Nusa Lembongan is now on the must visit list for holidaymakers who come to Bali. The island situated in the southeast of Bali boasts the same tropical climate as the mainland. Surrounded by water, the island is one of the best diving and snorkelling destinations in Bali and also offers all-year round surf-able waves for surfers as the island has three main breaks suitable for beginners and the experienced.
A day trip won’t be enough to explore all corners of the island and to enjoy the beauty this island has to offer. The island can be reach by public speedboat departing from Sanur or Padangbai, private speedboat provided by resorts or tour operators, cruise ship, or helicopter. The public fast boat departs hourly from Sanur starting at 8 a.m and the last departure at 4.30 p.m. While for the return transfer, the first departure from Nusa Lembongan to mainland is at 8 a.m., with the last departure at 4p.m. The journey to the island takes about 45 minutes.
A journey by cruise ship, such as Bali Hai Cruise is the most enjoyable. It takes longer than the fast boat, but we get to enjoy the cruise facilities, such as comfortable air conditioned restaurant where we can enjoy morning coffee and snacks, outdoor areas for a refreshing breeze plus a perfect dose of sunlight, and the outdoor bar where live music is available. Before getting off the ship to explore the island, one can also experience the purpose-built pontoon complete with water slide, submersible coral viewer, sundeck, snorkelling kits, banana boat and other fun activities.
As one day is not enough to wander around the island, the recommended option is stay over night to enjoy the island getaway. There is a collection of accommodations in the island starting from the budget stays to the luxurious suites. Of course the beachfront resort is everyones favourite. Hai Tide Beach Resort is a recommended beachfront establishment situated in Mushroom Bay Beach. The resort offers a unique experience in providing lavish Lumbungs as accommodation, a traditional Balinese rice barn, over looking the gleaming sea. Another luxurious spot on the island is Batu Karang Lembongan Resort situated at Jungut Batu Village. The resort is perched on the hillside above the village overlooking the Badung Strait with a clear panorama of the Mount Agung, nestled in the mainland. The resort offers a balanced blend of modern and traditional architecture and aesthetics, and a range of facilities for relaxing and a peaceful experience.
During the visit to the island, besides beach hopping, we can also opt for a Mangrove Tour at the northern part of the island. When the tide is low, on the way to the mangrove forest you’ll pass through the seaweed farmers busy planting or harvesting in the sea. The mangrove tour is calming as you cruise through the natural water alleys between the intricate mangrove root system. Along the way you may spot some beautiful birds, such as Java Kingfisher, Bul Bul and others. According to the Coral Triangle Centre report, there are 30 bird species living in the mangrove forest of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. A getaway in Nusa Lembongan can also result in an additional visit to i’s sneighbouring island, Nusa Ceningan, that can be reached by motorbike.
Long for a cooler climate, breezy afternoons, beautiful misty mornings and a calm hilly ambience? Candi Kuning, famously known as Bedugul, is the answer. The area is the islanders’ favourite escape from the heat and also a great weekend getaway because of it’s locating in the centre of the island – it’s not too far from the popular southern hot spots such as Kuta and Seminyak.
On a day trip, we may only cover a few spots in the area or probably only one spot if we don’t want to rush from one thing to another. Visiting the area is about relaxing, taking in the serenity and raw beauty, slowly. Staying over night will provide us with plenty of time to visit gorgeous attractions as well as become idle on a daybed.
For those who prefer simple and comfortable places to stay, Strawberry Hill is a perfect choice. The establishment has 17 mountain style cabins with wooden flooring and wooden details that create a warm feeling and comfort. Each cabin is named after a mountain in Indonesia. The hotel compounds is charming as each cabin is surrounded by tropical gardens with a number of gazebos dotted around.
Golf enthusiasts or those who seek to stay where hotel and resort blend together, Handara Golf Resort Bali is a great choice. The resort is nestled at the foot of Mangu Hill where the view of green vegetation spreads seamlessly from the top of the hill to the resort’s main gate. Their Golf View Suite Rooms are spacious and completed with modern luxury amenities as well as a cosy sitting room and balcony overlooking the green golf course.
Out off the hotel estate, there are few sights you cannot miss. The Bali Botanical Garden, established in 1959 on 154 hectares of land on the lower slopes of Mount Pohen, is the home to an extensive collection of trees and flowers. The Botanical Garden boasts beautiful green grass lands with huge trees, perfect for having a picnic underneath. Inside the area there is an attraction providing adventurous activities for kids and adults called The Bali Treetop. There are several temples inside the garden. One of them is Batu Meringgit Temple; a sacred site nestled amidst the towering trees in the quiet part of the botanical garden. The temple compound is very unique, besides the presence of the ruins of ancient shrines and artefacts, a Buddhist temple is also incorporated into the sacred compound.
Nearby the Botanical Gardens, backed by the enfolding green hills and the cold green waters of Lake Beratan, the Ulundanu Beratan Temple sits by the lake. It’s positioning is to give the illusion that the shrines looks like it is floating once the water level increase. A few kilometres away to the north of the temple is the Twin Lake Nature Conservation Area, Lake Tamblingan and lake Buyan. If you can get up at the crack of dawn and head to Lake Tamblingan at the golden hour, one can embrace the magical beauty of the lake. Meanwhile, on a sunny day at Lake Buyan, the jungle surrounding the lake sparkle green under the blue sky, an experience that can be elevated if you explore the lake by row boat, locally known as pedahu.
BALI BARAT NATIONAL PARK
If you’re keen to discover a different side of Bali, you should head towards Bali Barat National Park, a 19 square kilometre conservation area boasting both untouched land and marine ecosystems. This is the Bali Starling’s place of origin and now a conservation area for the species is taking place in the national park area. The white small bird with royal blue feathers around its eyes and brown beak is an endanger species.
The National Park stretches from the western tip to the island to the northwest areas. North West Bali is an area where the land is still green and the underwater scene is rich. It takes about four hours to drive to the area from Ngurah Rai Airport. If you prefer a much shorter journey, Bali Adventure Sky Tours can fly you to the destination and provide you with a unique view of Bali at the same time.
Plataran Menjangan Resort & Spa is luxury within the wild jungle. Set amidst the natural landscape of the national park each Luxury Ocean Villa features modern luxurious amenities and facilities. The villas that are made up of Joglo-Javanese style traditional wooden houses set amongst local vegetation with a view of the ocean. The high-end service, lavish facilities, and tranquil atmosphere are a fantastic combination that encourages every guest to embrace the serenity of nature and to unwind.
There are many things we can do in the park, starting from savouring the warm topical sun on the beach, watching the wildlife roam around, trekking, and diving in the waters surrounding the Menjangan Islands, a little uninhabited island that is part of the National Park.
The water crystal clear water around the island is home to an abundance of fish and coral reefs. There are some dive sites around the island, some of which are Post 1, Post 2, and Eel Garden. Menjangan is famous for its wall diving. Deep dives are definitely possible since the wall drops down to the deep blue water, most probably more than 60m deep. Large pelagic sea life are sometimes seen at Menjangan – the occasional sightings of Whales, Whale sharks and Manta rays have been reported.
There are four major temples on this remote island, which are Klenting Sari Temple, Kebo Iwa Temple, Gajah Mada Temple and Segara Giri Dharma Kencana Temple. The temples have attracted devotees not only from Bali, but also from Java. A Chinese architecture temple to worship the Goddess Kwan Im-Goddess of prosperity stands next to the temple of Gajah Mada -the warlord of the Majapahit Kingdom.