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
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
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
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.