We LOVE Bali and everything it has to offer... but sometimes it's nice to venture off the beaten track and experience a little of what Indonesia has to offer.
After visiting a few of the Islands multiple times we thought we'd share a little insight from the friends we've met along the way and get a bit of an insider's guide to one of our favourite islands... Lembongan.
Nadia Judd has been involved with villas, the community and Bali / Lembongan life for many years now and is the resident expert when it comes to venturing to this beautiful island. Below is a little interview and insight provided by Nadia.
Nadia, What brought you to the Bali?
My parents were coming to Bali throughout the 70s. When we were children we would always come to Bali on family trips. I fell in love with the magic of Bali, the people and the culture mostly… how kind and creative they are. The temples, the carvings, the batik prints. I was mesmerised by “The island of the Gods” and knew it was home for me I just didn’t know when or how that path would unfold.
What did you start with villas on Lembongan instead of Bali?
Dad, my sister and my brother were always travelling around Bali looking for new surf spots. The clean water, sandy beaches and the boat ride which is short and safe with experienced skippers from mainland Bali, Lembongan Island quickly became our favourite destination. So we bought land with a local friend of ours and began to build some Villas. We didn’t really have any plans we just wanted it to be a family holiday home. But we loved the island so much we wanted it to share it with everyone so I moved from Sydney to Bali to manage the project and create our boutique oasis we now call BERSANTAI VILLAS.
How many villas do you have in total?
I started with BERSANTAI VILLAS. Overlooking playgrounds and lacerations surf breaks on the hill we started to build our first Villas with BERSANTAI VILLAS (4 x private villas of 1 and 2 bedroom size). Lots of younger couples and honeymooners loved Bersantai and then after that I focused on growing a family friendly villa which opened this year called OPERA VILLA (5 bedroom luxury villa) - www.operavilla.com. And my latest project VILLA TANJUNG (5 Bedroom Luxury Villa) www.tanjungbali.com is on its way. We love Lembongan and the people are so friendly, so we ensured we maintained this philosophy with the staff whom all are local Balinese living in Nusa Lembongan.
All the villas are perfectly located on the waterfront overlooking the surf, styled with a traditional Balinese feel but luxurious. Most guests who stay with us ask our staff if they can take home the pillows and the beds! We really emphasise having a restful and rejuvenating stay. Our staff are on site daily making sure any wish you have is taken care of. We like create an experience for our guests, we are not just a hotel or a room. We offer Stand up Paddle boarding, snorkelling, swimming with manta rays, banana boating, in room Balinese massage and private yoga or surfing lessons. Most of our guests like an adventure and access to all of the action and water sports available on Lembongan.
Why is Lembongan so special?
Firstly the people. They make the island what it is. My staff are like family and I give thanks and gratitude everyday for how they treat me and my friends and family when we visit. They are always willing to learn and always genuine. They LOVE to laugh and never take themselves too seriously. They are kind to anyone they meet regardless of who you are and what you look like. I have learnt so much from the people here, like how to slow down and enjoy everything you do. Like how to be present weather it is at work or play. It's not about the end journey or the future it's about being grateful and compassionate …NOW and in every moment. I think western people can be unkind to each other and often are waiting for the next holiday or the next new car or new house. The Balinese have taught me to understand that everyday life is perfect just they way it is and to enjoy it. They have taught me to be consistent with my actions and always always treat everyone with remembering that words spoken can never be taken back... Karma seems to be magnified in this country. The kinder you are the more abundance you find. If you are dishonest or ungrateful it will come back to bite you 10x worse.
What is a dream day in Lembongan for you?
Sunday…. Sumatra Coffee…Morning Stand up Paddle Board, Cooking breakfast at my house with friends. Yoga and a massage. Going on Ketuts boat at Sunset and taking photos of the surf or swimming with Mantas. I'm always happy if I’m in the ocean and only have to wear a bikini all day.
I've been to some luxurious locations, Hotels and Villas all over the world and I have to say my favourite is OPERA VILLA. Featured above with 20M infinity lap pool, private chef and 6 butler staff… Total perfection -www.operavilla.com
Favourite food, cafes, etc. in Lembongan?
The Deck Cafe and Bar, right next to my house does a good breakkie. I often i find myself often sipping on something delicious down there at sunset. They now have Sunday sessions with DJs and that's always super fun! My fave is the Potato Head cocktail make from Lychee and Coconut. Watch out they are addictive! For local food I love Nyomans Warung and Pondock Baruna. Cheap local style fish and traditional food. Le Pirates for lunch is great too, snapper mango ceviche and green papaya salad are good. Hai Bar is another favourite spot, beach front at Mushroom Bay. You can have a swim and grab a wood fire pizza pretty nice there. "The Palms” On Cengingan island is a must for sunset and fish tacos.
Recommendations for families who visit Lembongan?
Stay at Opera or Tanjung Villas. Lembongan is a perfect family destination. Snorkeling, banana boating and Ketuts boat trips! So much fun!! Exploring the island on a golf buggy is fun for the family. Or just relax by the pool while our staff make you food and beverages. There also Surf lessons and Paddle boards for hire on our doorstep. Talk to our staff and the locals, they will always have something exciting to do with the kids, they will have a great time and learn from them. Maybe off to a temple or into their village to play soccer with them…. explore and make friends!!
Recommendations for couples who visit Lembongan?
Stay at Bersantai Villas, Sunset paddle board and in room massage followed by sunset cocktails at The Deck! Next day plan a boat trip with our captain Ketut swimming with the manta rays and snorkel at crystal bay. Come back grab a scooter go exploring the white sandy beaches and get lost trying to find the yellow swing bridge to Cengian island. If you make it over have lunch at Le Pirates and a sunset at The Palms. Go to Yoga, go diving, go surfing! So many things to do!! Or just relax on the beach at Coconut bay or Dream Beach and watch the world go by. Most people who stay 3 or 4 days always wish they planned a week. We are often fully booked so please book in advance.
Big thanks to Nadia for this great insight - and for anyone wanting to visit Lembongan make sure you flick Nadia an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or want to book in at their beautiful villas!