Places of Interest in Nusa Lembongan Island, Bali

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, the Nusa Lembongan Resort 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. Surfers and backpackers hang out in the latter, about 150 per
month, for an average stay of three to five days. The only other
visitors are European, Japanese, and Australian day-trippers on
excursion boats. Jungut Batu offers the island's best accommodations and
water sport opportunities. 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. Jungut Batu's charming
"tree house" bungalow-style accommodations with outdoors open-air
'mandi', rickety wooden furniture, sand floor restaurants and offices
are reminiscent of Kuta Beach 20 years ago. Crops are meager, and the
only fruit available is melon. All other food must be imported from the
market in Denpasar or from the neighboring island of Nusa Penida.

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