Photo: Resort views.


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On the eastern shores of Bali’s southern bauble, south of Kuta and Ngurah Rai International Airport is the island’s very own Shangri-La: Nusa Dua. To the north of this lost horizon, virtually giving Bali the middle finger, sits the once sleepy fishing village of Tanjung Benoa now Bali’s watersport central.

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Sometimes this entire eastern coastal region is referred to as Nusa Dua, but it more specifically applies to the gated tourist enclave, named for the two island-like headlands, Nusa Gede and Nusa Dharma—Nusa Dua means “two islands”. The history of Nusa Dua dates to the early 1970s when it was conceptualised and built by the Indonesian government-owned Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC). The idea was to insulate the local communities from the vagaries of foreign tourists and to insulate the foreign tourists from the vagaries of the local communities.

Nowhere else in Bali like it. Photo taken in or around Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Nowhere else in Bali like it. Photo: Sally Arnold

In many ways they were successful: Nusa Dua’s lawns are manicured, the footpaths lack random holes, the roads are smooth and have curbing and guttering. Grandiose resorts overlook (imported) sandy beaches that are as free of roving merchants and hustlers as they are of natural shade. There’s not a warung in sight and every bill comes with at least two pluses attached. All in all, the only thing remotely Indonesian about the whole place is the gouging local transport cartel.

In Nusa Dua you may not find the “real Bali”, but you’ll certainly find the Bali of the tourist brochures, and for many, especially families, looking for an all-encompassing beach holiday and upmarket travellers with the means, that is just what the doctor ordered. Indeed some lovely hotels lie within the “reserve” and many international five-star brands are represented. Just bear in mind that there are fabulous hotels across Bali and many have done just fine intermingling with the local ... Travelfish members only (Around 1,800 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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