Away with Ayla in Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia
This summer, Heidi and I made another trip to Bali to spend time on our 2020 collection with our manufacturers. It was a jam-packed trip but we managed to squeeze in a weekend break on nearby island, Nusa Lembongan. Just a short boat trip away, Lembongan feels very different from bustling Canggu. While the choice of instagram friendly restaurants and bars on the mainland can be overwhelming, Lembongan's best spots manage to strike a balance between having a vibe and maintaining a small island charm.
Good to know: Most restaurants and bars offer a free pick up service as long as you spend some money with them. While some of the lifts we took were on a truck, other times we just hopped on the back of a scooter to get to our next destination. Have your Ayla High-waisted Trousers or Frill Shorts on hand to throw over your bikini for the ride.
Gili Air is accessible from Lembongan so this is a good stop off on your way.
Here are the places we recommend visiting if you are lucky enough to spend a couple of days on the island.
With great decor, a healthy restaurant, and a pretty pool, this little hotel was everything we were looking for. Their rates are reasonable and the manager is very helpful- she suggested many of the places below. Even if you don’t stay here, stop by for a delicious breakfast or lunch in their restaurant.
Our tip: The hotel is cash only if you book directly so be prepared.
If you have a whole morning or day to spare ask the hotel manager about the snorkelling trips on offer on Lembongan, which include swimming with Manta Rays.
It is worth planning to spend one day over on Ceningan island. A quick scoot over the picturesque yellow bridge and you will arrive on an even smaller island that is home to a couple of great spots. You can contact the restaurants on instagram for a free pick up- just let them know where you are staying and what time you want to head over and that’s all there is to it. Hold on tight.
At Sea Breeze, kitsch decor and colourful umbrellas combine to create an aesthetic that is edging towards tacky but manages to be fun. Cold beers and a good dancehall playlist will make it easily to settle in for a couple hours of sunbathing here.
Our tip: Hold out for one the of the bean bags by the pool so you can jump in, cocktail in hand, when the sun gets too much.
Wear: The Tanning Bandeau in Sora with matching Mid Bottoms.
Just around the corner from Sea Breeze, The Sand is more of a restaurant than a bar. The salads are delicious (and the mojitos are even better) but the best part is the cute pups that hang out there. Swimming at low tide is tricky but it makes the view even more dramatic.
Our tip: Start the day at Sea Breeze and then move here for a late lunch.
Wear: High-waisted trousers in Morie. Perfect for lunch and the scooter ride home.
If you have your own scooter or it's not too hot for a walk (about 20 minutes) head round the corner to the Blue Lagoon, a dramatic spot where you can watch cliff jumpers.
Full of bronzed bodies and couples having cocktails, Sandy Bay is where the Lembongan 'scene' is. Near to the dramatic Devil’s Tear spot, it is an all day pool hangout that transforms into a candlelit restaurant come dark.
Our tip: Book a table, this place is popular at all times of day!
Wear: The Seashell Sarong as a top with your favourite Ayla trousers.
Probably the closest you will get to an Tulum style beach club, Ohana’s is sleek and stylish. There are beds around the pool and beanbags on the beach next to an open fire. Come for cocktails and bar snacks before dinner and enjoy watching the sunset.
Our tip: Try the Balinese Rosé, it's pretty good.
Wear: The Smocked Halter with matching Morie Trousers. Add Daphine Cosmos hoops to jazz up the outfit.
Overlooking the main Jungut Batu beach, The Deck is the place that you will read most about before visiting Lembongan. We never made it here for their infamous sunset sessions but we did have a delicious dinner (albeit in the dark).
Our tip: Come on Sunday for their DJ sessions or Wednesday for live music.
Wear: Sora High-waisted Trousers and a straw hat from Lack of Color
Pricy by Balinese standards, Indiana is as smart as it gets on Lembongan. It is run by a French chef and is a lovely setting to enjoy a delicious dinner right on the beach. They also have rooms and although we can’t vouch for them, if they are anything like the restaurant they will be delightful.
Our tip: Have a drink at Ohana's and then move to Indiana for an early dinner just before it turns completely dark.
Wear: De La Vali's Blue Tiger Mini Dress