My watch fell off somewhere between the boat and my room. As it was a bit of a ‘jump and run’ landing on the beach I’m not surprised. I’m guessing my watch has been washed out into the deep turquoise sea. I took it as a message to set the pace for my stay on Nusa Lembongan, and decided the only time I needed to know was sunrise and sunset.
My fast boat was full. The landing as I already mentioned was a little dodgy. But I love nothing better than stepping straight into the water from the boat. Splashing through the water to shore puts me in an island mood. I dread the day they build wharves.
I jumped on the back of a bike for the short trip to my home for the next three days Isla Indah. No different to life in all parts of the world, the pandemic had given them loads of time in the garden in between working out survival strategies. The place looked even more beautiful. It felt like coming home. I was in the pool within minutes. Isla, their daughter joined me for fun-filled games that only a five year old can make up. It was heartening to hear their surf school was starting to hum again. And the range of kombuchas and jamus served in their restaurant Pisang Pisang was just what my body needed.
The last time I was on NL was pre-pandemic. I wasn’t sure what I would be returning to as tourism had only very recently picked up. Similar to Bali, there’s a number of either sadly run down or abandoned shops and villas but I was so happy to see that all of my favourite haunts had survived. And I found a couple of new spots to enjoy.
Thanks to my ‘not quite recovered from Long Covid’ status I had to limit myself to quiet activities. A kayak trip around the mangroves was perfect. The crowds hadn’t returned to this corner of the island so I had the mangroves to myself. It was surreally beautiful. Highly recommend it. I found a guy on the side of the road as a guide and he turned out to be the perfect person who didn’t mind me putting down my oars when I was tired. Definitely went off the beaten path to get there!
In my chilled out state I moved on to Tonic Body & Soul Spa for a heavenly massage and a catch up with Josie, the owner. It really is a hidden gem. Last trip I described it as ‘dreamy, gauzy, breezy, quietly elegant with just a touch of boho chic’. Nothing has changed. Its an affordable delightful treat. Make sure you allow at least two hours, you won’t want to rush away.
Josie is a wonderful caring soul, plays a part in the community in a meaningful way and is quite the master of organising amazing events. It’s always a good catch up about life on the island. Here’s the new news…
Booking your life away in advance spoils an island vibe, but once you arrive you want to know what’s going on. It’s not easy on Lembongan so Josie started a “Lembongan Events” group on WApp to keep us in the loop.
Look out for Josie’s Super Soul Sessions, a mini festival of warm up yoga, island dance and sound relaxation.
For a touch of luxe with style on the water, have a look at the activities by Morin Resort. They do sunrise and sunset cruises, wake boarding, snorkelling or you can grab a group of friends and rent one of their boats for a private program.
If you want just a taste of Lembongan with a little Goddess like indulgence, Tonic has teamed up with Morin to create the Island Goddess Escape. Perfect day trip if you’re based in Bali. Meet the boat in Sanur then think breakfast on board before docking in Lembongan for a Cacao Ceremony, a healthy lunch and a Goddess Ritual at Tonic before cruising back to Sanur in your private launch. That’s a whole lot of luxe for around $100pp.
One of the biggest changes I noticed was the amount of seaweed farming.
Clearly the pandemic had forced people who had jobs in tourism back to farming. The shift from a handful of older farmers to a younger generation is obvious. It’s hard work for little money. It reminds me of the rice farmers in my village. Lots of back breaking work.
So I was excited to hear about a new development just launched to support the farmers. With a little outside help ‘seaweed cubes’ have been created along with the “Good Karma Smoothie”. Look out for these amazing cubes, bursting with healthy goodness. The hope is they will be bought by cafes throughout Bali to be used as a supplement for smoothies. Buy a jar or a smoothie, feel good that your helping some very hardworking, poorly paid, seaweed farmers.
Looking back over my December 2019 blog lots of my practical details are the same.
And my verdict hasn’t changed. Go there!
The bean bags may be a little faded, the wine may be on the menu but often not available, but the island charm is still there.
It’s easy to have fun, to snorkel, dive, surf, or have adventures, meet new people, kick back and relax, all with sunshine and turquoise waters turned on at full blast.
Mix up every day. Do stuff. Try something new. Get salty, get on island time. Let the only big decision be…. where to settle in for sunset.
My last stop was Clam. Another insider tip from Josie. Right on the main beach not far from my fast boat home. Perfect spot for a final cold Bintang. Owned by a lovely Japanese lady married to a local guy, so no surprise their ‘Warung Pacific” is a choice of Japanese and classic surf food. I’ll be back.