10+1 best things to do in beautiful Nusa Dua
How to have your perfect day in Nusa Dua
Nusa Dua, which means two Islands in Indonesian, is most closely associated with luxury hotels. But there’s more to this relaxing enclave. Come for the day, and enjoy not just the sun and the sand, but beautiful temples, adrenaline spiking water sports, a turtle conservation centre, or some rare art.
Here are our top ten things to do in Nusa Dua.
1. Relax lying on the spectacular public beach
Why come to Nusa Dua when you have beaches everywhere? The answer is easy: because this is the best spot for swimming.
Pantai Geger is the main beach in Nusa Dua. This is one of the few public beaches in the area – many other strips of sand belong to the hotels behind them. Here you can swim, snorkel, rent a sun lounger and take a break in one of the many warungs dotted along the beach. If you want to get away from the crowds, walk along the beach a little. While one end of Geger beach is developed, the other end is almost untouched.
2. Escape the crowds at a hidden beach
If you want to get even further away from the other tourists, we’ll let you into a secret. There are two more beaches in Nusa Dua that are rather more hidden away. Gunung Payung beach lays at the end of a marked trail from Denpasar, and offers lovely, peaceful swimming and snorkelling and a beautiful, unspoilt view. This is a beach for locals: watch the sea urchin collectors and the seaweed farmers going about their day to day business. To get here is a small adventure in itself. You will enter into an open theatre (under construction) and walk through the back stage corridors. At the end, you’re rewarded with a great view, and just need to go down a few steps to reach the beach.
To the west of Gunung Payung lies Pandawa beach. Hidden behind towering limestone cliffs, this beach has only one access point: through a path cut out of the limestone wall. Once you’re on the beach, you’ll be rewarded with untouched white sands, framed by five towering statues that have been carved into the cliffs. These are Yudhistira, Bima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sadewa – the Panca Pandawa, 5 brothers from shadow puppet theatre.
Close to Pandawa Beach is another secret – an abandoned Boeing 737. You can find this along the Jalan Nusa Dua Selatan Road, about a 5 minute drive (or 40 minute walk) from Pandawa Beach. Explore this plane wreck to your heart’s content – maybe even try a wing walk, without risking your life.
3. Delight in breathtaking nature at Water Blow
Back at Nusa Dua Beach, close to the Grand Hyatt Hotel, is one of the best natural sights in the area: the Water Blow. This is a huge blow hole resulting from a narrow crag below the cliff face: stand at the edge and watch as the water erupts out the Indian Ocean into the sky. Don’t get too close though! Chances are you’ll get drenched.
You can reach the Water Blow from the paved footpath that curves along the shoreline, making it a fascinating stop on a longer walk. There’s a purpose built look out with guard rails and benches, so you can sit and wait for the next big wave. If you want to wander further, the walkway stretches for 7 km – you can also access the temples from here.
4. This is unexpected: a thrilling camel ride along the beach
Fancy a camel ride along the sand? Go and see Bali Camel Safaris, who operate camel rides on the beach from their base next to the Nikko Bali Resort. You’ll have a choice of packages, from a simple camel ride to a longer option including lunch or dinner, or even watersports. You’ll pay around IDR330,000 for adults and IDR25,0000 for children for half an hour, and you’ll always be accompanied by a trained guide.
The camels are three single humped Australian camels called Radja, Sahara and Sudan. We recommend booking your ride in the late afternoon for better light and bluer skies in your photos. Mornings are also good, if keeping cool is your priority.
5. Pura Geger: The most beautiful temple and jaw-dropping view
Pura Geger, which lies just south of Geger beach, is the most iconic attraction in Nusa Dua. This temple is an important cultural landmark, and also offers amazing panoramic views over the bay, with Mount Agung visible on the horizon on a clear day, if you’re lucky.
To get here, you need to follow a path up from the beach. At the top you’ll find this temple, framed by twisted tree trunks. It’s small, but this is an important temple locally: pilgrims come here on full moons and new moons, and there are major celebrations here every Purnama Kanem or ‘sixth full moon’. While the temple itself is usually locked, you are free to visit the outer grounds and to peer through the gates at its inner shrines.
After you’ve looked at the temple and taken in the view, look for a narrow pathway. This leads you to a hidden stretch of beach at the base of the temple, accessible at low tide. Close to here is another shrine, tucked between limestone crevices, which guards the source of holy water for the temple, and where pilgrims carry out purification rites.
6. Puja Mandala – an uplifting cluster of religious sites
Puja Mandala – which translates as Hill of Worship – is a religious complex representing the five major religions in Indonesia. It includes a Buddhist temple, a Hindu temple, an Islamic mosque, and Catholic and Protestant churches. This 2 hectare site is intended as a symbol of religious tolerance and equality.
From the left, the first building is the mosque, the Masjid Agung Ibnu Batutah, with its bright green tiled roof. Inside, ornate grey ceramics and mihrabs decorate the prayer rooms. The building houses an old prayer drum and a handwritten Quran. Next, the Catholic church Maria Bunda Segala Bangsa features a Balinese style “kul” bell tower. On its right is the Buddhist temple, Vihara Buddha Guna, which takes the central spot. The building is striking and ornate, featuring large white and gold elephant statures, bodhisattvas and a giant dome. Next along is the Protestant church, GKPB Jemaat Bukit Doa, which also features a Balinese style bell tower. Finally, stands the Pura Jagatnatha temple, a fine example of local architecture, with dragon staircases and ornate shrines.
As well as visiting the five sites, visitors can also enjoy a number of festivals and shows held here on holy days.
7. Take in the best local art at Pasifika Museum
The wonderful Pasifika Museum houses a huge range of fascinating Asian art, from paintings to historical objects, covering more than 200 artists from 25 countries. These include local artists, Indochinese artists and European artists who relocated to Bali. The focus is on Bali – on local cultural and artistic themes.
Highlights include works by Paul Gauguin, Rdolf, Bonnet and Emilio Ambron; the works of Balinese painter Nyoman Gunarsa, and Javanese artist Raden Saleg.
The museum is made up of 11 main display rooms, each showcasing a different art form. Admission is IDR70,000 for adults, while children under 10 can enter for free.
8. If you want to help turtles, you need to visit Serangan Island
If you want a short trip away from Nusa Dua, consider taking a boat or the expressway (the island is joined to the mainland by a causeway) to Serangan Turtle Island Conservation Centre. The conservation centre is dedicated to looking after injured turtles and releasing them safely back into the wild. The centre also houses a hatchery: baby turtles are then taken on to quiet local beaches and released when they are old enough to fend for themselves. As well as turtles, the centre also has other Balinese wildlife including birds and snakes.
A word of warning: make sure that you are visiting the genuine Serangan Turtle Island Conservation Centre. There are other conservation centres that exist primarily to make money from tourists and do not make a positive contribution to the turtles or the environment.
9. Watersports for the fearless: skyrocket your adrenaline
Name a watersport, and you’ll probably be able to try it in Nusa Dua. Jet skiing, parasailing, diving, snorkelling, banana boats, kiteboarding – it’s all here.
There are also some more unusual options. One of these is flyboarding. Strap on some boots, which are attached to a surf board, and which house a motor with a water pump. And wait. When the water pressure builds, it will push you up out of the water, almost as if you were flying.
Want something more relaxing? Have a go at sea walking. Here, you need to put on a helmet that allows you to look around under the water without even getting your hair wet. You can then just walk along the sea bed and check out the sea life without care. Most of the hotels offer this option, and will take you out to a designated dive site. (More on adrenaline seeking activities here)
10. Watch in awe the thrilling spectacle of the Devdan show
The Devdan show is a cultural dance performance. It’s a high energy show – some might call it Indonesia’s answer to Cirque de Soleil. With acrobatic feats and pyrotechnics, laser and light displays, music, costumes and traditions from all over Indonesia, it will leave you mesmerised. The premise is simple: a boy and girl break away from their mundane tour group and find an enchanted treasure chest of objects from across the Indonesian archipelago.
The show lasts for 90 minutes and is suitable for all the family. It’s shown in the Nusa Dua theatre near the bay of Nusa Dua. There are various seating options at different prices, ranging from IDR 520,000 to IDR1,560,000 for VIP seats with leather sofas and the best view. You can book up to three months in advance. (More on family activities here.)
+1. Luxuriate in a gourmet brunch at St Regis Bali
Need some pampering and luxury after all that culture? Head to Boneka restaurant at the St Regis hotel for the best brunch on the island. Every Sunday at noon, Boneka opens its doors for a gastronomical and never ending feast. With dishes including lobster omelettes, foie gras, caviar and Waygyu steak, this is a truly gourmet meal. But first, don’t forget drop in at the King Cole Bar next door for complimentary pre-brunch cocktails (we recommend their signature Bloody Mary) to complete your day of glorious decadence.
For more information on things to do in Bali click here.
To find out the 10 must do day trips in Bali click here.
If you are looking for accommodation in Bali click here.