The Nusa Dua area on Bali's southern peninsula includes the gated resort district of the "BTDC", a region that was separated from the local community in the 1970s. The Indonesian government-owned Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC) is where large 5 Star resorts line the beachfront and immaculate manicured gardens line the streets.
Although this is the image often portrayed for Nusa Dua, there are also many other attractions in the area that are worth exploring.
Nusa Dua offers some shopping opportunities, however for major retail therapy you should head to Kuta and Seminyak. Shopping in Nusa Dua mainly caters to visiting tourists on holiday, so it's relatively easy to find the perfect beach or resort wear.
Bali Collection is the shopping spot for tourists staying within BTDC. The spacious premises features popular Sogo department store, around 90 fashion outlets, restaurants, spas, a supermarket, art shops, and plenty of open-air space to have a seat and rest before continuing shopping.
For more information: Bali Collection
Just outside the BTDC area, along the bypass connecting Nusa Dua and Jimbaran, is Pepito Supermarket. Here you can stock up on just about anything, including imported cheese, fresh fruit and veggies, household goods, alcohol and even Balinese souvenirs.
Pepito is slightly more expensive compared to local supermarkets, however there is a feeling of cleanliness and many imported items are available here that you can't get at the local stores.
Not far from Pepito is Hardy's Nusa Dua Plaza, another supermarket that is popular with locals and tourists alike. The double-storey The double-storey building comprises a supermarket, kids play area and souvenirs on the first floor, while the second floor offers sports equipment, children's toys, fashion, shoes and cosmetics.
Many beachfront hotels in Nusa Dua have their own private beach for guests, however there are also some lovely public beaches that are safe for families with children.
This is a popular public beach located within the BTDC complex. Set just behind the Bali Collection shopping center, the beach is open to the public who come to enjoy swimming and sunbathing. There is also a popular surf spot nearby by named "Mushroom Rock". In addition, there are several local restaurants or warungs nearby, as well as the unique "Pirates" restaurant.
For more information: Nusa Dua Beach
Pirates Bay Bali is located on Nusa Dua Beach and offers a unique dining experience for couples and families. Enjoy a meal in one of the fun bamboo tree houses and feel like Robinson Crusoe for the day. It can get a little warm during the day as there is no air-conditioning, but after a quick dip in the sea it's a great place to hang out at.
Geger Beach is a gorgeous stretch of sand just outside the BTDC complex. Located next to the luxury Mulia Resort, this public beach is also within walking distance from the St. Regis and The Bale hotels, making it a popular choice for hotel guests.
Daybeds and umbrellas are available for rent, and there are a few local warungs where you can order snacks and fresh young coconuts.
Geger Beach is a some distance away from the BTDC, we would recommend getting a taxi to take you there.
For more information: Geger Beach
Pandawa Beach used to be somewhat of a secret, however more and more people seem to be discovering this secluded public beach located about 30 minutes' drive from the BTDC area.
Located towards the southern end of Nusa Dua and on the way to Uluwatu, Pandawa Beach is reached via a bumpy road that leads down to the shore passing several huge statues carved into the cliff face. The Indian Ocean view from the top is amazing, and the perfect place to take a photo.
One side of the beach is more busy than the other thanks to kayaks that can be rented out for Rp. 20,000 per hour. This activity is particularly popular with domestic tourists who often visit the beach in groups. Head to the other side of the beach though and you can still enjoy the peace and quiet. Pandawa is also a popular location for paragliding.
There are so many activities to choose from in Bali, whether it's white water rafting near Ubud or diving in Sanur. If staying in Nusa Dua, the water sports of popular Tanjung Benoa are just a short drive away.
Tanjung Benoa is located on the Benoa peninsula, just 10 minutes' drive from Nusa Dua. The eastern side of the beach has become a the Mecca of marine sports in Bali, where about 10 water sport companies operate from the beach.
Popular activities include parasailing, banana boat rides and jet skiing. Most of the operators offer change room facilities with lockers, towel rentals and restaurants. Booking is not essential however it's a good idea to check the time of the tides to make the most of your day out on the water.
As odd as it sounds to ride a camel on the beach in Bali rather than in the desert, it's possible to do just that at the Grand Nikko Resort in southern Nusa Dua.
Camel rides leave from the hotel itself and are available for 30 minutes or one hour.
If you've had enough of the beach then why not head to a museum or theater for some cultural insight. Nothing of course beats the art and culture of Ubud, which you can easily arrange a day trip from Nusa Dua to include.
This large museum is conveniently located next to Bali Collection within the BTDC complex in Nusa Dua. The museum has 11 galleries featuring 600 artworks by 200 artists from 25 countries, including the works of European artists who lived in Bali.
For more information: Pasifika Museum
Devdan is a 90-minute stage performance that is a high-energy visual tour of Indonesia's culture and diversity.
Held at the Nusa Dua Theater, the performance features a fusion of traditional Indonesian dance activities with modern contemporary dance, world-class aerial acrobatic attractions, dazzling costumes and hi-tech special effects.
For more information: Devdan
Surprisingly, there aren't too many restaurants in Nusa Dua. Most are located at the luxury resorts and hotels and at Bali Collection.
The popular shopping destination, Bali Collection, offers more than 20 on-site restaurants. Seafood, Italian, Japanese, Indonesian and even Russian food is available, all at one location.
Loco Cafe is a popular choice for International cuisine, Bebek Tepi Sawah is famous for its delicious duck dishes, and Russian cuisine can be enjoyed at Slavyanka Restaurant.
Many restaurants have happy hour specials and some even offer free transfers within the Nusa Dua area.
Immediately outside the main gate of the BTDC, on the right-hand side of the bypass, are a number of restaurants and hotels. Whether it's seafood, Indonesian, or international dishes you're after, this is a good place to go.
Another option is Jl. Pantai Mengiat, the road that begins immediately outside the South Gate of the BTDC and where the Ayodya Hotel and Novotel Nusa Dua Hotel are located. Nyoman's Beer Garden is great for International and German food while Ulam Restaurant is a popular seafood choice.
For more information: Jl. Pantai Mengiat
Tanjung Benoa is just a few kilometers from Nusa Dua, and it's here where tourists come en masse to enjoy a variety of fun water activities. Many operators include free transport to Tanjung Benoa, or you can easily hop in a taxi from Nusa Dua.
The main street of Jl. Pratama runs for about 5 km past numerous restaurants including Bumbu Bali (famous for Balinese cuisine), Ya Sum, RIN at the Conrad and the Chinese restaurant, Raota.
For more information: Jl. Pratama
You can't go to Nusa Dua without popping into a spa and having a relaxing massage or treatment. There are dozens of spas in the Jimbaran / Nusa Dua area, many of which offer treatments for nearly a third of the cost of say, in Japan.
Located on the hill is Frangipani Spa and there's also Amerta Spa Villa or for cheaper options try su Passion or Toya. Most spas offer a free shuttle service, so there's really no excuse not to indulge in a little pampering!