With its tranquil beaches, family friendly resorts and secure community, Nusa Dua is the ideal Balinese escape when you have little ones in tow. Monica McInnes checks in with ten ideas to keep everyone entertained...
Nusa Dua, located on Bali’s south-eastern peninsula, is a favoured destination for families — and with good reason.
The semi-gated community is clean and quiet, and fronts the calm waters of Benoa Bay. It’s perfect for parents who want their children to experience the culture of Bali without the frenetic pace of the main tourist centres.
Here are ten top things to do in Nusa Dua with kids.
1. Be amazed at the Devdan Show
The Devdan Show will be a highlight of any family visit to Nusa Dua. The 90-minute Treasure of the Archipelago dance, music and light spectacular follows the magical story of two young children as they travel through Bali, Java, Sumatra, Borneo and Papua — encountering rumbling earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and torrential rain along the way. You and your tiny entourage will be enthralled by the costumes, acrobatics and theatrics. Handy ticket and transfer packages are available.
2. Get wet at Surf & Turf
Not to be confused with the much-loved Aussie culinary classic, Nusa Dua’s Surf & Turf is a small water park located right by the beach. Keep an eye on your tribe from the comfort of a beachside sun lounge (with a cocktail in hand), as they splash in the pool, whizz down slides and balance on the surf-rider. Best of all – you don’t have to contend with the sand afterwards!
3. Channel your inner Captain Jack at Pirates Bay Bali
Quite possibly a washed-up set from a Pirates of the Caribbean flick, the Pirates Bay Bali swashbuckling café and restaurant will keep the kids entertained for hours. Choose your tree-top table and let everyone run amok on the tree playground or hunt for Captain Jack Sparrow on the beached pirate ship. Time your visit just right and kids over four can participate in a treasure hunt — complete with costumes and a treasure map (participation fee applies).
4. Get arty at Museum Pasifica
Museum Pasifika offers a fabulous collection of Asia-Pacific art works and artefacts. Little eyes will love the Polynesian galleries with their intimidating masks, fearsome spears and decorative headdresses. Look out for Ramayana Story by I Gusti Kobot (1946). At 6 x 4-metres, it’s hard to miss. It depicts the Hindu story of Shri Rama and has recently undergone a major restoration (having been previously used as a car cover!). Don’t miss the exhibit by young local artists on an outside wall opposite the café.
5. Hit the beach
The beaches of Nusa Dua have calm waters and are a lot quieter than the more touristy areas of Kuta and Legian. When the tide is out, wander the shallow pools looking for shells, starfish and crabs. During high tide, older kids will love the stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing and snorkelling options. There are several outlets where you can hire equipment.
6. Get a family massage
Who says holiday massages are just for adults? The kids will love them — along with pedicures, manicures and hair braiding. Forget the hotel spa. Shopping precincts and local markets offer far more cost-effective options. The kids will undoubtedly be intrigued by the fish spas — where patrons hang their feet in tanks of water and tiny garra rufa fish nibble at their toes! Consider the potential health risks before taking part. Fish spas have been banned in some countries due to sanitation concerns.
7. Bag a bargain
The Bali Collection shopping precinct comes complete with department store Sogo, boutiques, cafes, restaurants and plenty of activities to keep the kids amused — including giant chess and a fort-like playground. The precinct is clean, requires a security screen prior to entry, and has several cafes and restaurants with free Wi-Fi.
8. Pay a visit to Pandawa Beach
The emerging beachside community of Pandawa is located about 45-minutes’ drive south of Nusa Dua and makes a great day trip. The beach is lined with umbrellas and sun lounges, and the small swell is ideal for introducing kids to a surf beach. Alternatively, stay dry on the beachside swings and snack at the nearby market stalls. Note: Only non-western toilets are available and a small fee applies to use them. There’s also an entrance fee to the Pandawa area.
9. Have a faith-based day of discovery at Puja Mandala
Five different religious places of worship stand harmoniously side-by-side at Puja Mandala. It’s possibly the only place like it in the world. There’s an Islamic mosque, Catholic church, Protestant church, Buddhist temple and Hindu temple. Moving from one religious building to the next provides a wonderful opportunity for young ones to learn about these five major world religions. Wear modest clothing to ensure entry, and visit around Islamic prayer times to hear the poetic call to prayer.
10. Marvel at the world’s highest monument
Take a blue taxi (or private car if you prefer) to Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park. Kids will love exploring the nooks and crannies of the 60-hectare park, and the street theatre performances. You can’t miss the 120-metre high copper and brass statue of Hindu deity Vishnu riding the mythical Garuda. It’s one of the world’s tallest statues.
Do you have any suggestions to add to our list of ten top things to do in Nusa Dua with kids? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
Additional images: Bigstock
About the writer
Monica McInnes is a keen traveller and is always on the lookout for her next big adventure — even before the current one has concluded! Having recently returned from a three-month road trip with her young family through the Red Centre, the Kimberley, the Pilbara and along the Coral Coast, Monica is convinced that Australia is the most beautiful country on earth. She blogs about her travel exploits at Jiggety Jog.