You came to Bali but discovered that the beaches on the island are actually black sand beaches and are not as tropical as you had imagined? Well, if you desperately want to see tropical white sand beaches and some blue ass water, then you should definitely make a trip to one of the Nusa Islands. Nusa Lembongan is located just a 40-minute boat ride from Bali, and cannot be left out of your Bali tour if you’re staying longer than 2 weeks.
How to Get to Nusa Lembongan
There are two ways to get from Bali to Nusa Lembongan. You either buy a ticket from one of the many speed boat services or you take a public boat. Most ferry companies run at regular intervals during the day and usually include hotel pick up and drop off on Bali and Nusa Lembongan. The average price for a transfer package will be 450.000 to 550.000 IDR. We’ve read good reviews about Rocky Fast Cruises and Scoot.
We opted for a public boat, as we hadn’t booked a hotel yet and knew we wanted to rent a scooter immediately after arriving on Nusa Lembongan. The first time we bought our tickets directly from the official public boat ticket counter and paid 200.000 each for a one-way ticket to the island on a ferry that, besides Nathan and I, was transporting food and livestock for the hotels on the other side. When we went back for a second time, some guy at the parking entrance said he could give us 150.000 IDR. He brought us to the exact same ticket office where we had previously paid 200.000 IDR. So if you’re planning on taking the public ferry, enter the ticket office and tell them some guy at the parking entrance promised you 150 🙂 Might work!
Both the ferry services as the public boats leave from Jl. Hang Tuah in Sanur and will drop you off at either Mushroom Bay or Jungut Beach on Nusa Lembongan. As we hadn’t booked any hotels yet, we randomly replied that we wanted to be dropped off at Jungut Beach. Good choice, as we were immediately rushed to our boat after paying and were able to board within 30 minutes after arriving at the ferry area.
As chaotic as everything looked, the trip went incredibly smooth. Organized chaos at its best.
How to Get Around on Nusa Lembongan
The easiest way to get around Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan is by scooter. We paid 60k IDR for one day and rented this scooter from a local doctor!
When renting a scooter on one of Bali’s islands, you probably won’t sign a contract, there are no deposits, and you’ll most likely just use someone’s personal scooter. Make sure you exchange WhatsApp numbers in case something happens or if you want to extend your stay and rent the scooter for a little longer.
Another way to explore the island is by golf buggy. While this is a great option to get around, it is less flexible than a scooter, as these are too big to cross the Yellow Bridge to go to Nusa Ceningan. Prices start at 6.000.000 IDR for 5 hours.
Where to Stay on Nusa Lembongan
The Nicho's Nusa Lembongan
As Nusa Lembongan first-timers, we stayed at the Nicho’s Bungalows & Villas for 3 nights before moving to Nusa Ceningan. The villa we stayed at was spacious, very clean, and located next to the pool. It’s a short 5-minute walk to Mushroom Beach and has a lot of restaurant options around. It’s a great option if you’re traveling as a family.
Le Pirate Nusa Ceningan
During our second visit to the Nusas, we stayed at Le Pirate Beach Club and this has to be our favorite spot on the islands. Great Insta-friendly decor, cute beach huts, clean rooms, a refreshing pool, and very good food.
Where to Eat on Nusa Lembongan
Bali Eco Deli is a cozy café on Lembongan located next to Jungut Beach where they serve great food made with organically sourced ingredients! Definitely try their Morning Dates Packed Smoothie!
You might find it hard to come across a good cup of coffee on the islands, but Mushroom Espresso is the exception and solution to that problem! As a bonus, the music is great!
If you’re craving a crispy chicken burger, definitely go to d’Nusa Beach Club and Resort. Tried, tested and approved. It’s also one of the few places on Nusa Lembongan to go for a swim without boats disturbing you.
Things to Do on Nusa Lembongan
1. Devil's Tear
Aaah what a beautiful place in China. Oh, Nusa Lembongan, I mean. For some reason, everything at this touristic hotspot is catered towards Chinese tourists. It’s full of buses with Chinese visitors, the shops are all in Mandarin, and then there are the Chinese tour guides. We’ve lived in China for 3 years, and a several people have told us that they prefer traveling in a group and don’t mind the loud guides shouting through their microphones. This might work in China, but it is super annoying to hear the constant “来来来” at such a majestic spot, and it kind of ruins the beauty of this place. The same goes for Angel’s Billabong on Nusa Penida by the way.
Anyway, if you want to visit Devil’s Tear on Nusa Lembongan, go there to enjoy sunset, as it gets way calmer around this time and the tide pools will become visible and reflect the gorgeous sunset colours on the water.
2. Dream Beach
Craving to spend your day at the beach and relax? Then Dream Beach is your best bet! As it’s probably to best place on Nusa Lembongan to go for a swim, it’s also the most popular beach. Op top of that, most tourists coming from Devil’s Tear go to Dream Beach next as it is located right around the corner. So go early if you want to beat the crowds!
3. Sandy Bay
This cozy little bay adjacent to Devil’s Tear is the place to see a beautiful white beach. The best way to spend time here, is to cool down at Sandy Bay Beach Club.
4. Jungut Beach
If you’re lucky enough to be there on a clear day, Jungut Beach offers great views of Bali’s active volcano, Mount Agung. Boats and ferries coming from Bali moor either here or at Mushroom beach, so don’t expect an open sea to swim in. It’s a nice place to go to during sunset.
5. Mushroom Beach
Just like Jungut Beach, Mushroom has transformed into an arrival spot for ferries and other boats coming from Bali to moor. This, unfortunately, makes it rather unpleasant for those wanting to go for a relaxing swim. It’s still a nice place to grab a bite, but in order to go for a dip in the sea, you’ll have to navigate your way through the boats.
6. Mangrove Forest
If you follow Jungut Beach all the way down, you’ll arrive at the Mangrove Forest. The crystal blue water and white beaches slowly transform into this lush green area, which is something you wouldn’t expect to see on this island. Make sure you check out the different activities beforehand. The 100k IDR for a 20-minute boat tour is a big rip off. If you’d rather paddle yourself, then renting a kayak is probably more worth it. Kayaks can be hired for about 150k for one hour.
7. Tamarind Bay
As nearby Mushroom Beach and Jungut Beach are often obstructed by boats coming from Bali, Tamarind Bay may be a better place to go for a swim. It offers a nice view of Bali, of Mount Agung especially.
8. Snorkel with Mantas
A definite must-do on Nusa Penida is to go snorkeling with giant mantas. Several boat tours are departing from Nusa Lembongan. The most important tip we can give is to go as early as possible! We were already in the sea by 7am and we were the first ones to spot two manta rays. When your captain spots them, he’ll let nearby captains know about it, and in a matter of minutes you won’t be alone anymore.
9. Yellow Bridge
As with many places as seen on Instagram, this Bridge has weirdly enough become a touristic hot spot. Not only is this the best way to get to Nusa Ceningan, it has become the background for many tourist pictures.
10. Spend a Day on Nusa Ceningan
If I had to choose between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan, I’d choose the latter. Nestled between Lembongan and Penida, it’s far less touristic, quieter, it still has beautiful empty beaches, and the nature over there is still raw and more beautiful. It is the perfect place to relax and get an idea of what Bali looked like a couple of decades ago.