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.

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.

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

Bali Hai Cruises

Bounty Cruises

Bali Blue Ocean Cruises:

Air Bali Helicopter Charters

Tel: +62 (0) 361 767 466

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.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Weekend in Paradise

My husband and I spent last weekend on Nusa Lembongan – I had been there once before but this was the first time for my husband. It is hard to describe this beautiful island. Wild waves crash over rocks sending huge white plumes of water everywhere, Nusa Lembongan Wave Plumesyet there are charming, quiet bays where one can snorkel and swim in safety. It seems to be years behind the times in so many ways – no cars, no supermarkets, no boutique shops, no easy way on and off – yet there are many modern speed boats in the busy harbour pulling shrieking tourists on every floating toy known to man, resorts and bars and a few beautiful villas perched on top of the cliffs. Without question though, the untamed beauty of the island, the people and their way of life all seem to be a flashback to another time when things were more simple and natural.

Our weekend started with a half hour speed boat (and the captain did indeed believe in speed!) ride from Bali to Lembongan. We landed in picturesque Mushroom Bay where we were met by one of the only four wheeled vehicles on the island – an old small truck set up with two benches in the box at the back (felt a bit like being in the back of a tiny cattle truck!). But we all – 5 adults and one large dog – gamely clambered into the back of the truck with our luggage, our food, and most importantly our wine! Then we set out on a bumpy but interesting drive to Sunset Beach where our friends have a delightful cottage set on one of the most beautiful bays we have ever seen. The surf crashes on the rocks day and night and the colour of the water has to be seen to be believed – I kept removing my sunglasses to see if they were distorting the colour it was so unusual.

After unpacking we explored this exquisite bay and then had a fantastic dinner complete with coq au vin, cheese cake and wine with our friends and a lovely couple they had also invited. We soon discovered that this couple had both given up successful teaching careers at a fine international school in Jakarta to move to Nusa Lembongan in order to fulfil a dream to own and run a dive school. Having lived many years in Jakarta, I can only imagine the culture shock they suffered coming from the busy, overpopulated, smoggy and constantly traffic jammed city of Jakarta to this quiet island! Hard to imagine on the one hand but hard not to envy on the other!

The next morning the “boys” went out fishing while we “girls” enjoyed the sun and read our books. Although they didn’t catch any fish, the fact that at one point they had 8 (they said 12, but we all know fishermen lie!) huge manta rays surrounding their boat was worth much more than a few extra fish for dinner! We then joined the men and took a boat tour of the island culminating in a picnic lunch on the boat in the middle of an incredible mangrove forest where some of the largest mangrove trees in the world shaded us from the sun. Jukung boats in the Nusa Lembongan mangrove forest And, of course, we then had to stop off for a drink at one of the local bar & restaurants nestled at the edge of the mangroves where I had a drink that had so much rum in it that I couldn’t drink it – yikes, when did this happen that I began to dislike a strong drink? Next we walked up to a neighbour’s villa for a swim in his pool. His villa has one of the most spectacular clifftop views anywhere in the world – it is breathtaking indeed! Then back to the cottage for a barby – is that how the Aussies spell it? Or is that the doll? Anyway, we had tender juicy steaks not leggy dolls – but sadly no fish!

On Sunday morning we all piled back into the miniature cattle truck for a tour of the island. On the way, we saw a house being built where the “architect” seems not to have noticed that a very important electrical cable crossed the land so he just cut a hole in the walls both front and back and the cable runs right through the house – great ingenuity, much better than moving the wire! Highlights of the tour included seaweed farms and seaweed drying on every possible flat surface (including the road in some places), tiny homes built from recycled materials and gorgeous villas perched on the cliffs and many people swimming, snorkelling, fishing, cycling, walking and just generally enjoying their day. When we arrived back to the cottage, we walked to a nearby warung where we sat right at beachfront and enjoyed a delicious lunch.

Following this, we did a bit more exploring and visiting and then packed our gear in preparation for the trip back to Bali. This time the captain still believed that full speed was best but at least the sea was reasonably calm so we all arrived back safe and sound and already missing the pounding surf and the wonderful sea air!

kindly written and provided by Jane and posted by Sunset.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wanderings with my faithful hound

I am not a morning person.  At least not through choice.  But I find myself getting up earlier and earlier in Lembongan.  This worried me at first.  I thought it was definitely a sign of old age creeping up (have you ever heard of your grand parents having a 'lie-in'?) but I am learning not to get too paranoid about it now.  This is greatly helped by the extremely magical morning light on the island.  I cannot describe it.  It really does have to be seen.  And this is definitely the best time of day for discovering the island on foot.  

The hound is of course delighted and leaps around to demonstrate her utter happiness.  ANOTHER walk!  She thinks she's died and gone to paradise.  Which of course she has.  At least the going to paradise bit.  This is a brilliant walking island - pathways, little lanes, cliff tops, empty beaches - hardly any traffic and the demented gatherings of semi wild Bali street dogs have fortunately not made it over the water.  I don't even need to bother to bring the hounds' lead.  

I like walking and I like particularly walking in Lembongan.  The coastline is absolutely gorgeous.  But if you're going to do it, try it early in the morning.  It's worth being a morning person there.  But in case you're wondering, I'm not getting old - as soon as I am back at home, I like to languish under my duvet for as long as I can get away with it.