Planning your first ever trip to Seminyak and not sure where to begin? Fret not friends; we’ve got you covered with this first-timer’s guide specifically created to help with just that!
Read on for tips on how long to stay, what to eat see and do, and how not to break the bank while you’re doing it all.
A First-Timer’s Guide To Seminyak
Seminyak lies on the southwest coast of Bali. Depending on traffic, and the time of day/night your plane gets in, it’s about a 30-minute drive north from the international airport. Which, FYI, is in Kuta. Not Denpasar as the name would imply…
Seminyak is a stylish little hood all about eating, beaching, and shopping. It’s the refined, more sophisticated sister of seedy Kuta, with its hip hotels and chic cafes. If you’re trying to decide between the two and favor glitz and glam over scruffy and sleazy, choose Seminyak!
This locale is right smack dab in the heart of the most popular tourist destinations of the island. Its close proximity to the airport makes it a great starting or ending point to your Bali trip.
It’s the perfect area to rent a villa and pamper yourself. Spend your mornings eating breakfast pool-side (at your private villa of course). Your afternoons can be spent browsing the designer shops for darling crochet items and housewares. Spend your evenings indulging in well-prepared cocktails to the backdrop of the sun setting over the Indian Ocean. Don’t want your night to end there? Bar-hop to your heart’s content at any number of the posh clubs.
Just as Seminyak has a completely different vibe to that of Kuta, it’s also completely unlike its northern neighbor, Canggu. And while chilled-out Canggu truly holds my heart, there’s still love left for swanky Seminyak. Mainly due to the notable dining/cafe scene.
All types of travelers are catered to here. But there’s a special focus on families and newlyweds (is it just me or does Bali seem to be the latest honeymoon trend?). So, should you fall into either category, know that you’ve made a decent choice in choosing Seminyak.
Just don’t come here expecting a culturally diverse or authentic Indonesian experience. Seminyak is for the tourists.
How Long To Stay
If you’ve scored yourself a sick villa and you like to eat (k, but who doesn’t?) I’d recommend you stay here no fewer than 3 or 4 nights. This should give you sufficient time for plenty of food pursuits. And trust me, you’ll want to eat yourself into a coma once you start sampling some of the phenomenal cafes.
If you already have Canggu on your itinerary, though, then these destinations could be combined into a single stay. You don’t necessarily need to book accommodations in both.
The two towns are so close to each other, and Bluebird cabs between them cost next to nothing. Just make sure you stay in either or long enough to properly explore both suburbs. More like 5 or 6 nights in that case.
Keep in mind the beaches in Seminyak are not the white sand and turquoise water beaches of Southeast Asia you might have envisioned prior your arrival. And if you aren’t a seasoned surfer or expert swimmer, you probably won’t be diving into the pounding surf and hazardous currents to cool off. You’ll want to hit up a beachfront day club pool for that.
But even if you don’t surf (we don’t), and don’t like to lay for hours on the grey sand getting a tan (we can only do that for so long before becoming bored or charred), you’ll still find yourself at the beach a good chunk of the day.
There are so many restaurants, warungs, and bars lining the shore offering up spectacular ocean views. Views that only get better as the sun starts to go down. Bintang or a fancy cocktail in hand, of course.
Some may find the beach vendors here to be pushy. But it was a welcomed relief from the high-pressure sales people on the beaches of Kuta. Just say no thank you if you’re not interested in the sarongs and necklaces; they’ll move on.
Take advantage of the low price point and rent yourself a private villa. You’ll be amazed by the level of luxury you are able to afford here for the price of the most basic motel room back at home (if you’re from Canada or the USA).
Many homes come with their own pool (yay for total privacy), and some even come with a personal chef (yay for feeling like a celebrity).
Airbnb has so many affordable options. You can spend hours perusing through their pages, daydreaming.
(PS. If you’re new to Airbnb, use my sign-up link for $50 off your first stay!)
I am still sad that the villa we initially tried to book was unavailable during our specific travel dates. It’s this bright and beautiful oasis with an open-air kitchen and living room that opens up to the private pool and 2 swim-up bedrooms. Yes, you heard me. SWIM UP BEDROOMS.
You can find Villa Laksmana Hideaway 2 on Airbnb here. If you stay there, be sure to drop me a line on the contact page and tell me all about the gloriousness that I missed out on. I can’t promise I won’t shed a few tears of jealousy.
Seminyak should be an essential destination on any foodie’s bucket list!
There’s no short order of places to get a hearty dose of plant-based and healthy organic meals in Bali. Or so Instagram and Pinterest lead us to believe. I’m not saying these places don’t exist. They certainly do. They’re just not as abundant as the ultra-indulgent international cuisine joints. In particular, in Seminyak. So… bring your stretchy pants, amigos.
Now, it should be noted that the food isn’t particularly cheap. Especially, if you’ve been elsewhere in Southeast Asia. But it is quite the value for your money. Most meals cost us $70.000 – $170.000 each, but they were OUT OF THIS WORLD. We would expect to pay double or triple that back home in Vancouver.
Plus, the portions were quite generous. In a number of instances, we were able to split meals between two of us.
Save room in your itinerary (and your belly) to hit up the following during your stay:
- Boss Man. Not eating at Boss Man would be an unforgivable oversight of your trip. Order one of everything. Even the sides. Then bask in your delicious gluttony.
- Sisterfields Cafe. People flock here for the great coffee and healthy brunch. It’s worth the hype.
- Nalu Bowls. The same popular acai bowl hut found in Canggu and Uluwatu.
- Gelato Secrets. Escape from the heat in the cool pink confines of this local gelato joint.
- Motel Mexicola. Home of colorful Mexican food, and even more colorful decor.
- Revolver Espresso. Do you love coffee? Get your fix at Revolver. You certainly aren’t going to find a palatable cup elsewhere on the island…
- Made’s Warung. It’s not acceptable to go to Bali and not have Indonesian food. Made’s is quick, delicious, and easy on the wallet.
Related Post: Where to Get the Best Food in Seminyak
One of the aspects of Seminyak that we appreciated the most was the walkability. Of all the areas in Bali we explored, we spent the least amount of money on transportation in this little hub.
While we had no issue walking everywhere, you may be looking for something a tad speedier. In that case, you can rent a scooter for around 50.000 – 75.000 rp a day. That’s $5 – $7.5 CAD. Such a steal.
If you don’t want to navigate the unfamiliar streets of Bali on a bike and get worked up over the intimidating traffic, cabs are a suitable (and cheap) alternative. We paid only 80.000 rp ($8 CAD!) for a 30-minute taxi ride to Canggu. Trips within Seminyak’s perimeters obviously cost much less. We rarely spent over 30.000-40.000 rp per ride.
Sorry Uber lovers; the service is banned in popular areas such as here. There are warning signs posted all around. If you do take an Uber, be sure you’re discreet about it. But you’re better off using one of the other three means of getting around that have already been mentioned. Seriously. It’s not worth exposing your driver to the angry anti-Uber mob.
- Shopping. Seminyak is renowned for its boutique shopping. The maze of endless lanes boast an abundance of ritzy designer stores and just as many elegant hippie and surf shops. Fervent shoppers should be plenty satisfied with what’s on offer here.
- Spa time. Unwind and pamper yourself at one of the many neighborhood spa havens.
- Eat your way from one end of Seminyak to the other. If there is one reason to pull you to this spot, it should be the food.
- Beach clubs. Watching the sunset from the infinity pool at Potato Head is the obvious choice. Lunch on a poolside daybed at Ku De Ta is another extremely trendy thing to do.
- Tanah Lot Temple. This is one of the more popular spots to take in the sunset. And one of the most famous temples in Bali. But it fell very low on our ‘to do list’.
- Day-trip up to Canggu. Maybe you’ll love Canggu so much you’ll find yourself back there the day after. And the day after that… We sure did.
- Day-trip down to Uluwatu. Seminyak makes a great base to explore the Bukit Peninsula. (You can read our first-timer’s guide to Uluwatu here.)
Money Saving Tips
- Use Bluebird cabs. They’re metered, honest, and cheap cheap cheap.
- Stock your villa with snacks, hard alcohol, and cases of beer from Coco Supermarket or Bintang Supermarket. Unlike other SE Asia hotspots like Thailand and Vietnam, corner stores in Bali don’t sell booze super cheap. 25.000 – 35.000 rp ($2.50 – $3.50 CAD) per bottle of Bintang beer isn’t bad. But it’s much more economical to purchase by the case from a grocery store.
- Opt for the local brand spirits if you can stomach them. A 750 ml bottle of Robinson vodka was priced at about 200.000 rp ($20 CAD) in Coco Supermarket as opposed to the 750 ml bottle of Absolute vodka with a hefty 900.000 rp ($90 CAD) price tag. Both taste awful, in my opinion, so I was happy to make the swap and save myself 70 bucks.
- No matter how cheap it is, don’t buy bottles of, or cocktails mixed with Arak. Not unless you want to end your holiday in the hospital or, y’know, BLIND.
Heading to Bali? Check out our Bali destination page for more related posts.
More Destination Guides
I’m excited to share with you our first-timer’s destination guides for a number of areas in Bali. Over the next few weeks, we’ll have guides up for Canggu, Ubud, Uluwatu, and Kuta. Plus Gili Trawangan.
So check back on Wednesdays 🙂 (Update: All guides are up on the site now!)
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