Nusa what? Well that was my reaction when hearing about this little island for the first time. Booking my Yoga Teacher Training it took me months to figure out where I want to go and Bali was definitely at top of my list. Turns out that Bali offers quite a few of these trainings – like hundreds – and so I was hoping to find THE one. And I did, at least for me I did find the absolute number one option.
Not knowing about Nusa Lembongan before this trip probably added to my decision to go exactly there. I love exploring new places away from the mainstream.
Flying into Denpasar, it took a good 40min drive to get to the ferry terminal to then float through the ocean for another half an hour to get to this beautiful little island. But step by step. It wasn’t all so smooth. Despite my plane having a big delay causing me to arrive two hours late in Denpasar, it turned out it was rush hour and traffic was insane.
Yet, what really touched me was that the taxi driver I had organized waited the whole time at the airport and didn’t once complain about the delay – I was stunned! He told me right away though that it would be rather impossible to make the ferry in time – which was the last ferry for the day. We went for it anyway. Every two minutes my driver would be on the phone to the ferry office and even though I don’t speak their language I knew we would not make it hearing a slight frustration in his voice. When the ferry definitely had left he told me that there is still an option to take another company’s ferry. So he dropped me at the office where two young girls were waiting with their scooters for me. One took my suitcase and one took me; off we went through the back roads.
When we made it to the ferry terminal I got told to wait here, pay there, and walk up to that ferry and boom, before I could even realize what was going on, the ferry starting moving. On my way to Nusa Lembongan I was!
That was the first time when my mind started to catch up and I understood where I was. Having the sunset in my back and listening to the rough ocean I knew this was going to be an amazing month ahead. The ferry slowed right down for the last very bit as it was low tide. When it couldn’t get any further we walked the last few hundred meters through the water to get to the shore. I loved it. So simple, so easy and no one complained – try doing that back home I thought haha
The next taxi driver was already waiting and took me in his little truck to my accommodation. I felt the dust, the hot air, and smelled rice and chicken in the distance. Children running around barefoot often accompanied by dogs to play with. It wasn’t until I reached my accommodation that I realized that I hadn’t eaten for the last 18 hours or so. I was more than ready to take in some Bali yummy goodness!
I spent a month on this little island and I honestly have to say if it wasn’t for the Yoga Teacher Training I probably would have stayed for a few days only to then explore more of Bali. But it was nothing short of wonderful.
Waking up with the ocean sound in my ears, sunshine every single day (it only rained once for a few minutes – it was April and the rain season had just ended), and fresh food full of delicious flavors everywhere – I couldn’t have wished for anything more.
Of course, I had to go surfing there. So on the days off, you sure knew where to find me. Surfing on top of a reef was new to me and I definitely was very respectful of the surrounding. Seeing surfers coming back to shore with cuts on their body was like a usual picture it seemed. When there wasn’t enough time to surf, I always found at least a bit of time to go for a swim and cool down. Good compromise I would say.
We were lucky to stay right by the yoga school (Santosha Yoga Institute) which also had an incredible organic cafe included. Though my absolute favorite was simply fresh coconuts. Soooo good and, especially, when getting drowsy with that burning heat, the coconut water was a good push of hydration. Coconuts were used in almost every dish – coconut cream for sauces or as a topping for banana bread, grated coconut in your smoothie bowls, coconut shakes, coconut pieces in your muesli…Vegans were catered for in every variety and, of course, there was a lot of rice dishes but more so lots and lots of mouthwatering fruits. I loved, especially, dragonfruit not only because of its pink color but more so it’s sweet fresh taste.
If you are a coffee drinker, you might be surprised to find prices like you would pay at your cafe back home. That’s when you definitely notice how touristy this island must have become as take away coffees are not a usual part of the traditional diet there…which brings me to another point that was rather devastating: rubbish! Oh my.
I couldn’t believe how much plastic was lying around on the roads, beach, everywhere. It was shocking, but even more so I felt a upset about myself being a tourist as so many others enjoying a great time and then leaving. But the people who call this place their true home stay behind with even more rubbish and most of it is probably not because of their usual lifestyle, instead, accumulated through the adaption to a tourist destination. Definitely something to think about not just when going to visit places like Bali, but even more so at home in our everyday lives. And more importantly TAKE ACTION. More on that in a different post coming soon.
In contrast to that, it wasn’t hard to fall in love with the scenery. Those sunsets on a calm night blew my mind! It seemed like the island slowed down for a moment, people stopped working here and there to come to the beach and watch the sun go down.What surprised me was that this didn’t mean work has ended. We had a construction site next door and these people kept on working hard sometimes until 9pm or 10pm in the dark! And being a small island away from all the major networks and infrastructure systems, we sure had power cuts regularly. Funnily, no one ever seemed worried. If it was late, it meant you go to sleep, or put up some candles. During the day, most of the stores would use a generator to keep functioning, but never did it feel like chaos or a problem.
Chaos that’s what the traffic felt like to me. I couldn’t believe how all these little scooters zoomed around as if nothing was holding them back. Yet, somehow it all worked out. There wasn’t one accident that I knew of while being there. Kids driving around their siblings; sometimes three or four of them on one scooter! It wasn’t a worry and somehow the traffic was running smoothly even though it might not appear so.
However, I have to tell you that I wasn’t brave enough to ride a scooter myself. Instead, I jumped on the back for a little sightseeing trip and that already was enough to make my heart jump out of my chest at least three times thinking we would crash next moment. It was worth it though. Crossing the Yellow Bridge and exploring Nusa Ceningan, the neighbour island, was quite an experience. Of course, you find some fancy home stays along the way, but what got my interest the most was getting a great view over Nusa Lembongan and seeing the island from a whole new perspective.
Spending a month there, it’s easy to get used to the everyday happenings waking up next to the ocean, having sunshine touching your skin all day, and mingling amongst the humble people of Nusa Lembongan. Having that view over the island brought another aspect to this whole experience: gratefulness; being grateful to be part of all of that and experiencing another piece of nature’s beauty up front.