Zac and I both love it here. It’s far from the dirty, smelly, traffic-filled Kuta, and the loudest noise is the sound of waves crashing on the shore.
The sleepy island of Lembongan is popular among tourists, but with limited boats arriving and leaving each day, it remains the quiet, younger sister of the Gili Islands.
Our ‘hotel’ is called a ‘home stay’ here. The name of our place is called Made (mah-day) Inn, and is apparently named after the host’s mother, who opened the first ever home stay on the island. There are just 4 rooms, each with a bathroom, and a deck overlooking the ocean. ($15 a night!) Also, side not of trivia, there are only 4 Balinese names (the first 3 have female/male versions):
- Ketut (unisex)
If you have 5 kids, you’ve got to use the same name twice. The middle names are the “special” names, which are different for each child.
The owner/host of the home stay is very pleasant, with impressive English. Her little 2-3-year-old daughter is a cute, but bratty little menace. She is obviously the one in charge around here and she let’s everyone know it.
We rented a motorbike – at about $6 for the day, and rode around the island, passing through some pretty incredible scenery. I spent the first 20 minutes terrified – riding on a bike with no helmet, any faster than 20 mph, with someone else controlling the steering and the brakes is my worst nightmare – but we survived.
We headed up to the Mangrove Forest, which is basically a watershed where they harvest seaweed. The western side of the island is mostly used for tourism, while the rest of the island is covered in plots of drying seaweed. They export it to be used in beauty products.
The water on Lembongan is remarkably clear, but was kind of murky the first two days. There are two main surf breaks about 500m out on the reef – Lacerations and Playground. We didn’t get a chance to do any snorkeling while on the island, but we’ll definitely do that in Thailand.
Later we took another attempt with the motorbike and found the suspension bridge to another tiny little island called Ceningan. The bridge is no wider than a sidewalk, and is slightly terrifying, but we crossed it with aplomb! (And by aplomb, I mean, speed and terror.)
We headed back to our little home stay, and as the heat started to die down, I felt comfortable enough to go for a RUN!
Despite the 95% humidity, and 90-degree heat, it was great to run. Zac and I were sick for about a day and a half from something we ate or drank in Kuta (Bali), so I wasn’t quite sure how my stomach would react. I made it a paltry 4.6 miles, and was soaking wet when I finished.
Running is not something people do around these parts. I got a few stares, and one woman reacted by saying something loud and fast in Indonesian, which I couldn’t understand, but it sounded like she was quite aghast. The tiny little island is a nice place to run, with small roads, and unmarked trails, loops, and random paths. It was worth the 2L of water I had to consume to feel normal again. Then off to find a six-dollar meal.
We’re both covered with bug bites, and there were tons of ants, lizards, and other creatures to keep us company on the island, but we had a great time anyway!
We took the fast boat back to Bali, which was quite an enjoyable experience. Rather than an hour and fifteen minutes of the slow and steady ebb and flow of the sea, we bounded through the ocean and showed Poseidon who’s boss. But seriously, they helped us get our stuff on board for no charge, helped us get on board, provided cushy seats, and even gave us each a bottle of water! It was twice as expensive as the slow boat/ferry/public boat that we took to get to the island, but it was definitely nice. (On the first boat we were sitting on planks and water jugs with a vomiting girl and a snorting pig as our shipmates.) They even hooked us up with an air-conditioned shuttle ride to our next destination – Ubud!
I’m trying to figure out how to create and embed an interactive map for those of you with stalker-like tendencies. (Just kidding.) Can’t quite do it, so here’s an image instead. In case you’re wondering, Sanur is the Bali port, and Denpasar is where the airport is.