Seminyak Bali – my quick guide.
There are many Bali Bloggers such as The Bali Bible, The Bali Whisperer, the Seminyak Snob and Little Bali Love which offer an abundance of information on accommodation, restaurants, spas, activities and more in and around Seminyak Bali however; here is my quick guide on some of my favourite spots.
Seminyak and Cangu have become very popular spots to stay, eat and play in Bali . Given my tendency to return here every few months, I often get asked for a list of must do’s. Here is my quick guide, in time for some special teachers and one of my best friends who are traveling to the Island of the Gods very soon. Salmat Datang.
To orientate myself, I always find it handy to have a map in my bag.
I love the map found at the back of the Bali Yak. You can pick up a copy of this magazine at most of the trendy spots in and around Seminyak Bali. Popular breakfast café located on Jl Pantai Berawa, Milk and Madu had a few copies on my last visit and provided an opportunity for me to snap the map up onto my phone. Here is a copy you may want to print or do the same:
What I love about this map is that it is easy to navigate, highlights all the main streets and lanes as well as accommodation, spas, boutiques, cafes and eateries.
Often Drivers need to be shown where to go or need to have the address of your latest find. Bali changes VERY quickly, with new ventures opening all the time. Don’t assume your Driver will know the name and location of every place you want to go to. I find it best to screenshot the address on your phone and show the Driver this information to ensure you get to where you want to be .
We now have our own private Driver, Ede Gede, who has branded his fleet ‘Team Green” care of his loyal and long standing customer, boxer Danny Green.
I’ve found that with two children, the tropical heat and the often congested and slow traffic in Bali, a private driver is much easier than catching taxi’s. The other benefit is that your Driver will wait happily for you to finish your appointment, meal, shopping, sightseeing etcetera without then the stress of having to hail and haggle someone else or wait to get a taxi home.
If you prefer catching taxis or for shorter trips out, opt for Bluebird taxi’s and ensure the metre is turned on.
If you would like to use Ede or his nephew Koman, they will pick you up and attend to your every whim in one of their 5 seater air conditioned SUV’s . Communication is best via what’s app or messenger. I will leave it to you to negotiate a price directly with Ede however; we tend to pay 100 000rp per hour ($10) depending on where we are going, the distance travelled and length of the job. Ede’s number is +62 818 557 233 and email firstname.lastname@example.org
Seminyak, Pettinget and Cangu have established themselves globally to be at the fore of food. With renowned International chefs opening up restaurants in and around town, you are spoilt for choice.
Perhaps you want to spoil yourself and join the Bali Food Safari which offers you an encounter with a variety of restaurants and all the tastes from Bali’s diverse foodscape ( I haven’t yet tried this foodie’s dream but have heard amazing feedback as the owner Simon Ward is a friend of a friend).
Be warned, during busy months, you often have to pre-book at popular restaurants weeks ahead to secure yourself a table (especially for larger groups). But if you are like me, and on holiday, eat when you are hungry and sleep when you are tired, polite manners and dining early often get you a table with little or no wait.
Below is a list of restaurants, cafes, bars and coffee shops that I have enjoyed and frequent again and again. All the Bali bloggers offer a great read on other places worth exploring.
My favourite eateries in Seminyak:
Sardine: Jl Pettinget 21 Kerobokan. Aim to go while the sun is still shining or go for lunch to enjoy sitting on the pavilion where you can sip a drink and gaze out onto Sardine’s sunflower fields. Here you can watch the farmers tend to their crops and is where the organic vegetables are grown for the kitchen. My girls loved searching for the flock of resident Bali ducks (they are so cute with their pompom crests) as well as running through the gardens as you can see. The children’s sized table and chairs were a hit with my two – chatting away in their own world of play – much to the amusement of other diners. True to it’s name “Sardine”, the restaurants menu is largely seafood . I cant wait to go back to try the home made apple caramel ice-cream. Delicious!
Sarong: Jl. Petitenget No, 19 Kerobokan. One of the most sought out addresses in Bali, the food here is incredible. The menu offers a range of dishes that create a perfect mixture between the best of locally sourced ingredients and innovative asian cooking techniques. I have dined here with my two girls, albeit the policy is that children be aged 12 or older. My suggestion is that if your children can’t sit at a table and need to run around, this restaurant may be one that you hire a babysitter for the night. If you haven’t pre-booked, a wait of half an hour at the bar will usually secure you a table. The wait is worth it.
La Luclola; Jl Kaya Pettinget Beach Seminyak Bali. A visit to Bali is not complete without either brunch, a cocktail or dinner at this truly special place. Every time we come to Bali we come back to this magical place situated beachfront, with palm trees framing a perfect sunset every night. You can’t help but feel calm with the sun shining and the sea breeze cooling. The staff are extremely friendly, and although the children are not really meant to run on the lawn, they all do and as you can see from the age of my little one in the picture, we have been many, many times over the years. The Sunset Bar, which serves my favourite lychee granita, is situated to the side of the restaurant. This is one of my preferred spots in Seminyak to watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean.
Mama San: Jl. Raya Kerobokan No. 135. Mama San is Sarongs sister restaurant and is the place to go to lounge in style and eat quality food without it being too expensive. Mama San is located at the top of “Eat Street”. Step into colonial Britain in Shanghai during the 1920s, with marble top mah-jong tables and oversized tan leather chesterﬁelds. This restaurant is another one I keep going back to again and again.
A bit funky
Champagne Bar: There is something special about this unique bar that makes it a must-visit while here in Bali. Located on the busy Jl Laksmana it is hard to believe that there are terraces of rice fields behind this funky establishment. This is a trendy little spot to kick back for a few drinks in a wonderful environment. The customer service is immaculate. You are greeted kindly with ice cold water and towel to refresh from the intense Bali heat. For those of you who like drinking bubbles, you’ll be bedazzled when your champagne is served with a mini firework (how is that for service with a bang)!. And for those of us who like to dress up, make sure to have a play upstairs in the Boudoir Boutique.
La Laguna: Jl Pantai Kayu Putih, Banjar Tegal Gundul, Canggu. Celebrating its first year anniversary this month, La Laguna is a relatively new kid on the block. Its intrigue for me , is the gypsy caravans which greet you along the entry into this fun bar, restaurant and place to chill. The story behind the caravans, is that they were built out of the wood from an old boat marooned off the coast of Java. The La Laguna team used this wood to build the wagons and then meticulously hand painted each of them making for beautiful photos. Meander further in and you find an abundance of colourful cushions on a large grassed area. For more formal dining you can sit within the restaurant over looking Berawa Beach. I can’t rate the food as I only went for a drink, but the raw juices were amazing.
Ku De Ta
Ku De Ta: situated with a stunning beachfront location along Seminyak Beach, Ku De Ta is where I went when I was young and child free. Distinctive, gracious and world class are words which sum the experience of a trip to Ku De Ta. These days I frequent Ku De Ta mainly for the amazing Sunday brunch and activities on offer for my children. Every weekend there is a host of children’s entertainment including art and craft, merry go rounds, inflatable slides, face painters, balloon artists and the like. If this isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps choose another day for breakfast or opt for lunch or dinner. Maybe even just grab a day bead and watch the different personalities parading on the beach (I love to people watch)!
Potato Head: to be honest I’ve done nothing more that go here to marvel at the architecture given both my step-children are working or studying architecture. I recommend just going here to do the same and if you have time, grab a lounger, order a cocktail and embrace being at this amazing restaurant, bar, lounge and pool.
Coffee and cafes
When I first started travelling to Bali, the only coffee on offer was Bali coffee. How things have changed. Now there is an abundance of great cafés offering a range of coffee that would threaten the laneways of Melbourne!!
Bungalow Living: Jl Pantai Berawa 35A, Canggu . Housed in a pretty white wooden bungalow this cafe has been a favourite of mine for a few years not only for their coffee but also their beautiful homewares and accessories.
Milk and Madu: Jl Pantai Berawa #52. Revolver coffee – need I say more? I LOVE breakfast and this place ticks all the boxes with sweet croissants and pastries, dukkah eggs, goats cheese, home made granola.
Café Bali: situated on Jl. Laksamana Basangkasa (Eats Street) I feel relaxed as soon as I walk into this white joglo. Owned by a Dutchman, (given my heritage maybe this is why I like going back here), I feel like I’ve walked into colonial times with its furnishings, decorations and orange chrysanthemums cutely placed in silver bowls. I often go here for breakfast and take my time sipping on coffee, deciding on which of the cereals to choose from (they come served in a selection of small glass jars) and finishing with a warm, flaky croissant.
Jl Batu Belig
Watercress : Jl Batu Belig 21A Kerobokan. Would you believe me if I told you the latte glasses were hand carried into Bali from Australia to make sure they were the right size? This is how serious the coffee is at Watercress. Everything on the menu is made from scratch, using only the freshest ingredients. You can feel completely safe eating a salad here – actually you will be depriving yourself of something close to amazing if you didn’t.
Biku: this royal tea house, restaurant and book store is housed in an antique teak joglo, across the road from the W hotel on Jl. Raya Petitenget. It is at Biku that you may dine with royalty, as it is owned by the Royal Princess of Ubud. At Biku you can have your tea leaves or tarot cards read but for me, it is a place to enjoy leaf tea and sweet treats. My girls love the children’s high tea and on the occasion that we have come here for diner, the meals are extremely well priced serving authentic Balinese and Indonesian food.
Homestore: located on Jl Laksmana (Jl Oberoi), Seminyak Bali. This is the cutest little coffee and cake store with little treasures to be taken home.
Being a true Leo, I love being groomed and made to feel and look pretty.
Some of my favourite spa’s and salon’s include:
Think Pink Nails: Jl Batu Belig 108. Choose a colour, any colour and Think Pink Nails stock it. No decanted polishes here. What you see is true to its bottle: Chanel, Butter, OPI, Gucci, Zoya to name a few. The quality of the products here are exceptional. Without exaggeration, my polish (I opt for traditional versus acrylic or gel), lasted two weeks without a chip.
Arki has outdone herself with this New York style nail parlour which also offers hair treatments and body massages (my husband often has a massage here while we get our nails done). So pick a colour, sit back and relax. As part of the signature mani and pedi is an amazing foot, hand and neck massage.
For your little prince or princess, Think Pink Nails have little thrones for them to sit and be pampered in true royal style. Who knows, maybe Princess Kate will bring George and Charlotte here one day?
Chill: Jl. Kunti I, Seminyak Bali. Chill Reflexology is part of the Prana Spa, situated further up the road toward Raya Seminyak. This reflexology spa is what I imagine it to be like in heaven.
Your Zen session starts by your feet being placed on a marble foot rest where they are massaged with a peppermint scrub before being rinsed and wrapped in a towel. You are then guided into a darkened treatment area where a male Therapist starts kneading your toes and feet, pressuring reflex points to leave you wanting to come back after your 60 or 90 minute session. During your treatment, you have a choice of music (calm, calm or calm), which is played through your own ipod.
Children are welcome over the age of 10. The price is approximately 200 000rp ($20) for the classic chill (my favourite).
Massage, wraps, scrubs
Bodyworks: This is an ‘oldy but a goody’ open for over 20 years. This is one of the original spas in Bali, offering all the massages, scrub and wrap options you can think off. My favourite is the Mandi Lalur treatment.
Jari Manari: Jalan Raya Basangkasa No.47. Jari Manari means dancing fingers and describes the flow of the massage during your treatment at this Japanese inspired studio. Jari Manari only employs male Therapists offering strong, firm pressure massages. If this is for you, be sure to try the four hand massage – isn’t this every girls dream?! Very Zen
Shampoo Lounge: Jl. Raya Basangkasa No.8X, Seminyak Bali. My hair goes crazy in the tropical humidity and often gets quite dry from the sun, salt and chlorine. Despite every effort for me to self-manage, there is nothing better than appointing a Professional to attend to your tresses. The Shampoo Lounge is one hairdresser that I have been to that offers a great wash and blow dry as well as the SOS Keratin treatment so your mane can look glossy and shiny once again.
Fashion for mummy
Most of my shopping in and around Seminyak Bali is for homewares and accessories as I’ve found all the major designers offer online shopping which allows me to shop from home and have it delivered to my front door. In actual fact, a recent online purchase from Natasha Gan bought me a dress for $60 shipped out of Kerobokan, whilst the same dress in their Seminyak Bali store was $200 (work that out)!
I do like the range of resort wear on offer at the Bali Boathouse, (Jl. Laksamana Basangkasa No.55) especially the designer Misterzimmi. Even if you don’t fancy shopping, I recommend you just visit here to take a picture of the bright coloured bathing houses framing the store front.
My weakness is Magali Pascal, however; I am an Australian size 8 to 10 and struggle to fit into some of the styles due to my long limbs. Again, all the major Bali bloggers offer tips on where to shop for clothes and The Yak map highlights all your higher end and chain designer locations.
Fashion for kids
Accessories are my weakness. I always check out Grammes (across the road from Café Moka) for quality silver jewellery. I also find a great range of unique jewellery pieces at Balquisse Living on Sunset Road.
I love to visit the markets. This is a memory of the old Bali. I still get a buzz bartering in my broken Indonesian for bracelets and other trinkets.