advertisement

You can easily rent a bicycle (typically from your hotel) and spend the day pottering round the island. End the day watching a game of competitive inter-village beach volleyball or head to the Mangrove bar at the northern end of the island with a floating pontoon in the middle of the mangroves (though this can be slightly disappointing at low tide). Discover natural springs or learn about seaweed farming or take an organized trip in to the mangroves by canoe.

Many of the day trip boats do special trips to either the mangrove forests or the seaweed farms. These are both educational and beneficial to the locals as they receive money directly. You can make your own way to the mangrove forests and seaweed farms but as most of the locals don't speak any English and there is little to see unless you are in the know, it can be a rather unentertaining visit.

Alternatively, on the road out of Mushroom Bay towards Jungutbatu is the Gala Gala Underground House built by what can only be described as an eccentric. It took Made Byasa some 15 years to fashion this labyrinth by hand. It is well worth stopping at and donating a small amount of money to the upkeep. You can actually climb down inside the house and take your own personal tour through this cold and dank home and wonder how anyone could spend a night in here -- never mind 15 years!

Walk, or moped, the yellow suspension bridge between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan and continue on with a tour of untouched Ceningan.

The Lulur Spa at Batu Karang Lembongan Resort is Nusa Lembongan's first complete spa with facials, massages, pedicures, manicures, and hair treatments. Call tel. 0366/24880 and ask for Lulur Spa for more information. Alam Nusa Spa (tel. 08/1338377482 or 08/1337912008 for advance reservation) offers Balinese massage on Mushroom Bay near the Bali Hai.

Snorkel, Bicycle & Motorbike Rental -- There is no shortage of places offering snorkeling equipment, mountain bikes, and motorbikes for rent. Typical prices are, per day, Rp20,000 to Rp30,000 for snorkeling gear, Rp40,000 for a bicycle, and up to Rp100,000 for a motorbike. No need to lock up your bike or moped -- they can't go anywhere!

Walking from Tamarind to Mushroom Beach -- Make a day of a stroll from Tamarind to Mushroom Beach, stopping for lunch, sunbathing, and a dip en route. Start from Lembongan Island Beach Resort and head toward Coconut Beach. Once there you will find a small shop behind which is a path that will take you over the headland for views of the sea and coastline. Stop to watch the seaweeders at work. At the end of the headland is an ideal place to swim in the clear waters. Stop off for a beer or coffee at the legendary Blackie's Warung and have a chat with the owner himself who is happy to share his stories of island living on Lembongan. If you want to spend the day at the beach, this is a perfect place to base yourself, on a sun lounger under the trees. Continue past Ketut's Bungalows and over the hill towards Mushroom Bay. This is one of the safest places to swim on the island as the waters are calm. Choose from any of the restaurants here if you didn't stop at Blackie's and enjoy a long leisurely lunch -- beer obligatory! Bali Beach Café has a good reputation for food and if you are feeling too lazy to walk back, will happily give you a lift home on the back of a motorbike at no extra cost.

Diving

The many dive academies based on Lembongan serve the dive sites all round the three islands. The ones below are particularly noteworthy, although most offer a similar package at about the same price. A single dive, including all equipment, snacks, and drinks, is US$40 to US$45 and dives US$70 to US$75 for two dives. Discounts are available if you book online or are a walk-in. Due to the cool water, you may wish to hire a wetsuit. Stick to accredited dive schools and if you are in the least concerned after having chatted with them, simply move on to the next place. Though Lembongan has several dive sites around it, the majority of the better-known ones are at Nusa Penida. Lembongan's Blue Corner, although deep, is a very popular drift dive, the highlight being a wall that is usually full of fish, sharks, big Napoleon wrasse, sometimes eagle rays, and Mola-Mola.

World Diving (tel. 08/12390-0686; www.world-diving.com) is renowned by many as one of the best dive schools in Indonesia. It is located at Pondok Baruna guesthouse in Jungutbatu. They offer introductory courses all the way through to Assistant Instructor level. This is the only dive school in Lembongan with a purpose-built training pool. Bali Lembongan Scuba (tel. 0366/24491; www.balilembonganscuba.com) is in Jungutbatu. Bali Diving Academy Lembongan (www.scubali.com) is on Jungutbatu beach, within the grounds of Bungalow No 7. In Mushroom Bay, Pro Dive (tel. 0361/766753 or 726823; www.prodivebali.com) has been operating on Lembongan for just over 2 years, although they have been in Bali since 1992.

Fishing

Most hotels or villas can arrange a fishing trip. The price should be around Rp500,000 for 3 hours, leaving at about 6am and returning at 9am. Most trips are in traditional jukungs, with a hand line out the back to trawl the current. You will be amazed at just how many fish they catch on a good day. One of the local characters is Captain Nemo on the beach near Playgrounds. Alternatively ask any of the boats on the beach, negotiate and most will offer an authentic line fishing experience.

Snorkeling

Many operators on Jungutbatu Beach will take you out in their jukungs with some form of sun shade. Alternatively, you can join an organized snorkeling trip with one of the diving schools; they will also rent you decent gear. Most boat operators will charge in the region of Rp400,000 for up to four people for a 2- or 3-hour trip and may take you to places such as Crystal Bay off Nusa Penida or one of the other less busy options. Most jukungs will avoid Manta Point as the sea and currents can become too strong for these boats and novice divers. Plenty of good snorkeling is to be had all round the island and even just off Jungutbatu beach, itself. Sometimes you actually don't have to go that far.

Surfing

The best time to surf around these islands is the dry season (Apr -- Oct).

Shipwrecks -- Best swell: south-southwest; best size: 3 to 6 feet; best winds: east-southeast. This superb right-hander is at the far northern end on the Nusa Lembongan beach. It offers a relatively easy take-off, a nice barrel section, and a fun "wally" section as the wave wraps around the headland towards the beach and much shallower end section. Best (and safer) on higher tides. This wave can get crowded depending on how many surf charter boats are passing by. You can also find it with smaller numbers if you are willing to hang around for a while. Beware of a protective element courtesy of a few local surfers and expatriate residents who like to keep the waves to themselves.

Lacerations -- Best swell: southwest; best size: 5 to 8 feet; best winds: east-southeast. This is the heaviest wave of the three main waves on Nusa Lembongan and is for the most accomplished tube-riders only. If this is not you, please don't paddle out. Only surfable on the higher tides, Lacerations serves up fast and relentless barrels, over sharp and shallow reef. Further hazards include the wire fish-traps and strong currents. It's not called Lacerations for nothing! Lacerations can get crowded with a hungry bunch of capable and skilled wave-riders. Show respect and charge when your number is called. No second chances out here.

Playgrounds -- Best swell: southwest; best size: 3 to 5 feet; best winds: east-southeast. This wave gets its name from the floating playground located just beside the break, but it could also have earned this name through the playful nature it possesses. This wave breaks both left and right and both can be good from mid- to higher-tides and is the best bet for the less proficient surfer or the one chasing a mellower experience, sans crowd. The crowds out here are generally smaller than at Lacerations and Shipwrecks.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.