Exploring Nusa Lembongan, which is just a short 30-minute boat ride from Sanur, means your days are spent on a white-sand, coral-fringed island paradise that visitors fall in love with year after year.
Docking at Jungut Batu, or Mushroom Bay, tourists are struck by the sheer brilliance and clarity of the water below. The healthy reef around the island teems with marine life, the perfect place to snorkel and explore the crystal-clear water, colourful coral and schools of curious fish. For divers, Lembongan is known for its world-class dive sites, with dives and diving instruction suited to beginner divers, all the way though to sites that only the very experienced should attempt.
If you can resist the pull of the water, your next stop should be the iconic Coconut Hut. The Coconut Hut is known for its incredible food, picture perfect cocktails, and the chance to play a hilarious game or two of mini-golf – it’s a favourite hangout on the island for good reason.
Lembongan is also known for its seaweed farming, and the vast seaweed farms that sprawl the island coastline. Visitors enjoy seeing the traditional method of farming seaweed, an important agricultural development in the 80s with many Lembongan families embracing it as seaweed became commercially viable. During the pandemic, seaweed farming again kept families going, however the reality of any agricultural work is that it is often back-breaking labour for little financial gain.
For that reason, many Lembongan locals are happy that tourist numbers are returning to the island. While seaweed farming and subsistence fishing will always be an important part of the Lembongan identity, local families also need the financial boost that tourism brings.
Tourism like this can hopefully be well managed, with minimal impact to the island ecosystem, while allowing Lembongan families to stay on the island for longer, preserving family and community for generations to come. Without tourist income, there is no doubt many would need to leave and look for work on the mainland.
The Lembongan locals are steadfast in their commitment to tradition. Nyepi Laut for example, is a day of silence for the ocean and islands. It is one day every year that the ocean around Lembongan is quiet and still, with no swimming, diving, snorkelling or boating allowed. Anything that doesn’t naturally exist in the water is forbidden from entering, out of respect for Dewa Baruna who is believed to rule the oceans. The Balinese believe that by observing this day of silence, balance is maintained between the people of the island, and their environment, and breaking this day of reverence will lead to disaster and tragedy in the water.
With the right balance of tourism and tradition, Lembongan is sure to be a tourist favourite for many years to come. It’s a small but stunning tropical island, a mecca for divers, yoga lovers, the adventurous and those looking to just chill out with a cocktail on the most beautiful beaches in the world. To discover an island paradise, make sure that exploring Nusa Lembongan is on your Bali holiday list!