Nusa Lembongan is a small island situated about 20km off the south east coast of Bali. Traditionally a poor region for many years the island is fast becoming one of Bali’s main holiday destinations, with its top attractions being surfing, diving and snorkelling. With a handful of stunning white beaches and crystal clear water it’s no wonder that it’s popularity continues to grow. Even though boutique hotels and expensive restaurants are now available the island is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland beach resorts and still retains a mellow vibe.
We travelled to Jungutbatu beach on Nusa Lembongan via fast boat from Sanur. The journey took 30-40 minutes and cost about 150,000Rp per person (including pick-up from our accommodation in Sanur). We’d done a little research before the trip and had booked ourselves into Suba Homestay, close to Mushroom and Secret Beaches and away from the ‘main town’ of Jungutbatu. With our heavy back packs and the 30+ degree heat we knew that walking up and down the steep winding tracks to Suba Homestay wasn’t an option and so even though I tried bartering for a taxi the ten minute ride cost us another 150,000Rp. We were ripped off, no doubt about it, but it was money well spent!
Suba Homestay was our first experience of using Airbnb and it certainly won’t be our last. Our host Maclir was extremely friendly and helpful and the 4 air-conditioned concrete rooms of Suba Homestay, set in a small lush green garden had a great chilled out vibe. At 200,000Rp (GBP 12) a night it was a bargain!
We hired a moped from Maclir for 70,000Rp a day and set off to explore the island and get our bearings. We drove past mangroves, tiny local villages, Balanese temples and explored the coastline on the other side of the island. We even witnessed a Balanese funeral ceremony, complete with blazing funeral pyre! After about 2 hours we were back where we started and both agreed that we had definitely picked the right part of the island to stay in as Mushroom Beach and Secret Beach, each only a 5 minute walk from Suba Homestay, were our favourites.
Mushroom Beach has a lovely cresent of golden sand and is good for swimming and taking a dip to cool down. It’s quite busy as day-tripper boats pull up here on the sand and there are water sports such as banana boat rides and stand up paddle boarding but it’s a great place to relax and people watch.
Secret Beach, unsurprisingly, is a little harder to find but once we found the right path leading down to it we discovered a stunning small bay with only 3 other people on it. Unlike Mushroom Beach there are no bars, restaurants or accommodation so you have a unspoilt, secluded beach nearly all to yourself!
Dream Beach is about a 15-20 minute walk from Suba Homestay. The beach is beautiful, with white sand and azure waters, but not safe to swim at. The steep beach with crashing waves and strong currents would soon have you involuntarily floating off towards Lombok! If you feel the need to take a plunge and cool down Dream Beach Huts Lembongan have an infinity pool next to their restaurant/bar overlooking the beach that you can use for 50,000Rp per person.
The following day Maclir organised for the two of us (250,000Rp per person) to go on a snorkelling trip in a traditional Indonesian Jukung, or outrigger. Unlike other snorkelling trips that we’ve previously been on in Thailand and Australia, where there are a number of other people on board, it was just the two of us. This was a refreshing change and it felt a lot more intimate. Just the two of us bobbing about in the water, looking at the coral and swimming with the magnificently graceful manta rays. Awesome!