Friday, June 21, 2013

Geger Beach and Nusa Dua

Visited early June 2013

Safe swimming area adjacent the Ayodya Resort far end of Nusa Dua south beach. This turns into Geger Beach past the corner mid distance. The strip of sand far distance is a separate beach below the very expensive Nikko Bali resort.
Actually the Nusa Dua south-Geger area is pretty safe swimming-wise being protected from bigger waves by a fringing reef you may better see if you click-expand image. Nevertheless there was a bit of a tidal side drag out near that boat when I went for a swim, so the hotel is maybe not wasting its money employing this guy. Poor dude seemed pretty bored - eager for a chat. Fancy standing there all day with nothing to do but scope the Russian bikini babes.

I saw a Trip Adviser article on the world's unforgettable beaches which mentioned south Bali's Geger  so I figured I better go check it out next visit. When I learned Geger was actually an extension of Nusa Dua's southern beach I realized I could also revisit ND for the first time in years. Well I saw plenty of Geger Beach but I can't say I was too conscientious covering Nusa Dua, spending most time there walking the southern beach or shopping/eating at the Bali Collection mall.

The Nusa Dua strip is about 10km south-east of the airport. Traffic is horrendous along the way and it will take you a good 30 minutes most times of the day. But note those mid-bay lines going thru the distance scale near the 5km mark - that's a new by-pass starting adjacent the airport which when open will greatly ease access. Another branch goes north to meet the main road north-east to Sanur and beyond, which cuts out a section of even busier main road (modified Google Earth image).

It's kinda hard denoting the border between Nusa Dua and the Tanjung Benoa area but the general consensus it that it's at the start of the peninsula where I have drawn in the white line.
I stayed at the Swiss Belhotel Segara bottom left (the closest affordable-to-me joint to Geger) which classes itself as a Nusa Dua hotel - however it is actually on the lower slopes of the eastern Bukit limestone plateau over 2km from Geger Beach but fortunately with a free hourly shuttle. There is also another free hourly shuttle to the Bali Collection mall just above the center of image.


Beach corner where Nusa Dua South turns into Geger. Background is the Nikko with part of its beach below - telephoto used makes this appear half the distance of reality.

The Mulia's beachfront wings take up most of the southern half of Geger. A bunch of budget restaurants is located where the public access road hits the beach just south of my Geger Bch place marker. Immediately north of this marker can be seen the St Regis which is expanding into that cleared zone around the distance scale line - a lot of this land once belonged to the Bali Golf and Country Club which still exists across the road. The Novotel Nusa Dua is located on inland side of that construction zone just above the 0 of the distance scale but has a nice little beach club section almost adjacent the tip of the blue "north" symbol. 
North of the distance scale line the beach becomes Nusa Dua South. The first hotel is the Ayodya. The cleared zone is the Bali Hyatt under reconstruction. The star fish resort north of this is the Westin Nusa Dua.

The resort section of the Mulia dominates the southern half of Geger but the St Regis starts not far past halfway and is pretty unobtrusive from the beachfront (if you click-expand you may just be able to see the rooftops further from the beach). St Regis' new construction is closer the far corner of the beach and could be more visually intrusive on completion. This is the chance for you subsequent trip reporters to become stars.  

Near Geger's halfway point a public access lane arrives from the main road, This is where Swiss-Belhotel Segara's free hourly shuttle drops people. The area has a half adozen inexpensive restaurants, many of which rent these sunlbounges and water sports equipment, although I got the impression that the lounges were free for restaurant users. Area quite popular.

About 200m north of the budget restaurants is the extensive St Regis sun lounge area. The building behind the palms at left is about as intrusive as the place presently gets along the beachfront - I wasn't aware of the resort as I passed by. At the far end of these sunlounges...... a small area where the Novotel Nusa Dua has its beach club area. I'm not sure how users access from the resort which is inland on the other side of the road from the St Regis, but the people on the lounges (mainly non-English speaking Russians when I wanted some info - but one cutie in the typical minimalist bikini had no problems. Bless her.) looked a pretty contented lot. Nice area. I notice Novotel's website claims this area their "Private Beach". No doubt the sun lounges are not for outsiders but the greater beach area is open to all.

Geger's fringing reef about 600m offshore protects the beach from tricky waves and also provides a few good surfing breaks (as does adjacent Nusa Dua South - although any surfer worth his/her chops should be ripping [or getting destroyed] at not too distant Uluwatu/Padang-Padang/Bingin/Balangan. Plus this area is better in the wet season when winds are off-shore and so stand the waves up and smooth the wave faces). The distant wave in shot was probably 2m plus and seemed fast enough to be entertaining.
The protected lagoon gets a fair tidal range - maybe 3m - this shot taken only an hour short of lowest tide showed plenty of water - those fishermen are maybe 200m offshore and are waist deep.
I took the face mask out into this zone - sea grass and broken coral from the reef plus patches of sandy bottom would be interesting enough for novice snorkellers. No doubt there is okay live coral out near the reef but I was too lazy to swim out there.

So is Geger Beach mainland Bali”s best as the Trip Advisor article infers? It is a fine stretch of sand protected by that offshore reef and with clear water which appears not to get too shallow at low tide. It doesn't get the hawkers which can make other Bali beaches a bit tiresome for some people. But nearly half is now dominated by the huge Mulia Resort and Spa which perhaps has taken some of its former quaintness away. I don't think it is any better than adjacent Nusa Dua south. I prefer not too distant Balangan (although that place gets the low tide blues) and Dreamland aka New Kuta Beach - although the surf makes them not as kid friendly.

The Mulia is huge - it took me over 10 minutes to walk by road from the budget restaurants to the top entrance gate (the resort is built on a gentle slope away from the beach) to the left of my "Mulia villas" placemark, but I bet villa owners/renters have electric golf buggy thingies or similar to zip to the beach and elsewhere. I thought the beachfront pool was pretty big (I just measure it at 80m long on Google Earth) but that central pool is appreciably larger (approx 110x60) and a close-up shows at least 8 other smaller "public" pools plus most villas seem to have a small private pool. Wow.

Geger becomes Nusa Dua South beach past this point. I thought this long (1200m) beach was equally attractive - maybe more so because the resorts tended to be hiding behind beachfront palms. Maybe the Mulia hasn't got around to this yet - they were still working on beachfront ceramic landscaping in early June 2013. Updates welcomed.

I shot this from the headland at the southern end of Geger which has a rather nice temple. Nikko's buildings are up top and you can see part of the beach below. This is about as close as I got - the security guys on the gate at Nikko whre not too encouraging to outsiders and you can see that walking the shoreline in not an option, so.........
........I pinched this great shot by Parapeter (Panoramio)

This is no small patch of sand at almost 2km long - and others are moving in. In typical Bali fashion at least 3 other resorts seem to be under construction in this Google Earth image dated 0?/2013. If you click-expand the 06/2013 pic two above this you can see some of the construction cranes.
I'm annoyed with myself for not exploring the area more thoroughly- my Swiss Belhotel Segara is not too far out of shot and a slightly bigger area on Google Earth seems to show alternative beach access. But I had only 2 days here at the end of a multi-stop Bali trip and what I mostly wanted to do was laze by my hotel's huge pools and make use of other facilities way above my usual accommodation standard.

This joint may not be as flash as a lot of the resorts in the region but it is still a pretty nice place. Note I have added SEGARA each mention - there are a number of Swiss Belhotels in Bali including the nearby BAYVIEW who's position beachwise is not particularly good. Closer to the airport though although SEGARA is not too bad in this respect (about 12km - 80k rp 06/13).

Our room overlooked this pool (first shot is from our balcony) - there is another of equal size on the other side of the hotel with a big shallow section for kids. Hotel pretty busy but there was never a shortage of sun lounges.

We were upgraded to a Premier Pool View room which had all you would expect of a good 3 to 4 star hotel. The bed was sinfully comfortable, the big terrace overlooked one of the pools and the area quiet. Only complaint was slow drainage from the sink and bath. Free wifi reception was good.
The restaurant served nice food at prices maybe 70% higher than budget restaurants down at Geger Beach, but still a bargain by western standards. The hotel’s inclusive buffet breakfast was fine with a good selection. Cheaper non-budget dining was available by taking the free hourly shuttle 10 minutes into Nusa Dua to the Bali Collection shopping mall which is a good area for browsing with a couple of big department stores, many specialty shops and a few minimarts.
Staff performance in all areas was outstanding. Reception seemed keen to provide late checkout if vacancies allow. The free 15 minute massage at the spa which was pretty nice. That area also has a basic gym with treadmills, a stationary bicycle and a treadmill.

Nyet Nikita! "Don't pinch the food" sign on exit from the excellent breakfast buffet. Guests seemed to be over 50% Indonesian, followed by Chinese, then Russians and other westerners about equal at maybe 10% each. Bit perplexing why nearly all of the text is monolingual.

Much of the Nusa Dua resort strip is in a separate compound with security checks on the entrance roads. It's a different world in there - Bali's narrow, hectic, crowded streets are replaced by wide boulevards and pristine landscaping. Many say this is not the real Bali, but for those wanting good international class accommodation, eating and shopping at venues which often show the Balinese touch, but few of the normal hassles, this can be an agreeable location. The various attractions of outside Bali are a taxi or bus trip away, after which they can escape back to their haven of peace and quiet
I shot this from the free Bali Collection shuttle.

I feel guilty that I can't tell you much more about Nusa Dua. Apart from walking a good deal of ND south beach and several visits to the Bali Collection (the restaurants had food equal to our hotel but at considerably lower prices) I just didn't get around to checking it out. I has intended to grab a moto or bicycle from my hotel and spend an hour or so getting some snaps and info, but SBH Segara had neither and my already-mentioned end of trip lethargy stopped me attempting anything more complicated.
I do remember many years back Lady Tezza and I hiring a driver from Sanur and coming across to spend a half day at one of the big international hotels in north Nusa Dua. It was much as I mention above. Its section of beach was pretty small and protected by groynes (small breakwaters) both ends - maybe it was in fact one of the nearer Tanjung Benoa resorts (the Benoa coast is largely like that), many of which claim to be more prestigious Nusa Dua places. Certainly the "Nusa Dua" time-share resort I inspected a few years ago was in Benoa (I don't believe in time-share but was hanging around Kuta with time to spare before a flight home and I was interested in the free meal, booze and t-shirts offered as inducement to check the place out and listen to the spiel from some 25yo Arfur Daley clone) - the beach was exactly the small sections of sand separated by groynes that make up much of Benoa's coastline. Unfortunately both of these visits was back in my days of travel-lite/no camera.
Anyway all this is to say I have another excuse to visit Bali soon. Next time I'll try to get a reasonably priced resort in Tanjung Benoa fresh off the aircraft and I promise I will do a conscientious report of both there and Nusa Dua. Then it's on to a few other places I haven't stayed at - the Munduk rice fields and nearby Bedugul in the central highlands and the mid west coast surfing area around Medewi. Oh yeah, and I must get to the new frontier of Nusa Penida soon - although that is not exactly close to those other three. Um, maybe trip after next: how's this for a combo - Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, the Gilis, Lombok ---maybe further east?


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1 comment:

Ron Johnson said...

These pictures are awesome! I want to travel and go o some other places around the world. I have only ever been to Texas beaches.