There are several islands off the coast of Bali worth visiting. Our Sydney Airbnb host recommended a couple of them, but we chose Nusa Lembongan because it was the best for diving. Inna went on four dives here, while I snorkeled once. But we’ll get to those in our next post, because we need to explore the island first!
Our boat ride to Nusa Lembongan was unreal; it looked straight out of The Truman Show. Except our boat had engines, and they broke down three times. Inna and I had life vests so we weren’t worried about ourselves, but our stuff… When we reached land we bought a drybag to protect our electronics on future boat trips.
Remember in our Bali post when we said that Nusa Lembongan was even cheaper than Bali? Well, this is the dive resort we stayed at: brand-new, huge bungalows in a tropical paradise, full AC, our own private outdoor bathroom (with awkward feng shui, but still), all for $35 per night.
Next door to our resort was Maria’s Boemboe, our favorite restaurant on our entire year of travel. Every dish was delicious (the restaurant was family owned, with dishes made by grandma and her kids/grandkids), the staff (ie the family) was super friendly, and there were puppies to play with in the dining area. All this for only $2-$4 per dish. We had a great meal every time we ate here, which was something like ten times in five days.
While Inna spent her first day at Lembongan diving, I decided to explore the island. Everywhere I went was a quaint and beautiful, and much calmer than nearby Bali.
This is the view from the Panorama Bar, one of the most stunning views on Lembongan. Inna and I would come back in the evening, where we met up with her friends Ross and Wes, who were on their honeymoon!
Hi Wes! Hi Ross! Other friends go to weddings, but Inna and I, we go to honeymoons (if we get lucky and are in the same place, that is).
South of Nusa Lembongan is an even smaller, even more secluded island: Nusa Ceningan. It was a long walk but I had all day and was by myself, so that’s where I went.
Indonesia’s iconic yellow bridge connects Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan, or at least it used to, up until two months before we visited. That was when tragedy struck, the bridge collapsing during a local ceremony, killing eight and injuring more than forty. This was another reminder that we were no longer in the western world and our safety was our own responsibility, even moreso than normal.
With the bridge down (it has since been rebuilt), I took a local fishing boat across the channel. Here is the view from the other side.
The west coasts of both Nusa Ceningan and Lembongan are known for their incredible rocky coasts, created by the insanely strong waves that crash into the shore. Pictured above is Ceningan’s Blue Lagoon, a gorgeous coastal crater with incredibly clear water. This area used to be a popular cliff jumping location, but the jumping was recently moved elsewhere due to a number of injuries that occurred here.
Instead of cliff jumping, I continued exploring until I found this secluded beach. The waves were strong here but not too strong to go in, and I had the place all to myself; it was very beautiful and incredibly relaxing, a great place to spend the day.
I called it a day after exploring Ceningan, electing to save Lembongan to explore with my lovely wife Inna. Here we are on my second day of exploring, at Devil’s Tear, Lembongan’s most beat-up-by-waves rocky shore.
Here are some of Devil’s Tear’s most interesting formations, including terrain that looked extra-terrestrial, another coastal crater, and naturally occurring infinity pools.
I keep talking about these giant waves; maybe you’d like to see them? Well, take a look at this.
Inna and I left Devil’s Tear before the waves had a chance to drag us in (something that has happened to tourists in the past), then made our way Mushroom Beach. Unfortunately, Lembongan doesn’t have secluded beaches like Ceningan has, and the beaches Lembongan does have are filled with local boats and ferries to the mainland. But even so, this beach was beautiful, with soft sand, warm and crystal clear water, and a calm surf that was actually pleasant to swim in.
Mushroom Beach was our last stop on Nusa Lembongan, so we made the most of it, swimming in the ocean, relaxing in the sun, spotting wildlife, and making friends on land. This was a great place to finish our stay in this secret and serene tropical paradise.
But wait! We haven’t shown our dives! As I mentioned earlier, Nusa Lembongan is one of the best dive spots in the world, and what we saw here was incredible; for Inna it was even better than the Great Barrier Reef!