Seminyak Travel Guide, Bali: Beach Bars, Sunsets and Day Trips
Seminyak is one of Bali’s most stylish beachside suburbs, featuring buzzing beach clubs, top-class restaurants and all the shopping you could ever dream of. I wouldn’t advise spending too long there, but it’s the perfect place to stay for a couple of days when you first arrive in Bali. We were there recently as part of our Bali / Lombok / Gili Islands honeymoon — here’s what our stay in Seminyak looked like.
Seminyak Travel Guide: Things to See and Do
Walking the Streets of Seminyak
Seminyak isn’t the most relaxing place to walk — in fact after five minutes or so we wished we’d never left the comfort of our hotel (more on that later). You’ll find everything you need on the streets of Seminyak though, including massages, drinks and overpriced souvenirs. You’ll also find plenty of upmarket (but still fairly cheap by western standards) restaurants where you can escape the heat and traffic. Another good reason to walk the streets of Seminyak is to buy toiletries and clothes that you couldn’t pack because you were too cheap to pay for checked luggage on your flight to Bali (If you’re anything like me) and book onward travel in Bali and beyond (be sure to bargain hard though!).
Shopping in Seminyak
You can get your hands on pretty much anything in Seminyak, but a lot of the shops do tend to sell the same things. Make sure to shop around a bit and bargain hard. The Seminyak Flea Market is a decent place to buy souviner type things — Gia bought some really nice earrings for a decent price. Bali also has some great “house stuff” like carvings, beddings and furniture — when we buy a house we’ll probably come back and get some stuff shipped home.
Eating at the Beach
We were in Seminyak in April and the heat was pretty extreme. Spending time at the beach when it’s that hot basically means hanging out at a bar or restaurant with a view, and luckily there are heaps of those in Seminyak. We ate at La Plancha, which has a great location by the beach, which almost made up for how average and overpriced the food was. It’s probably a better place in the late afternoon / evening, when the beach beanbags make an appearance.
Drinks at Potato Head (sort of)
Potato Head, the classy (sort of) beach bar on Seminyak Beach is a bit of a must-do when in the area. At least that’s what everyone has been told, as it was completely packed when we were there. We couldn’t even get a seat, but after a standing around for a few minutes debating whether to buy overpriced drinks from a bar which didn’t even let us sit down, some luxury sun loungers came into view. It seemed too good to be true, and it inevitably was. Apparently those seats are reserved for hotel guests — at least we got 5 minutes of quality beachside relaxing in. We didn’t even buy a drink: Jon and Gia: 1, Potato Head: 0 (it is a pretty nice place though).
The best thing about spending time in Seminyak is watching the sunset at the beach (or a beach club if you can find a seat). The beach stretches on for miles and it’s easy to find a quiet spot. You could even go for a swim, although the water doesn’t look the cleanest!
Where to Stay in Seminyak
The crowded streets of Seminyak are anything but relaxing, but if you choose the right hotel you’ll have the perfect sanctuary from the chaos outside. We stayed at Tijili Seminyak and it was awesome. The pool area is surrounded by comfortable seats and the lush setting belies its inner Seminyak location. It’s only a short walk from the beach, which is also a bonus. The rooms are really well appointed and the whole experience is tailored around relaxation. If Tijili is out of your price range (rooms can be had for around $55 USD including a great buffet breakfast) you can find budget options around Seminyak.
FURTHER READING: My wife, Gia, wrote a review of Tijili Seminyak — check it out! We were hosted by Tijili Seminyak but our experience was genuine — check out the reviews on Tripadvisor / Booking.com for more evidence (You’ll get better deals on their website though).
Getting to Seminyak from Denpasar Airport
As soon as you step out of the airport you’ll be bombarded by drivers who love to prey on fresh meat. They’ll rip you off if you can, so stay calm, pick a price you think is fair and stick to it. I read that IDR 150,000 – 200,000 was about right for a taxi from Denpasar Airport to Seminyak at night. If going to the airport it should be around IDR 100,000 in a metered taxi, but the transport mafia ensure metered taxis aren’t an option when travelling from the airport.
Day Trips from Seminyak
If you only have a short time in Bali Seminyak makes for a convenient base. You can do several day trips from Bali, the two best (in my opinion) being Nusa Penida and Central Bali (around Ubud).
- Nusa Penida: A day trip to Nusa Penida is a tiring affair, but with coastal views like these it’s more than worth it. The highlight is Kelingking Beach — if there’s a better viewpoint around Bali I’m yet to see it. You can organise day trips to Nusa Penida from most travel agents in Seminyak — IDR 700,000 seems to be a good price.
- Central Bali: Rent a car and driver and head for the rice terraces, monkey filled forests, volcanoes and waterfalls of Central Bali. You can choose where to go, but from Seminyak you’re a bit limited as it’s quite far from the best places. I’d combine the Tegalalang Rice Terraces, Ubud Monkey Forest and a couple of waterfalls if I were doing it from Seminyak, but a sunrise hike of Mount Batur is also a good option. If you have the time I’d definitely recommended staying in Ubud or Munduk for a few days after Seminyak — you’ll be able to see a lot more that way. You can rent a car and driver for around IDR 450,000 – 500,000 .
Are you planning a trip to Bali? Let me know in the comments below!
Disclaimer: I was hosted by Tijili Seminyak. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.