The top five things to do in Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua might seem a bit boring at first sight: picture-perfect resorts, spotless emerald lawns; even the ocean behaves here – and not a hint of controversial Indonesian reality in sight.  Some may say it’s best left for the elderly crowd. Or golfers. Or billionaires. But we say differently. Here are five activities that prove Nusa Dua can be super fun and won’t blow the bank account.

1. Sunday Brunch at Soleil

Soleil Brunch via TripAdvisor
Soleil Brunch via TripAdvisor

The Mulia Hotel is being coined ‘the best new hotel in the world’. Having not been to every new hotel in the world, we can’t say how true that is. But there are two things we can be sure of: a) it’s the biggest property in Bali and b) their Sunday brunch is to die for.

The expats of the island have already made this eating experience a destination – a mighty reason to drive all the way from Seminyak or Canggu to the very South. So join the hype. Skip breakfast, come early, and book in advance as this event is extremely popular amongst big families. Then sit back, accept the first glass of icy bubbles, and let the feast begin.

Oysters, sashimi, tartar, salads, meat and fish grill – you name it, they have it. Don’t stuff yourself too quickly as the chef will be sending various hot dishes to your table throughout the course of your meal. Make sure you try fois gras “creme caramel” and have a dip in the hotel’s giant pool after lunch. If you dare to flash the few new kilos you found over brunch. **Brunch menu starts from Rp.409 000

2. Life aquatic

life aquatic in bali

Tanjung Benoa is a 5-kilometer strip of perfect golden sand and beach fun. Waterskis, water jets, banana rides, wakeboards – no one seems to be napping with a book at this hangout. Local guides can take you to swim with sea turtles or teach you how to dive. If the underwater kingdom is not your bunch of coconuts, take a picturesque and never-ending beachside stroll to the furthest corner of Nusa Dua, where Mulia Hotel sits.

Just make sure it’s morning, late afternoon or a grey and gloomy day to save your precious pasty skin from the scorching Indo sun. Another bright side of staying in Nusa Dua – it’s proximity to the beaches of Bukit, the best beaches the island has to offer. Just a 20-30 min taxi or scooter ride will take you to Pandawa, Balangan, Padang-Padang or Uluwatu. And that’s where the breathtaking beauty is.

3. High tea at St.Regis


One of the first luxury hotels in Nusa Dua, St.Regis is absolute eye-candy. Everything here is uber-classy, even the afternoon tea; in fact, it’s one of the main attractions of the resort. With a tea break like this, you won’t need lunch or dinner. It’s an ultimate meal, with finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, puffs stuffed with patè, macaroons, cheese platters, Valrhona chocolate fondants, and naturally, a great selection of teas. Everything is served by waiters wearing gloves so white and crisp you’ll be too shy to blink, so mind your manners and wear something nicer than your board shorts (even your best ones). **Rp.350.000 net/person, Rp.100.000 for kids

4. Pool bar at Sakala

The Pool bar at Sakala

At Sakala, ordering a Ferrero Roche or Cinnamon Waffle won’t get you a dessert. It will get you a cocktail, served at the pool or in the pool – as you wish. The bar & lounge at the 30-meter long pool of Sakala beach club is pure indulgence. Nobody will look at you twice if you float with a glass of champagne. Come in the afternoon and stay until sunset, then have dinner at the restaurant where chef Frederic Boulay  experiments with local products to create something…well, a little bit French. And then head back to the pool for another Ferrero Roche, because every dinner needs a dessert, right?

5. Massage class at Jari Menari


Jari Menari, aka “Dancing fingers”, is the best Balinese massage in Bali. Funnily enough, it was not established by locals, but rather by a Californian who added her knowledge to the skill of village masseurs and created something twice as magnificent. Since the second studio has opened in Nusa Dua, there is no need to fight the traffic on the way to Seminyak. Of course, it’s not your $5-treatment at the beach – get prepared to pay about $40, but it’s worth every penny. For those who are a little on the shy side, be warned that Jari Menari only has male therapists. Though you needn’t worry too much as even your starfish pose will be modestly draped with a sarong.

The icing on the cake? The team at Jari Menari are willing to pass their skills along. Join the one-day class ($170) that includes the basics of their massage techniques, a practise session, a 190 minute massage, a yoga class and a healthy lunch. And if you feel like you’re on to a new career path, come back for a 12-day sequence training and become a real pro! Something to be proud of when your tan has long gone and you’re back home dreaming of Bali.


An insider’s guide to traditional Balinese Spa treatments

The traditional beauty rituals of Indonesian women date back thousands of centuries and take their roots in traditional medicine known as jamu. The collective knowledge of natural beauty remedies passed down through generations is still widely popular today, and are now being adopted by modern spas that cater to the hoards of visitors.

The biggest draw card for many of us travelling to Bali is the chance to catch up on spa treatments. The resort spas are great if you have a spa session included in your accommodation package, or you want to take a nap within seconds of completing your treatment and avoid the hassle of traveling back to the hotel. But they usually cost more than triple the price of a local spa, so most of us will be giving that luxury a miss.

If you’re after a more upmarket experience on the street, you’ll find plenty of independent boutique spas along the main strips in Kuta, Seminyak and Legian.

One such gem is Prana Spa in Seminyak. It’s one of the largest spas in Bali, eccentrically decorated in a Moroccan fashion with elaborate corridors and treatment rooms. A pedicure costs around USD$25, a hair cream bath will set you back around USD$30 and a 75 minute massage is about USD$40; that’s halfway between what your hotel will charge you and the token local spots.

Here’s a list of 5 of the best traditional Balinese spa treatments:

Balinese massage

Balinese massages considered a routine staple of everyday life in local culture. It incorporates traditional techniques from India and China to relax pressure points, stimulate nerve endings, and rejuvenate tired muscles with long mid pressure strokes.

The Balinese do an amazing job when it comes to traditional massage. The best place to get a massage is right on the beach in the late afternoon. In Kuta and Seminyak, local masseuses trawl the beach throughout the day offering half hour massages for about USD$8.

Top your treatment off with a refreshing dip in the ocean and you’re ready to paint the town red!



Shirodara is a holistic Ayurveda therapy that is said to pacify a troubled mind. While you lie flat on a bed or table, a vessel filled with warm oil drips a steady stream of liquid on your forehead, drizzling over your scalp for about an hour.

As the warm oil gently flows off your “third eye”, you literally feel as though your troubles are melting away. The treatment is also known to cure head, neck and olfactory syndromes, insomnia, nervous disorders and tension headaches.

Papaya Enzyme Wraps

Papaya Enzyme Wrapsutilize naturally occurring papain enzymes to micro exfoliate, revitalize and hydrate the skin. They are also rich in vitamin C and potassium, which aids in removing excess fluid and toxins from the body. Since nutrients can be absorbed through the skin barrier, papaya enzyme wraps also boosts the lymphatic system.

Papaya has been used by traditional cultures for centuries to treat a large array of skin conditions. It’s known to cure everything from cracked heels and pimples to skin discoloration and even ringworm. Blessed be the humble papaya!

Mandi Lulur


Mandi Luluris an ancient Javanese body scrub that’s followed by a floral bath and is used by Indonesian women as part of their regular beauty ritual. A paste made from yoghurt, rice powder and turmeric is buffed over the whole body in long circular strokes, and then soaked off in a lightly scented bath.

Yoghurt contains lactic acid, a natural hydroxyl acid exfoliator, while rice powder acts as a physical exfoliator. These two natural ingredients also contain skin brightening and hydration properties. Turmeric on the other hand, is a powerful antioxidant labeled as a super skincare spice that treats everything from acne and blemishes to eczema and dry skin conditions.

The Mandi Lulur experience is a wonderful exfoliation and hydration treatment for the body that leaves your skin feeling soft and supple for days after. It’s also a great soothing treatment for sunburnt skin. Often, the concoction is scented with sandalwood, so if you’re not used to pungent smells, let the spa therapist know your preference.

Hair cream bath

A hair cream bathis a traditional scalp and hair treatment that locals swear by. It starts with a head, neck and shoulder massage and is followed by a homemade mask made from avocado, ginseng and other natural ingredients that are gently rubbed into the hair and scalp. It’s left on for 30 minutes under a steamer while you continue to be pampered.

For some Indonesian women, washing their own hair is a rare to never occurrence, with a professional hair cream bath being such a regular treat.

Hair salons across Indonesia are wonderfully cheap since they’re a staple of daily life for many local women, so you don’t need to go to an upmarket salon to get a good service. The locally run salons do a perfectly great job; just ask for a hair cream bath and a blowout.