Photo: Late light on the sand.


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Seminyak is Bali’s southern pleasure zone, with a distinctly upmarket vibe. This costal enclave just north of Legian is the showy and sassy, the scene to be seen. Yes, there’s a beach, but it’s the chilled beachside clubs, designer boutiques, sumptuous spas and world-class restaurants that draw the oh-so-stylish crowds. This is lotus eater central.

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Although just up the road from Kuta and Legian, this grown-up decedent resort area seems a world apart. Seminyak is home to much of southern Bali’s expat cafe-society. Many are involved in the fashion industry, whether they be designers, exporters or own the chic fashion retail and homeware stores that line Jalan Raya Seminyak, Jalan Kayu Aya, Jalan Laksmana and Jalan Kayu Jati.

Slight chance of monkey business. Photo taken in or around Seminyak, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Slight chance of monkey business. Photo: Sally Arnold

Here you could spend days in retail therapy flitting from boutique to gallery, refuelling with a latte in one of the many cafes (at designer prices) or just enjoy a spot of “cuci mata” (an Indonesian term, literally meaning “to wash your eyes”, but can be translated to mean “window shopping”, “have a perve” or just “check out the scene”). Seminyak’s cocktail hour is any hour of the day—it’s artisanal this and bespoke that at the fabulous bars and chilled beach clubs. Evenings pump up the volume but here it’s not quite the throb of Kuta’s nightclub scene.

For gastronomes, Seminyak is full of epicurean delights, and many of Bali’s finest restaurants reside here. Be prepared to try innovative food in sophisticated surroundings, but book ahead, especially during the high season of July and August. It’s not all hoity-toity though; you can still chow down on a nasi campur in a side-street warung, and casual cafes abound. If you’ve indulged a little too much, Seminyak’s top-notch spas offers a sure cure with all manner of treatments and therapies. Prices may be higher than a beach massage, but the therapists are generally much better trained (we highly recommend the lovely Jari ... Travelfish members only (Around 800 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Seminyak.
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 Read up on where to eat on Seminyak.
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