Nusa Lembongan – Embrace ‘Island Living’ with our travel guide!

nusa lembongan bali island indonesia should i visit

Nusa Lembongan was one of those destinations where we had minimal expectations on arrival. However upon leaving, this island now holds a special place in our heart! Whether it be the kind-hearted and friendly locals, the beautiful beaches, relaxed nature of the island, wonderful beach bars and cafes, or multitude of day-trip options.. we think the combination of all these factors lead to a great visit! The term ‘Island Living’ was repeated to us many times by locals, and this seemed to encapsulate the whole ethos of the locals and local businesses. Read on for some of our key highlights, recommendations and overview of our stay in Nusa Lembongan.

Why we loved Nusa Lembongan:

From the moment we stepped off the ferry into the water and onto the sand (yes, there’s no jetty, you literally disembark the ferry onto the sand), we could feel the relaxed island vibes. We like destinations that are a little ‘off the radar’ and away from all of the tourists, and Nusa Lembongan had a bit of this while still being busy enough to maintain a good atmosphere. See below a few of the key reasons we loved our visit to this island paradise, and then read the rest of the guide for some top recommendations for your visit!

  • The ‘island living’ vibe of Nusa Lembongan: as previously mentioned, the people of Lembongan embraced ‘island living’, and this was impossible for us to not soak up. There is less traffic, everyone is friendly, the tourists are less and more relaxed than the mainland, and there is even no police on the island such is the safe and relaxed nature of Nusa Lembongan.
  • Our delightful accommodation host ‘Helly’: Helly was one of our favourite accommodation hosts to date! The host of ‘Helly’s Secret Garden‘ was so happy, helpful and informative. Helly went above and beyond, even taking us around the island on his scooter to show us some of the best spots on Nusa Lembongan. You can see more about our stay below.
  • The ‘on the beach’ cafe’s and bars: along the main Jungutbatu Beach are a multitude of beach bars and cafes with deck chairs, hanging lights, umbrellas and bean bags literally spilling onto the sand. We have listed a few of our favourites below, but the view from all of them was amazing. Think ‘sitting with your feet in the sand with views of the waters’. We also found the staff very relaxed, and the prices a lot more affordable than beach bars and clubs on the mainland of Bali.
  • Enjoying a drink 100m offshore at the incredible Lago Pontoon: this was a truly unique experience and something we won’t forget anytime soon. A floating pontoon bar with DJ’s, drinks and swimming right off the side. See how to get there below!
  • The prices! Okay, Bali overall is very affordable, but Nusa Lembongan was even cheaper! Coffee between $1.5-3AUD (~15-30,000 IDR), breakfast (e.g. smoothie bowl, omelette, pancakes) often $5-9 AUD (50-90,000 IDR), dinners for 2 people under $20-30 AUD (~200-300,000 IDR), drinks at happy hour often $5-10 AUD. Overall, this island living is very budget friendly.

How to get to Nusa Lembongan from Bali:

Okay, this is a little harder than just getting in a taxi, however it’s definitely worth it. Nusa Lembongan is one of 3 Indonesian ‘Nusa’ islands (we will cover the others later) located just off the coast of Bali. The popular Nusa Penida is well known due to the social media clips that circulate, however Nusa Lembongan is a little less popular. All of these islands need to be reached via ferry transport. All the ferries leave from the ferry port in Sanur. There’s a few key steps, and overall, it’s simple enough. See our tips below.

  • Step 1: book your ticket in advance through ‘Bali Ferries‘ or other ferry ticket websites like Direct Ferries. In peak season, these ferries can get busy, so it’s better to have your ticket booked in advance. There are a number of different ferry companies. We travelled with d’Camel ferries and found them on time and easy enough to work with. Our tickets cost around $15 AUD each way per person but this can vary depending on time and operator.
  • Step 2: head to the ferry port in Sanur (Bali). Make sure you get to the ferry port early enough! Before boarding your ferry you will need to show your confirmation of booking at the check in desk, then get you paper ticket. You can then go through security and to the waiting area. Be prepared for a little ‘chaos’ here.
sanur harbour bali indonesia
  • Step 3: the ferry ride takes about 30minutes and was overall comfortable enough. Don’t expect luxury, WiFi or bathrooms. These boats are small and made to travel fast. While we had calm waters, be prepared that it can get rough at times.
  • Step 4: disembark the ferry onto the sand. Be prepared that you may have to step down into the water from the ferry. There’s no harbour or jetty that the ferry will moor onto.
  • Step 5: the taxi drivers at the port will be quite full on but are friendly. We advise to try and have transport booked in advance from your hotel if you can. Otherwise, you can often barter the price down for the taxi’s and shouldn’t have to pay much more than 100,000IDR (approx $10-15 AUD).

Our top tips when travelling on ferries in Bali:

  • Be early – you need to exchange your ticket at the check in counter.
  • Embrace the ‘chaos’.
  • Try to travel earlier in the day, the sea will be calmer – this is definitely important for those that get seasick.

Things to do when you visit Nusa Lembongan:

These are top picks and recommendations in no particular order.

  • Visit Lago Pontoon: This place was a vibe! Head down to Song Lambung Beach along the promenade at the end of Jungutbatu Beach. You will find the Lago Beach Bar. Let them know you want to head out to Lago Pontoon and wait a few minutes for the free water taxi to come grab you. The 5 minute boat ride will take you to a floating beach bar that is definitely a must do in Nusa Lembongan. The bar is usually open from 12-7pm with DJs on Saturday.
  • Enjoy a drink on the beach at one of the many beach bars & restaurants: One of the best parts of Nusa Lembongan! Enjoy this unique island experience. The prices are very affordable, and there’s some excellent options (see below for our top picks).
  • See an island sunset at Ohana’s Beach Club: The most popular and well known beach bar on Nusa Lembongan is Ohana’s. This sophisticated beach club is in the perfect place for sunset, and often has DJs or music playing as the sun goes down. They may even start up a fire on the sand. It’s a top place to see the sunset on Lembongan.
  • Try the banana pancakes at Ginger & Jamu: Our top breakfast on Nusa Lembongan from our favourite beach café.. Ginger & Jamu! Sit on the sand or their beautiful outdoor terrace and enjoy the freshly cooked Banana and Oat Pancakes. The also have one of the best coffee’s on the island!
  • Explore the island: If you want to do a little more than just relaxing, there’s lots of great places to see for day trips. We spent a lovely day with our host Helly exploring the island. See a few day trip options below.
  • Cross the iconic yellow bridge to Nusa Ceningan: You’ve probably seen this bridge in a Bali Instagram/TikTok video without realizing. It’s a bright yellow bridge on the opposite side of Nusa Lembongan that connects the island to the smaller Nusa Ceningan. It’s narrow, and worth crossing either on your own scooter, or on the back of someone else’s like we did! See our Ceningan guide here!
  • Take up some of the many activities offered on the island like surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving, day trips and more! You can literally hire a ‘surf taxi’ to take you out from the beach to the best breaks and waves.
  • Consider a day trip to Nusa Penida: This is the most popular ‘Nusa’ island, and for good reason, it’s picturesque. However, it’s also very touristy. Stay tuned for our Nusa Penida guide coming soon.
  • Venture to the ‘less popular’ beaches: Our favourite ‘hidden beaches’ included Song Lambung Beach, located along the promenade and the leaving point for the ferry to the Pontoon, Pantai Pasir Putih (head to the left of this near the seaweed farms) and Dream Beach on the other side of the island.
  • Walk the promenade at the end of Jungutbatu Beach: This is located at the ‘Mushroom Beach’ end of Jungutbatu Beach and connects you to Song Lambung Beach and some great restaurants. It’s worth walking for great views, and is lovely at dusk/post sunset.
  • Try some Yoga at Yoga Bliss in Jungutbatu: Tess did a class here and loved the relaxed and supportive nature. A great way to relax and enjoy your stay.

A few day trip options on Nusa Lembongan:

  • Devils Tear: This unique ‘wave and cave formation’ causes mist to rise into the air when the waves hit the cliff/caves. It’s a little ‘touristy’, but was unique, and the cheap entry fee meant it’s probably worth visiting.
  • Dream Beach: Located on the opposite of the island from Jungutbatu, this beach is very aesthetic. It is also located right next to Devils Tear. However, it is quite a rough beach, and not great for lots of swimming (especially if you’re not a particularly strong swimmer). There are sun beds to hire, cute cafes, and even some bungalow accommodation for those looking to stay on the beach. It’s probably worth a visit!
  • Nusa Ceningan: If visiting Nusa Lembongan for more than a few days, consider visiting Nusa Ceningan. See the little guide from our day trip visit.. think the iconic yellow bridge, great hidden beaches, the blue lagoon, lots of surfing spots, cute beach bars and sunset spots!
  • Nusa Penida: the popular and ‘Insta-worthy’ island is definitely on many people’s Bali hit list. An easy day trip from Nusa Lembongan.
  • Hidden Beaches like Song Lambung Beach, Pantai Pasir Putih, Dream Beach and also the ‘less popular’ Mushroom Bay.
  • Tours: Snorkelling, Diving & Surfing Tours – no shortage here of things to do if you’re a fan of watersports and snorkelling/diving.

Top café, bar and food recommendations in Nusa Lembongan:

Ginger & Jamu:

This ‘on the beach’ cafe and restaurant was our favourite on Nusa Lembongan. The staff were super friendly, the coffee was excellent (one of the best on the island), and the food was great (especially the Banana Pancakes!). Sit on chairs or deck chairs right on the beach and relax! A must for when you visit the island!

Bali Eco Deli:

Another of our Nusa Lembongan favourites, Bali Eco Deli should be high on your list when you visit the island! This healthy and environmently conscious cafe boasts great breakfast/brunch options, good coffee (which comes with a free cookie) and a beautiful leafy courtyard. Prices are very reasonable!


This cafe & restaurant had a beautiful garden and was located in the heart of Jungutbatu on the main street. Prices were a little higher (but still reasonable). It’s a great option for your visit to Nusa Lembongan.


A mentioned previously, Ohana’s Beach Club is one of the top spots on Nusa Lembongan, and a trip to the island should include a visit here. The aesthetic is beautiful, the music is great, and views exceptional. However, be prepared to pay higher prices here than at the other beach clubs.

Thai Pantry:

This Thai/Asian Fusion restaurant sits on the promenade at the end of Jungutbatu and boasts incredible views over the bay. It’s popular for dinner around sunset time, and the food is excellent. We returned twice as we enjoyed it so much! However, be prepared to pay a little more than the restaurants in the heart of Jungutbatu (still very reasonable).

The Pontoon at Lago:

Others that were also worth checking out included The Deck (great for sunset or drinks with a view), Fin Island (always live music and good food), The Coconut Hut (good coffee), Nusa Bodega (a cute Italian wine bar).

The Others..?
  • The Deck – great for sunsets and cocktails/drinks
  • Fin Island – good food, lots of live music, nice aesthetic
  • The Coconut Hut – good coffee
  • Bodega – cute wine bar on the main street
  • Nilas Warung & Lago Beach Cafe – great spot near a ‘secret beach’

Where we stayed in Nusa Lembongan:

Helly’s Secret Garden Cottages are located just a short walk inland from the main street and they really are a secret slice of paradise in amongst the Balinese wilderness. Currently hosting three individual huts (with another two currently under construction at the time of writing) they each contain an air conditioned room with a queen sized bed, day bed, private bathroom and private balcony. Helly’s place was clean, comfortable, set just off the main road for less noise in the evenings and excellent value for money. Of course, the biggest draw card of this place however has to be the host and owner Helly himself. For Helly, nothing was too much trouble. He very kindly offered to drive us around the island and by the end of our stay we left more as friends than guests. We look forward to returning in future to see what other additions he has made to the property – rumour is he plans to build a pool, yoga shala and healthy cafe as the business continues to grow. Take a look at Helly’s Secret Garden Cottages here!

We also considered staying at the following options:

  • Ohana’s – This beach club and ‘on the beach’ accommodation is a little more expensive, but is a good option to consider.
  • Tigerlilly’s Boutinque Hotel – Excellently located in a beautiful setting. Worth considering if happy to spent a little more!
  • The Shacks at Sandy Beach – Located a little away from Jungutbatu main street/beach, this accommodation is worth considering.
  • Bungalow n 7 – Located right on the beach and at a budget friendly pricepoint.
  • Paus Putih Hotel – Located with great views but slightly away from the centre, this is another good consideration.
  • Lembongan Harmony Villas – Consider hiring one of these villas with views!
  • Coconut Village Guesthouse – A great budget friendly option near a quiet beach.
How long should you stay on Nusa Lembongan?

The answer.. it depends. However, we think a range of 3-7 days would be excellent depending on what you plan on doing and how much time you want to relax. We stayed for 4 nights total, and found this a great amount of time to relax and explore. Under 2 nights would definitely be rushed e.g. 1 night or day trip and we think it’s potentially not worth the time and effort.

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