Just off the coast of Bali’s east coast is the super fun, yet sleepy, Lembongan island.
For me, it’s an island full of ocean adventures. This island is peacefully different from Bali, with no cars (only motorbikes) little local villages and less crowds.
Plus, home to world class waves, fantastic scuba diving and snorkelling beautiful reefs in crystal clear waters and swimming with Manta Rays.
Bali Nusa Lembongan offers something that is hard to find and that is a place where you can surf and scuba dive easily on the same day. This is probably why I like this island as much as I do.
How to get from Bali to Nusa Lembongan
Getting from Bali to Lembongan is easy, even though the island has no bridges from Bali or an airport. You instead travel by boat from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan.
Depending on your budget and timeframe there are two options. Either you travel by fast boat to Lembongan or the public Lembongan ferry.
Just be aware that there’s no pier (jetty) at Sanur or on Nusa Lembongan. From Sanur you arrive on Jungkut Batu Bay in Nusa Lembongan. This is one of the main villages on the island with accommodation, restaurants and dive shops.
I recommend if you’re catching a fast boat to Nusa Lembongan, not to wear pants (just shorts or a dress/skirt) or anything you don’t want to get wet since you must enter and exit the boats from the water. Depending on the tide and the size of the boat, the water can be chest high on some trips, especially for kids. But this is part of the fun adventure of going to Nusa Lembongan.
Don’t worry about your luggage, the crew are very helpful. Especially when carrying your luggage so they don’t float away.
Fast boat Nusa Lembongan
Scoot and Rocky Fast Cruise are the two main fast boat operators from Sanur to Lembongan. Both company’s offer hotel pick up and drop off service. The journey across only takes 25-30 minutes - it’s not a long trip to the island.
Scoot fast cruises is the more established operator, taking visitors from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan. They also have a boat going to the Gili islands from Nusa Lembongan.
Scoot is my first choice, they have a better safety track record than Rocky Fast Cruise.
Rocky Fast Cruise, is the cheaper of the two operators. Their boats are smaller but still a popular operator.
Ferry to Nusa Lembongan
Perama Tour and Travel company operates a public ferry from Bali to Nusa Lembongan taking roughly 1.5 hours in an old wooded outrigger (not too comfortably in rough weather). It doesn’t have the best reviews but it’s a lot cheaper than booking a fast boat.
What to do in Nusa Lembongan
It’s all about water sports on Nusa Lembongan, so the following is a list of locations and information for snorkelling, scuba diving and surfing Nusa Lembongan.
It’s not often you find a destination which offer great quality surf breaks, but also delivers on great scuba diving and the ease of snorkeling Nusa Lembongan
Nusa Lembongan Snorkelling
Snorkeling in Nusa Lembongan is one of my favourite ways to spend my days on the island.
Though the best snorkelling in the area is really the other island of Nusa Penida.
You can easy organise an Lembongan snorkelling tour to Nusa Penida, so you can visit the popular snorkelling sites such as The Wall, Gamut Bay and Crystal bay. Plus heading to Mangrove Point in Nusa Lembongan’s north end.
I’ve also taken a snorkelling tour at Manta Point, with a dive shop I was scuba diving with. If you have the chance, I recommend going to see the Mantas, they fly all around you as you dive with them. The only real problem with snorkelling Nusa Lembongan manta point, is that it’s busy with dive operators.
Even though your on a tour, with a guide. I strongly recommend paying attention to your surroundings. It was a little manic when I was there last.
If taking a tour is not your thing, it's easy to go straight off beach and explore the many reefs and tropical fish. For myself, I hire a Sup board and go exploring the different reef around the island. With a Sup board it's easy to get to the outer reefs. Out there the reefs drop off into deeper water or I tend to paddle around until I find an interesting section of reef to explore.
The best snorkeling Nusa Lembongan has to offer, is either off Mushroom bay of more noteworthy is Mangrove Point on the islands north end.
Mangrove point Nusa Lembongan
Snorkeling Lembongan Mangrove point is a great place to explore on the island. The point is a sprawling coral garden with a large amount of tropical fish and reefs to see. The light currents and shallow waters make for an easy and safe experience.
Most people take a snorkelling tour and can be arrange in town or at Mangrove Point. Though you can easily find Mangrove Point yourself. Just head up to where the cafes and mangrove tours are located. Then head down the beach another 100m, where you can snorkel straight off the beach.
I recommend trying to be there for high tide, since reef and the seaweed farms can get a little exposed.
There are a few dangers but manly watch out for jet skis and banana boats.
Just be aware that over the past few years, the reef has been damaged from over tourism. Please be conscious of your environmental impact to the area if you choose to visit.
Mushroom bay Lembongan
Mushroom Bay Nusa Lembongan is located on the east coast of the island. With restaurant and cafes along the beachfront. The beach is easy to find and offers soft white sand with turquoise clear waters to enjoy. You can snorkel straight off the beach in Mushroom Bay Lembongan and if you head out deeper where the reef drops off into deeper water. You can see larger and more impressive tropical fish and possibly a few turtles.
Mushroom Bay is where I usually explore when I’m chilling out for a while. I hire a Sup board from the beach and paddle to the outer reefs. If your feeling a little daring to explore more, I recommend trying this out.
Be mindful of your surroundings and location when snorkelling Mushroom Bay, there’s a lot of boats using the bay. Drifting into the boat channel could possibly be dangerous.
Nusa Lembongan Snorkeling day trip from Bali
You might only have time to go on a Nusa Lembongan day trip from Bali. If this is the case there is lots of tour companies offering Lembongan snorkeling tours.
Probably the best tour available for a snorkelling day trip are the following:
Klook: Offering a three island day cruise (Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan) you will see white sandy beaches, limestone cliffs and great underwater sights.
Viator: Offering a Nusa Lembongan Snorkeling day trip from Bali including Nusa Penida and an island tour.
Nusa Lembongan Diving
I’m a big fan of scuba diving Nusa Lembongan, it offers some of the best adventure scuba diving Bali has to offer.
All three islands (Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan) are part of the coral Triangle. With more than 600 species of fish such as Manta Rays and legendary Mola-Mola. Plus 250 different species of coral, the dives sites are so visibly bio-diverse, especially if you want to go Manta Ray diving Bali is world class and such a great place to explore.
A few of the best Nusa Lembongan dive sites:
Depth: 30m ( 98ft)
Minimum Skill level: Advances open water
Crystal Bay is one of the best dives to see the rare Mola Mola (Oceanic Sunfish). The Mola Mola fish usually live in deep waters. But during the period between August to October, they come to shallower waters to clean themselves of parasites.
Mola Mola is not the only lure, beautiful coral is vibrant at Crystal Bay at depth of 15-20m. But if you want to see the Mola Mola, which is a big draw card, you need to dive to around 30m. But there are downward currants at these depths. So even though scuba diving Crystal Bay is a fun, especially seeing the Ocean sunfish, this dive site is a little tricky. Pay attention to your divemaster or dive instructor.
Manta Point Nusa Penida
Depth: 10-15m (32-50ft)
Skill level: Open water
Manta Point Nusa Lembongan is a fun adventurous dive. If the idea of getting up close to a Manta Ray tickles your fancy, then dive Manta Point.
Manta Bay is only a shallow dive (10-15m). Even so, Manta Rays are flying past you within meters. It’s a great experience. The best time to see the Manta Rays are from March to June but have been known to be seen year-round.
The dive site is on Nusa Penida and is offers not only Manta Ray’s but fish and coral with the site sloping downwards.
There was a bit of swell and the dive boats were getting thrown around when I was diving Manta Point, even though the currents are not strong. This isn’t really a bit problem under the water, just be mindful when diving off the boat.
If your after a Lembongan dive centre, then I recommend:
Blue Corner Dive Lembongan is a beach side dive resort that offers fun dive to all the favorite dive sites including Manta Bay Nusa Lembongan. It's also a 5 star instructor development program with three locations on the islands.
Offering fun dives to all the best dive sites and a variety of PADI courses from Open Water to Master Instructor. They also offer freediving courses, if you feel like ditching the tank.
Dive Concepts is Known to bring European safety mixed with and Indonesian lifestyle. Located on the main beach bay of Jungut Batu village, from where you arrive via the fast boats.
Dive Concepts offer fun dives getting you to all Nusa Lembongan dive sites. Plus, specialty dive courses and PADI open water to Divemaster.
Surfing in Nusa Lembongan
Nusa Lembongan surf scene is well established. This small sleepy island offers quality reef breaks and a friendly vibe in the water (especially at Playgrounds) The waves can be fun and also daunting depending on the break and your experience level. The waves are best when at mid – high tide. At low tide the reef is too shallow and exposed for the waves to work properly and can be dangerous if not treacherous. Especially Lacerations and Ship wreaks.
Tide: All tides, Submerged reef
Swell Direction: S-W
Wind Direction: Easterly
Playgrounds Nusa Lembongan is the friendliest surf break on the island. The wave is only a short paddle straight out from Coconut Beach. With the Cliffs from Coconut Beach offering great protections from South Eastly winds.
Playgrounds surf break Nusa Lembongan is popular because it’s a fun wave to surf, with some long faces when surfing the left. The left is longer than the right and surfed into the boat channel. While the right is shorter, but depending on the tide, you can get barrelled on the right.
One of the great things about Playground surf break is that it’s a single peak. This means it’s easy to paddle around the waves when paddling out or when getting out the way from other surfers. This make it super popular with surfers with less experience.
Lacerations Nusa Lembongan
Swell: 3-10 ft
Tide: Mid to High
Swell direction: S-W
Wind Direction: Easterly
Lacerations surf is an excellent barrelling right, that bowels over a sharp shallow reef.
The wave is quick, it jacks up onto a shallow reef making the take-off quick with some air time. Pulling into a short barrelling bowl as you head for the boat channel.
It’s super fun and super popular, it does gets crowded when it’s working. Since it offers world class quality right and with a reasonably easy paddle out.
To get out there, you paddle out from Coconut Beach Nusa Lembongan, past Playgrounds through the boat channel.
Swell: 3-10 ft
Tides: Mid-to high
Swell Direction: S-W
Shipwreaks Nusa Lembongan surf break is probably the best wave on the island. It’s an iconic surf break, especially because you get to surf next to an old rusting bow of a ship.
Shipwreaks surf needs a strong swell and works best at mid tide. But when its working, Shipwreks is world class. Offering right hander barrels with a fast face and an open shoulder. The wave is great fun and a must when surfing Nusa Lembongan.
Just be cautious though, the shallow reef and the sharp bits of rusty metal from the shipwreck offer some challenges and safety concerns.
The paddle out is epic, so I recommend catching a boat to and from. Otherwise prepared for a serious workout.
Surf Nusa Ceningan
Tides: All tides
Swell direction: S-W
Wind Direction: Easterly
Nusa Ceningan surf break is a great option if the swell has dropped at the other surf breaks. Located on the island Nusa Ceningan’s east coast. Ceningan can offer some great left handers with predictable sections.
The waves can get messy from the currents and deep-water channels, and it can be sketchy when the swells bigger.
This is a perfect wave from the beach, but there is a reason it’s called NO mans. That’s because no one wants to surf the break once you paddle out. From the beach, the wave looks awesome, but when you get out there you soon realize the danger.
No Mans gets a lot more swell than Lacerations or Playgrounds. So the waves are bigger, but it breaks on super shallow but mostly exposed reef. Plus, every few waves are nasty closeouts that you definitely don’t want to be near, let alone surfing.
Nusa Lembongan Accommodation
Where to stay in Nusa Lembongan is dependent on your budget and area of the island that suit your needs.
For myself, when I book Lembongan accomadation. I choose to stay close to Coconut Bay so I can have an easy surf in the morning. This is why I stay at Lembongan Cliff Villas, apart from the many stairs, it’s very comfortable with swimming pool and amazing views looking over the surf breaks. Also, you can be paddling out to Playgrounds or Lacerations within 5 minutes.
If you’re wanting to stay at Nusa Lembongan dive resort. I recommend relaxing at the Planet Nomadas Dive resort on the north end of the island. The resort has a very relaxing vibe, just want I personally like while on holidays.
As always, your personal well being while travelling is very important. For myself I always have travel insurance through World Nomads just incase something unwanted happens.
World Nomads is an award winning insurance company purposely focused on travel insurance. You can also change your policy while traveling, this is a great feature if you not set to a travel plan or set dates.