Deciding how to get from Bali—famous for its beaches, mountains, and religious sites—to Nusa Lembongan, a smaller island in Indonesia, 34 miles (55 kilometers) to the southeast, is a choice between speed and price. Nusa Lembongan has no airport or pier; you'll have to take a boat and at least get your feet wet before relaxing at its beautiful beaches.
Some of the speedboat options cut the 90-minute journey to around 30 minutes, but you’ll have to pay for the horsepower. A majority of boats leave from Sanur in southeast Bali and cross the Badung Strait to Nusa Lembongan. Public and Perama boats can also help you make the journey. Several boats leave each day, so if bad weather is hitting, it's best to play it safe and not board.
How to Get from Bali to Nusa Lembongan
- Public Boat: 90 minutes, from $4 (budget-friendly)
- Perama Boat: 90 minutes, from $12
- Speedboat: 35 minutes, from $19 (fastest)
Most boats arrive on the beach at Jungut Batu, the most developed part of the island. A handful of smaller companies operate speedboats that end up in Mushroom Bay on the southwestern corner of the island. Although there are sometimes boats departing from Padangbai in East Bali, the most convenient way to get to Nusa Lembongan is from Sanur Beach. Tickets usually include pickup at your hotel in Bali and drop off at your hotel in Nusa Lembongan. You can book directly at the travel offices or through your hotel reception desk.
Many of the boat transfer options involve passengers wading to the boat at Bali and ashore at Nusa Lembongan. Although boat staff will gladly lend a hand—and take care of your luggage—you’ll need enough mobility to wade in knee-deep water (sometimes thigh-deep in choppy conditions) and climb a step or two onto the boat. Plan to get a little wet or even knocked down by waves while getting on and off the boat. Take precautions with your wallet, phone, and passport (a damaged passport can be refused at border crossings), or opt for a smaller speedboat that can back closer onto the beach. Companies often collect shoes at the beach and give them back afterward, so you’ll have to wade ashore barefooted, but the sand is soft.
During inclement weather in the monsoon season, sea conditions can become unpleasantly choppy. If you’re prone to seasickness, consider postponing your visit to Nusa Lembongan.
Numerous companies with varying costs and safety procedures run speedboats to Nusa Lembongan. Most depart from the beach in Sanur throughout the day. Even if you’ve missed one of the scheduled boats, you’ll have several options for a ride. Scoot Fast Cruises is a popular service that runs between Bali, Nusa Lembongan, and Lombok. The speedboats take 35 minutes and cost around $19 one way. You’ll find their office on Jalan Hang Tuah, a short walk from the beach.
Budget-conscious travelers like the Perama boat; service includes hotel pickup and drop off. The sizable ferry departs from Sanur and takes around 90 minutes. Find the Perama office in Kuta on the southern end of Jalan Legian, or in Sanur on Jalan Hang Tuah a short walk from where the boats leave on the beach.
An even cheaper option is the public local boat which departs from Sanur and runs from 60 to 90 minutes. However, the boat isn't recommended for families with children as it's crowded and passenger safety is questionable.
On Nusa Lembongan, luggage will be typically be offloaded from the boat and shoes returned. Passengers are pooled into truck taxis (like Indonesia’s famous bemos, or open-air minibuses, also called angkot) with bench seats. Some hotels and guesthouses could be out of range or down inaccessible roads. You’ll be driven as close as possible to your accommodation then expected to walk the rest of the way. If drop-off service wasn’t included in your ticket, flag down taxi trucks which circulate the island, especially between popular areas. Prices are relatively fixed, although you may be able to negotiate a little.
From Lombok to Nusa Lembongan
Scoot Fast Cruises operates high-speed boats from Lombok, an island east of Bali (Senggigi) and Gili Trawangan (the largest of the Gili Islands). The journey takes about three hours and costs start at $42.
To and From Nusa Penida
Nusa Lembongan’s bigger, quieter neighbor, Nusa Penida, is only about 20 minutes away. Small public boats leave from Jungut Batu on the west coast or sometimes from near the big yellow suspension bridge that connects Nusa Ceningan. Costing about $3, the boats go when filled and often appear to be loaded way beyond safe capacity. During busy times, other boats may be chartered for tourists. You may find yourself sitting on a box of veggies or a stack of rice bags.
Essential Travel Information
- Most packaged tickets will take you to the door of your hotel or guesthouse on Nusa Lembongan. If you don’t have a room reserved yet, have an idea of which beach or area to tell the driver.
- Internet and mobile data access aren’t completely reliable on Nusa Lembongan, so book and research while in Bali. The same applies to the ATM on the island—get enough cash from the machines in Bali.
- Your luggage will be loaded onto the boats by porters. Prep bags for some light abuse and a potential splashing. Crushproof fragile items in case your bag ends up at the bottom of the pile.
- If you didn’t buy an open-ended return ticket before coming to Nusa Lembongan, approach any of the tour/boat companies along Jungut Batu. Booking a boat ticket back will only get you to Sanur Beach on Bali. Once there, you can walk the short distance to the Perama counter on Jalan Hang Tuah to find a van or minibus to Kuta, Seminyak, Ubud, Amed, or other parts of the island. Alternatively, negotiate with one of the waiting drivers. Some of these boat companies will inflate the return fare so try for a discount by asking bisa kurang? (which sounds like: “bee-sah koo-rong”) with a smile.
What to See in Nusa Lembongan
At only 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) long, the hilly Nusa Lembongan can be easily explored on foot, with roads connecting tourists to various attractions. One of the main villages on the island is Jungut Batu, where most eateries, accommodations, and other tourist services are located and visitors enjoy colorful sunsets and surfing spots. Mushroom Beach is a family-friendly, relaxing place with restaurants along the strip. At Devil’s Tears, you can see the water crashing into the cliffs and spraying into the air, turtles, tide pools, and lovely sunsets. Here and at nearby Dream Beach, adventurers jump off cliffs—which should always be done with caution, especially on days with high swells. Going on a snorkeling or scuba diving tour is another way to enjoy the island and hopefully see the ocean's creatures such as manta rays.