Welcome to Bali
My husband and I finally made it to Bali for our honeymoon! After two years of planning, canceling, rescheduling, and navigating COVID restrictions..we finally got into Indonesia. I won't go into a lot of detail about the process of requirements; but the process was very streamlined and easy.
Our flight to Bali was long. We left on a Friday at 4pm for Chicago. In Chicago, we underestimated the time we had and ended up almost missing our flight to DOHA (Dubai). This flight was 13 hours. We slept a lot and ate breakfast on the plane. All the plane food is actually pretty good but very small portion sizes. When we arrived in DOHA, we had 8 hours to kill. So we headed for their wellness center and this helped us move! I got a nice workout in and a 30 minute massage. After the workout, we spent time in the business class suites where they had a buffet of dinner food. We both ate mostly protein options here. We caught the next flight around 2 am for Bali. This flight was 9 hours but we had worn ourselves out, so we slept and watched movies. We arrived in Bali around 5 pm on Sunday night. Finally!
I highly recommend flying business class when your trip is this far. We flew through QATAR airlines and the plane experience was exceptional. Mike and I had separate "pods" that had TV's, tables, clothes to change in to, reclined seats, and little compartments.
QATAR AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS: EGG TOSTADA, CHAMPAGNE, AND TAKE-OFF
Our driver and tour guide, West, picked us up from the airport and transported us to the Legian. In terms of needing a driver or tour guide for the trip... this is a personal preference. Although we loved West and his company, there were things we wish we could have planned on our own. There are also excursions you absolutely cannot do on your own. My best advice is to get to Bali first, then plan around what your hotel recommends. We planned in advance and got stuck a few times spending too much time with our tour guide.
Seminyak is a beach town on the southeast side of Bali. Since this was my first time in Bali and first town we explored, I wasn't sure if all of Bali was the same. Here are some takeaways of what to expect when staying in Seminyak:
Seminyak has a handful of very nice resort-style hotels all along the beach. If you're wanting a westernized experience, Seminyak is a great place to vacation in Bali.
There is a ton of shopping in Seminyak! I loved the cute boutiques and small shops everywhere. Everything I purchased would have been twice as much money in the U.S.
Plan to go to spas! We went to both types of spas; very upscale and chic, but also hut-style budget massages. Both experiences were exceptional. The Balinese people have been massaging for years and you can tell they know what they're doing.
The traffic is terrible in Seminyak. Absolutely terrible. If your Google maps says it will take 15 minutes to drive, plan on 30 minutes. There are really no traffic lights or true laws to the road so you could easily get stuck in a jam.
Do not plan to walk anywhere. Bali doesn't really have street signs, so following your maps doesn't quite work. It will tell you to turn when there are no roads to turn down. It actually caused a lot of stress for us the first two days until we decided to give up on walking and taxi everywhere.
Scooters are the main source of transportation. We were a bit nervous to operate one ourselves so we opted to taxi.
The best taxi is BlueBird. They have an app which makes it easy to pay and schedule. There are no Ubers.
Seminyak is also full of amazing restaurants! I really enjoyed going to the vegan cafes and beautiful dinner spots. Be sure to do your research or read my recommendations below.
There are a lot of Beach Clubs in Seminyak/Caggnu specifically. We loved our experience at Finn's Beach Club.
Wild dogs are everywhere. Although they seem nice, do not approach any of them. You have to turn your "dog lover senses" off for this area.. they will give you rabies if you get bit. It's pretty sad.
All Balinese families have a chicken or a cock so be prepared to wake up at the crack of dawn!
We stayed in the Legian Hotel which was an absolute 5-star experience. Our space was huge. We stayed in a one-bedroom deluxe suite. This included ocean views, a kitchenette, dining area, living room, king-sized bedroom, huge bathroom with two sinks and a tub, as well as a half bathroom. We were absolutely spoiled staying 5 nights here! It is located right in the heart of Seminyak so most of our taxi rides were short in mileage.
TOUR OF OUR ROOM: LEGIAN SEMINYAK
The hotel had great amenities including a beautiful fitness center that had weights, cardio machines, stretching tools, and cable machines. It was top-notch. There was also a cold plunge, sauna, steam room and hot tub in the spa. I had the best facial I've ever had at this spa; it included lymphatic drainage and a mud mad mask.
They provided daily yoga and spinning classes. I participated in a 75 minute Hatha yoga class. This class was done outside and ended with fresh fruit and juices.
YOGA AT THE LEGIAN
The hotel had three restaurants. The main restaurant served breakfast and dinner. Breakfast was included in your stay. They had a pool bar which offered light bites, daily tea time, and lunch food. The champagne bar was also available for appetizers and drinks until late in the evening. The food at the main restaurant was outstanding. During our stay we ate in our hotel for both breakfast and dinner. The food was delicious.
DINNER AT THE LEGIAN: CHICKEN AND PURED CARROTS
The laundry service was easily the best we had on the island. They returned your clothes day-of, so you were able to wear freshly pressed outfits.
Lastly, the pool and ocean were footsteps away. We spent days lounging poolside; the pools layered and dropped off "infinity style". Some pools were deeper than others which kept the kids in one area. The ocean wasn't far and every seat had incredible views.
THE LEGIAN POOL AND OCEANSIDE
Things To Do
Seminyak has tons of shops all over. We found ourselves exploring a different boutique or vintage shop almost daily! For women's fashion, there are many stores catering to cute crop tops and skirts, bathing suits, and lovely dresses. Men's fashion had more surf style options such as brands like Rip Tide, Billabong and Hurley. Compared to USD currency, the fashion here is way more affordable for the same brands. It's also worth noting the spas will sell essential oils and high end hair products for a reduced rate too. I purchased Oloplex products for about 20$ a bottle (shampoo, conditioner, No. 3, No. 6....).
Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot Temple is about an hour drive from Seminyak. This temple was built in the 1500's when a Balinese priest requested a temple to be built on a patch of land in the Indian Ocean. During high tide, it's not possible to get to by foot. But, during low tide you're able to reach the temple and see its' beauty. Many Hindu's still go and give offerings and pray at the temple. The temple is also infested with holy snakes that apparently don't bite; however, they still have fangs way in the back of their mouth. Another cool part of Tanah Lot is the holy water perched at the front of the temple. This water is fresh water, despite being submersed in the Indian Ocean. It's a true mystery as to how this can happen!
TANAH LOT TEMPLE: HOLY WATER; TANAH LOT SNAKE; MIKE AND I IN FRONT OF THE TEMPLE
Go to a Beach Club
For my 28th (golden) birthday, we went to Finn's Beach Club and had the best time. I can't speak for all the beach clubs around this region, but there are a lot of them! I chose Finn's over the others because of the variety of "beds" they had along with the food options. A few others on my list were Potato Head Beach Club and Ku De Ta.
Finn's beach club was incredible. We arrived at this huge resort-style complex and were taken to the outdoor club to our day bed. We signed up for a VIP Superior Bed and somehow landed the best spot. We were perched right against the VIP pool (separate from the main pool) and the ocean! A server catered to our every need the entire afternoon. He Brought margaritas, mimosas, tons of food, and even cleaned our sunglasses. The service was exceptional. I have so many good things to say about our Finn's Beach Club experience.
USE ARROW TO SCROLL THROUGH PHOTOS: FINN'S BEACH CLUB
Get a massage
When in Bali... get a massage! Or should I say, get massage"s"! There are so many great spas throughout Seminyak that once we understood the currency difference, the rest was history. We got massages daily; weather it was on the side street shack or a beautiful resort experience. Each massage was between 5-50$ USD depending on where you got them. High end spas were still much cheaper than an average experience in the United States. Take advantage of their holistic practices; you will not be disappointed!
Relax on the beach
There are many beaches in Seminyak. I had a goal to spend time at six different beaches; but to be honest, our beach behind The Legian was perfect. There was no reason to leave. The Indian Ocean was extremely warm and calm while we were there; however, I heard that surfers also accumulate to this side of the island. None the less, it was extremely peaceful to spend almost every afternoon listening to the ocean waves.
Spas & Wellness
Body works is a Moroccan- themed spa that will blow your mind! The beautiful jewel toned colors and outstanding achitectural design makes you feel zen as soon as you step through the door. You will not want to miss out on their magnesium massages. The 80 minute session included magnesium salts in which they rubbed over muscles that seemed overly tight. We loved every second here! I recommend booking in advance as they are the most popular spa in the area.
I must bring up our hotel's facial experience. The last day, we decided to get spa services done at our hotel before dinner. I signed up for the 60 minute lymphatic facial. I have never had a better facial before in my life! She applied lymphatic drainage technqiues to contour my face along with applying a mud-mask to detoxify any impurities. Normally after massages, my face doesn't look good as it's shiny and red from the work. After this massage, my face was absolutely glowing. I didn't want to wear makeup that evening because of how pure my skin looked and felt.
FACIAL AT THE LEGIAN
The Sundari Spa was a last-minute idea of my husbands. Hey, anytime Mike wants to book massages.. I won't turn that down! I think he just liked the idea of getting massages every day. Who wouldn't? Well, Sundari Spa exceeded my expectations. It was a beautifully designed spa that gave incredible deep tissue massages. And when I say deep tissue... I was very sore the next day. We had signed up for the sports therapy massage. When we arrived, we each chose an essential oil blend with a specific need. I chose the detoxify blend as it claimed to aid with digestion and cleanse impurities. I loved the smell of it, so I ended up purchasing more before we left. The massages were fabulous, but intense. I didn't sleep through this one!
Kynd cafe was easily the best vegan cafe of the entire trip. We went to many cute, plant based spots. This one blew us out of the water. I ordered there breakfast plate with vegan eggs, eggplant bacon, pumpkin hummus and sprouted toast. The matcha latte was incredible. Mike and I also split the vegan pancakes, which simply looked and tasted like dessert. Mike loved this cafe so much that he even bought the cook book!
Health Check: See something fun on the menu that may not be as "healthy" as you'd like? Split it with the table! My husband and I do this almost every time we see fun pancakes. I would never trust myself to order and only eat half; but if I'm splitting it.. I end up only taking a few bites and then focusing on my own food.
KYND CAFE: MY VEGAN BREAKFAST AND VEGAN PANCAKES
The second best health cafe of the trip! Located in the heart of Seminyak, Neon Palms is very easy to get to and you won't want to miss it. This is the only time I've ever seen a menu have a "breakfast salad", something I make a lot at my house! This salad had over easy eggs, smoked salmon, tons of vegetables and seeds. It was delicious!
Health Check: Breakfast doesn't have to require carbs. Many times, we look for toast, oatmeal, potatoes.. something hearty. Breakfast salads are a wonderful option to provide protein and healthy fats, fiber and greens. Once you try it, you will fall in love with it and realize you don't need as many carbohydrates as your brain thinks you do!
NEON PALMS (CLICK TO VIEW PHOTOS)
Lastly, we ate at Sisterfield's; the Australian hangout of Seminyak! I loved this cafe because it reminded me of a cafe in Michigan; plants grew up the walls and the menu was full of plant-forward bites!
Health Check: Ordering a balanced breakfast such as this requires protein, fat, fiber, and micronutrients. On this plate, I have eggs (protein), fat (yolk & bacon), fiber (sprouted toast), and greens.
Barbacoa is a Latin American restaurant with an extensive meat and vegetable focused menu. We fell in love with the architecture design of the restaurant. We also got to try organic wine for the first time and it did not disappoint! This restaurant was very accommodating to special diet requests and made sure to modify menu items by leaving off garlic and onion.
Health Check: While at a Latin American restaurant, I am certainly set up for lots of protein options! I ordered the chicken dish as the ingredients were simple and not heavy. As a side, Mike and I shared the carrots and tuna tartare. If you're eating a cuisine that is out of your comfort zone, opt for the most simple meals and your gut will thank you later!
I was so excited to try Da Maria! I had read rave reviews about their pizza. The pizza is wood-fired with fun toppings and sauces. They were a bit larger than a single serving size; meaning you must order more than one if you're splitting! I ordered a pizza that had almost no cheese on it, but was full of flavor. Mike ordered a classic margarita pizza.
Health Check: Prepare for carb-heavy meals! I was so excited about eating an entire pizza by myself that I knew this day would have to be pretty clean before dinner time. I pre-planned eating a light salad with lots of protein for brunch. Protein kept me satiated all afternoon. I didn't have any processed carbs or dairy so that I was able to indulge in this at Da Maria. This is a perfect example of the 80/20 rule.
We went to Seasalt on my birthday for dinner and a view. Seasalt is located inside the Alila hotel; another boutique high end spot. Seasalt is known for their seafood and the restaurant faces the ocean. I ordered the snapper (fillet'd) and a side salad. While the food was good, the service was extremely slow.
Health Check: You don't have to drink at every occasion. I say this because while dining at Seasalt... we were exhausted. We had spent all day outside at a beach club, eating and drinking and being merry. By the time dinner rolled around, neither Mike nor I wanted to have wine. Even though it was my birthday, I felt better drinking water and having a light meal than forcing alcohol.
This was one of my favorite dining experiences! La Plancha is actually located on the ocean. In fact, the taxi's drop you off about a quarter of a mile away from the restaurant because cars can't reach it! We sat on bean bags taking in the beautiful sunset. The drinks are fun and food was good. Service is strange; every waiter is "for themselves" so you must hail someone down to order food and drink.
Health Check: Your meal doesn't need to be the most complex, extravagant thing on the menu. I wanted a clean salad, so I got a very simple greens salad with sea bass (barmundi?). Don't feel pressure to order the hamburger or pizza because those around you are. Remember your health goals and what will make you feel your best.
Bali Fitness was a treat to work out in! They had one main floor with strength and cardio machines. The top floor was dedicated to fitness classes. The gym specializes in Les Mills fitness classes. Although we didn't attend a class, we enjoyed using the fitness floor!
The Bar was very similar to Bali Fitness. The Bar had no cardio machines but purely focused on strength. One very cool perk to coming to the Bar is that they offer trainers to anyone that has a membership or comes in to workout. I also noticed each client working out at the Bar was following some sort of program or specific workout. The fit bodies were very inspiring!
I absolutely loved joining a strength and conditioning class at Fortitude. This gym is located in Caggnu, about a 25 minute drive from where we were staying. The interior was adorable and the gym was a cross-fit style set up. The strength and conditioning class was awesome; we started with primers and warm-ups, then went straight to the benches for a tutorial and bench press workout. The instructor gave great ques and modifications. We ended with a HIIT workout that was a 16 minute cardio push. I really enjoyed the community here as I made some friends while working out.
Health Check: Try a group fitness class! While on vacation, it is so fun to change up your routine and submerse yourself in the culture. At Fortitude, I walked in, didn't know anyone, and got to sweat and move with people all over the world. I met a fabulous couple from Ukraine and shared a bench with Australians. It's so fun being a part of a community that values fitness while on the road!
FORTITUDE BALI: STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING CLASS
Yoga 108 was a bit hidden in terms of location (located on a rooftop of a random building). Once you find the studio, the ambiance feels like you walked into a yoga tree house! It was an open-air roof top with a beautiful painting on the wall. They had props and mats available for free. The instructor was adorable ; she reminded me of a typically Bali yogi. She created beautiful vinyasa flows that had us moving for 75 minutes. She provided opportunities to take breaks but still pushed us to move more and try some funky transitions. I really loved this class and I would go back in a heartbeat.
Health Check: Yoga on vacation is a must for myself and my clients who travel. From sitting for long travel time to moving/walking a lot while exploring, yoga can help stretch out tight muscles and realign your body. I love working into my hips and lengthening my spine in an awesome hatha based yoga class on vacation.
See You Next Time, Seminyak!
If you're reading this to plan a trip to Bali or you simply want to read through tips on healthy travel, I hope you found this helpful! Seminyak is a wonderful place to visit in Bali. Because of its' location, you can easily get to Caggnu or Legian within 30 minutes.
I would deem our time in Seminyak as relaxing, healing, rejuvenating, wellness-focused, restful, and healthy.
While reading through my upcoming Travel guide to Ubud and Nusa Lembongan, you will noticed entirely different focuses and descriptions. Happy Travels!