South of the airport, a bulbous appendage fans out to form the Bukit Peninsula, once the hunting grounds of Denpasar’s rajas. Geologically and climatically this area is Meditteranean – a dry, mostly barren plateau lying well above sea travel. The western and southern shoreline is rimmed with sharp, jutting cliffs, site of Pura Uluwatu – a sublime place to watch the sunset.
The mangroves lining Benoa harbour give way to superb beaches along the northeastern shore of the Peninsula. This is the Nusa Dua Tourist Development Area, created in 1970 with help from the World Bank. A new highway has been constructed, connecting Bualu village to the airport, Kuta and Sanur, and eleven luxury hotels have been licensed for operation. The first of these opened in 1983 – the palatially baroque Nusa Dua Hotel and the 50 room deluxe Hotel Bualu Beach – valiantly proving to the sceptics that it will work.
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