After having explored most of central Bali, Louise and I realised that we’d neglected to explore one of its most famous beach destinations; Nusa Dua and the Bukit Peninsula. Coming from Canggu, we’d really got used to the work/live/travel vibe there and had forgotten that for many, Bali is a beach paradise. With that in mind, we figured we should go and spend a few days there and see what it was all about. Here are 10 of the best things to do in Nusa Dua, Uluwatu and in the general Bukit Peninsula region.
Things to do in Nusa Dua:
The first thing that you’ll notice about Nusa Dua is that it’s nothing at all like the rest of Bali. The cramped streets and chaos that you’ll find on the main part of the island seems to vanish as you move into the upscale tourist district. It won’t be much of a surprise therefore to learn that many of the most expensive and exclusive resorts are found here in a sort-of gated community.
There are plenty of reefs surrounding the Nusa Dua region, making for some good surf a little further out, and some nice calm water for snorkelling in closer to shore. There are plenty of snorkelling day trips that you can book, but it’s just as easy to walk right out from the beach with a snorkel and a pair of flippers. Most of the public beaches (like Nusa Dua beach) are great for snorkelling.. or even a nice evening stroll.
2. Dinner in a cave
If you want to try something special and unusual, the Samabe hotel offers afternoon tea or dinner in a cave by the beach. I struggle to think of something more romantic than enjoying a candlelit dinner on a beach while the waves crash in the distance. The Samabe generously hosted us for a couple of nights and we knew we couldn’t leave without giving it a go. The seafood dinner was one of our best meals in Bali, but it doesn’t come cheap (approx $250 per person). For a little extra, you can even have a private cave experience in a different cave, making it that little bit more romantic.
During the day we came back for the afternoon tea in the cave and had an amazing chocolate fountain and sparkling wine (included free each day if you’re staying at the hotel!)
If you’re looking for 5 star luxury treatment, there are plenty of hotels in Nusa Dua that fit that criteria but we would be more than happy to recommend the Samabe. Their villas are beyond beautiful and the 24 hour butler service made our stay unforgettable. We even had the audacity to ask for a floating breakfast which they were quite happy to provide in our villa at no extra charge.
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3. Abandoned planes
It’s something of a weird phenomenon in Bali, but every now and then you’ll come across an abandoned plane parked in an impossibly small piece of land. The one we visited was about 15 minutes away from the Samabe by scooter (10 minutes of which was spent offroading – google maps doesn’t care that you’re scootering up a dry riverbed). Stop when you see the out of place enormous pile of shipping containers and head up the hill to the side for the best view. Directions – google “Abandoned Aircraft” and you’ll be able to find it!
4. Water Blow
One of the more famous attractions in Nusa Dua. Water blow is a narrow inlet in the rocks that channels the waves into giant blow hole. Worth a quick stop, especially if the sea is rough.
5. Serangen Island
Otherwise known as Turtle Island, Serangen is home to the Turtle Conservation And Education Center. Bring your kids along and learn about the ecology of the beautiful, endangered turtles. If you’re there in June or July you might even have a chance to release some of the baby turtles into the sea.
Watersports and Nusa Dua have become synonymous with each other, and due to the affluence in the area, you can get all the usual hi tech water toys i.e. Fly boards, jet packs, jet bikes, parasailing, sea walking, fly fish (basically strapping you to an inflatable kite) etc. The calm waters make it the perfect place for these activities, whereas you might find yourself fighting through the waves in some of the other parts of Bali.
Overall, there are plenty of things to do in Nusa Dua, and you’ll find yourself totally isolated from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Bali. If you’re with your family, bringing young kids or just want a quiet week of fun in the sun, then Nusa Dua is probably your best bet.
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Over on the other side of the Bukit Peninsula is Uluwatu and a few more hidden gems. We rented a scooter from Nusa Dua (from Richi Bike rental – 70k per day, minimum 2 day rental, 500k deposit) and drove across to the NW of the Peninsula. It was about 45 minutes from the Samabe and the roads weren’t anywhere near as crazy as more central Bali.
Things to see in Uluwatu:
7. Tegal Wangi Beach
This is a bit of a hidden gem that gets overlooked by many locals and tourists alike. With that being said, we went around sunset and found it packed with ladies in wedding dresses. It seems like it’s a pretty popular spot for engagement shoots. It’s really famous for 3 things; amazing sunsets, hidden caves and natural beach jacuzzi rock pools. If you go looking for rock pools, make sure you visit at low tide. We came close to high tide and the sun set before the rock pools revealed themselves.
8. Rock Bar
This is probably the most famous bar in Bali, as it protrudes out into the crashing seas below. Check out our post on it here! Part of the Ayana Resort, staying here doesn’t come cheap. It isn’t a bad honeymoon spot though!
9. Uluwatu Temple
Probably the most famous temple in the area, and one of Bali’s 6 most important temples, the Uluwatu temple towers over the waves 250ft below. Built in the 10th Century, it’s now one of the most famous spots to see the sun set on Bali’s west coast. It’s also one of the most popular spots to see the famous Balinese Kecak fire dance. The monkeys are known to be a little aggressive here, so watch out for any loose belongings!
The Uluwatu area has a few great reef breaks that makes the area very popular for surfing. Check out Bingin Beach for some world class waves!
Overall, the southern Bukit Peninsula is all about relaxation, so don’t expect to find too many jungle waterfalls or hikes. Instead, you’ll find some unbeatable beaches with the odd hidden gem thrown in!
Want to experience more of the jungles and waterfalls in Bali? Why not check out our post on the best things to see near Ubud for more info!
(Disclaimer: While our stay in the Samabe Resort was complimentary, all the opinions expressed are completely our own. We only recommend the places we love!)