If you want to go to the most chill Island in Bali head toward Nusa Lembongan. Distinctly different from the Gilis, Lembongan has cars and a very relaxed attitude towards visitors. Nobody is standing outside restaurants hustling to bring you in they just do their own thing and you can do yours. I loved it.
Lembongan offers world class Diving as well as decent surfing, amazing snorkeling and a crystal blue ocean with usually 30m visibility under water. Unheard of in the Gilis. What this means is Lembongan, the closer, lesser know island has it all and then some and is the perfect location for a honeymoon or low key vacation.
What you need to know:
Lembongan only has 1 ATM which frequently doesn’t work and/or runs out of money so come prepared.
I arrived in Sanur at the harbour (in an Uber) who waited with my luggage in the car while I searched for a ticket office. To find one head back up the street away from the harbour until you find a good price. Don’t buy off someone outside an office find someone inside as they may be fake. I ended up finding one at 2:15pm for the last boat out at 3pm. She wanted to charge 300k one way but I showed her an email that mentioned the price should be 175k one way and she dropped her price to 350k round trip. Wonderful. Haggling isn’t easy but apparently showing a posted price is the magic word. I suggest getting a round trip with your intended departure date which can always be altered by calling their number. Buying a ticket there would be a hassle unless you were close to the offices. My boat was with Marlin and it was very professional. Once I paid she took me to my Uber where I collected my things and walked through the stalls of hawkers to the Marlin headquarters where I checked in. I waited 15 minutes until just before 3 and then we headed back to the harbour. They took care of my luggage and all I had to do was hop on the boat. I got the fast boat which took 30 minutes to cross the ocean. They unloaded me and my things as well as gave me a (very bumpy) ride to my hotel, very helpful and FREE.
There are two main areas to stay in Lembongan, Mushroom Bay and the main area along Jl. Jungutbatu.
I stayed at the main area as I was diving with Big Fish while I was there but if you don’t have any plans Mushroom Bay is excellent and very close to Devils Tears and Dream Beach, popular attractions. I was able to get a hotel for 150k per night but if you stay longer they can even go down to 100k per night if you’re lucky and of course the hotels go all the way up to 5 star with matching price tags as well.
Things to do:
Diving (with manta rays) 900k+/-
Movie theater restaurant 10K-ish for dinner and a movie
Renting a golf cart
Stand up paddle boarding
the list goes on.
My experience of getting to Lembongan as well as the relaxed atmosphere and lower prices on this Island make it far superior to the Gilis in my mind. 30 minutes by boat? Yes please this make it the perfect weekend getaway! So what are you waiting for?