Bali is one of my favourite places to travel to. It’s hot, it’s close and the price you pay for luxury is marginal compared to Sydney prices. It’s the ultimate postcard holiday.
For me, Bali is part retreat, part cocktails and late nights 😀 I come here to relax, be pampered, eat delicious food, soak up the sun and sip cocktails while dancing the night away.
Every year there are so many new places worth visiting in Bali, it’s hard to keep on top of them all. To help plan your next trip here’s my 2018 recommendations for Seminyak.
If this is your first time to Bali, make sure you read the bottom section of this post to become well acquainted with the culture, customs and general tips like not drinking the water – VERY IMPORTANT!
GUIDE TO CANGGU (2018 coming soon!)
9 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN ULUWATU (2018 coming soon!)
9 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN SEMINYAK
1. SPEND THE DAY AT A POOL CLUB
Though I love Potato head, Mrs Sippy is just so much more convenient. There’s an abundance of space and free beds for tanning, towels can be hired cheaply, music is very chilled, the food is delicious (The basic salmon salad and Kale salad were my go tos ) and there’s no queuing for bathrooms. You don’t really need to get here early you can stroll in at any time. The crowd does start to change at around 3-5pm depending on the day, so make plans for afterward.
Potato Head Beach Club. Infinity pool, beach front, cocktails, sunshine & beautiful people. This place has stood the test of time. It’s popular and very busy so get here as early as possible, like 10am early to secure a cabana. It’s worth the wait, the Cabaña is yours all day with your own waiter for cocktails and nibbles. Min spend applies.
Ku da ta. This place used to be the most popular spot before Potato Head opened but this beachfront bar and fine dining restaurant still holds its own. It’s slightly more chilled out and relaxed. Music & cocktails are on point.
2. Enjoy qualify food at ridiculously cheap prices.
Nook. One of my favourite open air cafes overlooking lush rice fields. Great menu with a variety of modern and asian dishes.
Sisterfields. The food is so beautifully presented you’ll need to take a moment to appreciate it. Has an awesome all day breakfast and lunch selection. Really like the polished white and green interior.
KYND Community.The quintessential plant based cafe serving salads, juices, smoothies and coffee – SO GOOD!
Cafe Zucchini (aka Zuttion). Lunch and dinner menu ranges from light healthy contemporary salads to more substantial meals. The food is made using the best quality imported and locally sourced ingredients.
Biku. It’s a gorgeous tea lounge serving English style High Tea. Great for lunch and dinner.
The Junction House. Really affordable prices for quality, decent sized Italian meal.
Grocer and Grind. Serving very modern meals – food and service was great. The prices are low!
3. Overindulge in daily massages & facials
There are so many cheap massage places in Seminyak however I’m too picky to just go anywhere. Amo Day Spa, Situated across from the W hotel has been consistently superb. It’s super clean, professional and priced incredibly well. At the time we paid roughly $22 for a 1 hour massage.
The Esthetic Beauty Salon – It’s an older salon but the Anti aging oxygen facial is still one of favourite facials.
If you walk down the main strip near Seminyak Square, you are bound to find some great shops on your own. Just make sure along the way you pop into my favourites.
Wanderlust for swimmers – I made three trips here and literally tried every piece on before making a decision.
Gooseberry Intimate – Oh Lordy! Every piece is stunning in here. You’ll see when you get there or just head to there insta (you can also order online).
5. Explore, Eat and Get Cultured with Chef Bagus
Decided to do something a little more interactive on my most recent trip, a Balinese cooking class via Cookly I am so glad we tried it! I now have new found respect for Balinese food, the fresh ingredients used and the effort and techniques involved.
First thing we did was head to the markets where Woody our endearing tour guide told us about “basic” everyday meals and “complicated” (ceremonial meals) then led us through the markets explaining the main ingredients used in Balinese cooking.
The cooking class was led by the charismatic and highly experienced Chef Bagus. He gave us so many general cooking tips and busted some misconceptions about cooking meat. We used restaurant quality fragment spices and fresh juicy poultry to make a total of 10 mouthwatering menu items, which we sampled along the way but got to feast on at the end. The braised pork in sweet soy sauce was incredible!
The class was educational and easy to follow (even for kids and invalids in the kitchen.. like yours truly). It was such a great experience, I’m really excited to make some of these at home. They also organise pick up from your hotel. Highly recommend! Click here for more info
6. SIP ON COCKTAILS AS THE SUN GOES DOWN
Potato Head Beach Club. You will make more than one visit to this place as the sunset is spectacular here. Have a few cocktails, the Kookaburra is probably the most ordered drink. Bali Sunsets are so vivid and overwhelming, relax, sip and take it allll in!
Ku da ta. If you decide not to visit during the day then you must for the sunset! The pizzas and drinks are delicious, specially the Vanilla & Passionfruit Mojitos – Yum!
La Plancha Beach Bar & Restaurant – You’re mixing with an odd crowd here and you might want to be selective with your drinks (sorry I’m a bit of a snob) but it does has a great vibe, it’s very colourful with lots of bean bags everywhere and offers a stunning sunset.
7. FINE DINING AT SEMINYAK’S TOP RESTAURANT
It’s restaurants like these that contribute to my love for Bali. These are fancy places with dress codes, so dress like you’re going to dinner not to the beach. Also book far in advance!
Merah Putih – Hands down my favourite restaurant in BALI! The architecture of this two story eco-sustainable restaurant is incredible. Luminous columns, floor to ceiling windows and indoor plants with fairy lights intertwined through them frame the venue beautifully. The menu is also a masterpiece, full of mouth-watering traditional and modern Indonesian dishes. Every dish is amazing. A must try!
Sarong is an opulent open structured restaurant situated in a gorgeous garden, serving an impressive range of cuisines inspired by India, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. It’s a very romantic dining experience, the food is superb and the cocktails are divine. I loved everything we ordered; the chicken betel leaves and seared scallops were the perfect entrees. For our main we shared the slow cooked Sri Lankan lamb and the tandoori jumbo prawns – really freaking good!
MAMA San This modern two storey loft-style venue is definitely worth the hype! The main restaurant is on ground floor with the waiting area and bar upstairs. The food is fantastic, inspired by South East Asians regions such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma and China with a hints of Indian and Balinese flavours – Everything we ordered was delish but the slow braised short rib beef is just something else.
Metis . A beautiful two storey French restaurant, overlooking the stunning rice paddy fields of Seminyak. The menu is extensive, surprisingly affordable and extremely delicious. It’s the perfect restaurant for a romantic lunch or dinner. For an extra romantic experience, book into Metis’s exclusive bale (Balinese pavilion) for the best rice paddy views. Also a great spot for sunset cocktails (make sure you sit right up the back to really take in the view).
8. STAY UP LATE (BEST LATE NIGHT BARS)
Da Maria, it’s described as the Bondi Ice bergs of Bali… rightfully so! It’s a Maurice Terzini’s Italian restaurant serving Italian food and decent wine (hard to find in Bali). Expect a lot of beautiful people walking around and on the dance floor. Head here around 11pm on a Sunday night, to experience it in all it’s glory.
Late night drinks at 40 Thieves is not to be missed. A trending bar in an unmarked location, where majority of Australian locals hangs.
Woobar @ W Hotel still remains one of my faves they throw epic parties, usually on a Wednesday night. I absolutely love the music here, their international guest Dj’s are very well curated. Check the website for any upcoming parties. Get here a bit earlier like 5-6pm to get a table.
Motel Mexicola, this place is super fun! They literally pour tequila down your throat while you’re dancing. The food is also incredible – love all the fresh seafood dishes!
9. PLAN A DAY TRIP
You must! If you only have two days to spare, spend one in Canggu (Head to Finns, the lawn or Old mans or Luigi’s Restaurant and the other in Uluwatu (Omnia, the Rockbar @ Ayana and El Kabron). 2018 guides coming soon!
I use Agus and Gege Amed each time I’m in Bali. These guys are so trustworthily and lovely. They will drive you around for the day from $60AUD depending on where you want to go. Best way to reach them is on Facebook messenger, search for Agus Amed by name
CULTURE, TIPS & GENERAL ADVICE
WHERE TO STAY
For some, Bali can be a bit of a culture shock, I was well informed before my trip so I eased into it just fine (hopefully you will be too after reading this). It also depends on where you stay. I personally prefer Canggu (first) & Seminyak for accommodation. I’m NOT a fan of Kuta, not my scene and you tend to get hassled a lot on the streets. Sometimes the accommodation deals are outrageously low and tempting in Kuta, don’t be fooled. Regardless of where you stay most places are a scooter or cheap cab ride away.
Taxis are cheap. A 45min trip costs between $15-30AUD, make sure you pre-negotiate the fare before getting in. I think it’s worth mentioning the road rules are very different over there. They use beeping as a way of communication. It does seem quite chaotic, even unsafe but they are very mindful of one and other. However, if you do hire a scooter or motorbike, the roads can be unsafe for a foreigner. Do make sure you wear a helmet and clothing as you can get an on-the-spot fine from the police.
When walking on the streets watch the ‘offerings’ on the ground. These are gifts to the gods, read more about it here
MONEY DON’T USE CHANGERS ON THE STREET
You will get ripped off! Use the ATMS (but make sure you don’t leave your card in them like I did!!)
There’s a huge division between the rich (tourist) and the poor (locals) so expect a bit of pestering to buy things on the street… bikes, promotions, massages etc. It may get annoying but remember that for them, selling on the street is their job and source of income. BE NICE!!!
It’s hooootttt and sticky!!! A little make up tip – Don’t bother with foundation, your face will get so sweaty during the day. Also lots of mosquitoes at night so be prepared!
It’s customary, so carry some small notes with you. Don’t be a tightass! 😉
Is available almost everywhere.
This Bali guide is based on recommendations from friends, online research and places stumbled upon while travelling through Ubud, Canggu, Seminyak, Bingin and Uluwatu. Feel free to email us or share some of your favourite places below.