There are some references of Nusa Lenbongan being “Paradise Island”, and after our long weekend trip there we would not quite call it paradise but agree that it is a beautiful place well worth visiting for a relaxing or adventurous break.
Nusa Lenbongan is a small island just off the coast of Bali, reached only by boat, and for most people a fast boat. The strait is very deep and the waves can be big, so a fast boat flying over the swells can cause a rough ride. We went over in rather stormy weather with rain, so the ride was a bit bumpy.
When arriving on the beach, you have to jump into the crisp ocean waters and run up the sand to avoid getting totally wet! Although we got wet anyway because it was raining. Then you collect your shoes, and wait for the lift to your hotel.
We stayed at the Nusa Indah Bungalows, right on the beach front. We ate breakfast in the mornings on the sand, with only a small path before the water’s edge.
The tide is quite large and when its low you can see the many seaweed farms exposed. The major business of the locals (aside from tourism) is the farming of different types of seaweed for exportation to cosmetic factories.
It was interesting to see how the seaweed was planted and harvested, they attach small snippets to long ropes that are staked in the ground, then left to grow like any other crop, only under water. The working hours are based around the tide – with crops only accessible at low tide, whether it be day or night. At night it was interesting to see the farmers out at sea, with all the headlamps flashing around. When ready, the seaweed is picked and laid out to dry – this was often a bit smelly, even for the locals?
One of the major tourist activities on Lembongan is snorkelling (or diving), which we love to do. This is not always an easy task with small kids, but we managed. There were no good places to snorkel off the beach, which would have been our ideal option. However, we were able to find a glass bottom boat to take us out, enabling the boys to see the coral and sea life, while the rest of us got in to have a bit of a snorkel.
On the journey out to the Mangrove Point , we viewed a turtle, and some bright blue star fish, which was exciting. The coral there was great, very colourful. The fish were also diverse and plentiful. Olive was a bit spooked at first as the swell was large and unsettling, so she clambered back to the safety of the boat. We convinced her to have another go, and then she loved it. The boys fed the fish some bread over the edge of the boat while Olive swam among them. They all had a ball.
The second full day we were there we hired some motorbikes (including drivers) to ride to Mushroom Bay, where there is a smaller, more secluded beach.
We played, swam, ate, and watched as the boat loads of tourists piled into the main resort at the beach! That part was a bit off-putting but the whole day was enjoyable nonetheless. The beaches here are much cleaner than in Bali, however there is still some evidence of the remiss nature of the locals with rubbish.
A highlight for the kids this weekend was just playing in the sand. They could do it for hours. Many people assume we live near a beach in Bali, but in Ubud we are at least half an hour away from the nearest beach. After this weekend we realise that the kids would love for us to make regular trips to the coast. They had such a good time on Nusa Lembongan that we will also be planning on coming back here again this year – if someone wants to join us?