My guide to Bali – part 1
First, a word of warning.
I knew before travelling that I’d like the place, what I didn’t know was that instantly at arrival, Bali and all of its glory would punch me in the face and give me a warm embrace. It’s rough, it’s honest and it’s every bit of magic that you could imagine. Signed, sealed – you’re sold, better rip up that return ticket while you’re at it. Don’t tell me I haven’t warned you, you’re in it for life.
We’ve been to Seminyak, Ubud and Gili Air, and after going through my (long) list of things I want to share, I realised I had to split the guide into two parts, covering Seminyak in part one.
Pictured: 1. Poolside. 2. The Boat Shed clothing shops in Seminyak. 3. Felix outside of Café Organic. 4. Felix and me eating a MadPop ice-cream on our way to Potato Head.
Things I wish I knew before travelling to Seminyak:
There’s (apparently) just one big supermarket in Seminyak; Bintang – get there by taxi. You can get many things at the small kiosks (mini mart & alfa mart) as well, stash up on water. Cash is king but the ATMs are quite tricky, be safe and bring an extra card just in case the machine eats your VISA card for dinner. If you have kids in diapers; stash up on swimming diapers – you can’t buy them in Bali (we learned the hard way). Bring a flashlight (the kids love it and you’ll need it later in Ubud).
The beach is sometimes a bit hard to get to in Seminyak. Where we stayed, the only access point was through Potato Head. Be careful with the small kids, the waves can easily sneak up on you and turn out to be bigger than first expected.
Pictured: Dad in a Baywatch running mode after misjudging the size of a wave.
How to get around:
Get a taxi (make sure it’s Bluebird and not the copy companies – all the cars are blue so double-check – Bluebird have the best rates and go by meter). There’s no car seat for children so be prepared to have your kids in the lap. If you have bigger kids or travel without kids, you might be better of with a scooter (The yellow liquid in the Absolute vodka bottles by the road is gas for sale) just remember that they drive in the left side. You can also get a private driver for the day – totally worth it if you want to go on a day trip, just make sure the driver stays on your arranged schedule (they can sometime stop at touristy places just “to be nice and drive you somewhere else first, because you really want to see the wildcats poop coffee, don’t you?!” – I didn’t.)
There aren’t really any real sidewalks so sometimes you’ll just walk on the road, if you’re like me – way too stubborn to get a taxi to drive 100 meters. With that said – don’t bring a stroller. Wear or walk your kids – it’s a great workout (…or just get a cab).
Pictured: Me carrying Felix up and down 250 mountain stairs in Uluwatu. Red face cropped out.
Where we stayed:
To be honest, it wasn’t my head, heart or wallet that booked the accommodations – it was my tummy. In Seminyak we found that most of our “must eats” were close to or in the Petitenget area so we booked ourselves into Tony’s Villas – not the fanciest but it suited our needs just fine. Plus – it’s just around the corner to Potato Head, AMO spa, Saigon Street and Café Organic.
Pictured: Felix in the kiddy pool at Tony’s Villas.
Where we ate:
So basically we ate our way through Bali. There were so many good places that we wanted to visit and we didn’t even get to go to all of them. When we first tried a place, we were hooked and had to come back. Both the local foods and the more modern restaurants are really THAT good. Food in Bali can be just as cheap or expensive as you wish, however we generally paid around $1,5 – $8 (10 – 50 DKK) per dish, so we didn’t hold back. Bare in mind, you can go even lower if you eat more at local warungs. It’s totally legit to have two dinners in one day. The restaurants also have excellent breakfast on the menus but remember that breakfast is often (always) included in your reservation – also in the Airbnb ones.
Also a word of advice, alcohol can be pretty expensive (those coconut/carved out pineapple drinks sure are yummy). Local “Bintang” beer is great though and won’t make a dent in your wallet.
If I were you, I’d go to:
Café Organic @cafeorganicbali
Order the entire menu. Everything is good, colourful and healthy. The place fills up fast so there might be a little waiting time in the morning. They also sell Madpops ice-cream here (@madpopsbali).
Motel Mexicola @motelmexicola
Our all time favourite. We danced, ate and drank our way through Mexico – the staff is so nice and they all loved to dance around with Felix (he’s a crowdpleaser and a great salsa dancer).
The place is a bit hidden but it’s located on top of a Nalu Bowl place (that also is worth a visit @nalubowls). See pictured below the best falafel I’ve ever had plus me and Felix sharing some beet juice.
The place to go if you want to step out of the Starbucks-box.
Saigon Street @saigonstreetbali
Located right next to our hotel was this colourful vietnamese gem.
Yes. Yes. And yes. Just go there and pray there’s a seat for you.
Boss Man @bossmanbali
When you can’t get a table at Sisterfields, go next door to her brother, Boss Man. Get the veggie burger and thank me later.
Located on the private road down to Potato Head. It’s raw, it’s vegan, it’s organic – what more do you need?
Pictured: 1. Felix and me at Shelter Café. 2. Felix outside of Sea Circus restaurant. 3. Food at Sea Cirkus. 4. Food at Shelter.
Pictured: 1. Felix and dad at Boss Man restaurant. 2. Veggie burger at Boss Man. 3. Mexicola restaurant. 4. Felix at Mexicola.
What to buy:
Seminyak is where you get your aussie-brands. All the kimonos, bikinis, flowy dresses and mini shorts you’ve ever dreamed about (and that’s useless in Scandinavia, but who cares – you’re tanned, healthy and on vacation – you need those kaftans to keep the dream alive when you get home). Just follow the main road (Jl. Kayu Aya) and the shops line up one after another. For my boys, I’d visit Zuttion.
What about interior? There’s just one stop for me in Seminyak, but it’s a good one – Kim Soo (@kimsoohome). Book that container already, you’ll start filling it here and top it off when you get to Ubud. They also have a café now – shopping makes you thirsty.
Places I want to check out next time we’re in Seminyak:
La Favela @lafavelabali