So, in my latest instalment of 'I don't wan't to stop talking about my holiday' today I am talking about Seminyak, arguably the tourist hub of Bali. (if you don't fancy sucking back mushroom shakes with 18 year olds in Kuta)
Seminyak is a touristy, beachside town with a plethora of boutique shops and international cuisine restaurants. The appeal lies in the shopping, eating, and beachside cocktail drinking, and less in cultural activities as it does in Ubud. There are so many spas and massage places that you will likely lose count, and also lose a lot of your money to getting limber on a regular basis. We stayed in Seminyak for five days, which was enough for all our foodie pursuits, and a few nights on the cocktails. Where is the cheeky monkey emoji when I need it?
A few quick tips for Seminyak:
-No, the taxi driver isn't tooting because you are looking fine today. He is looking for business. On that note, always insist on using the meter in a taxi as it's the best way to ensure you aren't a victim of daylight robbery in the taxi fare sense of the expression.
-We personally found that a lot of 'must do's in Seminyak were not for us. Ku De Ta, La Lucciola, etc.. were not the scene we envisaged. We had heard rave reviews, but personally preferred places like Motel Mexicola or The Samaya.
-We also were incredibly underwhelmed by Bodyworks, which is something many people raved about. I won't go into the specifics, but I personally walked out in a rather foul mood. Save your money and go somewhere like Spring Spa (amazing)
-If someone offers to carry your suitcase when you arrive at the airport, do not blindly assume that this is an excellent free service that the airport provides. It isn't free, which I learned as I handed over the equivalent of 4 Australian dollars in exchange for wheeling my suitcase up a slight hill and around a corner. Tip tip tip.
-Sometimes, if you go walking on the beach in the morning, you might see a severed cows head on the shore. Just sometimes.
-If you are not a strong swimmer, stick to the pool. The waves in Seminyak will put sand all down your one piece. And probably some in your mouth/ears. Also, see note regarding severed cows head.
-Check your bill. We found that, a lot of the time, a sneaky extra (on top of the 10% tax and 7% give or take gratuity) was added on in the hope we wouldn't notice.
-If you are on a budget, buy some duty free booze at the airport and get on the pre dranks. Cocktails at the well known spots (Potato Head, The W) are around 10-15 Australian dollars.
-Go to the supermarket, buy all the mangosteens they have, and eat them all. They are the most heavenly thing I have ever encountered. Sorry cheese. Sorry all the other foods ever.
Don't expect to visit Seminyak for an authentic Indonesian experience, or you will leave disappointed. It took me a significant amount of time to adjust to the fact that I would not be experiencing authentic food, culture and scenery in Seminyak. As I had always joked with no real clue, Seminyak is a Westernised town in a non Western environment. But that doesn't mean you should discount it entirely - just go there with that in mind.
Onto where to stay: I stayed at a hotel on Kayu Jati, as it was in between 'eat street' and Potato Head et al and thus perfect in terms of location. If you have enough of a gang together or have planned your holiday more than two weeks in advance (yolo) I would highly recommend looking into a villa. It doesn't have to be a flash hot one or break the bank, but the convenience of having your own pool, space, and kitchen cannot be overlooked.
FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD
Obviously this one was going to pop up again. Although they have the same menu, there is enough on that menu that warrants doubling up on visits. I visited both the Ubud and Seminyak locations multiple times and have zero regrets. Plus, the adjoining shop is a bit out of control, and the healthy dessert fridge must be seen to be believed.
Sisterfields had a distinctly Melbourne feel to it, with sleek marble interiors, neatly trimmed wheatgrass displays, and use of rustic wooden boards in plating. That is probably why I loved it so much. The iced latte was delightful, as was the immunity juice, acai bowl, potato rosti and ricotta dish, etc etc. Obviously I went a few times. Anywhere that provides me with a sleek white marble backdrop for food shotz is somewhere I am happy to return to.
Sarong serves up some divine Indian fusion food that will leave your mouth watering. I had the tofu DIY wraps as a starter (although you could probably have them as a main) and one of the curries for main. Both were divine. My memory fails me, but I think the cauliflower curry was the absolute winner. My dining companions very much enjoyed the fish, and I was slightly envious of the heady waft of kaffir lime that spilled forth. A dinner spot.
If you love coffee, this is not one to miss. I had to stick to iced lattes due to my outrageous tendency to break into a sweat at the slightest hint of heat (so you can imagine drinking hot coffee in 35 degrees) but it was the best I had in Bali. Iced coffee in such a climate is surely the beverage of the Gods. I just turned the heating on in Melbourne and made an iced latte. Such feels, much nostalgia.
Another Mexican place with more substantial options for us dietary restricted. Again, they use flour tortillas so unfortunately that is off the menu. However, they do have a delightful vegie burger that you can wrap in cabbage leaves instead of a bun to make it gluten free. My sister had the bun, and I the cabbage leaves, and we agreed that I had backed a winner. The cocktails here are also excellent and slightly cheaper than the main haunts such as Potato Head.
This cafe is the Pinterest account of your dreams. Aside from serving excellent coffee (iced, once again) the interior is the 'undone' chic that you wished your house would be, inside of just the regular sort of 'undone.' I didn't try the food, but they were serving up a Western (dare I say Melbourne) style cuisine from that I could tell. Well worth a visit, even if you just have iced coffees and coo at the interior. Make sure you visit the bathroom if you do, and have a peek at the bar upstairs.
We stumbled across this one after a few cocktails at Potato Head, and decided to give it a shot after recognising the name from our obsessive bali food related interwebs lurking. If you ask at the front desk, you will be provided with a vegetarian menu, which focuses on upmarket twists to Indonesian food. The interior is overwhelming and beautiful - if you were in a restaurant of the same appearance in Melbourne you would likely start hyperventilating for fear of the damage to your wallet. But fear not, the prices are reasonable and the food is lovely. I regret to inform that I cannot recall precisely which dishes I ate - the trusty Capirinha has a tendency to do that. But I do recall that I left very satisfied.
This one is a bit of a walk out of the centre of Seminyak, but undoubtedly worth it. GPS came in handy for us - we don't tend to be the best navigators in the heat. Does hangry apply to be being hot? I feel like it should. Once we got there, however, we were very much rewarded. The cafe itself is perched above an acai bowl takeaway (you can also order them in the cafe) giving you access to a cool breeze and two menus. Plus, so many props for having a fresh young coconut with lime and ice in it. What a life win.
This is a tiny little cafe on 'eat street of Seminyak' that you will likely miss the first time you walk past it due to the barely there signage. Once you find it, however, you will be right at home. You can either choose from a menu or from the salad display in the kitchen. I had delicious tacos, my sister had the salads. I feel as though picking the salads was a winning decision. I have it on good authority that they make a mean sour cream chocolate cake which happens to be flourless.
I am unsure if I can give this a vote for vegetarian gluten free-ers. Unlike most Mexican places, Mexican here does not make use of corn tortillas, so burritos and tacos are off limits, even if they are vego. I ended up eating guacamole with corn chips, which was delicious, although not enough to appease a hungry gal like myself. However, the vote here goes to the atmosphere, and to the tequila that will probably get poured down your throat as you try to have a quiet cornchip.
Along the main street in Seminyak, Chandi was another 'sounds familiar and we are hot and hungry' affair. Not even ashamed. I had the vegetarian satay, which was delicious, on both a taste and aesthetic level. We also had chips, because our inner plebs needed appeasement from a night on rough cocktails. My sister had the nasi goreng and I had a bit of food envy - it looked and tasted divine. I have a grainy phone shot to prove it.
A few recommendations for where to drink and be pampered.
POTATO HEAD - such an impressive structure and an amazing, relaxed beachy vibe. If you promise to spend a significant amount of money, they will allow you a bed by the pool, but call ahead to arrange that.
THE SAMAYA - I have never heard this recommended and I have no idea why. An outrageously divine beachside hotel of understated class and elegance, this was one of our trip highlights. We went for sunset drinks, and it really was an absolutely awe inspiring view. The cocktails weren't bad either. Top of the list for a sunset beverage. You can also eat here, although I cannot vouch as we didn't try it.
THE W - As mere mortals who cannot afford $500 a night for a room, we went to the W for a daytime frollick by the pool. You will be required to purchase some drinks or food, which are not cheap, but the luxurious environment is well worth the investment. A word to the wise: the brunch at the W is an experience in itself, but probably not worth the price tag for those on dietary restrictions/those who don't eat seafood and other expensive types of meat.
SPRING SPA - Having visited both Spring (a new kid on the block) and Bodyworks, I can safely say that the experience I had at Spring was so far superior I cannot describe. A bright, white and striking interior with attention to detail and divine offerings. I had a raw facial and I felt like I was in heaven. A facial with a surprise and bonus head massage is my idea of heaven.