Wednesday, February 24, 2010

NUSA LEMBONGAN TRIP REPORTS

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JULIE'S NUSA LEMBONGAN TRIP REPORT - visited July 2012

Beach Blogger was keen on staying at his favourite Dream Beach but the facts that it is islolated from other restaurants/activities and that I would be in a constant state of nervous tension (see later) caused us to choose Mushroom Bay, a location neither of us has stayed at before.

Mushroom Bay main beach from the north end. This is about half tide. At lowest tide the area in font and to the right of the camera becomes exposed rock and you can walk around the small headland behind camera to a smaller beach, although the mid and far end in shot always have enough water for okay swimming. At highest tide this is another of those beaches which doesn't have a lot of dry sand left - although there was always some for keen sunbathers. When I visited this beach on my previous Lembongan trip I wasn't impressed by the entry to the water. The sand was steep and boggy, but this didn't seem to be the case in 2012. One nice point about this beach is that the offshore reef and that long headland in the background tend to protect it from big waves that you get in some other areas. This makes Mushroom Bay a much safer beach than Dream Beach. And it is definitely a nicer beach than Jungubatu.

Mushroom Bay from the opposite end. If you click to expand you will see the high water mark is only half way up the beach here - definitely the best area for sunbathers at full high tide. Our resort, Tanis Villas, was down this end of the sand, to the right of the first gap in the boats. It was not beachfront in the central area as Agoda's map indicated, but in a pretty good position nevertheless. A small road comes down to the beach alongside Tanis Villas but the main access road arrives adjacent that big beachfront structure (Barbarella restaurant) you can see just behind the 4th yellow boat.


Our resort did not have sunlounges along the sea wall as at some Mushroom Beach places, but you can see that the beach is a very short walk from the lower of Tanis Villa's two pools.

You can see both pools in this image. Tanis Villa's small restaurant is immediately behind the camera. The restaurant had nice food at prices some 20% to 50% higher than budget resort restaurants, very similar to some of the other beachfront restaurants. The inclusive breakfast was basic but adequate. Tanis Villa's staff were hard working and lovely.

The resort's rather nice villas are set in a lush garden area up a slight to moderate slope. We went for a less expensive Sea View Room in a small hotel block of 8 units right up the back of the resort. Despite the height of our room, tall trees result in a fairly restricted sea view, but people in Sydney's eastern suburbs are paying a fortune for ocean glimpses far smaller than this. If you go for the least expensive Garden View Rooms you will be on the ground floor, no sea view but with an identical room as far as we could see.

Turning 45 degrees from the previous image gives you this outlook over some the villas to the distant hills of Lembongan. Nearest structure is not a villa but a bale - a covered sitting platform for lazing about on. There were several of these scattered down the slope to the pools. Ideal for reading, dozing, getting a massage or drinking lots of vodka and playing cards as one group of young Russians seemed to do all day.

Our air con room was pretty nice. Roomy, comfy bed with and excellent net, good storage, a frig stocked at restaurant prices. There was no free drinking water. The big bathroom had a bath, shower with dodgy hot water, and a double toilet seat to suit small children as well as adults. This was a quiet area.

EATING AT MUSHROOM BAY
There would be at least half a dozen resort restaurants and the same number of stand-alone places. We only had time to sample 3 others besides Tanis Villa's.

MUSHROOM BAY BUNGALOWS' restaurant is the standout as far as views are concerned, situated on the northern headland with an outlook down the beach and across to south Bali. Food was pretty good, prices in the same range as Tanis Villas. The resort here is pretty nice, with garden bungalows and an attractive pool. More expensive than Tanis Villas.

 This is the main arrivals road for the Mushroom Bay, arriving about two thirds down the beach from the northern end and only 70m from Tanis Villas. If you are walking along the beach look for the big concrete slab with lots of parked motorcycles. There is a good range of restaurants along this road plus several small stores, a few resorts including Mushroom Bay's cheaper options and a some trip booking offices. All are crowded into the first 250m or so, although a bit further as you start to climb the hill you will come to a few fruit stalls.
The building on the left is the beachfront BARBARELLA restaurant. This seemed to be the most popular on the beach with a good crowd every night. Get there early if you want one of the beachfront tables which have nice views of the lights of Sanur and south Bali once it gets dark. Our meal here was very good with prices in the same range as Tanis Villas and Mushroom Bay Bungalows.
But our favourite restaurant was about 3 minutes walk up the road on the right at ALEM NUSA SPA. Set in a small garden setting, the food here was excellent in taste with big servings and the prices genuinely bottom budget. Service was terrific.
There were other budget priced restaurants in this area but we found Alem Nusa so good we didn't try them.

Location of places mentioned above. White line towards top is the path across the headland from Tamarind beach to the rear of Mushroom Bay Bungalow's restaurant. This route seems to have changed every time one of us revisits. The headland is being subdivided for villas and resorts so it will probably change again soon.

Not at Mushroom Bay but mentioned in several Tanis Villa reviews as a fabulous place to eat is BEACH CLUB. Shortest route from Mushroom Bay is to take the small lane which heads up the hill beside Tanis Villa and follow the signs - about a 10 minute walk. We didn't eat here but prices seemed to be a bit higher than at Tamarind, Tanis Villa and Mushroom Bay Bungalow restaurants, still a bargain by western standards. Nice pool and dramatic outlook although the beach did not look particularly safe for swimming.

AROUND MUSHROOM BAY
Beach Blogger modified this Google Earth image to show some of the places within close proximity.

Dream Beach
This is about another 10 minutes on from Beach Club. Once again follow the signs.
Beach Blogger says this is Bali's best beach. But not in my eyes. I got nervous the half hour we sat in the restaurant watching these people fool around in the swash/backwash area. Rip currents are often hard to spot but  I can see one just off their part of the beach. The surf here is downright dangerous - it was the the previous time I visited and BB tells me that big south-east swell is a consistent in dry season on account of the strong south-east trade winds blowing all the way from Australia. If I stayed here I would worry constantly that someone is going to get into difficulties. There are no life guards, so guess who would go in to drag them out? Now BB is a very fit and experienced big surf swimmer, but without a rescue board or other flotation devices even professional life guards can get into difficulties supporting and then towing in a half drowned swimmer who in panic is likely to grab them around the neck or jump on their back. And experience has shown that it is often more than one swimmer who gets into difficulties. Frequently a parent attempts to rescue a child and also gets into trouble.
Please if you visit here go no further than these people into the surf unless you too are experienced swimming in big nasty conditions. Being a good swimmer is not enough - you need to be able to spot the rips, know how to escape them, avoid breaking your neck in the shore break etc.
BB tells me this beach could be benign for much of wet season when the winds reverse making this is a lee coast - so if you visit between say November and the end of February this indeed could be a nice beach (some wet season days are very sunny, excellent for the beach). But neither of us has visited here in wet season, so maybe any reader who does could post in and tell us about the surf.


Another negative in my opinion is that dry sand is limited much of the time. It is not full tide here but the swash of the biggest waves was getting right to the back of the beach for most of its length despite the steep profile. There were some permanently dry gullies to right and behind camera with a half dozen sunbathers each at the time of shot.


Fortunately swimmers and sunbathers have an excellent alternative at the resort, Dream Beach Huts - this twin rim pool (notice the lower front pool) area had a good supply of sun lounges. The view isn't bad either. If you are a non guest, Beach Blogger tells me that he legitimizes himself at such places by buying some food/drink from the restaurant or bar. I don't have that kind of front.


So we had oour drink in the adjacent restaurant. If you can tear your eyes away from possible drama on the beach the outlook is pretty fine. Restaurant prices here seemed to be in the same range as at Tanis Villa, Tamarind and Mushroom Beach Bungalows.

Jungubatu
I don't enjoy the coastal track around to Jungubatu bay. Tamarind and Coconut beaches are not all that attractive. However BB told me I would be amazed by the transformation of the southern headland of Jungubatu beach. Which indeed I was: when we stayed there in 2006 our Coconuts Resort was one of only a few developments on the headland. Now it is approaching fully built out. Click-expanding the image will give you a better idea.


This is as good as the beach at Jungubatu gets. Unlike Tamarind and Coconut beaches at least it is clean of flotsam and sea-weed which is a credit to the locals seeing this corner section is the area of maximum sea weed farming (just offshore) and also gets pretty intensive boat traffic. There are a fair few cheap resorts, small stores, boat offices etc along here too. Like most of the rest of the beach, the sand is wet right up to the break-wall - it is not a good high tide location.

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TOM'S NUSA LEMBONGAN TRIP REPORT - visited February 2010

Last time I was there was 1992 so quite a bit has changed - but Lembongan is still a very relaxing place. The weather has been absolutely beautiful, almost no rain season at all this year.

I stayed at Linda's bungalows, a pretty good place and great food. Bungalows are 100000 but the best are the 2 rooms she has in the private villa,200000 rp absolute beachfront,amazing views and huge balcony to relax on.

I checked a few other places very close to Linda's on Jungubatu Bay but they were quite a bit higher: Ketut 250-400000 , next door to Ketut's the heavily redeveloped Mainski Inn at 250000/night. Agung was a good cheapie for 70000 but nothing compared to Linda's.

Jungubatu Bay south of Linda's.

The best way to see the island and other beaches is renting a motorbike (70000 /day) and this what seems most people are doing cos although it is not a big island it is very very hot and the walk to lets say Mushroom Beach is at least 45 minute walk, Dream Beach and Sunset Beach over an hour.

The nicest beach is Dream beach and although it was pretty flat when I was there there was still a good undertow so certainly not advisable on windy days.

Restaurant and bungalows at Dream Beach Huts. Very nice views from the upper deck of restaurant.

Snorkeling off the beaches is very mediocre, best is at Mushroom Bay which is the best swimmimg beach.

I took the Perama boat from Kuta at 125000 including shuttle bus to Sanur, quite a comfortable boatride - surprisingly for this time of the year. The public boat (above at Sanur) was 60000 (but no transfer from Kuta) and looks quite ok as well if there are no rough seas.

Low tide from the headland at Jungubatu shows seaweed farms - at high tide the lagoon is very scenic. Linda's is on the beach at far end of the photograph.

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Thanks Tom:
If you want to do a Trip Report on Lembongan or any other beach or island pleased send text and/or any photos and captions to lajolla22@hotmail.com - with enough contributions we can keep people more up to date than my visits every year/second year or so manage.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you nice article.
    your next trip…Phuket is the best choice for you!!
    I love here Surin Beach Hotel This hotel is very nice clean and the people are friendly. VERY nice hotel with helpful staff.
    And I really love white sand, crystal clear waters at Surin Beach too.
    Thank again.

    ReplyDelete