Situated on the eastern side of Bali’s Bukit Peninsular, the island’s southernmost landmass, Nusa Dua presents a ribbon-wrapped package, complemented by an air of gentility and order. An enormous split gate of carved stone marks the entrance to this tourist enclave of wide paved lanes and manicured gardens, white-sand beaches, restaurants, a shopping mall, a conference centre and one the island’s most popular golf courses – The Bali Golf and Country Club – to support its five-star resorts. The enclave is guarded by the twin islets of Nusa Dua – the name literally means ‘two
islands’ – connected to the coast by two temple-topped sand spits. A six-kilometre seafront promenade links the beaches and is perfect for early morning strolls or bicycle rides. A notable attraction in the area is the Pasifika Museum which showcases artwork from Bali, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. Most restaurants in Nusa Dua are hotel-based.
In contrast, the neighbouring cape of Tanjung Benoa presents history, colour and a busy vibe. This slender, five-kilometre-long peninsula, juts into the bay north of Nusa Dua, pointing like a finger towards Benoa Harbour. The village of Benoa, on the tip of this peninsula, was once a bustling trading port, and many Chinese and Bugis descendants of these traders still live in the area. The backstreets are a rabbit warren of alleys pocketed with small shops, Balinese temples crafted from carved limestone, a mosque, an ancient Chinese Buddhist temple and a traditional open-air market, while the beach is home to water sports operators and many restaurants, including the upmarket Bumbu Bali, serving Balinese cusine. A major, Japanese-funded, beach restoration project at Tanjung Benoa has resulted in the construction of a series of attractive, crescent-shaped, stone piers, complete with open-sided gazebos capped with red-tiled roofs.