3 Days in the upmarket Seminyak Bali
Change of plan
Those of you who read my blog on Penang, will know that my friend and I had been to the Perhentian Islands and Penang in Malaysia. Our intention was to the continue to the Cameron Highlands and Tamen Negra. Unfortunately, the weather was forecast to be thunderstorms for at least a week.
In search of the sun, we booked a last-minute flight to Bali.
We flew from Penang to Denpasar via Singapore as this was significantly cheaper. If we had been tight on time, flying direct would have saved a good few hours.
During the Singapore to Bali leg, we experienced bad turbulence. Everything had been smooth, so I had my laptop out and we had just bought drinks.
Suddenly, the ride got very bumpy!
We were jumping up and down and things were going flying. One of them being my laptop. In my attempt to save the laptop, I managed to crush my newly opened can of coke all over Emily. Sorry!!
There was nothing we could do while we were being pulled up and down, but giggle hysterically. I think it was a nervous kind of, s**t are we going to die laugh.
The man in front of us did not find the situation funny at all, he must have been a nervous flyer because during the turbulence he was shouting and letting out little screams!
The moment you walk out of arrivals in Denpasar you are absolutely hounded by men asking you if you want a taxi. Our intention was to get an Uber but we hadn’t realised that Uber drivers are not allowed in the airport. We were getting followed and pestered everywhere we went, but wanted to make sure we were not going to be ripped off. Returning to the airport we googled how much we should expect to pay, the range was between 100-200k rupia, but all of the taxis were quoting us 400k. Not giving in we eventually agreed on 150k. Don’t give up, or you will get ripped off.
Seminyak is a pricey area of Bali, so we were pleased to find Umahkua hostel for £10 each per night. It even had a pool!
The dorms were 6 to a room and a reasonable size. Only grip was how high the top bunk was, it felt like an absolute mission to climb up and down the ladder and I slipped down the first time, which hurt.
Oo forgot to mention it had hot showers, a true luxury in Indonesia!
Location was great, just off the main street so really convenient, but also quiet for when you wanted to sleep.
What to do in Seminyak?
As I mentioned before, Seminyak is an upmarket area and is probably one of the more touristy areas in Bali, though definitely tamer than Kuta. It is a big hit with the Australians and therefore prices have crept up as locals capitalise on the popularity. The rice fields are long gone and the area has become more built up, expanding annually.
Never the less, it’s still an affordable area for backpacking if you are careful with money. Sadly, despite being an accountant and therefore supposedly good with money, I still went way over budget. I forget in the heat of the moment that I am currently jobless and having to make my money last!
Eating in Seminyak
Char Char grills
On our first evening, we headed to Char Char grills. In front of the restaurant are really cool sloped seats, almost like a theatre seating area. They had pretty lanterns that lined the tables and gave the place a chilled modern vibe.
As we were looking for dinner not just drinks, we opted for the restaurant area above. The menu had lots of choice and I picked the Sea Bass. It was AMAZING! It came with vegetables and some yummy garlic sauce.
The cocktails were also wonderful, I had a porn star martini (my favourite).
It was also here that I tried my first Lemon Bintang (Radler), courtesy of Emily – if you go to Indonesia you must try it! I usually hate beer but it was so refreshing and tasty.
If you have done any research on Seminyak then you have probably heard of Potato Head. It is a beach club right on the seafront with an amazing reputation. It is known as one to the most exotic and impressive beach clubs in the area.
There is a restaurant area with more formal seating and a lawn area with mats, cushions and blankets surrounding cute little tables.
We hadn’t made a reservation at the restaurant, but luckily, we managed to get a table within 15 minutes.
While we waited, we went to the bar area and ordered a cocktail, as you would expect prices were not cheap at approx. £10 but they were delicious!
The menu wasn’t massive but there were still lots of options. I had wanted the spring chicken dish, sadly they were out of stock. Both Emily and I therefore chose the beef burger. Very unlike me, I don’t eat much red meat at all! To my pleasant surprise it was very enjoyable and the chips were those real chunky ones, a winner in my book!
Being the wino I am, I persuaded Emily that we should buy a bottle of white and grab a spot on the lawn. We enjoyed the bottle, which cost around £27, while watching the stars and playing cards.
Fat Buddha was the restaurant next to our hostel, it was always very quiet and the majority of the time, there appeared to be more staff than customers. However, due to breaking the bank with our lavish spending in the days prior, we decided to eat here as the prices were so reasonable.
We did look on trip advisor and it actually has really good reviews, so not sure why it was so quiet. I guess it’s just off the main strip so doesn’t get much footfall.
We both picked traditional Indonesian dishes and the flavours were brilliant. Happy hour also coincided with our dinner (I didn’t plan it, I swear) so we took advantage of that!
The whole bill came to around £10, so a great budget restaurant.
The Bistrot, we loved this place for breakfast, it had a 1920’s feel and the choices were plentiful. We ended up eating here two days in a row.
The first day, I regretted my choice of a ham and cheese baguette when I saw Emily’s colourful fruit bowl. Especially seeing as the ham was quite fatty, like, urgh who actually eats that stringy stuff!
Learning from my mistakes, I chose a fruit bowl the next day and it was delicious. Though super filling, there was no way I could finish it.
My travelling experience has highlighted to me that I never actually finish any meal. It so wasteful but the heat just makes you lose your appetite. The plan is to try and share more foods, should be fine with Emily and Dom (joining me in a couple of weeks) but not sure Stephen is going to be up for sharing food!
I did do things other than eating in Seminyak I swear…
Drinking (don’t judge me)
There are ample amounts of bars along the main road in Seminyak, you are literally spoilt for choice.
La Favela, proved to be a very popular place but it was so pricey that we just couldn’t justify the expense, but everyone we met said it was really cool. Maybe one to visit if you are on holiday rather than backpacking, or have rich parents!
When strolling down the street deciding where to drink, the Red Carpet drew us in straight away. It was busy (some of the other bars were too chilled for us) and was pumping old school classics.
Fortunately, we managed to nab a table just as a group were leaving and the waitress came over with an ipad for us displaying the menu, very flash!
We decided on cosmopolitan, which were about £10 per drink, so not exactly cheap. Our intention was to just have 1 or 2 drinks and leave it there. As is often the case, this did not happen.
A group of Spanish people about our age, who also worked in finance, ended up joining us. What is that about, do finance people gravitate to finance people?
Our 1 or 2 drinks were soon long gone and we racked up a reasonable size bill, ooopps.
It was worth it though, the music was infectious and we had lots of fun.
The main beach in Seminyak isn’t your typical sunbathing beach, its geared more to surfers as the waves are choppy.
We had wanted to get a sun bed, but the guy wanted 400k Rupia so we kindly declined, £23 for a sun bed, are you serious?
Instead, we spread our towels on the sand and got out a book. ‘My Not So Perfect Life’ was my book of choice and it turned out to be a real, feel good book, if you are interested!
It had been a cloudy morning, so we hadn’t worried too much about reapplying sun tan lotion and since laying on the beach, we had managed to get super sandy.
When the sun did decide to venture out from behind the clouds, we applied more lotion over our gritty skin (free exfoliation why are we complaining?), but apparently not very well. Both of us ended up with some peculiar patchy burn areas, mainly where the sand had rubbed it off.
Lesson learnt kids, always cover your whole body in lotion, you will live to regret it otherwise!
Sure, beaches look incredible and there is something special about that feeling of laying on the beach with the breeze looking out at the waves. But, jeeze, sand is annoying!
We didn’t end up doing it, but there are surfing lessons available on the beach and it looked like lots of fun! I am definitely going to give it a go at my next opportunity.
Emily had really wanted to see Tegenungan waterfall the last time she was in Indonesia, but hadn’t managed to make it, so we made sure we factored in some time to check it out. We got an uber from Seminyak to Tegeungan and it cost £8.
It was busy when we arrived, but we didn’t wait long for a ticket. You pay 15,000 Rupia (88p) to enter, so very cheap.
There is a long windy set of stairs down to the waterfall and the view is very special. We striped off when we were, at the base of the waterfall, and ventured in.
The power from the waterfall was intense, you can’t see it from the pictures but you can really feel the force of the water.
Under foot, there are lots of stones and it kind of hurts your feet, so be warned!
After splashing about for a bit, trying to keep our burns out the sun, we followed the signs to the temple. Massive disappointment by the way, and really not worth the walk.
There was a little bar adjacent to the waterfall and we bought our favourite bail drink, a Bintang of course, and perched on the rocks in the sunshine, bliss!
The walk up the windy stairs is slightly less enjoyable than the walk down, you really end up getting your sweat on and you feel the burn in your legs. Or at least I did, it has been a while since I hit the gym (I swear, it wasn’t just me loads of people were struggling)!
We had real difficulty getting a taxi back to Seminyak, no one would take us, saying it was too far. We tried uber, with no avail. In the end, we had to pay 350,000 rupia (£20) to get home, extortionate, but we had no option, other than walking and there was just no way we could walk that far.
Maybe worth visiting from Ubud if you are going there, rather than Seminyak, as it’s a lot closer.
There are plenty of trendy shops along the main road in Seminyak, unlike other areas of Asia I had visited, the shops were much like Western shops.
Clothes shops and home décor shops were the most common and there were so many lovely things I wanted to buy, unfortunately, nothing my budget would allow.
If you are into the whole minimalistic, retro vibe, you will love these shops and probably want to buy everything.
Oddly though, there were a lot of wooden dicks for sale…
Sophie Norris, you would be in heaven here (because of the home shops I might add, not the dicks)!
Seminyak was a great place to visit and a complete contrast to my previous experience in Malaysia. The food and drink here is amazing and there is an abundance of options, great for a foodie like me.
The beach is pretty, but more suited to surfers than paddlers!
It is more expensive than other areas of Bali and it’s a busy, touristy destination.
I would liken it to the equivalent of Marbella in Spain, for those of you who have been there.
But I would definitely return for a holiday, when I wasn’t watching my spending!
Blogs on the gorgeous Canggu and Ubud to follow!
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