Located north of Kuta, Seminyak has fast become Bali‘s ultimate tourist playground. Offering an abundance of fantastic restaurants, beachfront bars, fun activities and quintessential Balinese charm, it’s a must-visit destination! Spend your day’s shopping, perusing art galleries, sipping cocktails and relaxing before slipping into an evening of great music and late-night fun. To help you plan the perfect trip, here’s everything you need to know about visiting Seminyak and some of our top recommendations too.
Must-know tips for visiting Bali
If this is your first time visiting Bali, there are a couple of things you need to know before you set off:
- At the time of our last visit as Australians, we were not required to purchase a Visa
- To make life easier, organise a transfer from the airport to your accommodation (the arrivals area can be intimidating with lots of drivers yelling out to you!)
- Things are never perfect in Bali, so set your expectations appropriately, relax and go with the flow
- Prepare to experience amazing Balinese hospitality, warm welcomes and plenty of happy smiles
- Learning a few words in Bahasa goes a long way! Tidak (no), Terima Kasih (thank you) and Sama Sama (you’re welcome)
- You’re going to need to haggle when shopping at local stores, learn how to haggle like a professional here
- The roads are perfectly organised chaos, don’t panic, your driver always knows what they’re doing!
- You can’t drink the tap water, so stock up on big bottles from local stores
- Read all of my 23 things to know before you visit Bali
When to go
I’ve visited Bali at different times throughout the year and found the weather to be good all year round. Of course, there are times when it’s hotter and rainier, but typically speaking, it’s hard to go wrong – it’s a good destination all year. That said, the peak season happens in the summer months, from April through to October. You’ll find it a tad more rainy October through March but don’t let that deter you, those tropical afternoon storms are gorgeous.
Where to stay
There’s a long list of hotels and resorts to choose from in Seminyak and deciding where to stay can be overwhelming! Matt and I had our most memorable Seminyak experience staying at our very own private villa and it was surprisingly affordable! It’s something we thoroughly enjoyed and have recommended to our friends and family time and time again. Here’s a look at why…
We loved how much more peaceful and uncrowded our private villa experience was. We didn’t have to line up for a single queue! There was no wait at the hotel concierge to check-in, no jostling at the breakfast buffet and no vying for a great spot by the pool. Our private villa was all our own which meant we were greeted at the door by the manager who gave us a tour, information and keys then we were left to our own devices. It felt so good to have our very own place as we could totally and completely relax.
We were able to jump into the pool whenever we liked and didn’t have to worry about getting in anyone’s way, losing our seats or walking from a hotel room to the pool and back. We laid around reading books, went walking through the nearby streets, ate delicious local food from nearby restaurants, watched movies in the lounge room and slept-in late, making the most of the big, comfy bed.
As part of our villa experience, we had 24-hour security staff and house staff who took care of a lot of behind the scenes work, like spraying the rooms regularly to take care of mosquitos, lighting mosquito coils in the evening and coming in regularly to tidy up and do the dishes. Basically, they do everything for you, so you can lay back and enjoy your holiday without having to do any of the pesky housework like you do at home. Honestly, I imagine this is what it’s like to be a celebrity! The staff would also take our orders for breakfast each day and ask us what time we’d like it ready for so when we woke in the morning, the table was laid out with delicious food and coffee.
When I initially heard about private villa stays I just automatically assumed it was very expensive and would be outside our budget. But, it turns out, there’s a wide range of villas to choose from and the rates are comparable to that of hotels in Seminyak (shocking, I know!). You could reasonably expect to pay around $130 per night for a 2 bedroom villa housing up to 4 people with rates going up from there depending on how many rooms, staff and how fancy your villa is etc. One thing to keep in mind too is that if you were to visit with a large group (maybe friends or family) you could split the costs and it would be cheaper again! Some villas can house up to 30 people per night so it’s a surprisingly budget-friendly option.
A private villa is pretty much great for everyone! It would be fantastic for families travelling with kids, a group of friends looking to have an unforgettable holiday together or even a couple seeking some much-needed rest and relaxation. Bali Villa Finder has a great range of villas in Seminyak to choose from and they also offer a dedicated concierge team to help guests with arranging anything they need from groceries and tours to booking activities and special requests like a private yoga teacher, cooking performance, parties, birthday cakes and everything else you can think of! In fact, during our stay at a villa, our host noticed Matt had a cold and needed to rest so he spent the day showing me around so I didn’t miss a moment of Seminyak while Matt slept! Visit Bali Villa Finder here.
(Note: photos are from a number of different villas, not all of the same villa)
What to do
Seminyak is bursting with wonderful activities and fun things to do! There are also some fantastic day trips you can do too. Here’s a look at a few of the best things to do in Seminyak:
- Explore the world below the surface with a scuba diving experience
- Delve into the art scene in Seminyak with a visit to the Nyaman Art Gallery
- Head down to the beach for a sunset horse ride
- Hire a board and surf Seminyak Beach or join a surfing class
- Unwind with a relaxing yoga class
- Learn all about Balinese flavours, fresh ingredients and traditional recipes with a cooking class
- Visit Pura Masceti and Pura Petitenget to explore Bali’s beautiful temples
- Get an indulgent massage at Bodyworks
- Take a day trip to Ubud, Uluwatu or climb Mount Batur at sunrise
Where to eat and drink
There’s no shortage of fantastic food and beverage on offer in Seminyak! Here’s a look at some of the best places to eat and drink in Seminyak:
- Spend a day (or evening) at the world-famous Potato Head Beach Club
- Grab a delicious cup of coffee at Revolver (there are TWO locations to choose from!)
- Make your way to Ku De Ta for cocktails and music at sunset
- Head to Mrs Sippy for ice-cold drinks around the pool
- Grab brunch in the green, serene surrounds at Nook
- Visit Sisterfields for absolutely delicious all-day dining
- Get your plant-based food fix at KYND Community
- Make the most of picture-perfect sunsets on a brightly coloured beach beanbag at La Plancha Bali
- Go directly to Motel Mexicola for great food and ice-cold cocktails!
How to get around
When it comes to getting around we mostly move from place to place on foot if we’re travelling short-ish distances. For bigger trips or those times of day when it’s really hot, you may like to use Grab, a ride-sharing app similar to Uber. Just be sure to download the app and register an account before leaving home if you don’t intend on buying a local sim card in Bali. You can also catch local taxis but, in my experience, there are some drivers looking to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists so it’s best, where possible, to go with a set fare (i.e. Grab). Another option, if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing one day or have the budget, is to arrange a private driver for the duration of your stay. This kind of thing would pair nicely with a stay at a private villa!
What to pack
Packing can be tough and Bali is no exception, here are my tips on a few things you definitely need to pack:
- Bali is super laid back so wear whatever the heck you want! There are a few nice restaurants and bars to visit so you may want to pack one or two slightly fancier outfits for those places if you plan to visit them.
- Be sure to pack your swimmers, kaftans, sarongs, hats and all your other essential pool attire
- Keep your packing light, saving room for all the goodies you’ll scoop up while you’re there!
- Pack light, breathable clothing like shorts, skirts, dresses and t-shirts in nice breezy fabrics
- Be sure to include essential medicines as well as Imodium or gastro-strop, any prescriptions meds, sunscreen and a high-strength bug spray as well as a hat and sunglasses
- Read our detailed packing guide here!