Traveling to Bali is like eating peanuts. Once we start we tend to go on and on. Once we visit Bali we tend to repeat it again and again. Culture, natural attractions, traditional performances, marine activities, ritual ceremonies, culinary food, world-class accommodations, Bali has it all.
Nusa Lembongan, from fishing village to tourism hotspot
My travel activity in this story is slightly beyond the mainland of Bali. It is Nusa Lembongan, still in the Bali province, but a tiny island of around 60 km east of the Bali mainland. In the last 20 years, it became a center of marine tourism for Bali. Snorkeling, diving, seashore dinner parties, parasailing, sunset cruises, mangrove forest exploration, glass bottom boat or banana boat activities are all Nusa Lembongan has to offer.
I visited this island mid of July when I took part on a educational tour. Our main activity on this island was that we wanted to explore something new that the Bali mainland does not provide. We departed from the Benoa harbor and went on board of a Bounty cruise. It is a nice catamaran-ship which regularly services Benoa-Nusa Lembongan few times a day. Thirty minutes later after we had passed through the rough sea of Bali Strait one or two-meter high waves had significantly stirred our stomach. We all became a bit seasick really. However, our struggle on this journey had finally paid off.
A line of fine villas and hotels stand firmly on the top of the cliff, clearly visible from a distance. The long white sandy beach, clear blue salt water, tons of traditional boats and foreign tourists strolling around at the shore. When the ship slows down its speed and is ready to anchor, the feeling for diving or snorkeling becomes a constant temptation in my mind.
It is true that Bali looks more gorgeous from underwater. Snorkeling and diving in Nusa Lembongan is also more fun than I thought it was. Beneath the surface, I found a new companion; a school of fish swimming with me in the clear water. They were approaching me and seem so friendly when I feed them with a piece of bread. It seems like they are dancing around me. The next water sports activity I choose was a banana boat together with a glass bottom boat. Unfortunately, the underwater view is not so good. The coral reef is quite a mess. It died, bleached and had broken in pieces because of unfriendly fishing activity.
However, Nusa Lembongan still pays its compensation by offering its mainland tours. We tried to ride along this dried small island by bicycle. It does not take long as we find another exiting experience. The Mangrove forest tour is the perfect awnser. We try to explore the density of the mangrove forest by riding a canoe, guided by a tour leader. We strolled around the island by observing several kinds of birds which played and singed in the branched of the mangrove forest. The green atmosphere, the silence and peace makes it a perfect place for those who are tired of the bustle and hustle of the big city.
The traditional nuance in Nusa Lembongan is still preserved very well. For those who want to explore the island, they can choose a delman; a horse carriage. They can rent it in a small group of 4 to five at an affordable price. As a souvenir there are plenty of street sellers who sell handmade crafted products made by locals.
It is time to have lunch. Nusa Lembongan offers the best seafood that I ever had. Nusa Lembongan offers many culinary attractions. A vast variety of seafood is laying ready on the table; shrimps, squid, lobsters, crabs and fish in different sizes and taste. The oysters are looked good and tasteful when they are prepared by the best chef. All are made accordingly with great Indonesian taste; pretty hot really.
Looking back twenty years or more, no one will ever think that Nusa Lembongan had transformed so rapidly, from a slump with traditional fishing and camping to one of the best tourism resorts. Tourism has brought significant impact on the indigenous people and their lives. I don’t mean to exaggerate by saying that visiting Nusa Lembongan is one of the thousands places we need to see before we die.
Fifth contestant The Daily Roar 3rd Writing Contest
/// Written by Suharto, Indonesia