handful of delicious warungs serving up local cuisine, sushi and fresh fish from sea to BBQ. This is Nusa Lembongan, reached within 30 minutes by speedboat from Sanur, Bali and the perfect place to go to escape the hustle and bustle and truly relax in a serene environment where you feel as though you are a thousand miles from anywhere.
Lembongan is the most famous of the three islands that make up the Penida District - Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida - and is made up of hidden coves, tranquil beaches, perfect sunset spots, clear water and boutique accommodation. As soon as we stepped off the boat and onto the soft sand of Mushroom Bay, we felt as though we had landed in paradise. The island has a super laid back, relaxed and friendly feel to it making it the ideal place to spend anywhere from 3 days to 1 week. There is so much to see, eat and do, whether you want to spend days on the beach, hours surfing, snorkelling with Manta Rays or taking day trips to neighbouring island Nusa Penida, Lembongan is well worth adding to your travel list.
We had booked into Sunset Villas for 5 nights and the owner kindly collected us from the beach drop off point, making it a seamless arrival (once we’d got hold of him). There are no cars on the island, just mopeds and small open van style trucks that the locals drive around so already it had a really remote and traditional feel to it, exactly what you want from such a small island. Our accommodation was a garden and swimming pool facing Balinese style beach hut which was perfectly kitted out with a comfy and large double bed, dressing table area, wardrobe space, a little area at the front to sit out in the evenings and a tiled outdoor bathroom (my favourite thing about Indonesia is the outdoor bathrooms everywhere). Coming in at around £25 a night including air con and breakfast which consisted of eggs, vegetables, toasts, jams coffee and a fresh juice, it was extremely reasonably priced and exactly what we needed for our island stay.
Our days were spent waking up early and enjoying a delicious, freshly cooked breakfast with a coffee before spending a few hours writing or reading After The Party by Cressida Connelly. Afternoons consisted of lunch at a local cafe or a picnic on the beach paired with sunbathing and swimming or exploring Nusa Ceningan which is the smallest of the Nusa’s and can be reached from Lembongan over the famous ‘Yellow Bridge’. The bridge is just wide enough for a moped and it takes you over a beautiful stretch of the sea before you descend on down to the windy lane of Ceningan that runs parallel to the sea with cafes, restaurants and bars along the way before the road ends at ‘Secret Beach’ and the Blue Lagoon. We ventured over the bridge a couple of times to eat at Next Level cafe (delicious food) and admire the stormy sea and aggressive waves crashing down onto the rocks at the Blue Lagoon. Island tours can easily be arranged with your accommodation hosts and we did a 3 hour trip to Nusa Penida to snorkel and swim with Manta Rays which was the most unbelievable and terrifying experience as the sea was incredibly rough, making it hard to swim and enjoy fully as we were hit by a 20ft wave but seeing the Manta so close was breathtaking, they really are such majestic, elegant and spectacular creatures.
Below is a list of our three favourite beaches on the island where you can enjoy swimming in the refreshing water, baking yourself in the glorious sunshine or simply as a place lie in the shade with a book and cold drink.
Sandy Bay: Sunset paradise
Secret Beach (Ceningan)
Considering the size of the island, there are a good selection of restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner from local warungs, fancy resorts and chilled out beach clubs. We enjoyed a mixture of the three although had breakfast at our villa each morning leaving lunch and dinner for when we would eat out. Our favourites were:
Oyshii: The home to sushi on the island, some of the best we’ve ever eaten at a very reasonable price.
G-Pan Corner: Known for it’s fresh fish and seafood on the BBQ - the garlic King Prawns are a must try.
Sandy Bay Beach Club: Situated right on the beach, Sandy Beach Club serve up western and local food, cocktails, good coffee and has one of the best sunset views on the island.
Mama Mia: Best as a lunch spot for it’s beautiful view over the ocean. Try the Tom Yam Soup - spicy but mourish and full of seafood.
Hai Bar - Fancy but the pumpkin and feta ravioli was utterly divine. Worth the price (which is only a little more) and a beautiful setting.
Next Level Cafe - A great place to stop off on your way back from Secret Beach or the Blue Lagoon on Ceningan for fruit filled smoothies, Nasi/Mie Goreng or an authentic Moroccan paella.
I hope you enjoyed reading and feel inspired for your next trip!