We went to Bali for our first wedding anniversary. With pampering, romatic dinners and lounging by the pool in mind, our choice fell on the Nusa Dua area.
Nusa Dua is a newly developed tourist area of Bali. Originally mainly farmland and mangroves, it has in the last two decades become the hotspot for many 5 star luxury resorts.
We stayed at the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa, and as far as quality and comfort goes, the stay was immaculate. The grounds were stunning (with small squirrels visiting our balcony every morning), pools were crystal clean and the spa facilities tranquil and not too crowded. The breakfast buffet was also out of this world. For a romantic break, it was the perfect location.
The downside however, is that Nusa Dua is made first and foremost for tourists. We first noticed in the taxi from the airport, where we had to drive through a security checkpoint at the entrance of the Nusa Dua resort area(a result of the Bali bombings.) The guards were very polite and obviously had our safety in mind, but none the less, one got the feeling that we were being isolated somewhat from the rest of the island.
We also soon discovered that prices in Nusa Dua, whether it be spa facilities, restaurants or even drinks, were generally higher than elsewhere on the island. Furthermore, we were always encouraged to take taxis everywhere, (spas and restaurants offered free transport there and back), which meant that we didn't really get any clear impressions of what local life was like.
The epitomy of Nusa Dua as a tourist trap was however the Bali Collection - a walled complex of restaurants and shops, equipped with its own security guards, shuttle transport back and forth from the hotel and information desks. Prices here reflected Nusa Dua in general, although we did discover that we could bargain at restaurants for free salad bars, welcome drinks or desserts. It seemed they were willing to offer a lot of freebees to have us as guests.
After two days of tourist Bali (we'd also been lured into a very touristy beach restaurant in Jimbaran one evening), we met a taxi driver who seemed eager to give us tips on Bali's more interesting areas during our 10 day stay. For 30 USD a day, we rented him as a guide and driver for 10-12 hrs, and he introduced us to amongst other things, the Bali Café in Seminyak (a 45 min drive away), scuba diving around a shipwreck at Tulamben on the north of the island, a coffee & tobbacco plantation as well as the very charming Cafe Wayan in Ubud.
We also climbed Mount Batur, the island's 2nd highest volcano, albeit not at sunrise, as seems to be the norm. This was actually very pleasant, as we were pretty much the only two tourists on the mountain. A tip though - get a guide. (A group of mountain guides have an office at the bottom of the mountain.) Although experienced hikers, we wouldn't have had half the fun without one.
Based in Nusa Dua, we got the best of two worlds. We enjoyed days of basking on quiet beaches and having longdrinks served poolside, but only experienced the real Bali by travelling away from this tourist-friendly area. A good job then, that distances on the island are small.
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- Also Known As:
- Nusa Dua Beach Hotel And Spa
- Nusa Dua Beach Hotel Nusa Dua
- Nusa Dua Beach Resort
- Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa Bali