Nusa Lembongan

 

 

Fast becoming one of Bali's most popular attractions this island paradise is a world away from the pollution, hassles and hectic pace of Bali. There are no hawkers, no traffic, magnificent scenery and is the perfect place to put your feet up and relax. Popular with families weary of travel warnings this island is a safe little spot to enjoy that perfect Bali Holiday. Main activities include surfing, diving and snorkeling. Some tourists may find the island a little too slow after the pace of southern Bali.

The water is some of the clearest you can find and aqua blue in color; good for diving and snorkeling. Surfing is crowded but nice waves. Nice coral sand beach. Learn about the cosmetic seaweed farming industry.

There are two main beaches. Jungutbatu (Sunset Coast) in the north is the bigger of the two with a myriad of hotels, one resort with beachfront pool, restaurants and cheap eateries, and traditionally used to attract the backpackers, families and surfers. Now with the development of the Bukit this area is fast becoming the main attraction and provides some of the best accommodation on the island. The views from the accommodation on the Bukit are second to none on Nusa Lembongan and probably Bali but the sunsets are best viewed along the beachfront.

Nusa Lembongan, a small island between Bali and Nusa Penida in Badung Strait, is the perfect holiday hideaway with few visitors and pristine un-spoilt beaches. A low, protected island about 11 km southeast of mainland Bali, measuring only four by three km and ringed with mangrove swamps, and palms and white sandy beaches. Inland the terrain is scrubby and very dry, with volcanic stonewalls and processional avenues crisscrossing the small cactus-covered hills. Overlooking Sanghiang Bay with its clear blue waters, most hotels offers a panoramic view of eastern Bali and the majestic silhouette of Mount Agung. Known for its great surf, the excellent crystal-clear waters also make it a perfect place for snorkeling and diving. It's still a basic place, but interesting, and there are some lovely places to stay.
The island is small enough to explore on foot, offering pristine beaches and coves, majestic views of Mount Agung, unique Balinese architecture, and the friendliness of a simple country folk. With a lack of arable land and a severe shortage of tourist attractions, the island's economy is limited to its underwater wealth-seaweed. A secondary occupation is catering to visiting surfers. Between Nusa Lembongan and the adjacent of Nusa Ceningan Island, the population is only 60,000.

There are just two villages on Nusa Lembongan, the large, spread out administrative center of Lembongan Village, and Jungut Batu village. There's motorcycle traffic between the two villages and it's easy to get a lift. Both villages are heavily involved in the cultivation of seaweed. Before government-supported commercial seafood production in 1980, the people of the island lived on maize, cassava, tuber, beans, and peanuts. Today most everyone is involved in one way or another with cultivation of "sea vegetables," and the air is permeated with its smell.

Visit the seaweed gardens at low tide; they look like gigantic underwater botanical gardens. Two kinds are grown, the small red pinusan and the large green kotoni. Almost the entire crop is exported to Hong Kong for use in the cosmetics and food processing industries. After harvesting, gatherers leave a floating offering of rice and flowers that gently drifts away on the outgoing tide.

Life on Nusa Lembongan is very relaxing, with cool breezes, little traffic, no big hotels, no pollution, no stress, no photocopy machines, and hardly any telephones. Best of all, there are almost no pedagang acung (pushy vendors) and few thieves.

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