We packed our beach towels and snacks, enough to feed a classroom full of people for a week, into our bags and headed out wee hours in the morning. We were going to Nusa Lembongan, a small island off the southeast coast of Bali island, Indonesia.
In our group, only one who has been there before. The rest of us? We never even heard of this island. The one who went there before, wouldn’t stop yapping about it ever since and was adamant to take us there. When we booked our next Bali trip, she penciled down Nusa Lembongan for a day trip.
At that time, we reluctantly agreed to it only. “What could be better than Bali while in Bali?”, we thought. Well Nusa Lembongan was.
We head down to the pier at Sanur. After a long negotiation (done by my friends while I was eating my second breakfast) and paying marked up tourist price, we were squeezed into a small boat together with other foreigners, locals, backpackers, grocery bags and chicken.
The boat ride was choppy. I almost got seasick; or was it because of the chocolate pancake I polished down some time ago?
Forty minutes and few times of being splashed by seawater due to the swell, we reached.
Nusa Lembongan is a small island with aqua coloured water surrounding it. From the first sight itself, it was obvious why surfing and snorkelling are the main attraction of this island. Beaches surround the island and some with good waves that are ideal for surfing. While the water is incredibly clear, you could view the sea life without needing to leave the boat.
The locals mainly work as seaweed farmers. How cool is that? I didn’t even know that there was a farm for seaweed before I came here.
Our first agenda was to snorkel. Some of our friends had never snorkeled before; today was going to be their first time. I promised them it would be a fun experience. And if you haven’t snorkel before, do it! It’s awesome!!
Nilcha, the only one who had been here before, had a guy in Nusa Lembongan (give it to this girl for having connections anywhere in the world), whom we rented a small boat from. He is a middle-aged local, who introduced himself as Froggie. Which I am sure is the nickname he got (and then because famous as) from tourists because of his face. He does look like a certain amphibian. You know, Kermit’s family. Insulting other people aside, he drove us to the sea and after like a half hour ride and boring lectures of being safe in the sea (too late for that) we reached our first spot. It is not too far from the shore and still a considerably shallow. We could see the bottom of the sea clearly, and it was breathtakingly beautiful. Corals and fishes, it looked like a moving painting. We changed to our swimsuits, put our goggles on and jumped into the water.
We were enjoying ourselves while occasionally yelling to each other when we saw something amazing and that happened like every few minutes, until one of us saw a purple color snake like sea creature, which made all the girls yell “Aaaaaaaa..” and climbed back to the boat.
Freddie said not to worry about it because it wouldn’t bite. Yes Froggie, it wouldn’t bite you because you are on the boat.
We then went further to the sea in search for Mola Mola, the sunfish. A friend of mine was obsessed on finding it. The fish with fin on top of its’ body and has no tail. She read it somewhere that this fish was spotted many times while snorkeling in Bali. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any Mola that day; we saw a Manta Ray instead. It was a huge one, swimming right below us. Everyone was excited when we spotted it, except me. I was terrified. That thing looked scary.
On our last snorkelling spot, I didn’t go down. I was lazy. I wanted to stay on the dry land, with Pak Forggie. But the ones who went snorkeling there said it was much better than the first two spots. Oh well.
After a few hours of snorkelling we went back to the island. We were hungry, and Pak Froggie was nowhere to be seen. Should we just go, how about his payment? He came back after some time, I suspected he had lunch first before tending to us, ugh!! We paid and bid him goodbye.
Nilcha also had a cook in Nusa Lembongan. She has called ahead to ask them to prepare food for us. We rented motorbikes and got directions from the helpful locals to reach there.
On the way to our lunch place, I saw many patches of wet grass looking thingy being laid out to dry. I then realized those were seaweeds, the locals’ livelihood. The interesting thing was that the seaweeds were not only green, but some were brown also. It was quite a sight.
Warung Nyoman is a house cum warung owned by a middle aged woman and her two young daughters. The place stands in front of an amazing view of stone beach. They also put tables and chairs outdoors covered with umbrella huts. The whole place felt surreal, like a setting for an exotic movie. We ordered grilled fish, rice and veggies. While waiting for the food, we were chilling with Bintang beers and feeling utterly blissful. The food came, and it was really delicious especially the sambal (a chili-based condiment) which we asked for more and more. I was impressed by Ibu Nyoman’s hospitality. She was really attentive and even gave us, the tourists, discount for the meal. Warung Nyoman was featured on Lonely Planet.
Gastronomical experience by the beach with friends, it was one of the best days of my life.
We were full and happy. Time to explore the island. We got back on our bikes and rode further into the island. The land got dryer, and we passed by mangrove forests. We skipped the mushroom bay stopped at the bridge that connects Nusa Lembongan with Nusa Ceningan. We took touristy photographs on the bridge and headed down to Dream beach after that.
Dream beach is quiet secluded, so it wasn’t a surprise to see none, except us, there. The beach and its’ white sandy beach can be seen from a cliff with path going down to the beach. The water is much colder than the one we jumped into in the morning and the waves were not friendly to say the least, but we had children like fun. Running here and there, yelling and thumping wet sand on each other.
On the cliff, there was a café where we finally sat for hours just being us, chit-chatting and sipping local cocktails. Nearby it, there was a villa with infinity swimming pool overlooking the beach from the top. AMAZING.
Nusa Lembongan, the island of friendly locals, seaweed farming and virgin beaches.
We went back to Bali before dark. Nilcha and I made a pact to come here again, just the two of us. To get lost in good books, eat only seafood, drinks lots of beers and go home with sunburn.
Have you been to Nusa Lembongan before? Or are you planning to go anytime soon? Tell me about your experience.