Nusa Lembongan Travel Report: Triple Paradise
It’s slowly getting quieter and quieter, and the distant noise and chaos is starting to fade. Only the outlines of the island remain. I’m sitting at the helm of the boat, as I always do, and wait, to finally spot my favourite place on the horizon. It takes another 20 minutes, and then we’ve finally arrived at Nusa Lembongan. The speedboat, that ferries day trippers over from Bali, docks. And by dock I mean it the skipper throws the anchor overboard, since there’s no harbour. Slowly the group climbs from the boat and everyone tries to find their flipflops, which the captain hastily chucked into a basket. Some of the Chinese tourists are getting nervous.
My perfect stay at my favourite destination starts here already. I watch the toing and froing from above, from the boats upper deck, soaked through from the waves that splashed my face as we sped across the ocean. Oh Nusa, it’s great to be back and to finally complete my Nusa Lembongan travel report.
Over the course of a few years, I’ve repeatedly returned to Indonesia, especially Bali, and have developed a few rituals. One of these rituals is to spend at least two nights on Nusa Lembongan. This time, I’m spending three days here. Enough time to finally complete a travel report!
NUSA LEMBONGAN TRAVEL REPORT: WHAT ARE THE NUSAS?
Three unexplored islands lie 12km from Bali: Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida. Nusa Lembongan is the most famous, since this is where most of the diving schools, homestays, restaurants and cafés are located. Even if Nusa Penida is the largest of the three, most guests stay on Nusa Lembongan. And still: upon arrival on the beach I feel like I’ve arrived in the Bali of yesteryear. Back when Australians didn’t wear Bintang tanktops, back when Rihanna and David Guetta were unheard of, and back when tourism was genuine and non-commercial. If, like me, you are a dreamer, then you’ve come to the right place.
NUSA LEMBONGAN REISEBERICHT: HOW DO I GET THERE?
To help me plan my short trip to Nusa Lembongan, I usually head to one of Bali’s many small tour operators. There’s plenty of lads to choose from, all offering trips to the volcanoes, rice fields and also Nusa Lembongan. They’ll arrange a transfer to Sanur, on Bali’s Southern coast, form your hotel or homestay. This is where the speedboats to Nusa Lembongan set out from. At the moment, a return ticket should cost you 400,000 IDR (approximately 28€). If you’re not too keen on the pick-up service you can also just make your own way to Sanur and find a boat there. Sometimes you might even be lucky enough to hitch a lift with a local dinghy.
NUSA LEMBONGAN TRAVEL REPORT: WHERE SHOULD I STAY?
I’ve been to Nusa Lembongan four times, and in terms of finding accommodation I’ve always done the same thing: arrive on the beach, look left, look right, and sure enough, a local will approach you and ask if you’re looking for a place to stay. Works every time. And don’t worry, it’s highly unlikely you’ll end up in a dump – since they don’t exist here. This time I’m really looking forward to my trip to Nusa and I can’t wait for the Chinese tourists to finally find their flipflops. One thing’s different this year: I’m staying on the smallest of the three islands: Nusa Ceningan. In a resort where I’ve only every been an uninvited guest in the swimming pool. I’m off to Le Pirate Beach Club!
NUSA LEMBONGAN TRAVEL REPORT: HOW DO I GET FROM A TO B?
Upon arrival on the beach I rent a motorbike for the whole weekend. There’s no easier way to get around, especially if you’re planning on heading to the other islands, too. On average, there’s one road, and no taxis. Most of the locals are already waiting on the shore, since they know the speedboats’ timetables off by heart. In addition to homestays they’ll also be able to help you out with a motorbike. On average, it’s 4-5€ a day, depending on how many tourists are on the island. Honestly though, 20€ is not going to harm your holiday budget too much! Especially if it’s for a mode of transport that gives you 100% freedom to come and go as you please!
NUSA LEMBONGAN TRAVEL REPORT: HELLO, PARADISE. HELLO, LE PIRATE BEACH CLUB.
I’m incredibly excited, riding my motorbike down the road and looking forward to what lies ahead. The last two times I was on Nusa Lembongan I always whiled away a few hours in Le Pirate Beach Club’s pool. Jealously I’d stare out at the cute, small beach huts, from which I could see people stumble sleepily in the early mornings.
They’d just hang up their hammock and relax all day. While I was turning into a prune in the pool, green with envy. Well, now I’m finally going to be one of them and I can’t wait!!
I drive across Nusa Lembongan until I reach the small rickety bridge that connects Nusa Lembongan with Nusa Ceningan. Every time my eyes fall upon the bridge I wonder how much longer it will last. And then, as I cross the bridge and hear the sound of my wheels on the wood below me, I know this bridge will remain for as long as life on the three Nusas remains untouched.
A small dusty road to the right of the bridge – the island’s only road – leads straight to Le Pirate Beach Club. I’m welcomed with an ice cold tea and then head off to check out my hut. The small, blue-white huts are right by the water. There’s just enough space to fit a bed inside. The bathroom is outdoors, and it takes me a few seconds to hang up my hammock.
NUSA LEMBONGAN TRAVEL REPORT: EXPLORING NUSA LEMBONGAN
Long lies are out of the question in my small beach hut. Partly due to all the roosters on the property opposite, and partly due to my keenness to seize the day, to get up and jump in the pool. A few cups of ice tea later and I’m back on my bike, heading across the bridge, wave to a few locals and speed off to Dream Beach.
The road to Dream Beach takes me right across Nusa Lembongan. There are a few local houses either side, and then suddenly a view of the ocean appears. At low tide, locals wade out with giant bamboo baskets to collect seaweed, which is one of the main sources of income on the Nusa islands.
Further done the dusty road – dodging potholes like a pro – I end up in the midst of a mangrove forest. The trees and untouched landscape are breathtaking. Indonesia is incredibly beautiful.
NUSA LEMBONGAN TRAVEL REPORT: DREAM BEACH LEMBONGAN
Dream Beach is not just a stretch of coast on Nusa, but also the name of a resort, which is located in the foothills just above the small bay. Incredible ocean views, dips in a fantastic infinity pool or occasional paddles in the ocean. The current is too strong to go swimming, but the view’s enough, don’t you think?
NUSA LEMBONGAN TRAVEL REPORT: BOREDOM IN PARADISE?
Impossible! Nusa Lembongan is home to numerous tour operators who’ve put together a vast selection of trips. This part of the world is a diver and snorkeler’s dream!
NUSA LEMBONGAN TRAVEL REPORT: SUNSET DINING
Just a quick tip: I usually arrange to end a snorkelling trip with dinner at sunset on the boat. Just ask and I’m sure it can be arranged!
On my trip the boat takes me around the three Nusas, stopping here or there to sunbathe or snorkel, before watching a spectacular sunset. In the distance, Bali is bathed in a mild orange while the sun sinks into the Agung, the holiest volcano and the seat of Bali’s Hinduism.
If you’re not really into snorkelling, then you can also just get a boat to Nusa Penida. The largest of the three islands is also the least developed. Why? Because there’s hardly anything here, and that’s what makes this place so unique. The locals down by the fishing boats ask me “Are you heading to the beach or the temple?” What a no-brainer – I’m off to the beach! And so the road takes me up and over a few hills until I arrive at the beach – wow.
NUSA LEMBONGAN TRAVEL REPORT: TRIP TO NUSA PENIDA
The rest of my time on Nusa Penida I spend driving around aimlessly. This is an ideal spot to get lost, to experience the feeling of drifting along. I think I fell in love with the surrounding green, the blue of the ocean, the locals’ smiles, and the island’s stunning wildlife.
I decide to end my Nusa trip in my hammock, with an ice cold Bintang beer. Oh Nusa, you will always be my trio of paradise!
Sampai jumpa, lagi! Special thanks to Le Pirate Beach Club for my wonderful beach hut.
Fishermen on Nusa Penida
Nusa Lembongan Travel Report: The perfect spot to unwind!
The world’s best beach huts.
My Nusa Lembongan travel report!
Happiness is contagious.
Behind the scenes on Nusa Penida.
If you’ve got more tips for my Lembongan travel report, then drop me a line!