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 homey, 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 and Mist, surfwear at Drifter, fancy threads at places like Milk & Roses, Lulu Yasmine, Magali Pascal, casual wear at Buddha Wear, kids’ clothes at Kids Agogo and homewares at every other spot… Make a lunch stop at Cafe Bali, smack bang in the middle of the street, Revolver, home to possibly Bali’s best coffee, or breezy Sisterfields. If you’re after something seaside and a bit fancier, there’s always La Lucciola down to the left of Petitenget temple.
Early afternoon you’ll be needing a pick me up, so consider a massage -- Jari Menari on Raya Basangkasa offers the best massages on the island.Bodyworks has been around for years and offers an array of spa services, as well as massage. They are a bit pricey, but the therapists are usually very good.
More beach time? If you’ve got cash to flash, Potatohead offers solid cocktails, or sunset drinks at Mozaic Beach Club should do the trick. If you’re on a budget, a decent warung lies just past Mozaic to the right. 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 a 1960s, modernist inspired hotel tucked 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 — or budget! — this is not it).
For dinner — so many options. Spanish La Finca on the back road to Canggu has great sangria (and solid food too). 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 and nearby Bambu. Classy international food with mostly Mediterranean and local influences is on offer at Petitenget; Kilo on Drupadi, off Oberoi, has great cocktails and seafood-heavy, Japanese-Indonesian modern cuisine. 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, or head to Mamasan upstairs... if you don’t have a flight to catch.
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