Scuba Diving: Nusa Lembongan & Mola Mola

Scuba Diving: Nusa Lembongan & Mola Mola

If you are an avid scuba diver like me, you must have heard about Mola-mola or as famously known as Sunfish. This amazingly unique fish is the heaviest bony fish that weighs about 400 kg – 1000 kg.

It is definitely not easy to spot Mola Mola, especially if it is not the season. Mola Mola ascents to higher feet in the ocean to get “bathed” by cleaner fishes. Now, if you are on the search of seeing Mola Mola (not in an aquarium, duh..), there are only a few places that you can try. One of them is Bali.

Bali, what’s not to love about the island? it is an epitome of paradise. Everything is cheap there and Bali has a lot of beaches with their unique characteristics. To see Mola Mola, you have to visit the island of Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan, which are quite close to Bali island (only 30-45 minutes by fast ferry). Additionally, you have to visit the island during the right time. Mola Mola lives in a generally cold water, and September to November are the best months to spot the beautiful ocean sunfish as the sea temperature is at the coldest.

I have the opportunity to spend 5 nights in Nusa Lembongan during Mola Mola season in early September this year. If you are planning to do the same, here are the tips that I can give you during your stay in Nusa Lembongan.

Accommodation

There are a lot of hotels or inns that offer you cheap prices while there are also a lots of beachfront hotels that you can enjoy. I personally went for the first as I was going for a dive anyway.

I booked a hotel called Kawans Inn for a very reasonable price through Traveloka.com. They are located 2kms away from Jungutbatu Beach and across a small alley towards Dive Concepts, Big Fish Diving, and Two Fish Divers.

Scuba Diving

There are also a lot of dive centres that you can try in Lembongan. If you are into PADI 5 star dive resort there are Big Fish, or Two Fish Divers near Kawans Inn.

I am a huge fan of Dive Concepts and by default I went with them. In my opinion, they are a great dive centre with affordable rates and great quality. You can hang out with the guests or divemasters or dive instructors in Dive Concepts. There are many experienced divers there who will be happily discuss all the fishes, equipments, or dive techniques with you.

While in Lembongan or Penida Island to dive, you should remember that the sea temperature will be colder than in the rest of Bali. Why?

Nusa islands and Lombok particularly are the channel to where warm water is being “exchanged” to colder water in the Arctic Circle. Additionally, strong current can also be found in Nusa islands due to underwater topography. If you see the underwater topography, just before the strait, there are a 300 meters slope that rises sharply. This slope generates speed for the water.

Due to the strong current by the slope, you can experience a spectacular drift dive around Nusa islands. Also, the colder sea temperature attracts deeper ocean creatures such as sharks or Mola Mola.

During my stay in Nusa Lembongan, I tried 7 dive sites including Manta Point, Crystal Bay, Toyapakeh, Pura PED, SD, Mangrove, and Pura Masgading.

Mola sighting in Crystal Bay

The best chance to see Mola Mola is to dive in Crystal Bay, or Blue Corner. But sometimes you can also spot them in Toyapakeh. But beware of the thermocline that can reach to 16 degrees Celsius in Crystal Bay.

This year in 2019, there are some extraordinary sightings reported by local dive centres. For the first time ever, divers can spot great white sharks in Nusa Penida island. Also, sightings of thresher sharks and hammerheads were found in Pura PED. So, if you are lucky maybe you can spot one or two but as we all know, don’t expect too much and just enjoy the dive.

Restaurants

Nusa Lembongan is now starting to get the attention hence they are developing the island. Comparing to two or three years ago, now we can have a lot of options for food. Food price in Nusa Lembongan is slightly more expensive than in Bali. One meal may cost around IDR100.000 per person.

Nick’s Place

This place particularly stole my heart. From the taste of the food, to the passion of the crews there. You will be greeted with many smiles and warmth that you can feel the joy of the crew working there.

Nick’s place has the best pork ribs that you can find in the island. Or, if you are not down for ribs, the place has New Orlean Spicy Shrimp that tastes heavenly.

Bali Eco Deli

This green restaurant is the best choice if you are looking for organic and healthy food. You can also get additional price cut if you give your plastic bottles to them for recycling.

Blue Lagoon Restaurant

Beautiful sunset at Blue Lagoon

If you want to enjoy the sunset in the pool, you can visit Blue Lagoon Restaurant. It is located in Nusa Ceningan and you can ride there for 20 minutes from Lembongan through the Yellow Bridge.

Hai Ri Zen

Sunset paradise at Hai Ri Zen

Located near Mushroom Beach, Hai Ri Zen is another great spot to enjoy the sunset. The great thing about this restaurant is that they give you a complementary tuna breads that taste so good.

How to Get To Nusa Lembongan

The million dollar question, how to get to Nusa Lembongan? There is only one airport in Bali and that is Ngurah Rai International Airport. If you are travelling by plane, this will be the only option to land.

From Bali, you can go to either Sanur or Padang Bai to cross to Nusa Lembongan. I went to Sanur and book a fast ferry ride Sri Rejeki Express to cross the island. The price for the fast ferry is around IDR90.000 one way from Sanur. The fast ferry normally operates from 8am – 4.30pm depending on which ferry you use.

In Nusa Lembongan, there are two ports that you can choose. One being Jungutbatu and the other one is Mushroom Beach.

Typically, you can rent a bike right after arriving at the island. The cost for one scooter is around IDR60.000 per day excluding the gas.

If you want to know more about other destinations in Indonesia, do visit my blog. Enjoy your trip!

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