Tuesday, May 3, 2011

No more Scallywags - it's The Beach Club at Sandy Bay!

In April 2011, the best restaurant on Nusa Lembongan was re-branded and became The Beach Club at Sandy Bay. The changes evident from when it was Scallywags, are subtle but nonetheless noticeable.

The pool and decking at The Beach Club at Sandy Bay

The menu has been streamlined a little from the over-long selection previously offered, and there are some great new additions which I tried, including an excellent Thai Red Curry. The drinks list has remained pretty much the same and they still make the best cocktails on the island by far. The owners do plan to expand the already impressive wine list.

Daily Fresh Seafood Barbeque

The new branding looks great and the staff are very smart in their new uniforms. All the well thought through features which has made this place such a success remain - the beach-front infinity pool, daily barbeque, air-conditioned wine cellar etc.

Guests in the beach-front pool

Scallywags had rapidly become an institution on Nusa Lembongan and it is clear that in its new incarnation as The Beach Club, things will only get even better. It is great for Nusa Lembongan to have a restaurant of this quality, and I urge all visitors to pay a visit. The free pick up and and drop-off service is a great idea. Give them a call to book the pick up on 0828 97005656.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Scallywags opens on Nusa Lembongan

Last Saturday July 17th saw the official opening of Scallywags Bar and Grill on Nusa Lembongan. The first night was a tremendous success with an unbelievable number of people turning up. The island has been crying out for an establishment of this nature and quality for a long time, and I am sure it will be an enduring success story.

Beachfront pool and lounging area

Scallywags is a name well known to those who have visited the Gili Islands, and the format which has been so successful with their two venues there has been repeated on Lembongan. It is located right on the beach at Sandy Bay in the southwest of the island.

Daily barbecue with fresh fish

Key offerings include a wonderful beachfront pool with a wooden deck and lots of loungers, a very long and smart bar serving ice cold beers and superb cocktails, the best wine cellar on anywhere on the island, a daily barbecue and well thought out a la carte menu.

Superb bar serving excellent cocktails and ice cold beer

Scallywags serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, opening at 8AM and closing around 11PM. Call 0828 97005656 for free transport from other parts of the island.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pandanus - the walking trees of Nusa Lembongan

I have always been fascinated by those tall, spindly, almost cactus-like trees with spikey leaves that seem to thrive on Pacific-rim beaches. Those of you who have visited south-east Asia or the Pacific Islands will know what I mean. The Pandanus genus contains approximately 600 species and they can grow up to 20 metres in height.

Pandanus trees on Nusa Lembongan, Bali, Indonesia
Typical beach-side Pandanus tectorius trees on Nusa Lembongan.

In Nusa Lembongan, the local Pandanus (p. tectorius)species seems to very much enjoy the beach-side sandy soil and is certainly tolerant of salt spray from the ocean. There is something almost primeval about the way this tree clings to the earth and spreads its spikey canopy. The habit of dropping prop roots from existing branches has resulted in the locals calling this the walking tree. It certainly does sometimes look as if the trees are indeed 'walking'.

the walking trees of Nusa Lembongan
A spectacular tangle of Pandanus drop roots - the walking trees

Pandanus makes for a spectacular beach-side flora around the island but especially in the south-western quarter. There are excellent examples in the Devil's Tear, Dream Beach and Sunset Beach areas. The owners of recently completed villas here have tried wherever possible to keep the Pandanus trees - they really do make for a superb component of a landscaped garden on a tropical island.

Pandanus trees as a stunning component of tropical landscaping
Pandanus as part of a landscaped waterfront garden on Nusa Lembongan

A fruiting Pandanus tree on Nusa Lembongan
A fruiting Pandanus tree on Nusa Lembongan
As well as their form, Pandanus trees can be appreciated for the beauty of their reddish orange fruit. I do not know of any human uses of the fruit or flowers but they are an attractive component of the tree and seem to be popular with fruit bats and squirrels. Thoughout Asia and the Pacific islands, the leaves of Pandanus species are widely used for weaving traditional mats and other products. The leaf extract from one particular species (now widely cultivated) is also used as an aromatic flavouring in both savoury and sweet cooking.

So when you visit Nusa Lembongan, take a few moments to appreciate those wonderful, primeval trees.

And perhaps Mr Tolkien was right about Ents after all?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A great new Nusa Lembongan map for free

Visitors to Nusa Lembongan have for some time been lamenting the lack of a decent map of the island. I am pleased to report that NLP have put that right and produced a superb new Nusa Lembongan map which is available free to anyone who wants it.

The map accurately and clearly shows places of interest, accomodation, restaurants and the road & lane network on the island. A great initiative and one which will be warmly welcomed by all visitors to Nusa Lembongan.

Nusa Lembongan Map
To receive a complimentary copy of the Nusa Lembongan map as a high-resolution, print-quality PDF, please send an email to NLP here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Visitors to Nusa Lembongan doing their bit to save sea turtles

There are few people out there who would not be aware of the threats posed to the various species of marine turtle which grace our oceans in different corners of the world. I am very pleased to report that Nusa Lembongan is participating in a program to help address these threats.

Sunset Beach, Nusa Lembongan - turtle release locationSunset Beach in Nusa Lembongan - a location for releasing baby turtles to the Indian Ocean

Bail Hai Cruises is running an adopt a turtle cruise programme whereby visitors release a baby Olive Ridley Turtle to the ocean on the Nusa Lembongan. These turtles have been hatched in a supervised facility in neighbouring Bali from eggs collected from beaches in west Bali where scavenging from dogs and other disturbance provide very real threat. All revenue generated from the release programme goes towards:

two baby turtles released on Nusa Lembongani. incentivising local villagers in Bali to report incidents of laying turtles so that the eggs can be taken away from areas of danger into the supervised hatchery

ii. education of schoolchildren in Bali about the importance of marine conservation and the role of turtles in that

iii. the administration and improvement of the hatchery

iv. the collection of data for research into turtle populations

This weekend I was lucky enough to witness the release of 15 or so baby turtles on my very favourite Sunset Beach on Nusa Lembongan. Each of the tiny youngsters made it successfully to the ocean and it was great to see the interest from all the participating visitors and the children in particular.

Clearly this is a very worthy programme and one which we would urge all visitors to island to participate in. For just US$10 you can adopt and release a baby turtle. There may be other participants in the scheme but I can certainly recommend Bali Hai Cruises from everything I witnessed this weekend. According to the supervisor they are running multiple release cruises at the moment and more details are available on the Bali Hai Cruises website.

baby turtle released on Nusa Lembongan

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Getting to Nusa Lembongan from Bali

It is a relatively short ride across the channel from Bali to Nusa Lembongan and there are several scheduled boat services now plying the route. It can be a little confusing for first timers and I hope this article proves useful in explaining the various transfer options available.

Getting to Nusa Lembongan from Bali
Most of the scheduled boat services (fast and slow) depart from Sanur beach in Bali at the end of Jalan Hangtuah. Most taxi drivers will know where this is. If in doubt, ask to go to Sanur Beach close to the Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel. The prices and schedules given are correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We strongly recommend though that you check as these are subject to quite regular change.

Scoot Fast Boat

Tel: +62 (0) 361 285522. http://www.scootcruise.com

Leaves from Sanur beach. Scoot operates fast comfortable boats which take you to Jungut Batu for US$45.00 return (adults). Hotel vehicle transfers are included. The tickets can be bought from the Scoot office next to Dunkin' Donuts in Jalan Hangtuah, Sanur or on the beach near the departure point. The crossing is 30 to 40 minutes. The service departs Sanur daily at 9.30am, 1.30pm & 4.00 pm and departs from Nusa Lembongan at 8.30am, 11.30am & 3.00 pm.

Scoot boat from Bali to Nusa Lembongan
Scoot is the service used most often by the writers of this blog.

Blue Water Safaris (BWS)

Tel: +62 (0) 361 723479. http://www.bwsbali.com

Blue Water Safari boat to Nusa Lembongan
BWS operates a daily fast boat service out of Benoa Harbour (NOT Sanur) to Nusa Lembongan and also offers a very useful direct connection to the Gili Islands in neighbouring Lombok. The crossing to Lembongan takes about 30 minutes and costs IDR 325,000 one way including hotel transfers.



Perama is a local transport operator aimed at the budget traveller. It has almost cult status amongst back-packer visitors to Indonesia, plying it services across the vast archipelago for very reasonable prices. There is no same day return option to Nusa Lembongan. Fare is IDR 100,000 one way and there is a network of connecting bus-links from around Bali. Boat departures daily at 10.30am from Sanur Beach. The ride across is approximately 90 minutes. The office of Perama in Sanur can be found at Warung Pojok in Jalan Hangtuah.

Public Boats

Tel: +62 0361 7432344

These depart daily from Sanur beach at 08.00am in front of the Ananda Hotel or near the Grand Inna Bali Beach Hotel. The boats can be a little worrying at times (!) and are usually very crowded. There is no same day return. The ride across is approximately 90 minutes and the current fare is IDR 75,000 each way. To be frank, we would not recommend doing this unless you are on a really tight budget!

Day Cruise Operators

Sail Sensations cruise from Bali to Nusa LembonganThere are a number of day cruise operators who run services out of Benoa Harbour in Bali to Nusa Lembongan. These normally involve a package of some sort including meals, water sport activities on Lembongan and a day return fare. Not really recommended as an option for those wishing to reach the island and stay there, but if you are on a tight time schedule in Bali and just wish to see Lembongan very briefly then these could work for you.

Options include:

Sail Sensations http://www.sailsensations.com

Bali Hai Cruises http://www.balihaicruises.com

Bounty Cruises http://www.bountycruises.com

Bali Blue Ocean Cruises: http://www.balioceaneabiru.com

Air Bali Helicopter Charters

Tel: +62 (0) 361 767 466 http://www.airbali.com

For those wanting a truly adventurous experience! Air Bali is Bali’s leading helicopter operator and would be delighted to arrange a charter to Nusa Lembongan which could even be combined with an aerial tour of Bali and neigbouring islands.

Air Bali Helicopter

I hope you find this article helpful and whichever transfer option you choose, I am sure you will have a great time visiting this most wonderful of Tropical Islands.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

One of my favourite Nusa Lembongan photos

Sometimes a photo just grabs you. It might not be the best shot technically but it encompasses a memory perfectly. The latter is certainly the case with the photo reproduced below.

Looking to east Bali from Nusa Lembongan

This photo was taken by my dear friend's brother on his first visit to Indonesia earlier this year. He is neither a professional photographer nor even a keen amateur but has produced here a picture which means so much to me. It shows the view of east Bali from the north facing coast of the tiny neighbouring island of Nusa Lembongan. My own understanding of the spirit and atmosphere of Lembongan and Bali are both captured perfectly by this image.

The highest peak in the photo is Bali's fabled Mount Agung. To the Hindu Balinese this volcano represents 3,142 metres of pure sacred energy - the home of the Gods on the Island of the Gods; a replica of Mount Meru, the spiritual axis of the universe.

From the extraordinary crystal clear blue seas with rolling surf to the small fishing boats in Lembongan's Jungut Batu bay and then the undeniable majesty of Mount Agung, this photograph represents perfectly to me the image and atmosphere on Nusa Lembongan when looking back at Bali.