Looking for perfect island vibes and escape the crowds of Bali? Here’s my guide to Nusa Lembongan and why you’ll love this slice of paradise!
Just a 30 minute ferry ride from Bali lies the amazing tropical island of Nusa Lembongan, somewhere I’ve recently spent a fair bit of time and which has quickly over taken Gili Trawangan as my favourite island destination in Indonesia!
So what makes Nusa Lembongan such an epic spot to kick back and enjoy on your travels in Indonesia?
Well here’s why I love it so much…
Why You Should Visit Nusa Lembongan – My New Favourite Island In Indonesia
The Island Vibes
A good island needs to give off the right vibes. It’s a hard thing to describe but think coconuts, palm trees, beaches and barefoot living.
These are all something Nusa Lembongan has a whole heap off and from the moment you set foot off the ferry life just seems to slow down!
And that’s what I like a lot about Nusa Lembongan in comparison to the likes to Gili Trawangan, it doesn’t seems as chaotic and certainly isn’t quite as party orientated.
Dont get me wrong, you wont struggle to find a good beach bar or beach party on Nusa Lembongan – just don’t expect the large array of nightlife or mushroom shake fuelled chaos that you might be chasing on Gili T!
Yup Nusa Lembongan is a much more chilled affair, so it’s the perfect spot to wind down and enjoy island time.
Indonesia and surfing go hand in hand and it’s a country filled with world class waves – and one of the main reasons I love travelling Indonesia so much is the surf.
And as much as I enjoy Gili T, the surf there is very limited and fickle.
Nusa Lembongan on the other hand is home to some super fun surf breaks!
Whether you want to learn to surf in Indonesia or are already a seasoned surfer Nusa Lembongan has some amazing waves to enjoy.
My personal favourite is Playgrounds as it’s the most forgiving and also has a great left hand section, as well as easily being able to paddle off the beach.
For those craving right or something a bit more hollow and challenging Lacerations (aptly named as it breaks over a shallow, sharp reef!) is a great spot to paddle out at and just a short paddle over from Playgrounds or a boat trip from the main beach.
Those who are super experienced and really wanting to sink their teeth into some solid waves will no doubt have already heard of Shipwrecks, the most famous and unforgiving wave on the island – but no one to tackle unless you like heavy hold downs, rips and reef!
Manta Rays & Scuba Diving
Yup Gili T may have a huge abundance of turtles (and who doesn’t love those guys?!) but Nusa Lembongan is one of the best spots in Indonesia to swim alongside the majestic manta ray.
Incase you’re not sure what the hell they are, this alien looking creatures spend their time cruising ocean currents, hoovering up microscopic plankton – so despite their giant size and looking rather intimidating they are in fact totally harmless and don’t have the stinging tail of some of their other ray family members.
Grab the early morning snorkel tours for your best chance to see them – on my last trip we were surrounded buy about 10 of them all grabbing breakfast, something I wont forget in a hurry!
It’s also worth pointing out that Nusa Lembongan is also a great base for scuba diving with some awesome dives scattered all around the area.
Even though there are some beginners dive sites and the opportunity to complete your open water dive course here the dive sites are a bit more advanced that the likes of Gili T, with strong currents and sometimes challenging conditions.
Still if you’re an experience diver you’ll love it!
As with the rest of Indonesia Nusa Lembongan offers a huge range of accommodation to suit every style and budget – from quaint little guest houses to epic luxury hotels and a quick scour of booking.com or Air B n B (use this link for some free credit by the way!) will bring back a large variety of results and it’s not hard to find a good place to crash.
If you want something pretty epic, but still without a huge price tag the Mojo Surf Camp on Nusa Lembongan would be my recommendation – one of the few spots on the island with dorm room options it still boasts all the luxury of the hotels it’s nestled amongst – including an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, incredible views and a cliffside bar which is perfect for sunset.
Although travel is often more about the journey that the destination is never hurts when the travel part is simple and easy!
Nusa Lembongan lies just a 30 minute ferry ride off the coast of Bali and is super easy to reach from spots like Canggu or Kuta – with a return journey being about 450,00IDR (roughly £30) return including bus to/from the port.
In comparison the Gili Island are a solid 2-3 hour journey from Bali.
…but for those bouncing around this area a bit more you can easily make your way between Nusa Lembongan, The Gili Island and Lombok via ferry.
But a quick word of warning – if you’re prone to sea sickness make sure you take some medication before stepping foot on the boat, this area is pretty prone to being choppy and bumpy!
Discover Nusa Penida
Whilst you’re over on Nusa Lembongan it’s a great opportunity to take a day trip to the neighbouring Nusa Penida – which has risen in popularity heaps over the last few years since the wholesaled “T-Rex Beach” (aka Kelinkling Beach) exploded all over Instagram!
Expect big crowds at the famous viewpoint (and a long line for that picture perfect shot!) but it’s still a stunning spot to visit.
If you have the time (and energy!) to make the walk down the rather precarious steps the beach at the bottom is absolutely stunning and you’ll usually be able to spot some manta rays on the trek down.
Sunset Cocktails & Beachfront Dining
You’re on holidays and who doesn’t want to sip an awesome sunset cocktail or have a lush meal by the beach? In Bali both of these things usually come with a hefty premium attached, but on Lembongan you can still indulge yourself without breaking the bank!
Ware Ware have an epic cliff front restaurant which takes in some awesome ocean views and breathtaking sunsets, whilst still be super cheap to eat at. They also have a daily happy hour from 5-7 where all cocktails are 241, so you can soak up the views with one of those in hand!
Further down the beach is another personal favourite – Ginger and Jamu. Serving up healthy, substantial meals right on the ocean front you’re hard pushed to find a better spot for an awesome breakfast or lunch. The Smashing Pumpkin bowl comes highly recommended.
There is now a beach club on Lembongan too – Ohanas – but honestly you’re paying for the scene as the happy hour isn’t great (20% off cocktails!), the food is way overpriced for what you get and there’s a 21% tax and service charge on top of everything.
So either nip next door to Ginger and Jamu or head to Ware Ware for waaaaay better value!