Nusa Dua: What's it all about?

gate081005.jpgNusa Dua is a part of the Bali tourist scene that is a bit of an enigma. Built in the late 70's as home base for a string of resorts, the former mangrove swamp cloisters guests in luxury away from any interactions with Balinese culture (unless it is hired by the hotel). For some people Nusa Dua represents heaven on Earth, a tranquil place in the tropics where smiling staff attend to your every need. To others it feels like a Florida retirement community. I have done a few hotel reviews in the Nusa Dua area and wanted to take another look at the place. Getting to Nusa Dua from Kuta or the airport is super easy, just get on Bypass Ngurah Rai and follow the signs. The ride takes about 15-20 minutes.

Where the Bypass terminates you will notice immediately how the landscape changes, bye bye Bali, hello Beverly Hills. The Nusa Dua complex navigates like a big country club, complete with no pedestrians, beautifully tended lawns and cute little sign pointing out the different resorts. Security personnel are on hand to stop foreigners and try to offer directions. They pull me over anytime I drive through, "Where are you going boss?" "Over there" "Okay boss." They are paid to do it and it serves no purpose other than settle the nerves of people afraid of the locals getting in to bomb them.

Nusa Dua is expanding and my first stop was at a place called Loco Cafe.





2 thoughts on “Nusa Dua: What's it all about?

  • nancy

    HI Nick,

    I have been following Baliblog for several months now…am even an official member under “subitoo”

    I am a VERY old-timer on coming to Bali. Came first in January of 1971 on my first honeymoon. (Married an Amsterdamer for whom Bali was his life’s dream). Needless to say –I have seen many changes.

    In 1971 we stayed on Sanur Beach in a set of little cottages –I think they were called “Sindhu Beach” now long gone. I picked the property because they advertised “fans”. There were fans –but they only had electricity for six hours a day!! There was only ONE hotel on the whole island that had A.C.–the Intercontinental on Sanur Beach. (Changed hands many times since then.)

    The only restaurant on the beach was something called “The Barricuda”–lit at night by kerosene lamps. The Tanjung Sari (which is still there) was considered the fanciest of small hotels.

    Kuta was the “hippie beach” with lots of Aussie versions of hippies. Quite fun and very primitive.

    Bemos were pretty much the only way of getting around –with only a very few ancient cars and drivers for hire.

    Through the seventies and eighties my former husband and I were in Bali a number of times. He worked for KLM and was on assignment to Garuda. I became an international tour director.

    I remember well the development of Nusa Dua. It was hoped at that time by the government and many of the more influential Balinese that Nusa Dua would “contain” the tourists –thus minimzing the effect tourism would have on the local culture. By locating Nusa Dua way down on the southern part of the island it was hoped that “contamination” of the foreigners would be kept at a minimum. So originally the idea was not to keep the locals from the foreigners –but vice versa.

    I remember the Nusa Dua Resort was the first one to be built out there and how it took forever. I visited the site many times and watched the Balinese ladies carry the bricks –one at a time–on their heads–to the site.

    Well, tourism was not contained…and for better or worse, the Balinese are “contaminated” like the rest of the world.

    I will be coming back in Bali in September–arriving Septmeber 4. Am staying three nights out at the Nusa Dua for old time sakes and to rest up after the long trip over. Then on your recommendation I am heading over to Seraya Shores which sounds refreshingly like the Bali of the old days. From there we are going north to Villas Agung Bali Nirwana and finally down to Ubud to the Honeymoon Guest House for cooking lessons.

    Don’t want to rent a car as one of the other of us have to miss something by trying to find the road signs –so do you have any contacts for a cheap transfer from Nusa Dua up to Seraya Shores? Have a good friend whose grand dad was the last king of Karangasem –so want to stop by his Water Palace on the way up as I hear there has been some major repairs going on. My friend’s father by the way wrote “Memoirs of a Balinese Prince”–a good read as it captures times of great change in the first half of the 20th century.

    Perhaps we could meet for a drink when we are down at the Nusa Dua. Let me know.

    Congrats on the baby–he’s a cutie.

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