For a town which started out with very humble beginnings, Seminyak has certainly evolved into one of Bali’s most fashionable areas. Originally a detached town with rice fields, farms and local villages, it’s become an extension of Legian, with high-density shopping and fine-dining restaurants. A treasure trove of fashion boutiques, cool bars to sit and watch the world go by and traditional markets.
Seminyak stretches from Double-Six Street in the south and up to the edges of Umalas and Kerobokan, and is around a 40-minute drive away from Denpasar Airport. It’s home to stunning beaches as well as the iconic Oberoi Hotel, where Mick Jagger chose to holiday on his trips to the island. The plush resort has also hosted Salvador Dali and Princess Grace. With such stars seeking out the good life here, it should be added to your list of must-see spots too.
Here’s my rundown of the five best things to do while you’re in town…
Chill out on Seminyak Beach
The golden sands of Seminyak beach are generally quieter throughout the day. There are many places to rent a daybed (which will run you about $5 to $10) and laze under a beach umbrella with a good book.
Swimming in the ocean is possible but look for the red flags displayed by the lifeguards first as undercurrents can be strong. Surfing is also available in certain areas and on balmy mornings, stand-up-paddle boards can be rented. Horseback riding can be organised from Umalas stables. On Sundays, the locals join in on the fun, with families flocking to the sand for beach soccer and kite-flying.
The beach becomes a showcase at the end of the day, when the bars set up colourful parasols and lay out bean bags for you to settle into while the sun dips into the Indian ocean. Truly magical.
Visit Pura Petitenget
Petitenget Temple is revered by the locals and is a significant cultural landmark in Seminyak. This temple is one of the island’s collection of sea temples which spiritually guard the shores of Bali.
Its beginnings date back to the 16th century when a Hindu priest visited from neighbouring Java. If you’re lucky, you may just happen to visit during the temple’s anniversary celebrations which fall every 210 days. The temple is colourfully decorated with flags and parasols and the locals visit dressed in their best traditional clothing.
Sometimes you’ll see young Balinese girls practicing their traditional dancing in the bale (pavilion) located across from the temple.
Hit the Shops on Jalan Laksamana
The main road through the hub of Seminyak is known for its fashion, and home to designers from all over the world. Adults and children clothing stores are scattered all over, and at the end of the street you’ll find two shopping centres with air-conditioned comfort. It’s also a great place for eclectic homewares shopping, with everything from cushions to unique paintings.
Jalan Laksamana is also known as Eat Street and is home to some of the best food on offer in Bali. There are at least 30 restaurants to choose from on this stretch of road, with diverse cuisine available. For my money, the best is Ginger Moon, offering Asian fusion sharing plates in a beautiful setting. A crab salad for $10… Chicken satay for $7.50… A crème brulee trio for $6.50. You won’t break the bank indulging here.
Indulge Yourself at a Spa
One of Bali’s largest spas is Prana Spa. Located on Jalan Kunti, its décor will transport you to the Middle East as you’re pampered by trained therapists. Sure, there are the less expensive places to choose from, but this place is a real treat.
Their Signature Massage ($50) begins with a foot ritual, hot and tired from pacing the pavement, your feet are soaked in rose petal and peppermint water. Then you’re treated to a one-hour massage that will leave you invigorated and ready to hit the streets again. Seriously, it’s one of the best massages I’ve had in Bali. The Prana Spa also offers Yoga, with classes available seven days a week.
Bargain Hunting at the Market
Despite the upmarket feel, bargains can still be had in Seminyak. Head to the Oberoi Flea Market, only a short walk from the main centre. Here you’ll find fashion that you don’t see in every other market and some great leather shoes and bags too. Some rate them as the best markets in Bali, just come prepared to bargain and you’re bound to find something unique.