Diving in Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia

manta ray Nusa Lembongan Indonesia

Nusa Lembongan is a beautiful small (8 square km) island located off the southeast coast of Bali, close to neighbouring islands of Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan. This lovely island is reachable by just a 25-minute journey by speedboat from Sanur on the southern coast of Bali.

If you are looking for quiet, laidback island vibes with stunning crystal clear turquoise waters, white sand beaches, away from the hustle of mainland Bali, then look no further!

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White Sand Beach in Nusa Lembongan Indonesia
The white sandy beaches of Nusa Lembongan.

Until recently, Nusa Lembongan was famous for the seaweed farming trade, however with the steady rise of tourism, the island is becoming more upmarket with boutiques, spas, beachfront restaurants and hotels, yet still with still a friendly local village atmosphere.

Whilst the island is a perfect place to relax; it is full of adventure with world-famous surf breaks, incredible SCUBA diving, snorkelling, paddle boarding and cliff jumping – you name it, there is something for everyone!

How long should you stay in Nusa Lembongan?

How long is a piece of string? This is a question totally depending upon what kind of trip you plan. We would recommend staying around three nights minimum to relax and to explore the island to make the most of this beautiful tropical island.

Scuba Diving in Nusa Lembongan

The seas around Nusa Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida offer the most fantastic diving, suited to all levels. Here you will find a great diversity of dive sites from shallow bays to exhilarating drift dives! If you want to experience the best of Balinese diving – you have come to the right place!

The Nusa Islands have become famous for their dramatic white cliffs and crystal clear waters. The reefs here are surrounded by healthy coral, big schools of fish and impressive macro life – however, the surrounding seas are most famous for sightings of Manta Rays and the amazing and enormous Oceanic Sunfish (Mola Mola)!

Our recommended dive school in Nusa Lembongan?

We have known the guys at Roctopus Dive for years and would wholeheartedly recommend their dive courses and trips to friends and readers alike. After the success of their first school in Koh Tao, Thailand, one adventurous arm of the Roctopus team set off to explore new waters and opened a brand new diving school on the North West coast of Nusa Lembongan!

Now up and running in Lembongan for the past 2 years, the school prioritises safety, fun and the environment as they help you to explore the waters and meet the marine life of Southeast Asia. They offer a great value for money Open Water Course in Nusa Lembongan for absolute beginners, as well as a range of diving day trips and more advanced courses. Their school runs out of Mega Cottage Resort close to Jungut Batu Beach directly opposite Shipwrecks surf breaks. They have a 15-metre private swimming pool where newbie divers can get to grips with their SCUBA equipment and learn the basics…

A Group of Travellers Learning to Dive in a Swimming Pool on Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia.
Learning to dive with Roctopus Dive, Nusa Lembongan.

What to expect when diving around Nusa Lembongan

Manta Rays!

These majestic creatures grace the waters of Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan all year round, with almost daily sightings guaranteed! The two Manta Ray dive sites (Manta Bay and the famous, ‘Manta Point’) are shallow bays filled with plankton-rich waters, where you’ll witness them feeding or cleaning at their stations. Despite their size growing up to 7 meters, don’t worry as they are completely harmless to humans and they do not have a poisonous stinger!

Scuba diving with the Manta Rays is an unbelievably magical experience, although keep your distance as these beautiful creatures can circle all around you. While there is no sightings are not guaranteed, it is possible to see 8-10 Mantas at once!

A Diver in Nusa Lembongan Indonesia with Manta Rays in the Background.
Manta Rays in Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia.

Top Tip: The South West coast of Nusa Penida is subject to ocean swell – so it’s best to take a seasickness tablet if heading out on the boat there!

Oceanic Sunfish (Mola Mola)

The magnificent Mola Mola lives in the deep cold waters on Nusa Penida. When the conditions are right, the Mola Mola will come up to the ‘shallow’ areas of the reef (well, deep for us, around 18- 40 meters) to the cleaning stations to get the parasites off their skin. If you’ve never heard of the Mola Mola before, check out this video and be amazed!

YouTube video

There are numerous dive sites around Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, usually found between the months of June to October each year, with more consistent sightings around August and September. This is due to the to the cold currents with temperatures usually ranging between 20-25 degrees celsius!

Drift Diving

Ever wanted to feel what it’s like to fly underneath the water like Superman? Welcome to the world of drift diving! Most of the diving around Nusa Penida is drift diving with currents ranging from nearly almost nothing with a gentle flow –  to drifts over 2km over a 40-minute dive time! While this may sound daunting – local instructors and guides will have wealth of knowledge and experience of the area and will know how to plan and execute drift dives, ensuring your safety and comfort.

The drift dives along the walls of the north coast of Nusa Lembongan/Nusa Penida are suited to all levels of divers, providing healthy, vibrant and colourful soft and hard corals with an abundance of marine life!

A Clown Fish hides among the Anemone, Scuba Lembongan
A clown fish hides among the anemone in Nusa Lembongan.

Here you will be able to see different types of marine life from Turtles, Mantis Shrimp, Box Fish, Giant Travels, Scorpion Fish, Octopus and schools of Batfish! If you’re extra lucky – possibly Mola Mola, Whale Sharks or Thresher Sharks! Expect visibility of 20-30 meters with warmer waters of 25 to 30 degrees, most of the year round.

The 5 Best Dive Sites in Nusa Lembongan

1. Manta Point – Level: Beginner

The plankton-rich waters of Nusa Penida, attract the graceful manta rays at their cleaning stations all year round. Sightings of blue spotted stingrays, bamboo sharks, scorpions and stone fish are often spotted. A dive not to be missed!

A Yellow Puffer Fish at Manta Point, Nusa Lembongan Diving
A yellow puffer fish in the waters around Nusa Penida.

2. Crystal Bay – Level: Beginner to Advanced

This dive site is named after its famous ‘crystal’ clear waters, as visibility here can reach over 40 meters on a good day! Crystal bay is popular amongst snorkelers and divers, as it is famous for the Mola Mola (Sunfish) seasonally from July to October each year.

The site has a sandy bottom with a sloping reef on either side with healthy coral. While it is a dive site for all levels, caution must be taken due to the strength of the current in the channel.

3. Toyahpakeh Wall – Level: Advanced

Toyapakeh means ‘Salt Water’ in Balinese, and is considered one of the best dive sites in Nusa Penida. At around 15 meters, as you will drift through the current, with stunning corals with beautiful corals.

Expect to see lionfish, pufferfish, boxfish, barracuda, moral eels, octopus, and nudibranch. If you’re lucky enough mola mola (sunfish) can be spotted. Beware that currents can get strong around here, so ensure that you stick close to the reef!

4. SD/ Pura Ped – Level: Beginner

A sloping reef topography with very beautiful coral wall, with different rock formations. Expect strong currents here at times, which provide exhilarating drift dives! You will be able to see different types of marine life from turtles, mantis shrimp, box fish, giant trevally, scorpion fish, octopus and schools of batfish!

5. Mangroves – Level: Beginner

This site is named after its location, right by the Mangroves area in North East, Nusa Lembongan. You will find yourself drifting down a gentle slope, with the reef covered with healthy and colourful coral. 

Often you will see great barracuda, napoleon wrasse, frog fish, stonefish, nudibranch, moray eels, sea turtles and more! The best time to dive here is in high tide, as when it is lower tide it can be a very intense drift.

Sea Turtle on a Coral Bed, Diving Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia
A friendly sea turtle pops up from the coral bed near Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia.

How to get to Nusa Lembongan?

Ngurah Rai International Airport to Nusa Lembongan:

The journey from the airport to Sanur takes approximately 30-45 minutes by taxi, depending upon traffic. From here you will need to take a boat to Nusa Lembongan.

Sanur to Nusa Lembongan by boat:

Nusa Lembongan is only a 25-30 minute speedboat journey, departing from Sanur (south of mainland Bali). There are many companies who offer this service, which usually includes a pickup service from your hotel, and drop you off at your hotel in Lembongan.

Recommended Transport Companies to Nusa Lembongan

  • Sugriwa Express: Departing Sanur at 9.30am, 1.30pm and 5pm daily.
  • Rocky Fast Cruises: Departing Sanur at 9pm, 1pm and 4.30pm
  • D’Camel: Departing Sanur at 8.30am, 12.30pm, 4pm
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