Indonesia // Bali //

Nusa Lembongan

Southeast across the Badung Strait, encircled by a mixture of white-sand beaches and mangrove, the tiny island of Nusa lembongan (4km by 3km) is an ideal escape from the bustle of the south. Seaweed farming is the major occupation here, supplemented by tourist income from surfers, snorkellers, divers and anyone seeking attractive beaches, a bit of gentle exploring and an addictive somnolent atmosphere.

Ranged along the west coast for over 1km, the low-key beachside village of Jungutbatu has plenty of losmen and restaurants. Coconut Beach, Chelegimbai and Mushroom Bay (Tanjung Sanghyang) to the southwest and Dream Beach on the south coast offer more upmarket accommodation, and Mushroom Bay is the destination for day-trippers from the mainland. This can disturb the peace in the middle of the day but does little to detract from the idyllic white sand and turquoise waters.

You can walk around the island in three to four hours. Motorbikes and bicycles are widely available for rent in Jungutbatu, though you will have to dismount and push your bike up some of the very steep hills.

Three surf breaks, aptly named Shipwrecks, Lacerations and Playground, are all reached from Jungutbatu. You can paddle out to Shipwrecks from the northern end of the beach, and to the other two from Coconut Beach around the cliffs to the south of Jungutbatu, but if you are staying further away you can charter a boat. There are several sites for snorkelling accessible by rented boat around the island. Further away, the Penida Wall and Crystal Bay, close to the neighbouring island of Nusa Penida, are also popular. World Diving also take snorkellers, if there’s room on the boat and the site is suitable. The area around the islands is popular for diving, although the sea can be cold with treacherous currents so it is important to dive with operators familiar with the area. Manta Point off the south coast of Nusa Penida is renowned for mola mola – although sadly during high season this generally means you can’t see any that do turn up, due to the huge crowds of divers surrounding them.

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