I hadn’t anticipated stopping in Seminyak; I’d read that it was overrun with Australian tourists and was overly touristy. However, after a week in Ubud, I decided that a beach town was just what I needed. I loved laid back Sanur, but looked forward to contrasting my experiences there with the trendier shores of Seminyak.
It was definitely different!
In Seminyak, the beaches are a bit dirty, crowded, filled with people selling things and you can’t actually get in the water because the waves are too high. I was also a little wary of leaving my bag on the beach while dipping in my toes to cool off. If you’re a surfer, Seminyak may be awesome. (I wouldn’t really know, I’m not surfer.) If not, you should find a hotel with a pool. So, if you’re a beach bum, you might be a little disappointed in Seminyak.
I was very busy in Seminyak. I stayed at the Dash Hotel in Petitenget for two nights, and felt like that was just the right amount of time in this resort-laden stretch of beach.
I arrived in Seminyak later in the afternoon; the trip from Ubud was only about 25km, but with traffic it took about 2 hours. I should mention, if I haven’t already: traffic in Bali is awful.
I arrived starving- my Airbnb in Ubud was in the middle of a rice paddy, so without a moped I was stranded without opportunities for breakfast. After checking in to my hotel, I searched for La Lucciola, an Italian restaurant that had rave reviews- and a good view.
I know, I know. Italian in Bali!? But I’d been eating authentic cuisine pretty much the rest of the time, and I just craved some bread and butter.
La Lucciola didn’t disappoint. I had tagliatelle with rock fish. It rocked.
The view wasn’t so bad, either.
I’d recommend going to La Lucciola for lunch. I paid more than I’d paid for every dinner I’d had in Bali up to that point, just for lunch, so I can imagine dinner would be even pricier. Sure, it was about the equivalent of $6, but when you’re used to eating for $1.50- main and beer- that’s a pretty big cost increase!
After lunch, I lazed by the beach until sunset, then watched the sunset at the rooftop bar at my hotel. I will say, the Seminyak sunset is something to behold. It totally lived up to the hype.
For more on the rooftop bar at the hotel, read my review on Dash here.
The sun sets super early in Bali, or at least, for me, being used to 10pm sunsets in June. By 6:30pm its dark, so no more beach, but way too early for dinner. What’s a girl to do?!
A quick Google search told me that one of Bali’s nicest spas was a two-minute walk from my hotel. I treated myself to a body massage and pedicure- all for just $25. Again, this was much more than I had paid in Sanur or Ubud, but, especially for a spa of similar calibre in the US or UK, I’d be paying four or five times as much for the same treatments.
I stumbled home in a relaxed fog and collapsed into bed, because at 1:45am I had to wake up.
Yes, you read that right. 1:45am. What on earth could get me up so early, you ask?
I hiked Mt Batur, Bali’s second tallest volcano, to watch the sunrise.
It takes about two hours to get to Mt Batur from Seminyak, and then about two more hours to make the hike.
I’d read that the hike was “easy,” but I think what people meant to say was easier than climbing Bali’s tallest volcano, pictured above, Mt Agung. I’ve done a fair amount of hiking in Denver, and this was about on par with climbing I’ve done there. It wasn’t particularly technical, although it got super steep at the end. It was just a hike up a mountain, so go prepared. I saw people in flip flops, or without water. WEAR the right shoes, and BRING WATER. I was drenched in sweat about five minutes in to the hike. And, bring a sweater for the top. It is above tree line, so it is pretty chilly.
I hiked pretty fast, getting to the top a good hour before almost anyone else. (Thanks, Denver prep!) I napped at the top while waiting for the sunrise, proud of my physical prowess at 3am.
The top is a literal shack on a ledge. I’m not gonna lie, I was a little nervous, especially since clouds surrounded us on all sides, so I couldn’t see the drop off that was sure to be just a few feet in every direction.
Instead, I focused on the breakfast of banana sandwich and boiled egg- made in water from a hot spring- that my guide, Ketut, brought me.
On exceptionally clear mornings you can see across the ocean all the way to Lombok, the next island over, and its huge mountain, the appropriately named Lombok. This morning was slightly cloudy, but if you look at the second picture in the above series, you can see the tip of Lombok poking out from the clouds.
I much preferred a view of the ocean, anyway, and more close, the view of the lake and valley between us and Agung.
As daylight broke, Ketut, who told me he was pretty hungover from a party he had attended until 11pm (just two hours before he had to be at work!), came alive. He led me between Batur’s peaks for another view of the valley, and a view of the backside of Batur.
He also gave me a short history of Batur and the town beneath it, Kintamani, complete with drawings in the volcanic ash. Batur is pretty active. Its last eruption was less than 20 years ago. Glad I made it off in one piece!
Then it was time to descend the mountain, which was actually harder than going up. The volcanic ash is ankle deep, and the first part of the descent is super steep. But Ketut has a saying, very original indeed: Just Do It! He kept screeching this personal mantra as we went down the mountain. Or, in my case, stumbled.
In the daylight, though, I got to see a lot of things I missed in the dark. Some were beautiful…
…others were NOT. I’ve never seen such a big spider, and I hope I never do again. I could literally see its mouth opening and closing as it ate a fly. ::Shudder::
All in all, I have to say, I was proud of myself for making the hike. In Denver, I was always afraid of hiking and getting injured or falling off a cliff. Not only did I hike, I did most of it in the dark. Challenge is change, and there’s no better time to face your fears than when you’re alone, abroad. Am I right?!
Yep, climbed that. Pretty cool.
You’d think I was tired after such an excursion, but by the time I got back to Seminyak around noon, all I wanted was coffee and brunch. I’d read awesome things about Revolver Coffee, so I took the walk to Seminyak Square to find it.
It is a cute little place, but it could be literally anywhere. I was tired enough that I have to admit, I didn’t care. They had eggs, a smoothie and a cappucino. And wifi.
After a few hours sleeping off my eggs on the beach (and getting woken up by waves breaking over my legs and soaking my towel- BE CAREFUL in Seminyak, the tide comes in quickly), it was time to meet a girl from my retreat at Potato Head.
The one place everyone mentioned when I said I was going to Bali was Potato Head. In Ubud, when people asked where I was going next, they’d get irrationally excited when I said Seminyak.
“Are you going to Potato Head?!” They’d all ask.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect. A nightclub? A bar? Beach beds on the sand?
Potato Head is basically a little of all of that. It has a great pool (with a bar in it!), beachfront access, beds and lounge chairs, delicious cocktails and great photo opps. The cool thing is, it is pretty family friendly, there were people of all ages roaming around during the daylight hours.
As the sun started to set, the music got louder and the crowd a little younger, and rowdier. We migrated to the pool bar to watch the sunset.
After another stunning Seminyak sunset, the pool bar closed and the place turned into a restaurant. Apparently it gets pretty rowdy after the dinner crowd finishes a few drinks, but I was too tired from my hike to stay. Lame, I know!
The next morning, I was up and at ’em, refreshed from a very heavy night’s sleep, thanks to a few cocktails at Potato Head and the huge hike I’d had.
After a little shopping, I headed back to Spring Spa for a head massage and hair treatment. See, that good I had to go back twice.
Then, I headed to Cafe Organik before my car came to take me to where I’d spend my last night in Bali. I’d read similarly good things about it, and passed it to and fro Spring Spa, so I just had to try it before I left.
I had a sushi bowl with a coconut milk latte. Righting the previous night’s wrongs, you know.
It was the perfect way to end my stay in Seminyak. I’m not sure if I’d go back, when I return to Bali. (It is just a matter of time!) I think once was enough, it is the kind of place that really could be anywhere beachside. I did appreciate the break between my more authentic Balinese experiences, but two days was enough. And what a two days it was!