Travel Tips for Nusa Lembongan

I travel the boats to Nusa Lembongan weekly, sometimes several times a week. It’s become a normal part of life for me but judging from the conversations I’ve had with visitors to the island…I guess it can be an unusual way to arrive to your holiday spot. And if you have never holidayed in a place like Lembongan before, there are some things you need to know. So here are my travel tips for getting the most out of your stay on this gorgeous island.

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  • The boat departure from Sanur and arrival on Lembongan is on the beach, not a jetty. So wear something with this in mind – sandals or thongs (flip flops for my non-Aussie friends who may have been wondering what I was suggesting!) and shorts or at least something that can be hitched up to dodge waves and get on and off the boat. Close your bags and all pockets…if I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve seen an iPhone go in the water…
  • Everyone has their own ‘secret’ to a good peaceful crossing. Fact is while mostly it’s a calm flat crossing, sometimes with the tides it can be choppy or have waves. If you suffer badly from sea-sickness, it might seem odd but ask the boat you are travelling with, what time they would recommend crossing if that’s possible with your accomodation booking. They are the experts on this ocean so they’ll know what the tides are doing. Alternatively this works for me: headphones and music up loud (if I can’t hear the waves, they don’t exist); for some reason lollies or gum seem to help; talk to people on the boat – it will take your mind off it but also they might be locals or regular visitors010 who have their own fave spots to tell you about. And remember, it’s only a 12 km crossing and will take maybe 30 minutes at most.
  • Some places will take credit card but mostly it’s a cash island. There are limited money changers on the island and only one ATM, that usually runs out of cash after the first boat of the day. So make sure you bring enough cash to cover your trip including accomodation, mojito’s, massages, dining out, diving, mojito’s…
  • Lembongan is a car-free island, however there are scooters for hire, bicycles for hire, or you can walk. But while Lembongan is approximately 8sqkm in size and that may seem small, and while I do walk everywhere due to an irrational fear of scooters, the island is hilly and many of the main tourist spots are spread all over the island. However many of these restaurants and bars, as follows, do have a free pick up and drop off service if you are dining there. Sandy Bay is a great spot for lunch or an afternoon cocktail. Indiana Kenanga with it’s French inspired cuisine is popular for a romantic night out. Muntigs at Batu Karang is great for sunset cocktails and then dinner overlooking the beach. And Hai Bar & Grill have great food and a terrific wine list, looking out to the beautiful Mushroom Bay. They also do Movies Under the Stars and from experience after a pizza, movie and one or two espresso martini’s – I’m glad they do a pick up and drop off service!
  • Lembongan is still developing some of it’s infrastructure. Visitors discovered this stunning island and tourism has taken off. But that can mean in the busy season when all the air cons are going and everyone is charging phones and cameras for that next beautiful sunset, occasionally power does go out. Never for very long and most places have generators to keep the basics going. But if you do find yourself without power during the day, take advantage of the beautiful walks on the beach or nearby restaurants and bars and have a cocktail. If you are without electricity at night, enjoy a swim in the pool under the stars (if you are lucky enough to have a private pool, bathers optional!).
  • The island has a stunning underwater and above water environment and animals play a large part of that. Book a dive to see some of the 247 species of coral and 562 species of reef fish (I have no idea who counted that but it’s an impressive number all that same.) The underwater photos you see in this were supplied by Big Fish Diving – stunning displays of the gorgeous fish and the divers respecting the Mola Mola’s need for space.
  • Or take a ride through the mangroves to see the incredibly colourful bird-life or the huge monitor lizards, but don’t get too close because they are speedy and enjoy snapping at your heels. Be careful of chickens and their chicks crossing the road, they live and roam freely on Lembongan, as do the beautiful Bali dogs. Here’s a pic of my Bali dog – any excuse to show off how handsome he is!
  • There is a doctor and clinic on the island which is fine for injuries or minor illnesses. But if something more serious should occur, you will need to go back to Bali on the boat. Keep in mind that you can’t always find the medication you need when travelling so if you have particular requirements, make sure you bring enough not to run out.
  • There is great 3G and Wi Fi services in most places on the island – so you can post all those gorgeous ‘wish you were here’ shots on Facebook. But if the power goes out or there is a big storm during wet season, you may find yourself without Wi Fi. It’s a 1st world problem to have while holidaying in paradise, so as per my advice regarding no electricity, phones down and walk the beaches or cliff top jungle paths, go for a swim or take it as a hint to walk away from technology and have a massage!
  • Lastly the majority of locals are Hindu and religion forms a huge part of their culture and daily life. Be mindful of the ceremonies as you pass them and respect their beliefs and traditions as a visitor. To me, it’s a very peaceful religion and their ceremonies reflect this in colour and sound – and every ceremony I’ve seen seems to be a celebration of life here, in colour and sound!

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