The Beaches of Bali

Nov 2, 2018

by The Night Stalker

 

There’s more to the ‘Island of the Gods’ than sun, surf & sand

 

Perhaps nothing epitomizes the world traveler’s perception of Bali better than its sand, surf and sunshine.

 

Already drawing some 40% of Indonesia’s total tourist traffic, hanging out on a beach in this “Island of the Gods” must be on the bucket list of surfers, beach lovers, photographers, and plain tourists from the world over.

 

The resort town of Kuta Beach with its surfeit of party hounds, surfers and clubs is a dream haven for millennials who travel in groups looking for adventure. Or maybe they prefer the romance of Padang-Padang Beach featured in the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” where they can channel their inner Julia Roberts to find the lifetime partner of their dreams.

 

Then there are hidden enclave like Bias Tugel and Green Bowl Beach for those who value their privacy and like going further than usual. Getting to Karma Beach and Nyang Nyang (no showers, restrooms or vendors) is even tougher, but hikers and nature lovers say it’s worth the blood, sweat and tears of getting there. Balangan Beach is preferred by advanced surfers and photogs for the breathtaking views from its nearby cliffs, much like the white limestone cliffs of Bingin Beach in Bukit Peninsula.

 

For the well-heeled willing to pay top dollar for more varied pursuits, there’s the exclusive high end beach club of Karma Beach, or  Jimbaran Beach in southwest Bali where luxury resorts are found.

 

Bali attracts approximately the same volume of tourists as the entire Philippines every year, and it’s obvious to any observer that many of them come to bask in the  surf, sand and sunshine of its famed beaches.

 

I recently had the opportunity to visit one of Bali’s top beaches as part of a Familiarization Tour for Visayas and Mindanao Media courtesy of Cebu Pacific, JG Summit Holdings and Aneka Kartika Tours & Travels of Indonesia.

 

Nusa Dua beach in Bali

 

 

Nusa Dua Beach is ranked among the Top 10 in TripAdvisor’s 2018 Travelers’ Choice Top 25 Beaches in Asia, with four out of five reviewers giving it an Excellent to Very Good Rating.

 

It also ranks among the top 5 in 15 Things to Do in Nusa Dua of TripAdvisor’s Nature & Parks, Outdoor Activities and Beaches.

 

 

History of Nusa Dua Bali

 

Located 15 kms from Ngurah Rai Airport, and 22 kms from Denpasar, I’s relatively easy to get to Nusa Dua in a taxi, rental cars or bikes.

 

The name Nusa Dua comes from the word ‘Nusa’ (island), and ‘dua’ (two) or literally “two islands’’. This refers to two tiny uninhabited islands at the southern Bali separated by a white sand sandbar.

 

Honeycombers.com, ranks Nusa Dua as “Best for a Family Day Out” and remarks how “not only are the beaches impeccably clean and the waters calm, the shoreline is full of family-friendly restaurants, water sports  and even a shopping complex, so it’s the ideal destination for a fun-filled family day out that won’t leave the little ones hot and bothered thanks to plenty of places to cool off and recharge.

 

Nusa Dua Area Map (InvestBali.com)

 

In 1970 the Indonesian government engaged the French consultancy firm Société Centrale pour l’equipment Touristique Outre-Mer(SCETO) to draw up a master plan for an environmentally sustainable and integrated model for a tourism destination in Bali which would address spatial zoning design, shoreline boundaries, landscaping, utilities and security systems.

 

Among the plans proposed by SCETO was a self-contained resort complex by the sea, far enough from the main population centers of Kuta, Denpasar and Ubud, to minimize the impact of tourism on Balinese culture, and the site they proposed was Nusa Dua. World Bank financing was secured for the project and development began in 1974.

 

According to our guide I Wayan ‘Dada’ Widiada of the Bali Tour Guide Association, the Indonesian government decided to develop Nusa Dua into a tourism complex since it was very arid and not suitable for agriculture.

 

Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) developed Nusa Dua with an eye on cultural tourism aimed at protecting the heritage and culture of the Balinese and the island’s resources, through a self-contained resort on under-populated and under-productive land.

 

ITDC also placed a premium on environmental protection and rehabilitation. As a result, Nusa Dua has earned various awards for this including Kalpataru of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia, certification of Tri Hita Karana from the Tri Hita Karana Bali Foundation, and most importantly, the first Certification of Green Globe 21 Asia Pacific in the world for the Community Resort category in 2004, awarded by the Green Globe Foundation, a global institution supported by the UN, for tourist zones that place a premium on the preservation of the environment.

 

Nusa Dua is home to some of the island’s (and the world’s) best hotels and resorts, (there are 19 star rated hotels in the enclave offering over 5,000 rooms,) which boast fantastic facilities, safe, pristine waters and clean white sand beaches, a shopping center, a museum, cultural venues, the Nusa Dua Golf and Country ClubBIMC hospital and two international MICE facilities; the Bali International Convention Centre (BICC) and the new Bali Nusa Dua Convention Centre.

Such  variety of attractions has served not only Nusa Dua, but the entirety of Bali as well. As shared by Adjie Wahjono, operations manager of Aneka Kartika Tours & Travel, they began promoting Bali as a beach destination but found it didn’t quite work out.

 

“So we thought it’s the unique culture and the food could be more like it, and it worked!” he noted. “Of course shopping and the beautiful nature are the complements.”

 

Odalan, the Hindu Temple Ceremony at the main temple Pura Giri Natha located at the north side garden of Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa, is considered the birth day of the temple.

 

“Balinese culture, their way of life is truly unique. Do you know that they have many celebrations, and unique rituals too? Just recently, the local government mandated that every Thursday all workers (public and private) must wear traditional dress at work. Nice ha!”

 

Melasti is a unique Hindu Balinese purification ceremony held at the edge of the beach to cleanse oneself of all negativity & throw it into the ocean. It is held days before Nyepi (the day of silence).

 

In fact, our guide Dada wore the traditional dress on this second day of our tour, complete with sarong and udeng (headwear). We also noted most of the staff in the four hotels and resorts we visited during our short stay wore traditional Balinese attire. A nice touch, indeed!

 

Thus, while Nusa Dua is Bali’s most developed resort area, it’s replete with history, heritage and tradition with temples, museums and unique natural landmarks dotting the scenery.  Shopping for souvenirs and art is easy at Nusa Dua’s Jalan Pantai Mengiat, and contemporary shopping can be experienced at the huge Bali Collection complex. If you’re an art lover, you can admire the expansive collection of art and artifacts at Pasifika Museum.  

 

Tanjung Benoa has becomes the center of various water sports, such as jet skiing, boating, diving, parasailing, flying fish, and many more. You can either book directly with the service providers or you hotel can organize a day trip for you.

 

Selamat Datang at Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa

 

Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa

 

We were billeted at the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa, one of the 5-star hotels along Nusa Dua Beach and ranked by TripAdvisor among the Top 37% of 54 Hotels in Nusa Dua, with nine out of ten of over 6,000 reviewers giving it an Excellent to Very Good Rating.

 

The magnificent Lobby with the Fountain in the foreground.

 

A pioneer of luxury accommodation within Nusa Dua, this 5-star diamond resort has welcomed royalty and world dignitaries since its grand opening and now boasts of an extensive range of rejuvenated rooms and facilities while retaining its Balinese heritage.

 

Nested within beautifully landscaped gardens, its 382 guest rooms and suites feature all the elegance of a Balinese palace, while offering every modern amenity and convenience of a luxurious gateway.

 

Nusa Dua Spa Pavilion

 

The Nusa Dua Spa is impeccably designed to highlight its rich Balinese heritage with a variety of indigenous treatments; and dining here is an epicurean journey with five choice restaurants and four bars under the stewardship of an award-winning culinary team.

 

We arrived late afternoon and were warmly welcomed by Ms.Iva Farida AminatyDirector of Sales and MarketingMs. Yanty Zhang, Assistant Director for Sales China & Asia, Ms. Tri WidiyastutiMarketing Communications Manager and Ms. Thio Angelia Rose ElizabethAssistant Marketing Communications Manager.

 

Ms. Yanty and her team personally toured us around the fantastic premises of this property now owned by Dorchester Collection, a holding for the Sultan of Brunei, the resort underwent a major renovation in 2011 covering all guest rooms and suites. Public areas were also renewed and a new lagoon pool installed, all in keeping with its classic charm of colonial Bali and tropical palace.

 

Both top suites at the hotels are connected to the main building providing direct access to all facilities, but also have their own separate, private driveways and entrances.

 

Before we started our brief tour, our hosts joined us in a photo opportunity at the hotel’s landmark Candi Bentar, a traditional Balinese gate that is equally split into two structures, creating a passage in the middle. The split gate refers to the designation of two similar arch-shaped structures that limit either side of the entrance. The two parted sides have no fusion and are only connected at the bottom by a set of stairs.  

 

A Candi Bentar is often found in a temple as an entrance to separate the inside and outside sections or at the border of one village to the other. It is thought to date back to the Hindu period of Singhasari and Majapahit in 13th to 14th-century Java.

 

Candi Bentar is often found in a temple as an entrance to separate the inside and outside sections or at the border of one village to the other.

 

“The Balinese believe that a Candi Bentar is a symbolic gateway to attain harmony in life, a philosophical attribute to a building design for the Balinese.

 

Another beautiful architectural landmark of the hotel are its Bale Kulkul, or drum towers. In olden times it was used to call villagers for an assembly, emergency or mourning.

 

The Bale Kul-kul (Drum Tower) is framed by centuries old banyan trees and the Candi Bentar gate (Joros Razon)

 

 The kul-kul, most commonly a four-poster pavilion on a tall, mason stereo base, has one or more wooden drums hanging within it. The hotel and spa has two Bale kul-kul elevated in the left and right hand corners of the lobby wing. 

 

 

Still another of its many awe-inspiring structures is the Tamarind Mediterranean Brasserie Restaurant built entirely of bamboo with two levels. The upper and lower floors are adorned with sophisticated furnishings along with lounges for you to enjoy the ocean breeze and panoramic views under its majestic thatched roof. The beach deck seating area is another exclusive setting, surrounded by stunning beach trees along the idyllic shoreline.

 

The Master Bedroom at the Royal Residence.

 

One of the most secluded and elegant villas in Nusa Dua, the Royal Residence was built as a private residence for the King of Brunei. It has since been opened to guests.

 

Built over two floors complete with expansive entertaining areas, a catering kitchen, and 200 feet long swimming pool surrounded by carved Balinese stone reliefs and royal fittings, the nearly 7,000 square feet Royal Residence is where the Sultan of Brunei stays when he visits his hotel. It has its own private entrance and is a short walk to Nusa Dua Beach.

 

But the climax of our evening here came when our hosts prepared a dinner we will long remember at the Raise Garden, an al fresco venue amidst its trees and blooms with a breathtaking view of the Lombok Straits and the Indian Ocean.

 

A Feast for the Ages in al fresco elegance under the moon and stars at the Beach Garden with a breathtaking view of Lombok Straits & the Indian Ocean (Joros Razon).

 

A Feast for the Ages

 

I have traveled previously to Europe, many points in Asia and the United States, but never in my entire life have I experienced a “Feast for the Ages” prepared for us by our hosts. To make a long story short, allow me to just list the various items in that mind-blowing menu they served us:

Amuse Bouche: Udang Pantung Megulung (Lobster asem manis with tomato, cucumber, sambel terasi, mayonnaise rolled with rice paper)

 

Appetizers

 

Kripik Bayam (spinach crackers with chili dip), Gorengan Soroh (sweet corn fritters, potato patties, crispy bean curd), Lawar Kelungah Sareng Udang Mepanggang (salad of young coconut with grilled king prawns), Ulam Ayam Mesitsit (shredded chicken with chili and lime sambal), Gado-Gado (steamed vegetable roll with honey peanut dressing), and Be Pasih Mepanggang (pan fried snapper with Sambal Matah)

 

Ares Babek (simmered duck with banana trunk broth) (Joros Razon).

 

Soup: Ares Bebek (simmered duck with banana trunk broth)

 

Main Course

 

Ulam Kambing Mepanggang (Joros Razon).

 

Be Salem Mepanggang (Joros Razon).

 

Nasi Goreng Base Bali (Joros Razon).

 

Ayam Betutu (chicken marinated in blend of spices), Ulam Kambing Mepanggang (grilled lamb cutlets with blend of galangal, turmeric, lemongrass, and candle nut sauce with ‘Lawar kacang’). Be Salem Mepanggang (grilled salmon steak with sambal Rajang and ‘Jukut urap’), Tambusan Tahu sareng Tempe Bali (baked tofu and bean curd with turmeric, chili and coconut milk sauce), Nasi Goreng Base Bali (Balinese spices fried rice, with prawn, squid, snapper & fried egg), and Nasi Putih Kukus.

 

This is just the dessert portion of the Royal Feast they served us. (RMB, NPN)

 

Dessert

 

Dadar Guling (Pandanus leaf pancakes with jackfruit & palm sugar filling, served with honey ginger ice cream), Pisang Rai (Poached bananas in coconut batter with honey & black rice ice cream), Rayunan Penyineb Bali Sane Kasub (a selection of favorite Balinese desserts), Buah-buahan Segar (tropical fruits selection with coconut sorbet), Balinese petit four, and Wedang Bali sareng Teh (coffee or tea).

 

Fitting indeed that Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa won third place as Best Presentation of the Melapa Melapi in 2016, one of the most prestigious award in Balinese Cuisine and a of its dedication in supporting Balinese Culinary Culture and Traditions.

 

Awards

 

It’s no wonder perhaps that Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa has won accolades from global tourism bodies no less, such as Luxury Beach Resort (Regional Winner, Southern Asia) 2016 by World Luxury Hotel Awards, a consumer based program aimed at showcasing and encouraging the highest standards of service within the luxury hotel category.

 

The Lap Pool at the Award-winning Spa.

 

Earlier, it was also recognized as Best Luxury Resort Spa 2015.

 

Not the least, it was also awarded the Super Platinum category by the Tri Hita Karana Foundation, the highest category in Bali’s prestigious Tri Hita Karana Awards 2017 for  promoting and developing sustainable tourism in an environmentally friendly, socially responsible and culturally acceptable manner.

 

A dreamy pool of blue amidst the trees and blooms of Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa (RMB, NPN).

 

Cebu Pacific flies to and from (Denpasar) Bali DAILY from Manila with a lowest year-round base fare of P2, 088.

 

For further inquires contact Kawasan Pariwisata Nusa Dua Lot North 4, Nusa Dua 80363, Indonesia through tel.+62 361 771 210, fax +62 361 772 617 or visit their website at www.nusaduahotel.com

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