There are plenty of choices for a quick family beach getaway near the Ngurah Rai airport and Nusa Dua (google map) is obviously one of the obvious choices. I promised myself to get off the beaten track and take my kids to the Lovina and Pemutaran beaches one day, but at the moment we have set up camp in Nusa Dua and decided to check out some old and new waves in the area.
Nusa Dua Beach at Nusa Gede
Follow the Grand Hyatt signs and continue until the guarded entrance next to the Bay resort. The park-like area is surrounded by private beaches on the right and a public beach on the left. At the end of the park is the Nusa Gede ‘mini’ island, landmarked by the gorgeous Rama and Lesmana statue. Our hotel has its own tiny plot of beach in the private section and because of the low season, we had no problem tagging a bed and a set of complimentary beach towels. The parasols and surrounding trees offered a lot of cool in the heat. The kids, armored with hundreds of SPF’s from their sunblock, were very much comfortable playing around the beach until late in the afternoon.
- Cleanliness: Well, it’s Nusa Dua, a major tourist spot, so you can’t really expect pristine waters and virgin sand here. There is some organic trash in the water from the surrounding vegetation, and the sand can get a bit murky, but overall the place is very well maintained and comfortable enough for the kids to play for hours on end
- Safety: I haven’t noticed any lifeguards or buoys marking a safezone in the water. The place is also often frequented by surfers, so there are some significant waves that hit the shore. I felt pretty safe because my 7yo and 5yo aren’t keen of swimming into the sea and rather play at beach level until the water reaches their waist. But nevertheless, do not leave your kids unattended, especially later in the afternoon when the waves get wilder.
- Crowd: A lot of foreign families, topless sunbathers, surfers and hardly any local tourists. The ibuibu who sell souvenirs and offer braiding, massage and ‘manipadi’ services are also present.
- Food and Beverages: There was a hotel ‘bar’ in the form of a cool box where I can buy a bottle of Aqua for 10thousand. Foodstalls are a couple of steps away, but if you feel like eating at an airconditioned space, you have to head out the compound and walk around 10 minutes to the Bali Collection mall. Showers and toilets are available at the cost of 3thousand rupiah per person.
Pandawa Beach in Desa Kutuh
Google ‘PantaiPandawa’ and you will get hits with key words such as secret beach, hidden beach and green bowl beach. It is hardly a ‘secret’ anymore, at least not for the past few years, especially with the easy access from Nusa Dua and the smooth asphalt road in between cliffs and mountain rocks that have basically been cut and removed to make way for that road. Secret or not, the view was stunning and the water was clear with a semi-rocky beach. We arrived at Pandawa around 11:00 AM on a Sunday, and the place was still relatively quiet. Visitors start to fill up the beach around lunch time, when it’s actually quite hot!
- Cleanliness: The water is surprisingly clear and the beach is well-kept. A couple of steps from the shore isa row of beach beds and massive parasols. The rent is 50thousand for two beds under one parasol and you can stay until ‘sepuasnya’. This shaded spot turns out to be necessary as our cool-down and re-applying of sunblock area because the beach is downright hot, hot, hot. The beach beds were comfortable, clean and close enough to the beach for some necessary monitoring of the kids.
- Safety: This leads me to the point of safety because there is no safeguard on duty. There are some watchful men who rent out the canoe boats, but I don’t know their M.O when it comes to rescuing. Of course the kids wanted to try the canoe and for 20thousand an hour they had a good time peddling and canoeing. There is no guide or canoe peddling instructor, so make sure you stay with your children when they try the canoe. Life-vests are for rent, and fortunately Pandawa beach has buoys that mark a safe zone in the water.
- Crowd: Only local tourists at the time, with an occasional ‘bulekesasar’. No ladies who offer massage or manipedi services though..
- Food and Beverages: Right behind the beach beds is a bunch of warungs and stalls. I think I had my best kelapamuda there. A huge fruit with super sweet flesh and a seemingly endless well of coconut water for just 15thousand.There is also a dolphin shower and you can rinse off the sand free of charge before you hit home.