Nusa Lembongan: Dreaming of Sun, Sea and Scuba

Boats Nusa Lembongan

Greetings! Though this post is about Indonesia I’m actually writing from Nicaragua! I arrived here a few days ago and I can already tell I love it. While I’m busy studying Spanish, I’ve prepared a few posts to go out to keep up with my usual (kind of ) Monday posting schedule.

I pre-wrote this but I’m hitting publish from the garden of a cafe in Granada. It’s about the only place I’ve found to keep cool and it actually kind of reminds me of all the beautiful cafes and gardens I went to in Bali. Kind of fitting as today I want to share with you my thoughts on a little island off of Bali, which I fell madly in love with not too long ago…

Oh Nusa Lembongan. You are the island that dreams are made of. While I couldn’t get enough of the Gilis, Nusa is where I left my island heart (although I did accidentally leave a flip flop in the sea around Gili T. Which I forever feel guilty about.)

Jumping off the catamaran at the shores of Jungutbatu (boy, that was a hair raising, stomach churning ride from Gili Air) into thigh high water, I immediately felt something different about Nusa. Close to the shores of Bali and similarly Hindu by tradition, there was a much larger community on Nusa Lembongan. And it’s own thriving industry- seaweed harvesting-is very evident. It was bigger and hillier than the Gilis and mopeds are allowed (happily cars are still banned- just a few open backed trucks shuttle around taking people from the port).

Rocky Cliffs Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan Coast

Mushroom Bay was an idyllic place to stay with gorgeous sunsets. We loved our relaxing evenings there sipping on fresh cocktails. But we had two main missions. One: get me out diving for my first scuba dive since passing my Open Water PADI certification course. And Two: hire a little scooter/moped (or motorbike as Justin optimistically calls them) and drive around the island.

I’d injured my ear during my open water course due to not getting the hang of equalising early enough (It didn’t affect my dives but I started noticing pain shortly after the final dive of the course-though I think it was caused on my first dive when I didn’t know which equalising techniques worked for me. A doctor on Gili confirmed it was a barotrauma). Terrified of injuring it further I decided to get it checked by a local Doctor. After he declared I had the cleanest ears he’d ever seen (one for the resumé, surely!) I was signed up for my double dive the next day.

The two dives were very different. One was a very surge filled dive that terrified me after the calm Gili T waters, but also thrilled me when I saw a whole group of manta rays. The second was a beautiful drift dive- my favourite as I love “flying” through the water controlling my breathing gently enough to pass extremely close to coral without touching it. The memories of the manta rays and the perfect coral will stay with me forever!

Nusa Lembongan Seaweed boats

Nusa Ceningan Bridge

Our drive around the island was equally thrilling. Sunning ourselves at Dream Beach. stopping for fresh coconuts at beach shaks and racing over the rickety bridges to neighbouring Nusa Ceningan- it was the perfect day. I had a brief attempt at driving the scooter myself but was much more content just to hang out on the back and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

I absolutely loved Gili T and Gili Air for the scuba diving, beach lifestyle and the atmosphere, but Nusa Lembongan was something else. And with it only being 30 minutes off shore from Bali island, I’ve recommended it to so many friends since. It’s definitely on the list of places to return too some day!

Drinking coconut Nusa Lembongan

Bingtang Indonesian Beer

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Nusa Lembongan Bali

What do you think of Nusa Lembongan? Have you ever been to a perfect island?

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12 thoughts on “Nusa Lembongan: Dreaming of Sun, Sea and Scuba

  1. So jealous. I haven’t been on a perfect island yet. To be honest I’ve been only oh Rhodes and then several small Scandinavian islands…

  2. I love both of these places!! Nusa Lembongan was easily one of my favorite destinations in Bali. I’m glad you loved it, too! How long will you be in Nicaragua? I haven’t been since 2010, and I’m dying to return and see how it’s changed. It sounds like Nicaragua developed a lot more for tourism in the last five years!

    1. It was definitely one of my favourites in Bali too- so peaceful and beautiful! I was in Nicaragua for three weeks. I think it probably has changed a bit but not too much- maybe a few more cafes in the more popular towns. But I didn’t feel like it was overly touristy- especially outside of San Juan Del Sur and Granada. My favourite place was Ometepe- loved it there!

  3. This is the kind of place I need to go to – wish I could go there today. I’m so sick of ice and snow all the freaking time here in Denmark! 🙂

  4. Looks absolutely amazing! I loved Bali so much, although I didn’t have nearly enough time to do all the exploring there is to do… How satisfying is a Bintang on the beach though?

    1. I seriously think it’s one if the most satisfying things ever! It’s funny- I always love these very light local beers when I travel and they always taste perfect, but back home I’m purely a craft beer lover and only drink very dark or very hoppy beer ha!

  5. Oh my goodness! This island looks and sounds incredible! Next time I go to Bali, I’m 100% going there. Thanks so much for sharing. I had never heard of this place before! 🙂

  6. I’ve been eyeballing flights to Bali that leave from Singapore for my work breaks this year. So cheap and sooooo tempting. 😀 Nothing like a good beach break. I wish I could get into the diving thing but I’m afraid of water. Will just have to live vicariously through others’ experiences. 😉

    1. Oooh yes, I’ve heard Bali is super cheap and easy to get to from Singapore. You should definitely go. It’s so beautiful. I can understand you not wanting to scuba dive. People always say do things anyway to get over the fear, but when you are really afraid of something you know yourself that it’s just not going to be enjoyable. Though I will say I didn’t used to think diving would be for me (I’m a very anxious person and thought I would hate being under the water) but I absolutely loved it. I did have some moments on the course where I completely freaked out though- like having to take my mask off underwater- oh my god! But the instructor was good and got me through it!

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