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Just 30 minutes off the coast of Bali, the relatively tiny island has a lot going for it. In this guide, I’ll share the best things to do in Nusa Lembongan to help you plan your trip.
Nusa Lembongan Island in Indonesia is the smaller sister of Nusa Penida and, while there’s less to do there, it’s well worth a visit – even if just for a day. Personally, I spent a week.
That might sound long but I swear time moves differently on islands. Days drift by but weeks fly past. I was working online and recovering from a busy time working as a brand ambassador for Duara Travels, so it took me three days just to start working through the attractions on Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia.
Read next: my tried & tested Asia backpacking tips
Nusa Lembongan introduction
Of the three Nusa Islands (including Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan), Nusa Lembongan is the most popular with tourists. I was told it’s had steady footfall for over 10 years whereas Penida has only started receiving foreign tourists in the last few years.
Thankfully, it doesn’t feel overcrowded or spoiled by mass tourism. There are popular tourist attractions on Nusa Lembongan but you can easily jump on a scooter and head off the beaten track.
Another thing I like? It feels like an island with a conscience. There are free talks about marine life and preserving our oceans, while Bali Eco Deli offer free water fill-ups and money off the bill for those who break in recyclable plastic. It’s not a Boracay of this world, that’s for sure!
Related read: 2 week Bali & Nusa Island itinerary
Nusa Lembongan map
Getting to Nusa Lembongan from Bali
Hop on a ferry from Sanur, Bali. From the main hubs like Ubud, Canggu and Uluwatu, most companies include pick-up and drop-off at your accommodation and the ferry ride. It’s a relatively easy addition to your Southeast Asia backpacking itinerary.
You can buy tickets at your hotel, any tour office, or online. Book your ticket with GetYourGuide.
How to get around Nusa Lembongan
The easiest way to explore the things to do in Nusa Lembongan is by hiring a scooter for around Rp. 70,000 a day. Split between two this is peanuts!
I was travelling solo and not a fan of driving scooters so I mainly walked or used motorcycle taxis. Ask your accommodation to recommend a local driver to you.
Things to do in Nusa Lembongan
Next in my Nusa Lembongan travel guide, I’m going to run through what to do on this spectacular Indonesian island. After this, I’ll fill you in on where to stay and where to find the best food (the most important bit, obviously!).
Watch sunset at Devil’s Tear
When the sun sets, the best things to do in Nusa Lembongan
Aim to arrive at Devil’s Tear around 5pm and explore in daylight before settling in for a killer sunset. I can personally guarantee you won’t get it to yourself – the secret’s out about this spot and there’s even a makeshift bar selling beers.
A scooter drive to Devil’s Tear will take 10 minutes from almost anywhere on the island.
Explore the beaches
There are a few good beaches on Nusa Lembongan. Some feel more local while others are basically owned by beach resorts. Not all of them are great for swimming.
Here’s my round-up of the best beaches…
Dream Beach is probably the best beach on Nusa Lembongan for relaxing on the sand, swimming in the sea and not having to buy anything (as I’ll mention below, Sandy Bay is more of a beach bar). You’ll climb down to the beach beside this Instagrammable swing and hopefully find it not too crowded.
If you don’t want to lie on the sand, there are loungers for hire and a restaurant with an infinity pool which isn’t overly expensive.
I sat on the sand for free and admired the amazing washed-up coral towards the right corner. It was purple, green and orange with tiny shells and otherworldly spirals. As I learnt in an MMF talk (more on that to come), Indonesia is bang in the middle of the Coral Triangle, a region also including Malaysia and the Philippines, famous for its 500+ coral species.
Sandy Bay Beach
Sandy Bay wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Yup, it’s a sandy bay alright, however it’s basically owned by Sandy Bay Beach Club. The beanbags and parasols in the shade are owned by them too and you enter via the restaurant.
Technically, you could sit on the sand without buying anything and I think a lot of people do this for sunset. In the day, there’s no shade so most people end up as customers of the expensive restaurant. I paid Rp. 55,000 for a coconut which is double what other cafes usually charge.
However, the shady day beds and infinity people were undeniably lovely. If you want an indulgent day, it’s the best beach on Nusa Lembongan for lunch and cocktails in the sun.
This popular beach beside my hostel was a great place to watch sunset but not really a swimming beach. The waves break further out so the water washing the sand is a harbour for boats. But around 6pm, it’s the perfect place to join both locals and tourists watching the sun go down after another day in paradise.
Mushroom Beach is another popular tourist option towards the west of the island. There are beach bars, beanbags on the sand and good swimming spots… Don’t expect to have it to yourself, though!
Cross the Yellow Bridge to Nusa Ceningan
If you’re running out of things to see in Nusa Lembongan, take a day trip to its neighbour island, Nusa Ceningan. You can walk or drive around it with ease and it connects to Nusa Lembongan via the iconic Yellow Bridge.
I got a scooter driver to take me but you can also drive yourself or just walk around (depending on how far you’re staying from the Yellow Bridge – it’s a bit of a trek from Jungutbatu Beach).
Read next: my guide to Nusa Ceningan
The highlights of Nusa Ceningan are the aqua-coloured Blue Lagoon, the not-so-Secret Beach and Mahana Point for surfing and cliff jumping (or watching in my case!). These are all located close to each other.
Near to the Yellow Bridge are a host of gorgeous, hippie cafes and restaurants, many with infinity pools overlooking the bay between Ceningan and Lembongan.
You could do a half-day or full-day to Nusa Ceningan
Free lectures by the Marine Megafauna Foundation
Go to a lecture on holiday? Sounds strangely studious but I LOVED the chance to learn more about the wonderful marine life surrounding the island.
On Tuesdays, MMF
Take a Mangrove Forest Tour
Nestled in the northeast corner of Nusa Lembongan is a sizeable mangrove forest which apparently is vital in protecting the coast from erosion. Not only is it beneficial for the island, I hear it’s spectacular to cruise through by boat.
I didn’t fit this into my stay but plenty of companies offer the chance to drift through the dense mangrove jungle via a fishing boat or even on a paddleboard – if you fancy your chances of not falling off!
Snorkel at Mangrove Point
One of the best things to do on Nusa Lembongan island is explore the underwater world. After snorkelling at Crystal Bay and Manta Point, I was expecting more of the same. But as soon as I put my head under the crystal-clear ocean, I was mesmerised by Mangrove Point.
The colourful living, breathing coral is a wonderland and I tried to memorise the bizarre shapes to remember for later. The variety of fish was also very impressive: I saw long, thin squid, purple and green parrotfish, and ‘dory fish’ (blue tangs or surgeonfish if you want their real name!).
Take a class at The Yoga Shack
Bali’s reputation for yoga extends out to the islands. Near Jungutbatu Beach, the Yoga Shack offers daily classes at 8am and 4pm. I visited for an early morning Vinyasa Flow class which I’d say was just about suitable for beginners… A bit tricky!
The classes are good value at Rp. 100,000 and set inside a cute wooden cabin (the same one I visited for MMF lectures – my second home!).
Swim with manta rays
For me, some of the best things to do in Southeast Asia involve the underwater world. I came to Lembongan to see the mantas and I’m so happy I succeeded. You can see them snorkelling or diving but it’s not guaranteed they’ll show up.
I booked on a cheap and cheerful boat trip from my hostel for Rp. 150,000 ($10). It included three snorkelling points: Manta Bay, Crystal Bay (both on Nusa Penida) and Mangrove Point mentioned above.
Only the first one is for manta rays and when we arrived, there was no sign. Our driver told us he could take us to Manta Point, further away, for an extra 50,000 each. Since we were all there solely to see mantas, all 20 passengers said ‘yes’ and he made a sweet profit – businessman!
However, on days with strong winds, you can’t access Manta Point by boat due to the swells and tides. So on these days, you won’t have the option to pay a little extra and keep searching. Overall, the chance of seeing mantas while snorkelling is around 80% so you should be lucky!
Watch a movie at the Theatre Restaurant
All you need to do to watch a film on a comfy beanbag at this giant screen is buy dinner and a drink. The mains range from 40-Rp. 70,000 and juices and beers are around 20-35,000. Basically, for $5 you’ll get dinner and a movie which is a bargain when you consider it wouldn’t even get your popcorn at home.
The movies are shown at 7.30pm and change every night. I had to wait a few days for one I wanted to see but finally watched London Has Fallen whilst eating fish and chips and fried ice cream bananas, slumped in a bean bag. If you want to chill in the evening, this is probably your best option
Where to stay on Nusa Lembongan Island
I’d recommend Nyuh Gading Homestay which has privates and a dorm room. I stayed in the dorm and got to enjoy the same swimming pool and comfy lounge area as the private room guests, just for a smaller price tag.
If you’re keen to eat at the places in Nusa Lembongan I’ve mentioned, do yoga and attend the MMF sealife talks, it’s the perfect location.
The speedy Wi-Fi
A few more options include:
- Bong Hostel – to be within walking distance to the Yellow Bridge (perfect for a Ceningan day trip), this is an upmarket hostel with a pool and ocean views. Book from $15.
- Lembongan Cliff Villas – for unrivalled coastal views and access to Selambung Beach, this is a luxurious place to stay from $32.
- Lotus Garden Huts – these comfy huts are located around a pool and right beside the beach. Book from $25.
- Browse all Lembongan hotels on Booking.com and hostels on Hostelworld.
Where to eat on Nusa Lembongan
Usually, I try to eat at as many different places as possible while I’m in a new place. But my experience of the Nusa Lembongan restaurant scene was that it was all a bit overpriced and Westernised. For that reason, I ate mainly at my hostel and a couple of places around the corner.
The best restaurants I found were these two…
Bali Eco Deli
I can vouch for every dish on the menu at Bali Eco Deli because I tried them all! This little cafe serves healthy breakfasts, salads and curries from morning ‘til
They offer free water fillups to those with reusable water bottles (remember what I said about this island having a conscience?), only cook with coconut oil, using zero preservatives or additives. Everything about Bali Eco Deli feels wholesome, plus the prices are affordable.
I ate there most days and usually took home a dark chocolate and coconut brownie. The best dish is definitely the Thai green curry with lots of veggies and tempeh.
The only downside is that the Wi-Fi doesn’t work. This might not matter to you, but as a digital nomad, I’d read that Bali Eco Deli was the place to be. I even chose my hostel based on how close they were. Turned out the connection never worked once!
Maria’s Boemboe Warung
I have no idea how I walked past Maria’s Boemboe Warung twice a day and only found it on my last night. The local lady who runs it (who I presume is Maria) makes tasty food from the island’s bounty.
The fresh tuna and fish dishes looked awesome, as did the veggie tempeh and pumpkin curry. I had a lemongrass pork bun which was very tasty. The restaurant floor is made of sand, you sit next to your friends at a wooden bar, and the food takes about an hour to come. Not gourmet but for me, even better!
I also noticed a sign on the wall saying she offers cooking classes for Rp. 75,000 (around $5). I don’t know how this can be so cheap but I want to find out – sadly I had no time before leaving 🙁
Going to Nusa Penida next?
These neighbouring islands are surprisingly different. Nusa Penida is newer to the tourist scene and remains rugged and more of an adventure to explore.
Read next: Nusa Penida 3 day itinerary
So with everything said, enjoy your trip. It’s truly a lovely little island and great for unwinding after busy adventures.
Thanks for reading my guide to Nusa Lembongan Indonesia!
Check out my other Bali & Asia posts:
- The ultimate Bali 2 week itinerary
- The 10 best Balinese foods to try
- How to spend 2 days in Uluwatu
- 18 hidden gems in Bali
- 3 month Southeast Asia backpacking route
- 101 Asia backpacking tips
- The ultimate Asia bucket list
- How to spend 3 days in Ubud
- The 20 best things to do in Ubud
- 11 best warungs in Ubud
- Where to eat brunch in Ubud
- Ubud coffee & cafe guide
- Hiking Mount Batur at sunrise
- Guide to visiting Lempuyang Temple
See you next time for more adventures,
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Bali useful links
Flights – I use Skyscanner to find the best-value flights, using the ‘search by month’ tool to find the cheapest dates. You can also use the ‘to anywhere’ feature if you’re flexible on where you’re going.
Stay connected with E-sim data plans that don’t require delivery or collection; just scan the QR code.
In my opinion, Lonely Planet offer the best guidebooks. Get the latest Copy of Lonely Planet Bali.
I use Booking.com for accommodation. They have the best range of hotels and self-catering apartments, plus you can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.
To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters, a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets.
For activities, I use GetYourGuide and Viator as they both have a huge range of affordable tours.
Need travel insurance? I use World Nomads. They cover 150 countries and have 24-hour emergency assistance.
Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and tips!