Why Nusa Lembongan is my New Favorite Place in Bali
Why Nusa Lembongan is my New Favorite Place in Bali
Bali is undeniably beautiful and one of the best places in the world to take a holiday. There’s just so much to do and see on this tropical island that there’s really something for everyone and 1 visit is never enough. The Balinese people are also some of the friendliest and most genuine I’ve ever meet but the main tourist areas of Bali are now very developed, busy and commercial. So although I’ve loved my previous 3 visits to Bali, and even considered moving here, I never really feel in love with Bali until I came to Nusa Lembongan. I spent a month doing yoga teacher training on this small island, just 30 minutes away from Sanur on mainland Bali, and it’s quickly become my new favourite place in Bali!
I love Nusa Lembongan because it’s more like the chilled out, tropical Bali I dreamed off and a far cry from the noisy, developed, traffic clogged, busy streets of places like Kuta. Previously I’d been disappointed with some of Bali’s beaches but the beaches on Nusa Lembongan are uncrowded and idyllic with soft white sand and the water is a breathtakingly clear and bright turquoise blue.
Not surprisingly this island, and along with neighbouring Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Pendia, are one of the best places in Bali, and perhaps the world, for snorkeling and diving with giant manta rays. Add to that the views of majestic Mount Agnung on mainland Bali in the distance from Jungut Batu beach, the boats bobbing up and down and sunsets that streak the sky with hundreds of colours and you’ve got a really idyllic island escape without the crowds.
Driving around on a scooter through the tropical greenery is still fun here as the traffic isn’t as hectic here as on Bali. There’s still plenty of lush green nature and mangroves so far most development is low key although there are still some beautiful places to stay and enough restaurants serving both Indonesian dishes and food from all over the world to keep your taste buds happy at reasonable prices.
The island has plenty of natural beauty spots to explore like Devils Tears, Dream Beach, Sandy Bay and Mushroom Bay. You can also explore the mangrove forests, tide pools and cliff jumps. There’s also good surf here although it’s a reef break so it’s more suitable for intermediate surfers but watching the waves break on the horizon is a meditation in itself. It’s also becoming a popular place for yoga retreats and yoga teacher training courses.
Once you’ve explored Nusa Lembongan cross the photogenic, little yellow bridge over to explore tiny Nusa Ceningan – don’t miss the Blue Lagoon, Mahana Point, Secret Beach and the zip wire.
It’s also easy to take a boat over to explore Nusa Penida as well. This island used to be a penal colony and is known to locals as the ‘black magic island‘ and is still largely untouched by tourism apart from the crowds of day trippers that gather at some of Bali’s most instagrammable spots like Kelingking Beach with it’s stunning coast line that looks like a T-Rex.
There’s also many waterfalls, beaches, viewpoints and places of outstanding and unique natural beauty to discover including Broken Beach, Crystal Bay and don’t miss the spectacular Angel’s Billabong and Pura Goa Giri Putri Cave. There’s loads more to see on Nusa Penida so you might want to spend a few nights there if you have more time. You could even stay in this treehouse which has been made famous by Instagram.
Kelingking Beach (T Rex) on Nusa Penida
What I really love about Nusa Lembogan is that there is a still thriving local Balinese culture and life. I’ve visited the Gili Islands a couple of times and while they make a picture postcard beautiful tropical island escape they are also very small. You can walk around the whole island in about an hour and I would find myself getting a bit bored and having island fever after a few days. The Gili islands are nearer to Lombok than Bali and so most of the islands local inhabitants are Muslim so I missed the beautiful Hindu architecture, temples, culture and rituals of the Balinese.
In Nusa Lembongan you can still soak up the beautiful Balinese culture, visit the spectacular temples, see the locals dressed in traditional clothing on their way to a temple festival, hear the tinkering sounds of the gamelen in the distance. I love how the penyor (ornamental bamboo poles) bowed down with garlands of flowers wave in the breeze arching over the roads along with the palm trees and you can smell the incense as you step over the cute canang offerings outside every house and business in the morning. The Balinese just make everything so beautiful. Every building has a small temple or shrine and most of the guest houses and homestays are beautifully decorated with that unique Balinese spirituality and style. Not to mention the people are some of the friendless and most genuine I ever met. (Read more about the special Balinese spirituality and culture here)
The island still has quite a low key, rustic, local feel its not yet overrun with tourism and it’s not hard to find reasonably priced homestays and local warung if your on a budget. There’s still shacks with local fishing communities living near the beach and mangroves but I imagine this will change quickly as the island grows in popularity as Bali’s new hot spot so if you want to experience why Nusa Lembongan is my new favorite place in Bali you had better go soon before everyone else does!
How to get to Nusa Lembongan: Getting to the island is a quick, easy boat ride from Sanur in mainland Bali. You can book online on Bookaway.
Hi, I’m Anna, I'm a dreamer, nomad and travel addict from England. I left the UK in Dec 2012 and have been traveling around India, South East Asia, Australia and Europe independently and on a budget ever since. Now I want to show you how to make travel your lifestyle too. Want to know more ...