Nusa Lembongan is just a short boat ride from Sanur, but it offers a completely different vibe than the resorts of south Bali. Here you can still find affordable beach huts on the sand, peaceful beaches and bays with few people in sight, cheap and cheerful restaurants and fantastic surfing and diving. Nusa Lembongan is also a major seaweed production centre, so it is common to see farmers planting, harvesting and drying seaweed in the ocean and along the main beach.
If you want to get an idea of what Bali was like before mass tourism hit, head to Nusa Penida. Few travellers make it this way, meaning you can explore the many white sand beaches, limestone cliffs, translucent waters teeming with marine life, traditional villages and mystical temples without seeing another foreign face. Nusa Penida is a sacred spot for many Balinese, so it is not uncommon to see large groups of Balinese making pilgrimages here and taking part in important ceremonies at the Hindu and Buddhist shrines in the cave temple of Gua Karang Sari and the impressive Pura Dalem Penataran Ped temple.
Nature lovers won’t want to miss a trip to the tiny island of Nusa Ceningan, which can be reached via a suspension bridge from Nusa Lembongan. Here you can walk along scenic coastal trails and winding paths that make their way up the side of hills for fantastic views of the ocean and the neighbouring islands. Visitors who would like to learn more about the traditional ways of life on Nusa Ceningan can join the eco-friendly tours offered by JED, the Village Ecotourism Network.
Where to Stay
Lago Beach House is a spectacular cliff-top hideaway on the scenic island of Nusa Lembongan. All five bedrooms in this luxury villa offer views of the ocean and the famous Playgrounds surf break. Bali’s volcanic peaks can be seen in the distance on clear days. Adding to the experience is a 15-metre infinity edge swimming pool, an ocean-facing sun deck, a sauna, and an ice bath. Guests can access the white sand beach below the villa via a stone staircase built into the cliff.