I rarely feel the need to “escape” from my daily life. I don’t feel weighed down by routine, Sharing Bali is not a job, it’s a way of life. I’ve never really struggled with the “work life balance” dilemma. If you are doing what you truly love, even if it is working for someone else under their “rules”, I believe it is possible to create a life that works for you. The secret is in surrounding yourself with those with the same values with an unwritten agreement on what is acceptable behaviour. And if they should momentarily slip from those standards, we are only human and subject to emotional fragilities after all, they are up for being brought back into line without holding any grudges. The result is everyone has the freedom to be who they really are and the job gets done.
Whilst I don’t need to escape, my Sharing Bali life does allow my desire for impromptu travel. Nusa Lembongan Island is just an hour across the water making it an easy escape.
My preferred mode of transport is always the slow one. I avoid the speed boat services and take the Perama Boat from Sanur. My ten bucks buys me a seat on a wooden boat with an outboard motor and a friendly crew. I truly relax on this ride, hanging out over the side watching the beach and mountains of Bali disappear behind me. No thoughts. Time out.
You are best to travel NL style… light! This is not the place to arrive with 30kg of matching luggage. There are no jetties with provision for you to wheel off your glam bags. Arrival is all the same no matter the price you pay. You will be jumping off the boat and wading through water that could be thigh high, depending on the tide, before walking across the hot sand to find a motorbike or an open van to take you to your hotel.
On my most recent trip I stayed at Dream Beach, a more remote area, but ideal for my agenda of catching up with a friend, working out on the beach, writing most of the day and celebrating with a glass of champagne at sunset.
I stayed in a traditional grass roof “lumbung” style bungalow. A simple timber room, with a bed, mosquito net, a balcony overlooking the ocean and an outdoor bathroom. Cold water showers are the norm, its so hot in NL. The beach is pretty much private and clean. If you are looking for a very quiet place to stay, this is the place.
NL is a playground for water sports. I always hook our guests up with Chris at Monkey Surfing on the main beach for surf & SUP lessons as well as spear fishing expeditions. For those who are adept at holding their breath underwater… Chris has now free diving. Every hotel can organise a snorkelling or dive outing for you.
I always go to the Yoga Shack if I’m staying near the main beach. It’s worth peeling yourself off your day bed to get to one of their classes. In island style, you can just drop in, no need to book.
Beyond tourism, life is pretty basic on NL. Life revolves around seaweed farming and fishing.
It’s a hot dry island. You won’t find lush rice paddies and farming land here. Supplies arrive daily by boat from Bali. I don’t find the food to be too fabulous. Lots of tourist food, think jaffles and nasi goreng. My favourite place is Ibu Nyoman’s Warung for the freshest fish cooked local style. Basic tables and chairs overlook the water and there is sand under your feet. My type of place. Its out near the mangroves. If you want to treat yourself, there is a pretty fabulous French Restaurant on the main beach at Indiana Kenanga.
There are hundreds of places to stay on NL. Everything from backpacker to luxury. If I am not at Dream Beach I stay at Ketut’s Losmen on the main Jungutbatu beach. Simple, cheap and central with WiFi. I can run out towards the sunrise on the village road, walk to the yoga shack, choose from the beachside eating places and catch the boat home from here. The beach is not pristine, it’s a working beach for seaweed farmers and fisherman. So don’t expect to be frolicking in the surf, but you will be treated to sensational sunsets.
The best way to explore the island is by motorbike. You can hire pushbikes, but the roads are pretty bad, so there’s not a lot of joy in cycling, especially when you factor in the heat. NL is not the place to test out your motor bike skills for the first time. Jump on the back with a local if you are not experienced. I had my first accident in NL thanks to a young Japanese guy losing control and ending up on the wrong side of the road on a blind corner. It was just a bump for us as we were going so slow, but it was enough to frighten the poor guy!
I walked from Jungut Batu to Mushroom Bay, but it’s not a great walk. Some parts are scenic but other parts you feel like you are walking through a lot of rubbish and construction sites. There are some better walks past Dream Beach, but it’s really best to spend you time on NL in the water or on a day bed with a good book.
I have mastered the art of working wherever, whenever. Years of globe trotting for business has given me the ability to work on a plane, in the airport lounge, cafes, late at night in dimly lit hotels (lighting designers always go for the moody, soft lighting which is ideal for romantic interludes but just not great when you have to read reports, work your way through colours and fabrics or type up notes that have been hastily scribbled on random bits of serviettes through the day). I don’t need “perfect” conditions to work. Give me a laptop size space and preferably some wifi and I can get to work. I can sit on the floor, set up in a bar, or by the river perched on a rock. Blocking out the sound of motorbikes screaming by or airport public address systems is no problem. My laptop is always in my backpack, ready to go…..
Nusa Lembongan is my go to place for a quick beach stay at the moment. Contact me if you would some travel tips. Have some have places of your own? Share them. Leave a comment. That’s what travellers do.