For centuries, the natural means of communication between this area and the rest of Bali was by boat from Tanjung Benoa, as this was easier than the overland route via Jimbaran. Tanjung Benoa, which appears isolated at the tip of the peninsula, was in fact a trading port for Badung and the eastern Bukit, with a world outlook extending right across the archipelago. Its population bears traces of this mercantile past. Chinese have lived here for centuries: a Ratu Cina" shrine in the local temple of death bears witness to their long presence.
Although most families have moved to Denpasar, they still maintain a klenteng temple here, where local fishermen now inquire about the secrets of the stars with a Chinese abbot. The village also has a Bugis quarter, with a small mosque.
Tanjung Benoa is the natural northern continuation of Nusa Dua, with the white sand beach stretching the length of the coast. It is a booming resort, popular with water sports enthusiasts.
The Tanjung Benoa area has an increasing number of good restaurants. Near the peninsula tip, the sumptuous Beluga Water sport Complex is a hull shaped restaurant renowned for its rijsttafel, only 10 euro per person. The beach side Rai restaurant features lobster and fresh fish grilled to perfection. For good European fare and pizza, dine at Novotel Benoa.
At the southern end, across from Club Med, is the Casanova Italian restaurant. For Indonesian food, Bambu Indah has a good reputation among locals. More upscale but excellent quality is Pasar Senggol, nightly at Grand Hyatt Bali. For 37 euro, all you can eat of a variety of Indonesian fare from vendor carts and stalls, plus an excellent dance performance. Tanjung Benoa Café Jalan Padma 216. Enjoy Indonesian, Chinese and European cuisine and the romantic atmosphere.
Facilities are available at reasonable rates in over 10 locations. The following is a rough price guide. Canoes: 6 euro per hour. Deep-sea fishing: 50-75 euro. Scuba Diving: 34-85 euro for certified divers, 55 euro for a boat dive. Snorkeling around Nusa Dua: 10 euro. Day trips to Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan: cost 60 euro per boat. Banana boats, water scooters, water skiing, jet skis, wave runners, windsurfers, and parasailing are also available.
Although the Nusa Dua / Tanjung Benoa area does not compare to Kuta or Denpasar for choice, you can find a wide range of products in a much smaller area. Prices are fair.
Set inside the Nusa Dua resort, the Galeria Shopping Complex has textiles and handicrafts, including leather, batik, woodcarving, and paintings. Galeria has expanded and improved with greenery and lively kiosks selling crafts and fast foods. A new games center entertains youngsters and the island's largest music outlet is here. Keris Gallery is an up-market department store. There's also a Duty Free Shop, a Tragia supermarket, a huge branded jeans warehouse and numerous international restaurants.
Another shopping area is near the main Tragia supermarket on Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai. There are a number of leather shops where you can bargain for custom-made leather jackets for as little as $120. Most of the other stuff on sale is the same as that found in all the main tourist areas, minus the chic of some of the Legian and Sanur shops. The Tragia supermarket itself is a good place to buy souvenirs for a fixed, higher price, but minus the hassles. For an excellent and wide selection of local wood furniture, visit Tuahta Furniture, Jalan Pratama 100X, Tanjung Benoa. They will also help with shipping if something large catches your eye.
Nusa Dua is a resort for short stays, conventioneers and families who generally don't go out. If they do, it's either to Jimbaran or Kuta. There are a few nightspots in the resort, however: Bali Hilton's Octopus Fun Pub with live music from 7 pm-10 pm and karaoke until 2 am; live bands and big screen video at Grand Hyatt's Lila Cita, 6 pm-2 am; or Quinn's Pub at the Sheraton Laguna with music from 9 pm; for an elegant night out, Club Tabuh at Nusa Dua Beach Hotel has a nightly band alternately featuring jazz, Caribbean and Top 40 music from 9 pm-1 am.
Banks and Money Changers; Both available at Galleria or outside the main gate to Nusa Dua. Medical Service; The BTDC Clinic, across from Nusa Dua Galleria, and the Nusa Dua Clinic, across from Bali Royal in Tanjung Benoa are both open 24-hours.
Telecommunications; Wartels are located at the BPLP/STP Hotel & Tourism Institute in Nusa Dua, Phone 7771165 and behind the Police in Tanjung Benoa, Phone 773648. Both open 8 am-11 pm. Postal Service. Most hotels will post letters for guests. The Nusa Dua post office is outside the resort's main gate. Hours: Mon-Sat 8 am-8 pm, Sun 8 am-noon, holidays 8 am-2 pm.
Compared to Tanjung Benoa, the village of Bualu, where Nusa Dua is situated, was a sleepy village subsisting on copra, fishing and coral collecting. There were two noble houses and no Brahmans. As elsewhere in Bali, religion was ever-present.
The area had, and keeps, very special features. Its best-known ritual is an appeasement of the sea, to protect the land from any incursion by the fanged monster lurking beyond the waves - Jero Gede Mecaling harbinger of death and illness. People present him with offerings in his many shrines along the coast.
The region around Buala is also dotted with sea temples, some within the perimeters of the luxury hotels. And pengelem duck sacrifices to the sea are offered under the eyes of passing tourists.