Suka Beach Bungalows.
Bali is pretty peachy, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by its bustle then jump on a ferry to the neighbouring island of Nusa Lembongan. It’s got all of Bali’s good points - cheap and tasty food, heaps of things to do, friendly people - but is quieter, easier to get around and even more beautiful. 

Oh - and unlike the often rather murky seas surrounding its much bigger sibling, the water lapping up to Nusa Lembongan’s powdery white sand is transparent azure - the stuff that tropical paradise screen-savers are made of. Here are seven ways to make the most of your visit:

Take a tour of the island

Ask your accommodation to hook you up with an early evening tour of the island on one of the ubiquitous open-top pick-up vehicles. Stop at Devils Tears - where waves smashing into sheer cliffs cause ethereal puffs of spray to emerge from the rocks. Get to Panorama in time for sunset: the restaurant has sweeping views of island and ocean. 

If you’d prefer to explore the island on your own steam, then rent your own scooter from one of the many roadside stalls. Be sure to visit the neighbouring (and even tinier) Nusa Cennigan - a quiet, less developed island that’s accessed via a yellow bridge that is closed to cars.

Snorkel with mantas

Head out on a speed boat to snorkel with vast manta rays, who glide and swoop past you, seemingly unperturbed by the hordes of tourists in the water. The tour should take you past a couple of other snorkelling spots where you can see beautifully coloured fish darting among the coral.

SCUBA

Escape the crowds and head to deeper, even more spectacular reefs for encounters with the island’s astonishing marine life when you go scuba diving. Don’t know how? Blue Corner offers a range of courses to show you the ropes. It has a buzzing restaurant and bar with delicious snacks to satisfy those post-dive hunger pangs. bluecornerdive.com

Learn to surf

Nusa Lembongan’s various reef breaks draw their fair share of veteran surfers, but experienced local surf instructors will make sure newbies can have a great time too. Head down to where the ferries arrive to organise a lesson and board rental through Island Surf School.

Lounge by the pool

Not all pools are created equal. Bag a lounger next to the infinity pool at the whimsically stylish Dream Beach Huts and settle in for the day, soaking up the sun, ocean views, and your eye-catching fellow patrons. The café offers Balinese-inspired cuisine, including Pepes Ikan - a smoky and spicy fish wrapped in banana leaf.

The infinity pool at Pemedal Beach.

Feast at Lemongrass and Tiger Lily

While plenty of local warungs serve up cheap, tasty local cuisine, try Lemongrass and Tiger Lily - two of the island’s loveliest restaurants - if you fancy spoiling yourself with excellent cocktails and mouthwatering dishes.

Unknot yourself at yoga: Gently rejuvenate yourself with a class at the Yoga Bliss. Surrounded by plants, the airy studio offers a variety of styles, including soothing Yin and Nidra, as well as more vigorous Ashtanga and Vinyasa. Enjoy a smoothie afterwards at the centre’s Vegan Café.

Getting there

Scoot Fast Cruises travel daily to Lembogan from the departure point of Sanur in Bali. Included in your ticket is a complimentary hotel transfer from accommodation in Ubud, South Bali, Canggu and Uluwatu (though in the case of the latter two a free pick-up requires a minimum booking of two people). www.scootcruise.com

Stay

There are a host of clean, comfortable and good value accommodation options on Nusa Lembogan. We stayed at Suka Beach Bungalows - a cute cluster of locally owned Balinese-style bungalows adjoining the beach. Nearby Pemedal Beach is a slightly more glamorous alternative - with an infinity pool overlooking the ocean.