Aside from being an ideal spot for those seeking tranquility, Nusa Lembongan is renowned for its fantastic diving spots. But what most visitors to this tiny island aren’t aware of is that Lembongan houses are very unique, as they are underground!
Unlike his name, Made Byasa (Byasa/biasa, meaning ordinary in Bahasa Indonesia) is an extraordinary Balinese man who has created one of the most unique attractions in his home island, Nusa Lembongan. Describing his work as a “creation” might not really be the right word; this is because Made worked on digging an underground house. Fifteen years of burrowing finally paid off: Byasa now has an ideal meditating place, further adding to Lembongan’s list of tourist attractions.
Using only simple tools such as hammer and chisel (and most importantly his instinct), Byasa started digging in his own yard in 1961. In 1976, a 500 square meters labyrinth was completed with a complex web of tunnels connecting a meditation room, bedroom, bathroom, dining room, living room and kitchen. Of course, don’t expect to comfortably sit on the living room’s cozy sofa or in any other room during a visit to this underground house called Gala Gala. There are some parts of this house where you need to crouch when exploring them, unless you feel like hitting your head on the rocky ceiling. Gala Gala’s seven entrance/exit doors are pretty steep and can be slippery at times.
Above ground (the yard) at this unique place you can find art stalls selling a collection of local souvenirs such as shorts, sarongs and handicrafts. The son of Made Byasa, who manages the whole compound, is normally sitting near a small gazebo with a board explaining the history of Gala Gala. If not busy, he will give a tour to the underground house and tell you the whole story about it.
Gala Gala is located down a small lane off the main road after the Nusa Ceningan suspension bridge (on the left side if you come from Jungutbatu/Mushroom directions). You can find a small wooden signboard saying “Gala Gala Underground House” at the entrance of the small lane (wide enough for motorbike access).