Located across the Badung Strait from Bali’s southeast coast, the small, tranquil island of Nusa Lembongan truly feels a world away from the bustling traffic and crowds of Bali’s beach areas. Our day trip to Nusa Lembongan turned out to be a fun family adventure that we all enjoyed, exploring the island’s stunning coastline and picturesque beaches.
Fast Boat to Nusa Lembongan
It takes 30 minutes to travel by fast boat to Nusa Lembongan from Sanur, on Bali’s east coast. We booked tickets with Rocky Fast Cruises, which I would highly recommend. We booked tickets for the 10am departure, and although it was included in the ticket price, we did not book for the pickup and drop off at our hotel to avoid a long drive stopping at hotels for the other passengers.
We had booked a cab from our hotel which turned out to be a no-show, and although we managed to find another one straight away, traffic was horrendous and we weren’t in front of the Rocky Fast Cruise office at Sanur until right before departure. You can imagine we showed up very frazzled and worried we’d miss the boat. The team were very friendly, accommodating and professional, sorting us out within minutes – calling the boat staff to tell them we were on our way and quickly taking our payment for the tickets. Then a staff member gave us a ride to the beach and handed us over to his colleague who carried Little T onto the boat.
There is no dock so you put your shoes in the large buckets and wade in the water a few feet from the shore to get onto the boat. The staff were very helpful to parents carrying kids on and off the boat. The boat is enclosed with windows and bench style seating and the life jackets (young children’s sizes included) are kept under the seats if required. At only 30 minutes, the ride goes by very quickly and soon enough, we were watching as the boat pulled into the gorgeous turquoise waters of Jungut Batu bay.
The coastline of Jungut Batu is lined with hotels and restaurants overlooking the stunning, crystal clear water. We came off the boat to a similar setup as Sanur, stepping into the water a few feet away from shore, retrieving our shoes and making our way to the row of offices along the beach to rent a golf buggy. Most people get around Nusa Lembongan on scooters or, for larger groups, on covered pickup trucks with a tour guide. There aren’t taxis on the island and the hilly terrain is not ideal for leisure cycling.
For the three of us, hiring a golf buggy was the best solution to explore the island on our own. You can book a golf buggy in advance for a full day hire at Rp 800,000 – more details here.
We stocked up on some bananas, peanuts and water at a small stand along the sidewalk, before heading south to visit some of Nusa Lembongan’s picturesque beaches. There is a steep hill heading out of Jungut Batu, so do keep that in mind and strap your bags down very well if you’re taking a golf cart!
Our first stop was Dream Beach, a beautiful stretch of white sand and a popular area for surfing. There are a couple of resorts and restaurants on the hillside overlooking the beach.
Dream Beach is absolutely beautiful. There’s a rocky coral floor and the surf is pretty strong, so not an ideal swimming spot with young children, but it’s a beautiful spot to take in the view, watch the surfers and enjoy playing on the sand and along the shore.
Devil’s Tears is a set of rocky, dramatic cliffs where huge waves crash against the sides, sending water spraying over the edge. Mr. G and Little T waited in the golf cart while I walked out onto the side of the cliff to have a look. That golf cart, by the way, was truly the best choice for us and Little T absolutely loved riding it around the island!
The views at Devil’s Tears are stunning and it was amazing to watch the powerful waves crash against the cliffs.
After checking out the island’s dramatic coastline, we headed back in the direction of Jungut Batu to spend the rest of our afternoon at the calmer waters of Mushroom Beach.
We had lunch at Hai’s Beach Bar & Grill which overlooks the beach – perfect for Little T to play while we waited for the food. The food was really good and overall I found the restaurant and resort to be a great place to take a break during our day of exploring.
Mushroom Beach is the calmest beach in the area for swimming with young children. There’s an area fit for swimming between one side of the beach with a very rocky floor and the other with boat traffic. Little T loved swimming around here with us, and also spent some time collecting little bits of coral that are strewn about the beach and seafloor.
On the other side of Mushroom Beach are these amazing rock formations along the shore.
Returning to Sanur
After a wonderful day on Nusa Lembongan that went by way too quickly, we headed back to Jungut Batu to return the golf cart and take the 4.30pm fast boat back to Sanur. Little T chose a beautiful wooden turtle at a little souvenir shop next to the boat office, where I thought the prices were very reasonable.
And soon enough, it was time for us to board the boat. As with our departure from Sanur, I found everything running very efficiently and the staff were always helpful with the passengers getting on and and off the boat.
A storm was approaching that evening, so while the ride to Nusa Lembongan was relatively calm, the boat was practically leaping about as we came across some high waves heading to Sanur. It made for an eventful ride back – don’t forget your motion sickness tablets or wristbands if you suffer from sea sickness!
We had an amazing time on Nusa Lembongan, so much so that we wished we had planned on staying for a couple of nights. I would love to go back as there was so much we didn’t manage to see and do, such as visiting the seaweed farms or going out to the famous snorkeling or scuba diving sites. It’s an island that would make a truly peaceful retreat and the scenery from calm, turquoise waters to rocky, dramatic cliffs was stunning – I’d highly recommend making the trip out there to visit.
Good to Know
The only ATM / cash machine on the island is at Jungut Batu, near the Segara Temple and only a few minutes away from the boat offices. I would, however, recommend arriving on the island with cash – the ATM has been known to run out of money halfway through the day and the queue was over half an hour long.
Another reason to bring cash: the credit card terminals aren’t very reliable and can take an extremely long time to process your debit/credit card after several attempts. To save yourself time, withdraw cash on Bali to bring on your trip.
Rocky Fast Cruise has four departure times from Sanur: 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 5.30pm; return times from Lembongan are 9am, 11am, 1pm and 4.30pm. Return tickets are US $50 per adult (US $30 for one way), children 3-11 years old US $30 ($20 one way) and children under 3 years old travel free.
Prices include insurance and bottled water, as well as free pick up and drop off from the airport, Jimbaran, Kuta, Seminyak, Legian and Sanur. Other areas are quoted upon request. Up to date schedule, ticket prices and other details here.
You can book a golf buggy in advance for a full day hire at Rp 800,000 – more details here. Note that you cannot cross the suspension bridge between Nusa Lembongan and the nearby smaller island of Nusa Ceningan with the golf buggy – only scooters are allowed to cross that bridge.
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