Once the domain of shack-staying surfers, Nusa Lembongan has hit the big time. Yes, you can still get a simple room with a view of the surf breaks and the gorgeous sunsets but now you can also stay in a boutique hotel and have a fabulous meal. But even as Nusa Lembongan grows in popularity each year, it remains a mellow place.
There's a real traveller vibe about this little beach town that is also the port for the public ferry connecting Bali with Lombok and many of the fast boats to the Gilis. Padangbai is is an attractive stop: it sits on a small bay and has a nice little curve of beach. A compact seaside backpackers hub offers cheap places to stay and some fun cafes.