Jun 19 2013
Seminyak. As much as many a traveller may sneer at it for being the tourist enclave it is, many a weary tourist ends up here for a night or two at the start or end of a Bali trip; some may even spend their whole time here, exploring the beach, cafes, bars and nightlife. But for those who are here just for 24 hours… here’s what we wouldn’t miss.
Breakfast is most likely included at your hotel or villa, but did you know breakfast dessert is also an important meal of the day? Now, we know Ku De Ta has been around forever and if you’re a Bali regular you’ll know it, but breakfast remains our favourite time of day to head here. It’s peaceful, the view is stunning, and it’s easy to avoid drinking alcohol at 08:00 — which means you’ll have a relatively affordable experience. FYI: we love the pork and fennel sausages with caramelised onions and scrambled eggs.
If you want something different and more homelier, Kreol Kitchen off the beach turns out some delicious hearty breakfasts as well — go hungry — and they really excel at those important breakfast desserts, with scrumptious Australian-influenced treats like peppermint slice.
Depending on where you’ve eaten, either chill out on the beach for a bit (in front of Ku De Ta) or head down Eat Street/Jalan Oberoi/Jalan Laksmana (it’s three minutes in a cab from Kreol Kitchen) for a window or real shop and end up at the beach for a bit of a splash and tan.
All the big Bali names are along Laksmana — traditional lace at Uluwatu, resort wear at Saba, surfwear at Drifter, fancy threads at places like Milk & Roses, Lulu Yasmine, Magali Pascal, kids’ clothes at Kids Agogo and Clara Mia and homewares at every other spot… Make a pitstop at Cafe Bali, smack bang in the middle of the street.
Lunch? Head to Revolver, just tucked away off Eat Street, for a light sambo and some of Bali’s best coffee.
Early afternoon you’ll be needing a pick me up, so consider a manicure and pedicure, or head back up and around to Jalan Raya Basangkasa, where Jari Menari offers the best massages on the island — they offer excellent kids’ massages too. (If you do head to Basangkasa and you’re after women’s clothes, Karma Koma is where we get most of our wardrobe, when they have their sales…)
More beach time? If you’ve got cash to flash, sunset drinks at Mozaic Beach Club should do the trick; but if you’re on a budget, instead of taking that left hand turn along Batu Belig beach, head straight down and there’s a cheapie joint perched on the remains of the Karma beach club. They serve up chilled Bintang and decent garlic stir-fried prawns, with the million-dollar views thrown in for free.
Once the sun’s down, head back to your hotel to freshen up. But which hotel? If you’re on a budget, what the Mutiara lacks in personality is more than made up for by its central location — it’s a three-minute walk to Eat Street, and suits families. If you’re happy to head a little further north to Petitenget, Fave Umalas (Agoda) is a solid budget choice. Again, not much soul, but it’s a clean, funky little place to lay your head. A big step up in both style and personality is charming Brown Feather, on Batu Belig, an area really coming into its own these days (check out Watercress for a great breakfast or lunch if you stay here).
If money’s no object, we think the Oberoi (Agoda) is dated but in a classic, delightfully old-school way; you can’t beat it for grassy space right on the beach. If you’re a bit of a fashionista, Luna2 has just opened a 1960s, modernist inspired hotel behind its beachside villa. The cutting-edge design and attention to detail in the 14 studios and facilities — such as a Mondrian-esque mosaic pool — is amazing (but if you’re looking for traditional Bali, this is not it).
Dressed up for the night, head to Mantra for a quiet kick-off drink and enjoy the shabby chic surrounds. For dinner — gosh, so many options. If you want somewhere new, try Spanish La Finca on the back road to Canggu — we’ve heard good things but not tried it ourselves yet. Motel Mexicola is colourful and fun; don’t forget about Laca Laca though, which also serves up great Mexican, apparently Bali’s latest cuisine crush. Traditional Indonesian, and Indonesian with a modern twist too, is now served in breathtaking surrounds at Merah Putih. Classy international food with mostly Mediterranean and local influences is on offer at Petitenget. And if you want dishes from across Asia, go for Sarong, one of the first upper-end restaurants to pop up in the Petitenget area.
For late night shenanigans — Hu’u is usually happening, head to Mamasan upstairs — or just eat and stay there — or pop back to Mantra… if you don’t have a flight to catch.
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