Nusa Dua offers a luxurious haven away from the hubbub of Bali’s busy streets in places like Kuta and Legian. Instead, you’ll find Nusa Dua providing sanctuary inside the grounds of sprawling super resorts, giving tourists shelter from the world outside. If you’re visiting Indonesia for the first time or just looking for a super chilled out holiday away from it all, Nusa Dua is the ideal spot. To help you navigate your first visit, here is my essential first timers guide to Nusa Dua and everything you need to know on where to stay, when to go, what to pack, what to do and much more!
Must-know tips for visiting Bali
If this is your first time visiting Bali, there are a couple of things you need to know before you set off:
- We visited Bali in March 2017 and, at the time of our visit as Australians, were not required to purchase a Visa
- To make life easier, try booking a hotel with an airport shuttle
- Things are never perfect in Bali, so set your expectations appropriately, relax and go with the flow
- Prepare to experience amazing Balinese hospitality, warm welcomes and plenty of happy smiles
- Learning a few key words in Bahasa goes a long way! Tidak (no), Terima Kasih (thank you) and Sama Sama (you’re welcome)
- You’re going to need to haggle when shopping at local stores, learn how to haggle like a professional here
- The roads are perfectly organised chaos, don’t panic, your driver always knows what they’re doing!
- You can’t drink the tap water, so stock up on big bottles from local stores
- Read all of my 23 things to know before you visit Bali
How to get to Nusa Dua
It takes around 25 minutes to get from the airport to Nusa Dua, thanks to the brand new highway! It should cost between $5-$10AU (50,000 – 100,000 IDR) to get there, plus $1AU (11,000IDR) for the highway toll. If you’re catching a taxi from the airport, as opposed to a hotel or resort’s airport shuttle, be sure to have your taxi arranged by the taxi desk. If you go with someone yelling, “Transport! Transport!” at you, you run the risk of getting ripped off.
To find the taxi desk: Just after you go through the bag screening at customs, but before you go through the very last duty-free shop, you’ll see a small desk to your right. The taxi fares here are set-price and you pay them before you get in the cab, so you know you won’t get ripped off. Just make sure you have the address of the hotel and a screenshot of a map to help the driver find it. A taxi direct from the airport may cost more than the prices listed above.
Pro tip: Matt and I arrived in Bali at around 1-am exhausted after catching two flights and a long layover. Rather than tire ourselves out further we spent a few hours sleeping at a lovely, affordable hotel near Ngurah Rai International Airport (Hotel H Sovereign – $30-$40AU per night incl. breakfast + free airport shuttle) before checking out and hopping into a Bluebird Taxi out to Nusa Dua the next day.
Best time to visit
I’ve visited Bali at different times throughout the year and found the weather to be good all year round. Of course, there are times when it’s hotter and rainier, but typically speaking, it’s hard to go wrong – it’s a good destination all year. That said, the peak season happens in the summer months, from April through to October. You’ll find it a tad more rainy October through March but don’t let that deter you, those tropical afternoon storms are gorgeous.
Where to stay in Nusa Dua: Luxe to Less
Whether you’re on a budget or flush with cash, there are plenty of great places to stay in Nusa Dua. Here are my tips on the best spots to stay, from luxe to less.
We spent two nights at Inaya Putri Bali and absolutely loved it! The resort does an amazing job of capturing all things luxury and relaxation without losing any of Bali’s much-loved soul. We stayed in a deluxe pool access room, which gave us access to an exclusive pool right off our deck, only accessible to a select few rooms (4 or 5). This meant we could wake up each day in our gorgeous, spacious room and step right out into a private pool. The service at Inaya Putri is fantastic, they have a number of on-site swimming pools to lounge in, some fantastic on-site restaurants serving delicious food and it’s right on the beachfront. I loved this place, it’s perfect for a super relaxing holiday away from all the hustle and bustle of Bali’s busy streets. Read my full review here.
For anyone on a budget, look no further than Ellie’s. This humble, but lovely spot offers a cosy and welcoming base perfect for exploring Nusa Dua. The rooftop terrace offers amazing views over Nusa Dua and is a short drive from the beach, it’s also super easy to get around to places like Seminyak, Kuta, Uluwatu and beyond. Rooms here are simple and understated but equipped with everything you could need. They run from around $30-$45AU per night, including breakfast. You’ll also find a lovely courtyard, private swimming pool, and reading and relaxation spaces. The service here is personal, welcoming and incredibly friendly, making it a great location for your next budget trip to Nusa Dua.
Best things to see and do in Nusa Dua
Need some inspiration on what to see and do in Nusa Dua? Here are a few tips…
- Spend some time relaxing, swimming and drinking cold beers at Nusa Dua Beach and Geger Beach
- Catch a Devdan show at the Nusa Dua Theatre for a pretty amazing Cirque d’Soleil-style experience
- While you’re there, take some time to visit the Water Blow
- Become a pirate for a day and explore The Pirates Bay
- If you’re in need of some serious relaxation, visit a day spa for some pampering
- Food lovers can take part in a local cooking class
- Check out the stunning, nearby, Geger Temple
- If you’re only visiting Nusa Dua, you might want to take a day trip to other parts of Bali – spots like Ubud, Uluwatu, and Mt Batur
- Discover the hidden Pandawa Beach
- Visit the Surf and Turf Surf Rider and show off/hone your wave riding skills
Where to eat and must-try food
I love food. Like, really really love food! Based on that information, here are my picks on where to get some great grub in Nusa Dua:
- My all-time favourite place to eat in Nusa Dua has to be Bumbu Bali, serving incredible Indonesian food you’ll just love
- For simple, low-key traditional fare head to Warung Bule & Susy
- In the mood for something fancy? Head to Cucina
- I loved the on-site restaurant at Inaya Putri Bali, Gading Restaurant, for amazing Japanese and Asian food
- Grab a bite beach-side at Mr Bob Beachfront Bar & Grill
- Love Italian? Be sure to check out Prego
- If you’re on a budget and need low-key bites, be sure to visit Secret Cafe
What to pack
Packing can be tough and Bali is no exception, here are my tips on a few things you definitely need to pack:
- Nusa Dua is the ‘fancy’ part of Bali, so feel free to pack a couple of nice outfits if you’re planning on staying at a luxe resort and want to dress up for dinner and drinks of an evening (high-heels not necessary)
- Be sure to pack your swimmers, kaftans, sarongs, hats and all your other essential pool or beach attire
- Keep your packing light, saving room for all the goodies you’ll scoop up while you’re there!
- Pack light, breathable clothing like shorts, skirts, dresses and t-shirts in nice breezy fabrics
- Be sure to include essential medicines as well as Imodium or gasto-strop, any prescriptions meds, sunscreen and a high-strength bug spray as well as a hat and sunglasses
Read my full ‘what to pack for a trip to Indonesia‘ trip here