Snorkeling at Nusa Lembongan

Trip Start Oct 20, 2010
Trip End Feb 07, 2011

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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Monday, November 22, 2010

My friend Craig who traveled in Indonesia in September, 2010 highly recommended that we spend a few days at Nusa Lembongan – a small island about 12 km from Bali main island. In order to catch a boat ride to Nusa Lembongan, we hired a car to take us to Sanur – a town about an hour south of Ubud that is the favorite place for expat because of its pristine 4 km beach and lay back style.  On our way to Sanur, we stopped by Maes to eat their famous suckling pig.  This place sells roasted pigs everyday from 11 am to 3 pm.  If you ever follow Anthony Bourdon's show on the Travel Channel, he filmed at the same restaurant we were in for his segment about Indonesia. We got there early enough to enjoy the beautiful surrounding before the meal.  The staff brought in a golden colored pig right on time and started cutting it into pieces.  This pig has been roasting (stuffed with herbs and basted in coconut juice) for over 8 hours.  The pig is immediately dissect into many plates of meats and skins (the best part).  We got our orders just in time because there are many local people there for take outs.   Before we can order our 2nd helpings, they already completely sold out the 1st pig.  The restaurant will sell limited number of pigs each day and if you came late, you will be out of luck.  The skin is crisp and tasty and the meat succulent.  We ate our share using our hand wrapping a ball of rice with pieces of meat just like locals.  It was delicious.   

We stayed at hotel Jati Homestay at Sanur which has a group of bungalows in a Balinese style courtyard.  Not as serene as Okawati but more than adequate with clean rooms and free wifi.  Our room even comes with a kitchen so we can make our own teas.  We took a taxi to the downtown station to buy tickets for the boat ride to Nusa Lembongan.  The taxi is very cheap it was only about a dollar or two for the 2 km rides.  Since we were right by the ocean, we looked for a seafood restaurant for dinner and was directed by locals to Wapo KKN.  Not much to look at – a big open space filled with tables and local people (always a good sign).  The seafood (clam, squid, shrimp and all kind of fish) were sold by weight and can be fried, in hot & sour sauces or by grilling.  We had a red snapper that weight in 1 kg and it only cost us $7.  It was grilled in local spicy sauce and it was heavenly.  The foods in this restaurant was so good and so reasonably priced, we went back there for dinner again.

The boat ride took about an hour.  There was no dock so we all had to treed in water to get on and off.  A nice young man came from Hotel Paruna was there to meet us.  It was only a 5 minute walk to the bungalows that are associated with World Dive Company.  At $15 a night for an ocean front bungalow, even without A/C, it was well worth the price.   The lunch was at the hotel café.  Menu is somewhat limited but reasonable.  Nusa Lembongan didn’t have cars but only a few trucks.  People use motorbike or "push" bike (regular 1 speed bike so you push a lot going uphill). 

Since neither Shiqiu or Xiaoqiu ever snorkeled before, we borrowed snorkel masks and practiced at the hotel swimming pool.  We need to teach them how to breath using the snorkel through their mouth but not nose.  Xiaoqiu picked up quickly because she is a confident swimmer.  Shiqiu was nerves but feel better after a while.   We gave a try in the ocean and she didn’t go too far away from the docking boat.  We decide to go snorkeling tomorrow morning. 

Nusa Lembongan is nice, clean and quiet.  Locals plant and harvest seaweeds for cosmetic and gelling reagent for ice cream.  The beach and the water is very tranquil and blue.  Most people we met were from Europe and are at this island for diving and surfing.  We walked to one end of the island where there are many luxury villas and resorts.  We had some not so fancy dinner at one of the restaurants and came back just sits in the front veranda and listen to the ocean waves.  This island is truly full of unspoiled natural beauty.  The tide is in and pounded the coast so loudly I got up in the middle of the night to check  whether the wave is breaking through our front door.  The wave stopped at the wall about 10 feet from our front porch.  I have never slept so close to an ocean before.  It is almost scary.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The In the morning the beach is peaceful and quite.  During the low tide local people can walk out to the seaweed farms to harvest  because the water is only waist deep and it is easy to pull the big baskets to shore.  Both men and women worked and the baskets carrying the seaweeds look quite heavy.  After the seaweeds is brought to shore they were spread in piles on group to dry in the sun and sell it to Bali, then Jakarta then the rest of the world.

We went with Captain Newman for snorkeling.  First he took us to the Mangrove area, Xiaoqiu and I went in immediately and the sight is breathtaking.  The variety of coral reefs are large and the color brilliant.  We saw lots of tropical fish, mostly small to medium sizes and a few are larger.  Xioaqiu is a good swimming but never snorkel before.  She wa quite excited about what she saw in the ocean.  Shiqiu put on snorkel but decided not using fins and stayed hanging onto the ladder of the boat.  Even so, she was able to see some fish  and corals and that was enough for her to get excited.  She was still nervous and ended up gotten some water in her but that didn’t diminished the pleasure she got seeing tropical fish in the ocean for the first time of her life.  I think we got both of them hooked to snorkeling..  We stayed for about an hour and the current was getting stronger.  The captain wants another 100,000 (about extra $12) to take us to the Mushroom Bay area.   I didn’t really like the addition of the money but it still was a pretty cheap deal for us so I didn’t argue but he was not getting any tips from me.  The water at the Mushroom Bay area was calmer and there are a lot of private resort platoons around.  The water was turquoise blue but the coral was not as bright colors as the mangrove area and there was less fish.  Shiqui was getting braver and able to move away a little from the boat and she was awed by all the fish she saw.  We held out some old bread in our hands and the fish swarm around us and some of their teeth were pretty sharp.  Even in the wild, the fish recognized foods when they saw it.  We stayed for another hour and finally happily going back for lunch.

After a nap, Ray rent a motorbike (60,000) and took me around.  I tried my hand on driving it but I was too nervous to keep it in balance.   I just let Ray drive it and I enjoy the scenery from the back seat.  The road at times are bumpy but drivable.  We saw some graves with umbrella over it.  That is how local people showing respect for their diseased.  We went up the hills Bali Hai resort where they rent out some fancy huts for about $110 a night.  It was nice but for that money I can stay at Paroda for a week and enjoy other activities.  We went further to Dream Beach.  This beach is sandwiched between two cliffs and have bigger waves and is the favorite spot for surfers.  We watched a person canoe surfing.  It looks quite difficult and  must be hard to master the skills. 

The next beach which is the Sunset beach where many people were already there to catch the glorious sunset.  I was able to snap a few pictures before a cloud covered the sun and we missed the last shot when the sun drops into the ocean.  I guess I will have to come back to Nusa Lembongan, that’s all.

We came back to Sanur for one more night before saying goodbye to beautiful Bali.  This time we had some time to walk on the beautiful Sanur beach.  There is a big Bali Hyatt resort nearby with fancy rooms and facilities but all Bali beaches are public so we can enjoy it as well as any rich clients from the fancy resort.  This makes Bali an even more attractive place for us and I am sure we will come back to the paradise again.
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balkans2009 on

I'm so glad you enjoyed Lembongan!

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