The best thing about this blog is that it’s the sole reason I’ve met so many incredible people around the globe — especially other travel bloggers. Last year, I met Hannah from Eat Sleep Breathe Travel in Bangkok and caught wind that she’d be visiting Indonesia the same time I was.
We had to have a reunion.
Hannah booked a three night stay at Villa Lisa, an incredible luxury villa located on one of the alleys of Seminyak, Bali and invited me and Robyn from Robyn Around the Globe to join her.
I arrived there first with my surfboard, backpack, and what felt like was a hundred pounds worth of camera gear.
When the groundskeeper let me in, I wondered if I’d showed up to the right place. I looked at my grubby backpack. Something told me that this villa usually had suitcases filled with upscale clothing rolling through its door rather than a Deuter filled with hand-me-downs.
“Guys. This place is unreal,” I sent to the group text thread. “Hurry up and get here.”
Visiting Seminyak, Bali
Seminyak is the city in Bali known for being trendy, touristy, and developed but not to the point that neighboring Kuta is. Just a few minutes away from the airport, it’s perfect for a few day stop for adventure travelers before heading off to a more remote destination. The only downside to Seminyak is that it is a bit overdeveloped – bikini boutiques and Western style cafes have replaced Balinese art shops and locally owned warungs.
Though despite the gentrification, Seminyak has managed to cling to its local identity.
What to do in Seminyak
Beginners and intermediates will love the friendly beach breaks that line the shores of Seminyak. There are many places to rent a foam board or lessons with an instructor. If you’re still wanting to learn how to surf in Bali, I’d venture to say that the beaches of Seminyak are probably as friendly as you’ll get on the island.
Even though the waves looked fun and playful, I saved my surf energy for other regions of the island (that you can read about in depth in my surf guide to Bali).
Visit Tanah Lot Temple at Sunset
Apparently we and every single tour bus within a hundred mile radius had the idea to visit Tannah Lot, one of Bali’s seven temples built to honor the gods of the sea.
As the sun went down, the surface of the sea turned into ember and a ribbon of bats flew from a nearby cave across the sky. We got away from the crowd of people holding selfie sticks — I feared that they’d slip on a moss covered rock and impale themselves. And while I’m all for throwing away the guidebooks and heading off on the road less traveled, this is definitely a Balinese hotspot worth seeing.
Visit the Coffee Plantation
Two years ago, I am sad to admit that I tried luwak coffee — a drink that is made from coffee cherries that are swallowed and defecated by a species of civet cat. Many people believe that kopi luwak tastes better than normal coffee because of how the digestive system processes the coffee beans. The civet cats that are used in making this coffee are mistreated, raised in small cages, poorly fed, and this industry is the leading cause for the wild population’s decline.
I highly suggest you boycott kopi luwak and instead use your money to support traditional coffee growers who offer incredible brews and teas without the cruelty. Sadly, the coffee plantation we stopped at was a macabre display of wild animals in small cages that I do not recommend.
Request that your driver take you to a plantation where luwak coffee is not offered.
Photobomb the W Hotel
The employees at the W Hotel might give you some strange looks as you leap across the bamboo archway leading up to the hotel, but go anyways.
Do it for the story.
Do it for the photos.
Have I ever recommended relaxing as a to-do activity on this blog? I never thought I’d see the day.
However, you can’t stay in a town so perfectly catered for lounging and not follow through with its main appeal. Hannah, Robyn, and I spent half of our time in Seminyak poolside enjoying an aquatic respite from the heat and humidity.
Where to eat in Seminyak
Made’s Warung: As soon as the imaginary dinner bell rings, everyone flocks to Made’s Warung that has nightly dance performances, affordable and delicious Indonesian food, and a casual outdoor environment. You could go here every night during your stay without getting bored.
Macheese Cafe: Western, but worth it for the over-the-top desserts. Offering mega milkshakes and cheese dishes, this will be one stop to get your creature comforts before heading somewhere more rural.
Warung Chiringuito: I follow the travel motto, “great views make for bad food,” pretty religiously but will concede that this is not the case at Breeze at the Warung Chiringuito, a funky beach restaurant just steps away from the ocean.
Where to stay in Seminyak
Luxury Stay: Villa Lisa
Obviously, if you have the budget, I highly recommend splashing out and booking the luxury villa of Villa Lisa. At max capacity, it ends up being much more affordable than most hotels or other villas. The location is quiet yet central, and offers what everyone wants when staying in Seminyak — a private pool and comfortable seating.
Budget Stay: Karisa Pods
My first few nights in Seminyak, I stayed at Karisa Pods in one of the dorm rooms. It was my first time checking into a pod style hotel and I loved it much more than the no-privacy bunk beds found at most hostels. The receptionist was friendly, attentive, and spent time outlining all of the major tourist areas.
The lounge area is nicely decorated and has a small pool.
My only complaint is that the locker inside of my pod was broken. Though the staff claimed they would fix it by the end of the first day, that never happened. So, I had to carry most of my important things with me during my time there because experience tells me not to trust fellow hostel mates.
Would I go back?
In January, I’ll be jetting back to Bali to meet my little sister. Since I am so obsessed with the adventure aspect of travel, I might give it a pass for Indonesia trip #3. However, if you’re into shopping, eating, the beach, and vacations that run at a mellow pace, then Seminyak is a must visit stop for you.
Thank you Hannah for inviting me to join you for your stay at Villa Lisa! This post contains affiliate links.