Bali, Indonesia, famously known as a mecca of peace, tranquility, and serenity, also has plenty more to offer those seeking a blend of calm and action. Over the last 15 years, South Bali has transitioned from being an insouciant surf haven to now doubling as the epicenter of all things chic and affluent. Although there are still a number of places to find the undisturbed and low key scene one may seek, South Bali has become the place to be for nightlife, fashion, style, and luxury.
If you are only planning to spend a short time along the southeast coast of Bali before heading inland to places like Ubud, here is a rundown of of things you can do and places you can see within 24 hours:
Where to Stay:
Seminyak, Bali. This is one of the main areas to the south that is growing at a very rapid pace, attracting both expats and tourists to the region. With a bar, restaurant, or hotel being built on nearly every corner, this is the new place to be seen. There are an array of modern and grandiose hotels and resorts to choose from. If you look hard enough, you can find great deals, considering the exchange rate of Indonesian Rupiah to the USD (currently around 12,500:1) and the time of year you visit.
Great accommodation options include:
- M hostel – a new high end hostel
- The Villas Seminyak
- W Retreat & Spa Bali
- Amanusa – high end luxe for those on a splurge
…and L Hotel Seminyak, one of the best hotels in the area.
Small, swanky and ornately designed, L Hotel Seminyak is located less than 30 mins from the Densapar Ngurah Rai International Airport. Despite its size, the hotel offers well appointed suites, including amenities such as free travel size Kiehl’s products and 24 hour butler service. As service is top notch, hotel staff will gladly help with arranging a private driver to take you around for the day, similar to the itinerary outlined below.
After checking in and settling into your new temporary digs in Seminyak, it is time to get out on the street to get your bearings and first glimpse of this burgeoning area. There are a number of places you can walk to in Seminyak. Many of the most popular restaurants and resorts are within a close proximity of one another.
Check out Potato Head Beach Club. Less than a 15 minute walk from L hotel and a few boutique shops along the way, this trendy beachfront hotspot is a great spot to relax, have a delicious meal, sip a few cocktails, people watch, and jam in your seat to the ambient tunes being spun by the resident DJ. Try their eggplant and fresh mozzarella salad with the creme brûlée for dessert. Delicioso!
If you are looking for a fancy traditional Balinese meal or a more relaxed dinner, there are plenty of choices along Jalan Petitenget street as well.
Be sure to get some semblance of rest, for you will have a busy, fun filled day to come.
If you love the ocean and enjoy surfing some waves, head down to Kuta Beach (about a 15 minute journey) for a morning hang ten or gazing session. You will find a number of beginners and intermediates as the waves here are suitable for this bunch.
Another alternative is to take your time as you fully wake up and enjoy a relaxing breakfast on the rooftop of your hotel, soaking in the morning Balinese glow.
Have a driver pick you up and head over to Garuda Wisnu Kencana. Also known quite simply as GWK, this cultural park is a great place to begin your day. You’ll likely have a chance to see one of the many musically inspired shows in the outdoor amphitheater. The large statute atop the park is a must see and you can get a nice peek of the town and coastline below. The park can easily be done within an hour without feeling like you missed anything.
Head over to the well known Padong Padong beach just under 20 minutes away from GWK. This is a small, but very popular beach along the southeast coast to witness surfer culture at its best. There are plenty of surfboard rental shops, and you can enjoy perusing the numerous local vendors offering colorful souvenirs along the road adjacent to the beach. There are also places on and around the beach to grab a light lunch. Since this beach is on the smaller side and attracts a lot of tourists, you may have to share more of the beach than you’d like depending on the day.
On your way towards Uluwatu, make a quick stop by Blue Mountain beach. Grab a snack, appetizer, or a cocktail at Single Fin. This is the perfect place to take another load off and enjoy the spectacular views. Highly recommended!
Take the 30 minute drive from Single Fin towards Uluwatu temple. If not dressed conservatively, upon arrival you can pay a small fee to borrow a sarong covering to enter this place of worship. Enjoy a traditional Balinese dance show and soak in the array of people, culture, and natural beauty at what is easily considered one of the best places to see the sunset in all of Bali. The breathtaking views draw awe from every first time visitor.
As you begin your journey back north to Seminyak, make Jimbaran Bay your last stop of the day. If you like seafood, this is where you want to be. The beach is lined with a myriad of seafood restaurants, serving as a great place to enjoy a candlelit dinner on the sand as you watch the planes take off into the dark skies. Unfortunately, the cleanliness of the beach can be hit or miss depending on the time of day and season. This has been a heavily treaded area for years given its location and close proximity to the airport. Otherwise, head back to the North Kuta area or Seminyak Square for many other dining choices suitable for the end of your night.
Bali has proven to be worth the hype and is truly a special place. This is the type of place where the vibe over takes you and you can’t help but feel a certain aura once you touchdown. Whether you follow any of these suggestions or not, enjoy your visit. We’d love to hear about your amazing trip to the Island of Gods.