Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
South of Bali is currently under a lot of stress due to tourism and receiving bad reputation for it. We’ve been wondering, why should everything be centralized at the south of Bali, when in fact the quintessential traits of Bali are not too far off the east coast? Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan are two neighboring islands that have these traits; a nice traditional ambiance mixed with a laidback beach life. On top of that, behind their humble façade, there are a lot of things to do on Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. What are they, you ask?
Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan are islands where you can do day trips and explore on a motorbike, even traveling from Bali. Beaches, villages and gardens are the typical things you’ll see around these islands. The people are chilled out, friendly, and far from harassing visitors. It was particularly beautiful during my visit since it was Galungan, the biggest holiday for the Balinese.
I really have to mention this activity, as it was an enlightening experience for me. Three falls, straw hat, sunnies and all. It requires skill, a smooth water surface, and a funny friend to accompany you in learning the art. There were at least three more falls with Firsta. I like stand up paddling!
A stand up paddle is available being a guest at the Lembongan Beach Club & Resort.
This was one of my favorite things to do on Nusa Lembongan. On the north coast of Nusa Lembongan there is a mangrove forest, which you can explore on a manually operated fiber boat. The experience is like a gondola trip but into the labyrinth of mangrove trees and on the calm clear seawater.
It was a quiet quest, only accompanied by the sound of nature and water splashes, made by the stirring bamboo. At some point, the silence was broken by distant waves, as we came out to the open ocean. I had a go at maneuvering the vessel. I’m no boatwoman by birth, but I got the hang of it in the end with a few odd twist and turns. Fun times!
This tour is available at the Lembongan Beach Club & Resort for USD 15 / pax.
Amongst the sweet traditional villages of Nusa Lembongan, lies a quirky underground house. You read me right! Underground house. Byasa (read: ‘bee-asa’, meaning normal) might seem normal being a farmer, dancer, puppeteer and priest, but he’s far from it after building this underground house for 15 years from 1961 to 1976. Rumor has it, he built the house using, mainly, a crowbar.
It’s a very odd and crunched house. It has a list of rooms, which are indistinct to one another. I’m 155 cm in height and I could only stand in some of the rooms. Most of the time, even I had to crawl through the labyrinth of concrete. It’s that short. Even so, through the perspiring sweat from navigating through the house, I was entertained by the mad idea and tried to comprehend the thought. Of course I failed, but still entertained. In the end, the ultimate question has to be where the hell is the bathroom?
This tour is available at the island tour with Lembongan Beach Club & Resort for USD 15 / pax. Stopping at this house is upon request. Tour also includes visit to Dream Beach and Devil’s Tear.
This is a no brainer activity for those who love swimming and a shot of adrenaline rushes. Just 12 meters into the deep turquoise water and you’re a cliff jumper. I, on the other hand, am not one. I’ve had my turn in the past, and I’m happy just to see how beautiful the location of the cliff jumping spot was.
There are two locations for cliff jumping. Secret Point was closed during our visit for unknown reasons, while the Blue Lagoon didn’t seem closed, however there weren’t any lifeguards around, so unsure if it was open or closed.
You can get there by renting a motorcycle for IDR 75-100k / day excluding gasoline of IDR 20,000 / 1.5 litres.
Secret Point apparently is also a popular surfing spot. On our visit, the point was closed out so the surfers that we followed around approached the break through the nearby hotel. Seemed like the hotel was pretty cool about it.
The hotel was located just before Secret Point, on the right side of the road.
The huge island far east is Nusa Penida. It’s included in this post because day trips to Nusa Penida can be arranged from Nusa Lembongan. My experience was a snorkeling trip from the Nusa Lembongan Beach Club & Resort, which consisted of Manta Point, Nusa Ceningan, and supposedly Nusa Lembongan mangrove area.
Manta Point is a manta cleaning station, famous amongst divers as an all year dive spot to see these magnificent creatures. We snorkeled above the flying beast and I had chills over and over again every time a manta passed so close under me from awe and fear at the same time.
Unfortunately the water was disgusting during this season. The swell accumulated the trash, and it broke my heart to see the beautiful mantas swimming in our trash. Argh!
Crystal bay is a common spot for divers to spot the sun fish or mola-mola during its season around August-October. I did dive Nusa Penida once. Currents were crazy but the underwater world was beautiful. It’s much nicer compared to snorkeling here, since the ocean floor was about 5 meters or so. However, it delivered its name having crystal waters and nice presences of fish.
Since we were pretty shaken up after the snorkel at Manta Point (surprisingly, I could get sea sick snorkeling), we didn’t visit the mangrove spot. However, we’ve heard that it’s a nicer spot to snorkel out of the three when it comes to corals and fishes.
This tour is available at the Lembongan Beach Club & Resort for USD 50 / pax, with a minimum of 2 people on the trip.
So much to do for such a small island. Did miss anything?