Many travellers spend time in Bali, then fly home or move to Lombok and then onto the Gilli Islands. These places are all wonderful but just across the Bandung Strait, some 45 minutes from Bali by boat is the heavenly Nusa Lembongan, which is often missing from traveller’s itineraries.
Nusa Lembongan may only be approximately eight square kilometres in size but it is surrounded by piercing deep blue waters, with abundant marine life and healthy coral making it perfect for divers and snorkelers. Many people believe Nusa Lembongan is what Bali was some 30 years ago before travellers started coming in droves. Like Bali, the surfing on Nusa Lembongan is of high quality with waves rolling in one after another, breaking over the coral reefs below.
Nusa Lembongan is made up of two villages Jungutbatu and Lembongan with 3000 people living in each, the villages are separated by four kilometres of sealed road. The island provides cheap accommodation at Jungutbatu and more upmarket accommodation at Mushroom Bay.
Bali is Known for its green pastures,its staircase rice fields and for its torrential rain, while Nusa Lembongan lacks fresh water and thin soil, permitting the cultivation of rice. Other crops such as maize, cassava and beans are grown. Bali relies on its tourism while only 5% of Nusa Lembongan’s people work in tourism. Walking around the villages and from the smell of seaweed drying in the sun, you can see the main industry is the harvesting of seaweed with women doing most of the laboring.
Children are schooled at one school, with elementary classes running from 8am-12pm and Junior High school classes from 1pm-5pm. if students want to continue their education, they must move to Denpasar and stay with their relatives or are forced to quit. The island has one clinic with the doctor mainly attending to surfing injuries caused from coral.
If i go back to Bali, i know I will definitely be returning to Nusa Lembongan, not just for a day but for a few days that could easily turn into a week. This island may not have many attractions but it is an island, where you can still see people go about their normal lives.
Bali Hai cruises offer excellent day tours from Bali with a turtle release program, a tour of a village, snorkelling and diving also available.
Have you been to Nusa Lembongan? We would love to hear, what you thought of this island.