Fun outdoor activities are waiting to be discovered on Lembongan Island...
Lying on the southeast part of Bali across the Badung Strait, Lembongan Island is one of Bali’s satellite islands blessed with abundant sunlight, powdery white sand and crystal clear waters with the aroma of dried seaweed filling the air. Over the years this small island has gained more popularity and has officially become another getaway option for tourists in Bali.
Getting to Lembongan is pretty easy – you can just go to Sanur Beach and take a shuttle boat over to the island. These days there are plenty of shuttle boat operators to choose from, and most of them use fiberglass fast boats with 1,000 horsepower engines and are up to international safety standards. Beware though, as there might be a slight difference in pricing for international and local tourists, but surely they will not be over your budget limit. So, hop on board that boat and let’s travel to Lembongan Island...
Into The Mangroves
Many parts of the island have been explored, with a bunch of popular activity options like the reeling right-hander wave at Shipwreck, which is a challenge for surfers, the heart-pumping parasailing thrill when being towed by a speedboat, or drift-diving at Blue Corner while encountering pelagic fish such as the mola-mola. The list goes on, yet there are still some undiscovered fun activities on the northern part of Lembongan, an area that is barely exposed by the limelight compared to the southern end like Jungut Batu Port or Dream Beach.
On the northern part of the island lies the pristine Mangrove Beach, which only takes a 10-minute scooter ride from Jungut Batu. The dense mangrove forest and open underwater coral gardens are the gems of the area. But don’t get intimidated by the imagery of “dense mangrove forest” just yet, as this forest has dozens of â€˜alleyways’ with smooth rapids mostly at high tide that allow you to paddle through and experience firsthand the lush tropical mangrove wildlife. So get ready to meet more than 30 different species of birds in this 230 hectares of mangrove, including the dive-bombing Kingfishers with their bright metallic blue feathers.
To explore this tidal forest you can either take the touristic option, which is renting a boat that can fit four to six passengers and have a local guide to push and direct the boat with a bamboo pole, which will cost you around Rp. 200,000/ trip, or better yet take the more challenging option which is renting a single or two-seat fiberglass canoe, then paddle through the forest and work those back muscles of yours that you barely know exist. The second option gives you the freedom to glide into some nooks and crannies in the forest that cannot be reached by a bigger boat. Some nooks might end in a dead end and force you to back paddle, but that’s part of the fun, isn’t it?
Into The Sea
Once you go through the mangrove forest, keep on paddling towards the open ocean and head to one of those pontoons that provide smallscale water attractions, like the sea walker and banana boat. Simply tie your canoe to the floating rope that is usually marked with jerry cans and plunge into the crystal clear water. A little tip is that you can also rent swim fins, mask and a snorkel from the vendors at the beach for just Rp.100,000/person.
Swimming in the mangrove waters offers you a one of a kind experience, especially with a mask and snorkel. The best time to do this is during full tide since the ocean current is zero to none and the visibility can be up to 50 meters or more. You can see the coral, most are table shaped, which provide shelter and food for all the small and vibrantly colored fish, including parrotfish and triggerfish.
Then, tap into the fish feeding attraction provided by one of those sea walker operators, and get ready to dive seven meters deep to find yourself surrounded by more than 150 fish. To make it even more fun, don’t forget to stuff some breadcrumbs into a bottle and bring it down with you, then open it underwater and watch as the fish gather to eat. Make sure you have a friend ready to snap the moment with a waterproof camera. I mean, you surely want to capture this special moment when you’re surrounded by hundreds of fish in their feeding frenzy mode.
TIPS TO EXPLORING LEMBONGAN ISLAND:
• If you arrive at Jungut Batu port, you can rent a scooter with prices ranging from Rp. 75,000 to Rp. 100,000/day.
• Hydrate and rehydrate. Lembongan is notoriously hot.
• Snorkeling gear, stand up paddles and canoes are available for rent at Lembongan Ocean Adventure (LOA). Call 0878-6277-2202 or 0812-3803-321.
• Some restaurants at Mangrove Beach provide a decent lunch – LOA, Pesona Mangrove and Nano- Nano to name a few.
• Go slow when riding a scooter, especially when you go to Mangrove Beach. The asphalt roads are literally beaten up.
• Better to stay overnight in Lembongan for the ultimate adventure.