That’s a loaded question really; Nusa Dua is different because it’s special and special because it’s different.
Confused? Some history might help.
The name “Nusa Dua” actually comes from the two small islands in the bay, so close you can almost touch them from the beach; ‘Nusa’ means ‘island’ and ‘Dua’ means ‘two’, hence ‘Nusa Dua’.
Back in the late 1960s, this place of “Two Islands” was little more than a strip of white sand on the southeastern side of the Bukit Peninsula, Bali’s most southerly point. There really wasn’t much going on at all.
In those days, it wasn’t an easy or popular place to be living; apparently the soil could only sustain coconut palms, fresh water was scarce, roads as we know them didn’t exist and electricity was as rare as rocking horse tears.
Things changed in the 1970s under the government of Soeharto, who engaged a French firm of consultants (SCETO) to come up with a master plan for an environmentally sustainable and integrated model for a tourism destination in Bali which would, from the get go, address spatial zoning design, shoreline boundaries, landscaping concept, utilities design and security systems.
They did (in 1972) and proposed a self-contained resort complex by the sea and well away from more populous areas of Kuta, Denpasar and Ubud so as to minimize the impact of tourism on Balinese culture.
The place they chose was Nusa Dua and World Bank financing was secured for the project. Building began in 1974.
It is home to some of the island’s (and the world’s) best hotels and resorts, (there are 19 star rated hotels in the enclave offering over 5,000 rooms,) which boast fantastic facilities, safe, pristine waters and clean white sand beaches, a shopping center, a museum, cultural venues, the Nusa Dua Golf and Country Club, BIMC hospital and two international MICE facilities; the Bali International Convention Centre (BICC) and the new Bali Nusa Dua Convention Centre.
One important and often overlooked aspect to remember is the emphasis the ITDC placed on being environmentally aware. Nusa Dua has earned various awards for this including Kalpataru of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and certification of Tri Hita Karana from the Tri Hita Karana Bali Foundation.
On a global level, Nusa Dua was awarded the first Certification of Green Globe 21 Asia Pacific in the world for the “Community Resort” category in 2004. This was awarded by the Green Globe Foundation, a global institution supported by the UN.
All of this is a great plus if you’re living in the area or if you have a rental business running with a valid Pondok Wisata license that allows you to do business in the first place, but the enclave where the resorts live is not where you’ll be, which is a good thing because you can make the best of the facilities while still maintaining your own sense of privacy.
In terms of real estate investments however, the greater Nusa Dua area, which includes Tanjung Benoa, is most popular with the lower-middle income Indonesian market. Property and land prices reflect this. Freehold land prices range between IDR 400 million – 700 million per are (approx. USD 29,600 – 51,800) and house prices, even within residential developments, range between IDR 1.5 – 3 billion (approx. USD 111,000 – 222,000)
The bottom line is it’s affordable.
Immediately north of Nusa Dua is the peninsula of Tanjung Benoa, which includes a range of cheaper hotels and a fun range of adrenaline pumping water sports. It’s a multi-cultural area with mosques, Chinese and Hindu temples and it’s here where you’ll also find Benoa harbor, which in 2012 became Benoa Cruise International Terminal’s turnaround port, serving as both embarkation and debarkation point for cruise passengers.
A large part of the Nusa Dua-Tanjung Benoa beachfront is connected via a paved beach walk for about 7 kilometers. Getting in and out of the area is not difficult. The new toll road to the airport and Sanur has cut travel time significantly and now getting to and from the airport takes about 15 minutes and the nearby harbor of Tanjung Benoa is just 5.
Jimbaran and the Bukit are right there too and naturally enough, water based activities are big in this part of the island. Jetski’s, parasailing, banana boats and diving are all available directly from the beach at Nusa Dua or Tanjung Benoa
A public beach at Geger (on the southern side of the enclave in Sawangan) and the opposite direction from Tanjung Benoa has safe water making it a great place for families. The area also has a much-unappreciated attraction at The Pasifika Museum (near Bali Collection), which has some fantastic examples of art from Bali, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific region.
But it’s the beach at Pandawa that’s got the biggest draw card. For many years it was known as the ‘secret beach’ about 3 kilometers from the enclave. One of the reasons it was so ‘secret’ was that it was an undiscovered and difficult to get to surf break and surfers like to keep those sorts of things to themselves for along as they can.
There’s also nearby Turtle Island (Pulau Serangan), which is serviced by boats departing from Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa. It’s a turtle conservation area and the local folk keep turtle eggs in traditional conservation houses until they hatch and then release them from nearby beaches.
All in all, Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa offer a great selection of things to do without the Kuta-style crowds and Canggu-style traffic.
But be warned.
The two international MICE facilities in Nusa Dua have played host to a variety of large scale international events including a UN Climate Change Conference, APEC, the World Parliamentary Forum on Sustainable Development, the Bali Democratic Forum, Miss World and in 2018 they will be hosting the global IMF-World Bank meeting.
When events such as these are in town and when the big cruise ships moor up, things can and do get busy, especially if dignitaries from around the world are involved. It’s not a hassle but good to know why traffic might be snarled up!
Andy writes on a variety of topics related to property, real estate, the customer experience, mindset training and local/international trends for Seven Stones Indonesia. You can read some of his blogs here.