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10+1 best things to do in sophisticated Seminyak


How to find beautiful beaches, superb shopping, and family fun

Although it’s just along the coast, Seminyak, Bali’s most elegant resort area, offers a very different experience from busy Kuta. Crowded with world class restaurants and upscale boutiques, beach clubs and five star hotels, it offers plenty for the tourist keen to dine, drink and shop in style – as well as sunbathe on its white beaches.

That’s not all Seminyak has to offer though. From lively family fun to chilled pampering, from local temples to a range of art galleries, Seminyak has enough to keep you busy for quite a while. Here’s our pick of the best ways to spend your time, whatever your interests.

1. Best for beach lovers: stunning Double Six Beach

Fancy a day at the beach? You can’t do better than Double Six beach. This half kilometre stretch of the coastline – which is really a section of Seminyak Beach – boasts beautiful white sands and is backed by a great selection of bars and restaurants. Double Six beach stretches from Legian in the north down to Oberoi beach.

Daytimes here are typically relaxing and peaceful, especially compared to the crowds at Kuta. Rent a sun lounger, or stop a passing local masseuse and treat yourself to an inexpensive treatment (usually around IDR50,000 to IDR100,000). If you feel like being a bit more active, this part of the coast is suitable for beginner surfers, and surfboard rentals and surf schools are at hand. Try our surf school, Surf Is Up Bali – unlike other surf schools, we offer semi private and private surf lessons, so even beginners can get full attention at all times. Or you could go for a horse ride along the beach – there’s a stable at nearby Mesari Beach Inn.

Be sure not to miss the stunning sunset views from here: settle on a beanbag, grab a cocktail, and take it all in. It’s easy, as you have plenty of options for food and drink right along the beachfront.

2. Best for partying: sunset parties at La Plancha

In fact, our favourite beach bar is right at hand on Double Six Beach. La Plancha is easily spotted thanks to its bright coloured parasols, beach bags and tables on the sand. This hybrid of Spanish and Balinese culture is the grand dame of Seminyak beach bars, inspiring all the other bars with bright coloured bean bags you can see along the coast. But the original is still the best. Drop in for a drink or a bite to eat anytime, but whatever you do, don’t miss sunset drinks (you can call ahead and book a beanbag) and Wednesday night sunset parties. This is the best place to watch the sun go down with a chilled cocktail. Check out their website and social media for other events too – this bar knows how to hold a party.

3. Best for families: an exciting day out at Waterbom

On holiday with your children? Or just a big kid yourself? Either way, spend the day at Waterbom Water Park, widely considered one of the best waterparks in Asia. With thrill slides, chill slides, dining options and a swim up bar, you’ll find plenty to do here.

For those of you looking for an adrenaline hit, try the Twin Racers or Climax. If you want something more gentle, try the Lazy River, or Funtastic for smaller children. You can go for a stroll around the landscaped garden with its water features – over 50% of the park is green space, and home to some endangered species.

If you’re hungry, you have more than the usual theme park options. There’s Italian, Japanese, Indonesian, Mexican, healthy options, burgers, noodles, coffee and beer. So, come for the day, there’s everything you need.

4. Best for art lovers: pioneering and authentic galleries

Interested in Balinese art? Seminyak boasts two interesting art galleries you should check out. The Nyaman Gallery showcases contemporary local artists, as well as a small and well curated selection of international artists. The exhibition includes paintings, photographs, ceramics, hand blown glass, wooden carvings from the East Nusa Tenggara region, wearable art and home décor – and most of it is for sale.

We also recommend the Theatre Art Gallery. This centres on traditional, intricate Indonesian puppets known as wayang. These are used in traditional Balinese puppet shows. The exhibition showcases both antique and contemporary puppets, and is a must for anyone interested in local art and culture.

5. Best for local life: quality and bargains at the night market

Seminyak, crammed with modern boutiques and world class, is not an area you’d expect to find a traditional market. And indeed, the few markets that can be found around here are a little off the beaten track. The Taman Sari Market, which is also known locally as Pasar Taman Sari, is located near the southwest corner of the Petitenget and Kerobokan junction, just slightly tucked away.

The market is the perfect stop for anyone looking for fresh tropical fruit at bargain prices. The stalls open at the break of dawn, when all the buyers from the local restaurants and hotels descend on it to stock up for the day. Here you can get a bag full of mangoes and mangosteen for a dollar or so – most products aren’t marked with prices and you can bargain with the stall keepers. Inside the main building, you can buy flowers, flower offerings, fresh produce and housewares. If you come around sunset, expect to see food carts arriving, selling delicious traditional street food such as chicken satay and bakso (meatball soup). (More on local markets in Bali here.)

6. Best for a challenge: unlock the doors at Totem Room

Bored of beaches, shopping and culture? Head off to Totem Room Escape Challenge. You can go as a couple, or as a group of up to six. You’ll be locked into one of four themed game rooms where you need to complete a series of puzzles in order to escape. While you try to figure out the clues, the timer will tick away your 50 minutes.

The rooms are graded in order of difficulty – beginners can go for the “easiest” option of Darkland, an Alice in Wonderland inspired trip down the rabbit hole – but don’t expect it to be too easy! The other options are Egyptian Secret, Mission Impossible, and the hardest of all, Kidnapped.

It costs IDR200,000 per person, and if you’re successful, you can bag some free merchandise. And regain your pride.

7. Best for authentic culture: fascinating Petitenget Temple

Hidden away behind designer boutiques and restaurants is a real cultural and historical treasure. Petitenget Temple (also known as Pura Petitenget) is one of Bali’s six important sea temples which line the coast from Uluwatu to Tanah Lot, guarding the island. Follow the dragon staircase up to the courtyard, where you can see small shrines draped in Balinese checked cloths.  Try to make it here on a weekend morning, when young Balinese girls can be found rehearsing traditional dance in the Bale Agung pavilion across from the temple.

Next to Pura Petitenget is the smaller Pura Masceti, a temple of agriculture where locals pray for crop protection or rain.  If you’re very lucky, you might catch its anniversary celebrations which take place every 210 days. You’ll see crowds of tourists come to pray in their best clothes, and the temple adorned with bright decorations.

Pura Petitenget charges a small entrance fee, and you need to dress appropriately to enter. Don’t worry if you’re still in your beach clothes, sarongs are provided.

8. Best for learning something new: cooking classes

If you’re enjoying Balinese cuisine, why not sign up with one of the many great cooking schools in Seminyak and learn how to perfect your favourite dishes? Most classes will take you through the right steps to cook several different dishes, and end with a feast featuring your combined efforts.

We suggest you try the class at the Breezes Bali Resort & Spa. This class runs daily and costs IDR35,000 per person. For that you get the chance to cook a grand total of seven dishes, including a starter, a main and a dessert – which is much more than most cooking schools. The day will start with trying out your knife skills – but don’t worry if that’s not your strong point as most of the hard chopping labour is already done. Then you’ll learn another core skill – making a bumbu paste. This paste is the building block of all the signature dishes. Once you’re done cooking, you can then reap the rewards by eating your creations as you relax by the pool. The class also includes a free recipe book. Be sure to book at least 48 hours in advance. (More on Balinese cuisine here.)

9. Best for winding down: unparalleled yoga classes

Given that Bali is famous for its yoga, it’s no surprise that Seminyak is home to a wide choice of yoga studios, whatever your favourite style. Most studios are happy for you to just drop in and pay for a single lesson – expect to pay between IDR100,000 – 180,000. Of course, if you’re in town for longer, you can get a better deal by signing up for a longer course. Some of the best yoga studios include Jiwa Bikram, Yoga at Prana Spa and Yoga 108.

If you fancy something a bit different however, try out the classes held at the W Hotel’s Wooksy Bar. Classes are held at sunrise and sunset. Sunrise sessions include use of their spa facilities, while sunset classes allow you entrance to the sunset DJ session at Woo bar. Tickets cost IDR150,000 per person.

10. Best for pampering: terrific tried and tested spas

You may not know this, but Seminyak is known for its spas, so don’t miss treating yourself to some pampering while you’re in town. Prana Spa is one of the biggest and best spas in Bali and caters for all your needs, whether that’s a relaxing hot stone massage, or a hen party. With Moroccan inspired architecture, this is our best tip for combining luxury with affordability. Try the specialist Ayurvedic treatments – we recommend Simple Bliss, a full body massage using custom blended essential oils.

Or if your idea of pampering is more about a mani-pedi and a cocktail than a massage, head to Blow Bar Bali, where you and your friends can sit and drink margaritas while you get your eyelash extensions. This is no place for gentle music, this is all about the glamour.

+1. Best for shops: bargain and luxury shopping opportunities

If you love shopping, Seminyak is the place to be, whether you want to pick up some surf wear, some designer style or some local homewares, and whatever your budget. There’s plenty of shopping streets you can wander around, but we suggest you kick off in the area around Seminyak Square, and then make your way along Jalan Kayu Aya towards Ku De Ta.

In the area around Seminyak Square, shop for beachy, summery fashion in shops like Sundays Resortwear and Uma and Leopold, whose well-priced clothing and accessories feature original detailing like embroidery and beading. From there, head to Drifter Surf for all your surf style. Bali Boat Shed is also a key stop for casual wear, prints, and great menswear. Interested in homewares? Try Kim Soo, who design their own unique pieces using a creative array of materials from wood to grass. You can pick up ceramics, rugs, chopping boards or hats here – there’s a great range of products. (More on the best private pool villas in Seminyak here.)

 

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