Asia

The Ultimate First Timer’s Guide To Seminyak

By Ranyhyn Laine
30th Sep 2019

things to do seminyak bali

The bustling, tourist-central regions of Bali get a pretty bad rap sometimes, but away from Denpasar’s madness, Kuta’s party scene and Nusa Dua’s gated resorts, this island paradise is hiding some seriously incredible places to eat, drink and shop. And the destination where you’ll find a never-ending array of jaw-dropping cafes, restaurants and bars in one easily explored location? Seminyak, a foodie’s paradise that also happens to be just a cab ride away from the airport. 

Sure, for some it might just be a pitstop on the way to the rice paddies and yoga retreats of Ubud or the crystal clear waters of the Gili Islands, but trust us when we say you’re going to want to stay a while. After all, you can only eat and drink so much in a day, and with a list this long, it’s going to take more than a few days to hit them all—and we’ve only just scratched the surface. 

Where To Stay 

W Bali - Seminyak

It might be right in the heart of Seminyak, but once you turn down W Bali - Seminyak's tree tunnel entrance and head away from the bustling main street, you’ll feel like you’re a world away. Whether you opt for an ocean facing suite or a luxe private villa (with its own pool), you can take full advantage of the resort’s facilities whenever you need a break from the crowds, including the beach side Woo Bar, iconic seafood restaurant Starfish Bloo, infinity pool, gym, Away Spa, yoga classes and more. 

Katamama

Interior design connoisseurs will be wowed by Katamama—designed and built by local artisans, the hotel is the epitome of understated luxury, and somehow manages to give off island vibes without a kitsch note to be found anywhere. Plus, as sister hotel to Potato Head Beach Club, you don’t have to go far to find a good poolside cocktail. If you're looking for one of the best places to stay in Bali, this is it.

The Leggian 

Another luxury resort in the heart of Seminyak, The Legian is completely worth splashing out on. Their two-tiered pool overlooks Seminyak beach and there's also yoga lessons, a day spa, steam room, library, free bike hire, and just about anything you could imagine for an unforgettable stay. 

Where To Eat & Drink

Cafes

Sisterfields

Looking for all the world like a cafe you’d find in Byron Bay, Sisterfields is the iconic Seminyak breakfast destination, and for good reason. Serving up an all-day brunch menu that lists the likes of potato manchego cakes, strawberry and white chocolate cream topped pancakes and chocolate brioche French toast, it will leave you wanting more—especially if you sneak in a cheeky early morning cocktail. 

Revolver Espresso 

Hip, edgy and decked out in a variety of decor, from the vintage country bar vibes in the main dining room to the pink floral wallpaper adorned courtyard outside, Revolver isn’t just a good brunch spot, it’s also where you’ll find some of the best coffee town. The pulled beef brisket and poached eggs on sourdough is worth writing home about, but they also dish up a mean dinner menu if you want to double up on visits. 

Cafe Organic

Giving off serious boho vibes thanks to plenty of wicker furniture, minimalist decor and a palm-covered outdoor patio, Cafe Organic is where you’ll find stacks of acai bowls filled with all the superfoods you need to cure any beach bar-induced hangover. As the name suggests, the menu is completely organic, with vegan, gluten-free and raw options also available. 

Neon Palms 

Whatever the name ‘Neon Palms’ conjures in your mind is probably pretty close to what you’ll find at this rooftop spot. A bright pink entrance marks the way to colourful, garden bar-like space upstairs, where breakfast morphs into afternoon tapas and kicks on with cocktails into the early hours. Get the fluffy banana pancakes with marshmallow pouring sauce, you won’t regret it. Put this one to the top of your must eat Seminyak list stat!

Kynd Community 

Yet another pastel cafe that you’ll want to Instagram on the spot, Kynd Community gets our vote for its delish housemade, plant-based mylks—and their pink chai lattes, immunity boosting elixirs, adorable smoothie bowls, gourmet toasties, waffles…oh just all of it, let’s be honest. You try dining in their umbrella-adorned courtyard without wanting to move right in, we dare you.

Restaurants

Bikini 

Judging by the endless bathroom selfies you’ll find on their Instagram, you could be forgiven for thinking Bikini is all about looks—but you’d be wrong. Their ethos of ‘serious food, but not taken too seriously’ has resulted in a menu of playful but incredible dishes like chicken liver parfait doughnuts and beef rendang tartare, but the best way to experience the menu is to take a seat in the industrial-style dining room and let the chefs order for you.

Mama San

Ask anyone who’s been to Seminyak and they’ll tell you—you MUST go to Mama San. An eclectic, South East Asian inspired dining spot, here you’ll feast on everything from ceviche nachos and peking duck steamed buns to stir-fried salted pork belly and soft shell crab pad Thai, all while lounging on vintage leather chesterfields and sipping classic cocktails.

Bossman

When you’ve had enough of fine dining and just want to tuck into a good burger, Bossman is your best bet. A badass burger joint from the crew behind Sisterfields, the short but sweet list of beefy stacks includes a fried chicken number, classic cheeseburger and an Indian style vegetarian option for the non-meat eater out there. Oh, and you’ll want a side of cheese topped fries, too. 

Sea Circus

Look, it’s neither a circus nor is it on the sea—but Sea Circus does plate up some of the tastiest tacos in Seminyak in a vibrant, mural covered space. Like most joints here, they don’t take themselves very seriously, so no one will bat an eye when you combine a kale, chickpea and red quinoa loaded nourish bowl with a frozen strawberry margarita at midday. You do you, friend. 

Starfish Bloo 

We mentioned it earlier, but W Bali’s famed seafood restaurant, Starfish Bloo, is worth listing twice. A beach front restaurant (you can literally step on to the sand from the dining area), the pan-Asian spot dishes up fresh local seafood and regionally-inspired eats, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention their Friday night Seafood Market dinners, where live food stations take over the restaurant floor. 

Bars

Motel Mexicola 

You’ll have to squeeze past the preening influencers out the front to get into this hedonic restaurant and bar, but can you blame them for wanting to ramp up their ‘gram game? The tacos are great, the tequila cocktails unbelievable, but really, it’s the colourful Mexican decor that everyone hits Motel Mexicola for—not to mention the debauched dance parties. 

Tropicola

Beachside pool bars are the staple of Seminyak’s nightlife scene, and Tropicola is one of the most iconic. Striped blue day beds under sunshine yellow umbrellas are the perfect spot to knock back jugs of sangria and ice cold beers, with the inviting pool right in front of you whenever you need to cool off. This spot is absolutely one of the best bars in Seminyak. 

Mrs Sippy 

A Mediterranean oasis in the middle of Bali, Mrs Sippy’s main draw card is its huge salt water pool, which you’ll find surrounded by double bed-sized lounges and white umbrellas. The restaurant offers up plenty of good booze food, but really, everyone’s here for the cocktails—watermelon mules, black forest mai tais and fruity frosés are just the beginning. 

La Favela 

Looking for all the world like a forgotten building in the middle of a rainforest, La Favela is a gorgeous, greenery covered restaurant and bar that only gets better as the night goes on. Find yourself an intimate corner and start sipping your way through the drinks list—just try not to get lost in the jungle after one too many brews. 

Potato Head Beach Club  

For a taste of how the other half live, Potato Head Beach Club is worth the splurge. Take a dip in the beachfront pool or kick back and relax on the lavish day beads. With two levels of restaurants and bars to choose from, including Kaum’s authentic Indonesian feeds, Potato Head finds the perfect balance between beach club and sophisticated dining precinct. Plus, the views from their infinity pool at sunset are second to none.

Where To Shop

The Bali Boatshed 

Located right in the centre of Seminyak, The Bali Boatshed is your one stop shop for every outfit you forgot to pack—sleek swimwear, fun shirts for when you hit the beach clubs or just a relaxed sundress for the beach. They won’t break the bank either; as well as their own in-house label, the Bali-based brand stocks over 50 independent Bali designers.  

Lost In Paradise 

For an outfit that will take you from brunch to surf to party, Lost In Paradise should be your go to. The edgy island brand is all about freedom in the tropics. Here you’ll find floaty kaftans, edgy tees and tropical shorts hanging from their hangers, all for a damn decent price. 

Kim Soo 

You might not be able to fit much of it in your suitcase to take home, but Kim Soo’s beautiful homewares will make you want to redesign your entire bedroom. Stocking a mix of handcrafted and vintage pieces from across Indonesia, Kim Soo works with artisans across the island to source sophisticated, bohemian furniture and homewares. 

Things To Do

The Cottage Beauty House 

What’s a holiday without a pamper session? Stop by the luxe Cottage Beauty House for a facial, a relaxing mani pedi or just to hang out in their dreamy abode. They can also help you out with a tan, eyelash extensions or a wax, so just consider them your one stop beauty shop. 

Hit the Surf 

Gaps between eating and drinking in Seminyak are best spent lazing by the pool, on the pool or in the pool, cocktail preferably in hand, but if you’ve got the energy, Bali Green Surf School will teach you how to master the waves on Seminyak beach. They even offer full day surf trips to other island hot spots, if you can drag yourself away from the bars for that long. 

Yoga Class 

As the spiritual home of Eat, Pray, Love, yoga is almost as prolific in Bali as its warungs and, depending on where you’re staying, you might be able to join a yoga class without having to leave your accommodation—like W Bali’s outdoor yoga every Saturday morning. If not, there are plenty of world class studios to choose from, including Yoga 108 and the Seminyak Yoga Shala, so you won’t have to travel far to salute the sun. 

Once you’ve had your fill, here’s four neighbourhoods to check out outside of Seminyak. 

Image credit: W Bali, Sisterfields, Bikini, Motel Mexicola, The Cottage Beauty House, Mrs Sippy, Neon Palms, Mama San

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