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NUSA DUA - Some 30 years ago, there were no luxury hotels, spas or expensive restaurants in the present location of the exclusive resort area of Nusa Dua, or literarily means the two islets referring to the projections of big rocks in the middle of the white stretch of beaches. If you look up the map of Bali Island, you will find the Nusa Dua area, 30 kilometers south of Bali\'s provincial capital of Denpasar, in the bottom part of the map overlooking the Indonesian Ocean.
The only thing that the Balinese people could remember so far about this spot was a carpet of coconut groves on the rocky hills. The people were poor and desperate because of their rocky land. Many of them moved to the more fertile areas in the north part of the island to make a living abandoning their property in Bukit Nusa Dua. Nyoman Sumara, 70, a former resident of Nusa Dua, recalled his memory. "I left my coconut plants to work as a labor in the city (Denpasar) years ago. I had never imagined Nusa Dua was developed as it is now," he said.
There were hundreds or maybe thousands of Nusa Dua residents who gave up their lands because of poverty. "Now, I would not dare to enter those glittering hotels which were built on the lands once belonging to us," Ni Wayan Suratmi, Sumara\'s wife added. The Balinese people found Nusa Dua, a holy place with several major temples were built by their ancestor DangHyang Nirartha, a High Priest from Java Island, who was believed to firstly spread Hinduism in Bali.
A number of the Hindu temples are now located within five-star hotels. "It was quite difficult for us to pray at the temples especially when odalan, temple anniversary," explained Sukalami from the neighbor village of Bualu. Each Hindu temple in Bali has its own disciples who regularly pray and perform various rituals such as piodalan, temple anniversary, or Galungan and Kuningan holidays. The development of various tourist facilities in Nusa Dua has more or less affected religious activities of the neighboring villagers although the hotels\' management usually welcomes and allows them to do so.
Forget Sumara and other poor farmers, the real inhabitants of Nusa Dua. Since the early l980s, the Indonesian government and private investors supported by several world\'s financial bodies including the World Bank launched a big and ambitious project to transformed the barren area into the most well-managed and well-equipped tourist resort in Bali. Located in a quite secluded area, Nusa Dua was experimented as a pilot project for an integrated modern resort with a touch of Balinese traditional architecture and landscape.
The area was carefully designed as a self-contained resort complex filled with five-star international-chain hotels, a golf course, a convention hall and other facilities. The master plan of the Nusa Dua complex revealed that the development projects were conducted under a very strict monitoring to prevent or at least to minimize the negative impact on the social and the environment. The project was intended also to benefit the local people at the maximum.
Since this idyllic project started in l980s, Nusa Dua has an abundant choice of hotels including the Sheratons, Bali Hilton, the Grand Hyatt, Club Med, Nikko Bali, Grand Melia. The resort, which is currently hosting the Preparatory Committee (Prep-Com )IV for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, is catering to the up market visitors aiming to spend hundreds of US dollars per night in return to exclusive and exotic holidays.
As soon as you enter the gate to the complex, the view of the landscape is amazingly beautiful with a line of pink frangipani flowers and colorful bougainvillea buds, palm trees, foliages along the way to the hotel complexes. Ngurah Karyadi, an environmentalist, commented entering Nusa Dua is like a sterilized heaven. "It is so well-ordered. It is like visiting other places outside Bali. Because Bali island always looks friendly and welcoming. Nusa Dua is similar to a fragile crystal doll. Everybody is afraid to touch it without breaking it," said Ngurah, who is also the coordinator of the People\'s Forum.
For those who like staying in affluent hotels and resort complex, Nusa Dua is the right and perfect places. But if you want to taste the real Bali, try to explore other exciting and natural sites.

Posted in Tourism @ 28 May 2002 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

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