Travel tales

Low-key lazing in Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan island

After the busy streets and beaches around Kuta and Seminyak, we were in need of a bit less bustle and a bit more lazing, and the island of Nusa Lembongan was the perfect place to put our feet up. As you get off the boat it feels like you’ve stepped back in time. The island has no cars – and more amazingly for Bali not that many motorbikes – no hawkers, no ATMs and has only just got a reliable (ish) electricity supply. Without much to do other than spend time either in, on or next to the sea or sitting in a beachfront bar reading and watching the world go by, you’re guaranteed to come away feeling relaxed.

Nusa Lembongan beach

Arriving into Nusa Lembongan

About 12 miles off the coast of southern Bali, Nusa Lembongan is the one of a group of three Southeastern Islands, along with larger Nusa Pedita and tiny Nusa Ceningan. You can get there by boat from Sanur or Benoa on the Bali mainland by boat, varying from speedboats to the slow public ferry. We took the Scoot speedboat from Sanur, wading out from the beach and climbing onto a tiny boat for the 35-minute journey across the Badung Strait.

The water was clear turquoise and the views stunning, which help distract me from the huge waves that suddenly cropped up as we crossed the edge of the Strait. “Oh it’s always rough here, but doesn’t last long,” reassured the guy next to me, on the way for his sixth visit to the island, which seemed like a good sign. “I love it. It’s like Bali 10 years ago – ultra-friendly and laid-back.”

Jungut Batu

The bay at Jungut Batu

The boat pulled up onto the shore in Jungut Batu, dodging traditional local fishing boats and the cruisers shuttling visitors around the island, and we spilled out onto creamy-white sand. Jungut Batu is the most developed resort on Nusa Lembongan, but that still makes it pretty low-key and relaxed. A narrow path runs along the beachfront here, lined with simple restaurants, guesthouses and a couple of small shops.

Other than tourism, the island’s biggest industry is growing seaweed, and you can see the seaweed in beds in the bay at low tide and laid out to dry in stacks along the coast. And up on the hillside to the south is an area known as the Bukit, or hill, covered with guesthouses and villas making the most of the amazing views across to Bali and the Jungut Batu volcano. We found our room, high up on the hill, and settled in with a beer on the terrace, finding it hard to drag ourselves away from the view.

Nusa Lembongan guesthouse view

View from our guesthouse and offerings left outside

When doing nothing gets too much, the island’s biggest attractions are out on or under the water. Nusa Lembongan’s seas are famous for being among the clearest in Bali, and you can see manta rays, sea turtles and sharks. You can snorkel from the beach or take a boat trip further out, with a couple of pontoons moored off the coast which are used as the base for diving and snorkelling trips.

There are also some famous surf breaks around the island. They’re best between April and October and you really need to be an intermediate or advanced surfer, so as my surfing is terrible at best I had to make do with another afternoon by the pool on a sun lounger. If you’re on a budget and staying off the beach, a lot of the hotels on the Bukit will let you use their pools if you buy food and drinks from them.

Bukit views

The views of Jungut Batu from the Bukit

Away from Jungut Batu, the island’s most popular beach is sheltered Mushroom Bay with its wide strip of sand. It does attract day trippers from Bali though so you might be sharing your spot of paradise with a fair few other people. A bit further afield are the quieter, lesser-known beaches of Dream Beach and Sandy Bay. You can get out there by boat, on foot or by bike (though the maps we picked up were a bit vague to say the least), or catch a lift with one of the pick-up trucks from the hotels and restaurants out there.

We stumbled across the Beach Club on Sandy Bay, a bar and restaurant with a pool on the beachfront and lots of comfy sun loungers. Like everywhere else on Nusa Lembongan it’s a hard place drag yourself away, and as long as low-key lazing sounds like your thing, you might well find that too.

Sandy Bay

The pool at the Beach Club at Sandy Bay

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Low-key lazing in Nusa Lembongan, Bali

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  • Reply
    March 23, 2012 at 6:48 pm


    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      March 29, 2012 at 11:25 am

      Thanks for stopping by! It was a lovely place, lots of good memories.

  • Reply
    Cressida Howard
    March 25, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Your photos are really exceptional Lucy, that bottom one looks like a painting!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      March 29, 2012 at 11:23 am

      Thanks, the Beach Club was a good find and we practically had the whole place to ourselves for the afternoon.

  • Reply
    March 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Wow! It sounds and looks amazing! Sure I would want to relax there! 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      March 29, 2012 at 11:24 am

      It was so relaxing – not much to do other than soak up the view which is all you need sometimes!

  • Reply
    Karen Johnson
    March 25, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Beautiful pictures!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      March 29, 2012 at 11:24 am

      Thanks, I’ve really enjoyed going through them all again.

  • Reply
    On the Luce in 2011 | On the Luce
    April 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    […] to go back and finally see it. So I spent three weeks out there in April, visiting Legian, Ubud, Nusa Lembongan and the Gili Islands. It was like south-east Asia on a micro-scale, with white-sand beaches, […]

  • Reply
    April 15, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Have you been to Malaysia?

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      April 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm

      Hi, yes I spent a few weeks travelling around Malaysia a few years ago, to Penang, Perhentian Islands, Tioman, Cameron Highlands and Kuala Lumpur. Had a really great time and would love to go back again sometime and see more of the country.

      • Reply
        April 20, 2012 at 5:52 pm

        Hi, glad to hear you’ve been to Malaysia before. Penang, Pahang is in Peninsular Malaysia. Why not visit Sarawak or Sabah next time you visit Malaysia. I stay in Sarawak, we got a lot of different ethnics and culture here in Sarawak. You can go to Cultural Village, China Street, India Street and a lot more.

  • Reply
    John Todaro
    July 10, 2012 at 12:23 am

    Lovely colors in your Jungut Batu image!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      July 10, 2012 at 10:09 am

      I really liked the red-roofed style buildings, went so well with the blues of the sea and sky.

  • Reply
    September 21, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Seems like such a beautiful place, Indonesia must be a dream.. really great pictures, especially the ones of Jungut Batu, amazing

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      September 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      Thanks, it really was a beautiful place, I’d love to go back sometime.

  • Reply
    June 20, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    beautiful pics.. when you come back to Indonesia.. make sure to visit another beaches and other places.. in south Yogyakarta, the beach is also wonderful.. or visit Lake Toba in North Sumatera.. and many places… just for relax 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      June 21, 2013 at 10:42 am

      Thanks, I would love to come and see more of Indonesia and visit more of the gorgeous beaches!

  • Reply
    July 7, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Nice pictures. We visited Nusa Lembongan this April and loved it. It really has a laid back vibe. It was one of our favorite places that we visited in Indonesia.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      July 7, 2014 at 10:52 am

      Thanks, it’s such a lovely place, I really enjoyed spending a few days there!

  • Reply
    April 23, 2015 at 5:26 am

    Hi! I love your post so much! Btw, I’m from Indonesia, and I just want to share that we have a more beautiful sunsets in Raja Ampat, Derawan Island, and Nusa Tenggara Timur. Hopefully, it could be your next holiday destination 😀

    • Reply
      April 25, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      Thanks – I would love to get back to Indonesia and explore more of the country sometime, so will check those out if I do!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2017 at 11:13 am

    How much time did you spend in Lembongan? 3 nights is enough? I’m planning my trip to Indonesia. Lovely pictures!

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