Information before you go
Seminyak Bali has always remained a mystery to us. Every time we are there we always end up wondering: 'Why is it so popular?'. After many years we just can't figure it out and are amazed that this little village is still growing and attracting more and more people.
Yes, you got it right. We are not a fan of Seminyak and are likely not the right people to ask advice on where to stay and what to do. As our answer will be: 'Avoid it'.
With luxury accommodation, villas with private swimming pool, many restaurants offering fine dining and a large range of boutiques shopping possibilities, Seminyak has succeeded in attracting a crowd that has far more to spend and just want to enjoy all the fine things in life.
And we can't disagree, it's your holiday and you have worked hard the whole year for it so why not enjoy every minute of it in ultimate luxury...
But for some travelers luxury is something different then finding yourself in a villa complex so tightly built you can hear your neighbor jumping in the plunge pool or being stuck in traffic every time you want to go somewhere. Because yes, like Kuta and Legian every little piece of Seminyak is fully built with luxurious private villas and resorts. If there is still a little patch of land left then 1. it is just too expensive to build something on it or 2. the plans are on the table as we speak.
Like Kuta it feels like Seminyak is out of control. Everybody is building and opening businesses in hope to grab a piece of paradise but not thinking that this type of development is ruining the whole thing.
There is in our opinion hardly anything left here that you can consider really Balinese (except for the temples of course) and if you were hoping for cultural experiences during your holiday here then you are surely going to be disappointed.
We understand that an area naturally evolves and modernizes. In this case you really don't have to have the heavy wooden doors with flower carvings or statues of the Garuda and a Legong Dancer to be considered Balinese.
We too love the modern style of Bali with its white washed walls and distressed looking furniture etc.
In Seminyak you can find many 5 star resorts such at The Legian
We just think it is a shame that the development of Seminyak and the nearby villages was not aimed at maintaining the beauty of Bali as much as possible. Instead investors are drowning it with Western influences which you can find every where else in the world.
So if you are considering Seminyak, do realize that it is kind of an upgrade of Kuta and despite the many investments here most of them aren't really related to anything that makes Bali truly unique.
A touch of Balinese around Petitenget Temple Seminyak
Seminyak village is located just north of Legian and Kuta beach. It's pretty unclear where one of these villages start and where the other one ends. But each one of them has a distinct character that attracts hordes of tourists...
Tourism started to discover this village when Kuta beach was getting overcrowded with numerous hotels, restaurants and more shops. Instead of focusing on the same crowd as Kuta and Legian, Seminyak wanted to create a totally different image to attract travelers who want to experience ultimate luxury such as staying at villas with private pools.
In the last few years tourism has eventually passed Seminyak and is now heading more towards Kerobokan and Canggu which are both located a bit up north.
Today in Canggu dozens of Bali villas are popping up everywhere each month. So as you can tell, history repeated itself in Seminyak...
Traffic jams are a common thing in Seminyak and whole of South Bali for that matter...
If you look at a map of Seminyak you will soon discover that this little village consists of twisting roads that often go without a specific name. The big and most used streets are Jalan Petitenget and Jalan Laksmana also known as Jalan Oberoi or Jalan Kayu Aya. Another important street in town is Jalan Raya Seminyak. This street connects Kuta and Legian with Seminyak. Along all these streets you can also find most of the boutiques and restaurants.
Jalan Arjuna can be considered as the boarder between Seminyak and Legian. This streets leads you straight to the beach where you can find many beach front restaurants.
Between the main streets of Seminyak there is a maze of alleys, some so narrow that cars coming from both sides can not pass each other. You are not likely to drive through them unless your villa is located there or the taxi driver knows Seminyak so well and is trying to avoid the traffic jams in the main streets.
Because the latter is continuous in Seminyak. Car, motor scooters and lorries drive through the main road and there is hardly ever a quiet moment.
If you want to avoid going straight through town then you can use the Sunset Road that practically runs parallel to Jalan Seminyak and Jalan Legian.
Decided to go by foot at this point? Then it is pretty easy to walk around town since the pavements are pretty decent.
Map of Seminyak
But basically, despite the heavy traffic the best way to get around is by taxi. So to make life more easier (and hey, you are on a holiday) you can better just take one of the many taxis that drive around town till late in the evening. The taxi fare will be around Rph. 20.000 since to the airport you pay around Rph. 50.000. Most Seminyak villas however offer a shuttle service or a private car with driver that will take you around the village.
Another option you could consider is to rent a car or even better a motor bike. Besides the regular Yamaha or Honda motorbike that everybody seems to drive around on the island, you can even find heavy custom made motorbikes that will have your heart skip a beat.
Life in Seminyak revolves around a couple of things: lazing at the villa pool or beach, going to spas and high-end boutiques and eating good food. It won't be difficult to find shops and spas as they are literally located all over town. If you feel like going to a spa but the prices kind of shock you try Bodyworks, near Petitenget temple. Here they offer a wonderful full-body massage and other treatments for a very reasonably price.
As might have noticed by now, we are not really pro-Seminyak and don't recommend staying here too long. But if you do happen to be there you should head to the beach.
While Seminyak doesn't have one of the most glorious beaches on the island, the high waves are ideal for surfing while its soft sands make it perfect for a long stroll. Try to start walking around 16.00 so you can catch the legendary sunsets and enjoy watching people tackling the waves, playing soccer or flying a kite.
Do check the weather conditions first before thinking of spending time at the beach, or any other beach along this strip of the west coast. During some periods of the year it struggles with currents bringing piles of garbage making it unpleasant and almost impossible to use this beach area.
As for the water, it looks ideal for swimming. Which it is but check out the color of the flags first before running in as these waters are known for its dangerous water currents.
Petitenget beach, with Seminyak Beach right at the back
Near the beach you can also find the Petitenget Temple. This temple might not be as crowded as Tanah Lot or Uluwatu, nevertheless it's one of the important sea temples in Bali. It belongs to the string of six temples set along the coast and is built by the most important priest Nirartha. If there's a Bali festival or a temple ceremony then you will find a lot of activities going on here.
At certain days you can even be treated with ceremonies on the beach. A whole string of Balinese people wearing traditional clothing and accessories will be gliding down the beach towards the seashore where they will place offerings to the gods. Something you will likely always remember.
Daily life at Pura Petitenget, Seminyak
Seminyak is known for the creme de la creme when it comes to haute cuisine. Names such as Ku De Ta, the Livingroom, Sarong and La Luciola have set the standards of this little village and reservations way in advance are needed.
Mostly the owner or chef is a foreigner, so not surprisingly the menu is often western styled with occasionally a mixture of the Indonesian or Balinese cuisine.
Despite the culinary quality and fame these top Seminyak restaurants are less focused on incorporating organic ingredients or stimulating Balinese cuisine and local ingredients. However with the hundreds of other restaurants lined up there are luckily restaurants that have stayed literally down to earth.
Our first vegetarian encounter in Seminyak was Zula
Restaurant. This is the place to be for those looking for
lunch or dinner that doesn't contain any traces of animal protein.
Even die-hard carnivores will find enough to choose from and won't miss their daily dose of meat. Their unique combinations of ingredients (organic as much as possible) will have you experiment with new tastes in no time.
Similar to Zula Restaurant is the Earth Cafe which also serves strictly vegetarian food prepared with as much as organic ingredients as possible. The special thing about the Earth Cafe is that it takes the extra step by supporting traditional farming and improving the quality of the lives of local communities by emphasizing on the benefits of natural foods over commercial ones.
It's hard to choose so at the end we always have too much
at Warung Ocha
Besides organic we also aim to promote eating Balinese food. You can find the most popular warung along the busy main street of Seminyak called Warung Ocha. Here you can order Nasi Campur which is basically created by yourself. Just head over to their food display and choose from all the mouth-watering Indonesian dishes.
Due to their popularity they have expanded their restaurant over the years but during 'rush hour' it is sometimes still difficult to find a spot.
Another similar type of restaurant is Warung Murah. This tiny warung is located
between the fancy and expensive Seminyak restaurants at Jalan Oberoi. Despite it's location you can still pretty much eat for a 'local price' .
After the success of Warung Murah in Legian, the owners have opened this second warung. Here you can choose from a dozen of delicious local dishes ranging from chicken curry, beef Rendang, Sayur Lodeh, fried fish, tofu and tempe dishes and many more....
Home > Seminyak Bali Ins and Outs
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The traditional Balinese dance has existed before the first visitors arrived to Bali. Today they are not only performed at ceremonies but for travelers too.Read more
Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
WOW...what an awesome website. I could only dream that there would be a website like this for all our travel destinations! You guys have done an fabulous job and now, I am sooo excited about our upcoming trip to Bali. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure Bali was the place for us considering some of the travel warnings (we are Americans). But I can tell from your experiences that the Bali people are so very kind and peaceful.
hi and congratulations on the blog it s brilliant and helpful....we are going to Bali in September with my family (including 2 little girls) so we need to have nice spaceous rooms garden and pool access rooms preferably in Semikyak but not too far from it all...I hope you can recommend a great place thats not full of Australian crowds as we like meeting people from other countries.
Hi, I have been travelling for years and I want to say that this website is the best I have EVER come across. It is easy to navigate, it is really descriptive, gives all the info that you could ever want and is accompanied by the best photos and advice. GREAT.