With one of the most perfect stretch of beaches in Bali, it's hard to leave Nusa Dua. One of my favorite activities here is to just amble along the beachfront promenade at sunset or in the early morning before it gets too hot. Another perfect sunrise/sunset activity is watching the seaweed farmers next to Geger Beach, which is also the safest place for children to swim. If you're looking for a bit of activity, contact any of the watersports outfitters along the beach. In the bay are glass-bottom boats for snorkeling trips and many places to hire jet skis, sailboats, and catamarans.
Sudan was the name of the camel that took me for a ride. He was a friendly chap but fairly indifferent to my poking and prodding. I was introduced to him by Bali Game Safaris (tel. 0361/776755; www.balicamelsafaris.com; US$35 adults, US$20 children 5 -- 12), out of the Nikko Hotel Bali. The camels will put up with you for about an hour and take you on a giggle-inducing ride down the Nusa Dua beach. Daily trips leave at 9 and 10:30am or at 3 and 4:30pm.
Bali has several dolphin-watching spots, and the best are in Nusa Dua, Tanjung Benoa, and Lovina. In Nusa Dua you can go any time of day, whereas you have to go at sunrise or sunset in Lovina. Several tour operators will pick you up and bring you on a glass-bottom boat for a 4-hour tour up-close and personal with these gentle and smart creatures in their own habitat. Any hotel in the area can book these tours, which typically include pickup and drop-off, lunch, 3 hours dolphin watching, and insurance. Check out Bali Star Island (tel. 0361/778076; www.balistarisland.com; US$85 adults, US$55 for children 12 and under).
Bali Golf & Country Club (tel. 0361/771791; www.baligolfandcountryclub.com; US$150 and up 18 holes; special stay and play rates available) is between the Ayodya and the St. Regis resorts. This very good holiday course, once rated among the top five in Asia by Fortune magazine, starts at the beach and heads up the hill past the doors of the Amanusa Hotel. Other facilities include an excellent grass driving range with a new golf academy, Acorna Golf Institute, with a resident PGA Professional to give lessons.
Most of the hotels have their own spas but we have two favorites (open daily). Designer Bill Bensley's whimsical approach to the deliciously decadent St. Regis' Remede Spa (signature rituals US$121-US$475, massage US$80-US$245, body treatment US$33-US$135; AE, MC, V; 8am-11pm) is simply inspired. The overriding theme employs lots of moons and butterflies; the best time to come is at night when the creative lighting makes the butterflies seem as if they are going to fly away. Each treatment is customized by your own spa concierge. Laguna Resort & Spa (single treatment US$60-US$145; spa villa for couple, including dinner US$410; AE, MC, V; 9am-midnight) offers "midnight massages" on their beach bales facing the crashing waves. If the rhythmic movement of your treatment doesn't lull you to sleep certainly the sea air will.
At Sri Lanka (best swell: south; best size: the bigger the better; best winds: north and northwest, rainy season between Nov -- Apr), the immaculate beach carries the polished persona of a private resort beach. The gentle lagoon is fantastic and safe for swimmers and there are all manner of recreational watercraft for rent. On lower tides the reef on the outer side creates and shapes perfect and fast right hand waves for competent wave-riders.
You reach the Nusa Dua wave (best swell: south; best size: 4 -- 8 ft.; best winds: west-northwest) by heading south out of the town and either paddling over or hopping a short boat ride from Geger Beach. For nonsurfers, you can also take a boat and all ages can gain a front-row seat to view the watery battlefield from the safety of the channel. This is one of Bali's heaviest waves, with loads of swell. With a take-off zone as large as a football field it can be easy to get stuck inside at this heavy right-hander, giving helpless fools lots of time to contemplate their erroneous wave judgment from below the surface in a natural washing machine.