Adventures,  Bali,  Itineraries

5 Best Nusa Lembongan Day Trips to Make the Most Your Holiday

If you are heading to Bali on a limited vacation time and debating whether or not to include Nusa Lembongan in your Bali itinerary, worry no more – a menu of Nusa Lembongan day trips have grown over the last several years, leaving visitors with various options to explore one of Bali’s popular island destinations.    

With so many incredible destinations in Bali, I know that it can feel frustrating when you want to squeeze as much as you can into your it’s-never-long-enough travel schedule.  But with a boost in tourism these days, Bali has been making significant strides to meet the tourism demands by offering tour packages that highlight some of the island’s top hot spots.

If you love marine activities – whether it’s surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, parasailing – Nusa Lembongan is surely not to be missed.   The tiny island located just 30 minutes to the east of Bali is a very popular destination for some of the best diving and snorkeling in Bali.

If you’d prefer to relax on the white sand beaches and work on your bronze tan, Nusa Lembongan has some of the most stunning beaches in Bali as well!

Simply put, you don’t want to miss this magical paradise.  If you have a few days to visit this incredible island, Lembongan is definitely worth a separate trip.  Just hop on any one of the fast boats from Sanur to Lembongan and begin your tropical getaway.

But if you have only one day to spare, you can choose from one of many Nusa Lembongan tours and explore the stunning island while optimizing your time.  I say one day in Nusa Lembongan is better than none!

In this post, I will share with you five Nusa Lembongan day trips and describe the tour packages so that you can have clear expectations and make informed decisions about which trip best matches your interests and needs.

Note: All the trips discussed in this post are inclusive of pick-up service at your hotel in the morning (some may charge extra depending on your location in Bali) as well as drop-off service to your hotel at the end of your Lembongan trip.

Bali Hai Reef Cruise
photo courtesy of Balihaicruises.com

Day Trip Option 1: Reef Cruise

I have worked on this Reef Cruise in the past, and I can tell you that it’s great fun – well, so the guests told me!

Bali Hai is a large (and reputable) aquatic tour company that provides various cruises around Bali.  They provide three tours in particular around Nusa Lembongan, which I will discuss in detail.

The Reef Cruise package is one of Bali Hai tours that includes marine sports based off of a pontoon in Nusa Lembongan.

Once you board the triple-deck cruise ship in Bali, you will begin sail around 09:30, and pull up to the pontoon located off of Mushroom Bay in Lembongan where you will spend the next 6 hours playing on waterslides, jumping off a diving board, riding a banana boat, snorkeling around the pontoon, or participating in other activities.

A buffet-style lunch is provided on the cruise ship.  You will remain on the pontoon the entire day for all your water sports activities unless you sign up for a village tour (inclusive of your package) or a mangrove tour (additional cost).  Otherwise, this particular package does not involve actual island exploration.

Your day trip package will include unlimited:

  • Snorkeling and swimming around the pontoon
  • Banana boat
  • Waterslide
  • Diving board
  • Underwater viewing chamber
  • Submarine ride

For an extra fee, you can add these activities at the time of booking:

  • Aquanauts (for non-certified divers)
  • Discover Scuba Diving (for non-certified divers)
  • 1 pontoon dive (for certified divers only)
  • 2 dives (for certified divers only)
  • Parasailing

If you are not a scuba diver but enjoy the underwater world, try the Aquanauts – I met a lot of guests who told me that it was the highlight of their trip!   Aquanauts is a unique experience that allows you to submerge underwater wearing a helmet that supplies air so that you can interact with the colorful fishes a few meters under the surface.

There is a staff onboard who is an underwater photographer and takes amazing photos if you ever want souvenirs from your adventures in the sea.   His name is Gama – don’t forget to ask for him!  He will produce the photos and make it available to you for purchase by the end of the day

Aquanauts enjoying the corals and fish underwater
photo courtesy of Balihaicruises.com

Day Trip Option 2: Beach Club Cruise

On this Bali Hai cruise, you will take the same cruise as above, except you will be whisked off to Mushroom Bay where you will spend a full day on the Bali Hai Beach Club relaxing around the Lembongan beach and the resort pool.

pool and lounge chairs at Bali Hai beach club
photo courtesy of Balihaicruises.com

In this Nusa Lembongan tour package, you will have unlimited access to:

  • Banana boat ride
  • Submarine ride
  • Swimming, kayaking, and snorkeling from the shore
  • Resort pool
  • Beach volleyball

Your buffet-style lunch will be served at poolside in the Bali Hai resort.

The Beach Club cruise is a great option if you are looking for a relaxing day on the beach or at the pool working on your tan while sipping on a coconut (or a Bintang!).  But if you’d like to sign up for additional activities such as those listed under Reef Cruise tour, you can do that as well!

You will begin boarding the cruise ship around 15:30 and prepare for your departure back to Bali.   The ship is huge, with 3 levels of the seating area.  The top deck is outdoors, and you can enjoy the sun and the breeze.  If you prefer the air-conditioned room, you can relax in the main deck (first level) or the saloon on the second level.

Bali Hai II sailing over the ocean
photo courtesy of Balihaicruises.com

Day Trip Option 3:  Snorkeling Tour 

Nusa Lembongan is one of a trio – there are two sister islands Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida.   These sister islands are home to some of the most incredible marine life, from the vibrant reef fish to Oceanic Manta Rays that can grow as big as 7 meters!

Needless to say, snorkeling in these waters is one of the most popular Lembongan activities.

Some breathtaking snorkeling sites include Toyapakeh, Manta Point, Gamat Bay, and Crystal Bay around Nusa Penida and Mangrove Point and Jack Point around Nusa Lembongan.

Due to the sea conditions constantly changing around Nusa Penida, most operators do not schedule the destinations ahead of the trip.  Since the islands are often prone to rough surge and waves, the boat captain usually schedules the itinerary in the morning of the trip according to his assessment of the weather and route conditions.

While working on Nusa Lembongan, I heard some guests complain of trip cancellations to Manta Point  – while it can be disappointing not to be able to see the magnificent Mantas, keep in mind that the captains and the crew must place your safety first – so if they have to cancel the trip, it’s usually for a good reason.

There are countless Nusa Lembongan snorkeling tours, but I booked a package with Lembongan Water Sport when my dad visited me in Bali.  I wanted to introduce him to the beautiful underwater world and boy, did he love it!

The snorkeling trip included 3 snorkeling sessions around Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida.  We tried Manta Point for the manta sightings, but our connection was not meant to be on the day of our trip.

Instead, we snorkeled Toyapakeh, Mangroves, and Crystal Bay and let me just say that dad did not want to get out of the water!   He was so impressed with the fish diversity and the colors of the reefs that he was always the last one back on the boat.

snorkelers enjoying the colorful reefs and fishes underwater
photo courtesy of Balihaicruises.com

Here is what you can expect from your snorkeling tour package:

After you are picked up in Bali, you will be transferred to a fast boat that will take you to Nusa Lembongan.  You will land on Jugut Batu beach, where you will hop on a truck for a short ride to their facility at Mangrove point.

Once there, you get your snorkeling gear and you are set for your snorkeling trip!   A bottle of water, lunch, and a towel will be provided.

When you return from snorkeling tour around 14:30, you will have some time to kayak around the Mangrove forest if you’d like.   I skipped this part of the activity, but I know that some other guests enjoyed it.

Day Trip Option 4:  Scuba Diving

Another way to make a day trip to Nusa Lembongan is with a scuba diving package.

With about 25 dive sites around the sister islands, Nusa Lembongan is a very popular destination for scuba diving enthusiasts.   Particularly during the mola mola season between July to October, you can find scuba divers from all over the world flocking to this small island, trying to get a glimpse of the rare and majestic Sunfish.

There are many dive shops throughout Bali offering day trips to the various popular diving destinations such as Tulamben, Amed, Padang Bai, and Nusa Penida (for the famous dive sites Crystal Bay and Manta Point).

Looking for other diving inspirations in Bali? 
Check out this post on a guide to diving in Tulamben, and this post on the 5 helpful tips when planning a dive trip! 

nusa lembongan day trips: scuba diving with manta rays
photo courtesy of Christian Nielsen

If you want to take a day trip from Bali to dive the Nusa islands, contact some dive operators and inquire about their dive schedule.   The dive shops generally rotate the dive destinations, so Penida is not scheduled daily.

With a scuba diving tour, you will not have an opportunity to participate in any Nusa Lembongan island tour or activities.  The majority of your day will be spent either underwater or on the boat.   But don’t worry, you will have some magnificent views of the cliff drop-offs, turquoise blue waters, and palm trees and white beaches surrounding the island!

There are countless dive centers to choose from in Bali – here are just some that you can check out if you are considering a dive trip option:

Blue Season Bali
Atlantis
Bali Scuba
Crystal Divers
Aquamarine

All the above dive shops provide a full-service package, inclusive of pick-up and drop-off, lunch, water and coffee/tea, and towels.   And of course a professional dive guide.

Check out this comprehensive guide on scuba diving
around Nusa Lembongan island!

Day Trip Option 5: Island Hopping

This three-Island hopping tour around the Nusa islands is another one of Bali Hai tour options that I highly recommend if you want to explore the landscapes and the underwater world of all three stunning islands.

guests enjoying the ride on island hopping speed boat
photo courtesy of Balihaicruises.com

You will be cruising quite fast over the water, so if you are one of those people who enjoy thrill rides, you’re in for a treat!   If you are sensitive to motion sickness, either skip this tour or take some Dramamine before the day begins.    As I mentioned in an earlier section, surface condition around Nusa islands can be rough and choppy.

This island hopping tour mainly involves island explorations from the boat, with one or two brief snorkeling sessions depending on the water conditions.  You may have a brief stop at the Bali Hai resort to grab drinks and stroll around the beach.

The snorkeling sites will depend on the weather and surface conditions, but it will likely be at some of the snorkeling sites I mentioned in the previous section.  Since this is an island-hopping tour rather than a snorkeling tour, the snorkeling sessions are much shorter, about 15-20 minutes at each location.

This island-hopping tour includes:

  • Towel
  • Lunch on boat
  • Snorkeling gear

Your tour of Nusa islands will wrap up around 16:00 and you will begin your journey back to your hotel.

The magnificent view of the Mount Agung while cruising around Nusa Lembongan

Summary of Nusa Lembongan Day Trips

With various options for a day trip to Nusa Lembongan island, you can experience the best of this tropical island in more ways than one!

Whether you are a lover of the beaches, the ocean, or the underwater world, this stunning paradise offers just about everything to help you create an unforgettable Bali vacation.

I can tell you that after my first visit to Nusa Lembongan in 2009, I continued to fantasize of this dreamy island for many years to come.  When I finally returned in 2014, I was determined to stay for good, and I eventually made Bali my home 😉

So go ahead, visit this paradise and see the beauty of this island for yourself!

Nusa Lembongan | Bali Travel | Check out this post for some of the best day trip options for exploring Nusa Lembongan if you have a tight Bali itinerary. From snorkeling, scuba diving, to island-hopping tours, these Bali travel tips will help you make the most of your trip to paradise! #bali #nusalembongan #beautifuldestinations
Bali Travel Tips | Bali Travel | Nusa Lembongan | Looking for things to do in Bali with a limited schedule? Check out this post for one-day Bali itinerary options to the paradise island of Nusa Lembongan! #bali #nusalembongan

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