Padang-Padang beach was one of the first beaches I head right to in Bali. I read it somewhere that it is one of the secretive best beaches in Bali, though it turns out not that secretive anymore, it is still one of the best.
This beautiful beach is surrounded by big rocks and overgrown plants and monkeys. The beach is covered with huge rocks and small caves for exploration and when the tide is high, it is also good for swimming. Just beware of sharp corals and sea urchins.
If the crowd is not a problem, come here for the long sandy bays of golden sand. With all year consistent surf break, it is popular for surfers. Non-surfers come here to soak up the vibe and relax on the beach. Currents may be strong but swimming is possible with some care and sticking to the shallow waters.
Seminyak is Bali’s expat hub, home to a beautiful beach, quirky boutiques, delicious restaurants and the coolest nightlife in Bali. There are also a lot of things to do in Seminyak. Hundreds flock there to see and be seen, thanks to its Instagram-friendly charm, but there are secret spots for those who prefer to keep a low profile.
Seminyak is often dismissed as being a mere tourist attraction, with beachfront bars and Aussie-ran restaurants making it a far cry from the ‘real’ Bali. There’s actually a lot more to this vibrant city than meets the eye, with plenty of little local eateries tucked down side-streets, a great surf scene and a whole host of friendly locals who’ll let you hop on their moped for a guided tour of this Balinese gem.
What to Do
Bali is one of the most chilled out places in the world, but Seminyak can feel a bit hectic and busy at times. Head to one of their world-class spas to escape and unwind. Spa at The Samaya is the best of the bunch, with a huge range of relaxing, holistic treatments. Head to The Spa at The Amala for tropical vibes centred on healing elixirs, aqua-pilates and feel-good vibes.
Seminyak is home to some amazing little boutiques, stocking everything from hand-crafted jewelry to locally-made fabrics and clothes. Load up on delicious herbs and spices, as well as Balinese delicacies as you wander the streets. If you’re craving a bit of class, don’t worry – there are streets lined with popular brands, such as Gooseberry Intimates, as well as a Seminyak Village shopping mall that is home to international stores like Bamboo Blonde. There are always fun market stalls just outside the mall that offer dinky souvenirs and fun, bright jewelry and sarongs.
Seminyak has a few beaches, the best surfing one being Double Six beach. Head to surf school Bali here for surf lessons or rent a board and get stuck in. The waves depend on the season, so speak to a professional if you’re not 100% sure what you’re doing!
Did you even go to Bali if you didn’t get a yoga session in? Luckily, there are loads of places to practice, so get your kit on and get bendy. Jiwa Yoga is a calm oasis tucked in the centre of Seminyak, so is really easy to get to from most hotels and hostels. Seminyak Yoga Shala is another fantastic choice for those looking to wind down.
Some of Seminyak’s beaches aren’t great for swimming, sadly, so we’d suggest heading to world-famous Potato Head Beach Club if you fancy a dip. Get here early if you want to grab a sunbed or lounger as it gets very busy! It’s attached to the hotel so you can only imagine how many people flock poolside… There’s normally a DJ or live music later on in the evenings, but try and get down for sunset if you can – their infinity pool is lined with palm trees and gives you an amazing view of the sun setting into the ocean in front of you.
Get stuck in with the local culture and learn some life-skills at Nia Cooking Class! This is a wonderful place to meet new people and have fun getting experimental in the kitchen. Go with an empty stomach and an open mind… You’ll be taken a foodie’s tour of Seminyak (expect spice-filled markets) before enjoying a jam-packed cooking class.
Villas are particularly popular in Seminyak but besides that, there are a lot of options of places to stay here. Booking.com is a good place to plan your accommodation in Bali because most of the bookings can be cancelled right up to the trip, allowing flexibility. Here are a few of the best accommodations that we recommend to stay in Seminyak:
The Oberoi, Seminyak
For those who are looking for privacy and to splurge for a honeymoon or special occasions. With quick access to Seminyak beach, this Balinese inspired accommodation is built on 15 acres of tropical gardens. The Frangipani Cafe inside here is famed for its cuisine. Notables are their open-air massage pavilions and outdoor pool overlooking the ocean. Check out the latest prices on Booking.com * Check out the latest prices on Agoda.com *
If you’re on a budget, book a bed at Capsule Hotel New Seminyak – the friendly staff make it feel like home, and the beds are arranged into little pods to give you privacy. It’s very cheap, with the option of private rooms, too.
Those after a night out have a lot of choice, too, but these are our two top picks. There are some super classy wine bars (head to Vin+ for a huge wine menu and stunning surroundings) or La Favela for old-school fun and great music. The club is covered in plants and cool bits and bobs, as well as interesting people from all walks of life.
What to Eat
Any foodies will be totally spoilt for choice in Seminyak, as there are many good restaurants in Seminyak. If you’re a brunch-fiend, get your body down to Café Organic and indulge in great coffee, vegan delights and interior-inspo! Café Moonlight Bali is definitely on my hot list of food spots in Seminyak and is full of healthy juices, amazing pancake stacks and really friendly staff.
Sea Circus is famous for its food as much as its colorful wall – just head to their Instagram page to see what we mean. Motel Mexicola is one of the most fun restaurants in Seminyak and is a haven of avocados, tequila and positive vibes!
Seminyak is close to Bali’s main tourist airport, Denpasar International. A taxi ride will take around 30 minutes, depending on traffic, and there are set prices so you know you’re being charged a fair amount – expect to pay around IDR175,000 (around $12). Uber does exist in Seminyak, but there are ongoing disagreements between Uber and taxi drivers so it’s up to you what you feel comfortable doing.
If you’re already in Bali and fancy heading to Seminyak, it’s a pretty easy destination to reach. It’ll take around an hour or so to get here from Ubud, another popular place in Bali, and around an hour to drive up from Uluwatu. You can easily come from Lombok if you fancy flying, or you can get a boat-taxi shuttle service from Lombok and the Gili islands.
While in Seminyak itself, walking is probably the easiest way to get around. If you want to escape the heat, hop in a cab – make sure it’s an Uber or a BlueBird car though! There are some taxi services around Bali that take advantage of tourists and newbies, but this company use a meter and are reliable and safe. There are some copycat taxis in town with similar names and logos, but look out for light blue taxis with clear ‘BlueBird’ branding and you’ll be fine!
One of the best ways to travel is to find your own paths as you wander. Seminyak is full of fun, tourist attractions but is also home to pop-up food stalls and great street food, beautiful (unofficial) shops on the side of the road and stunning temples nestled in backstreets. The joy of Bali is exploring, so take time to go off-track and discover Seminyak’s hidden gems.
Nusa Dua is one of Bali’s most exclusive regions, but don’t let that put you off. Among the many luxurious accommodations, private beaches and fancy restaurants, there are still many things to do. Here also lies Bali’s classic culture and unrelenting friendliness. Nusa Dua, or ‘two islands’ as it translates to in Bahasa Indonesia, is home to some of Bali’s best.
Nusa Dua is all about spending your time in total comfort. The resort enclave has three gates: Main Gate, North Gate and South Gate. Some resorts have private beaches for their visitors; however, other areas are easily accessible to general public. This fishing village also offers a range of water sports facilities as well as many mid-range and budget hotels that were difficult to find in Nusa Dua.
Nusa Dua, located in Bali Island, enjoys a tropical climate. The rainy season here lasts from October to March. The best time to visit Nusa Dua is period from May to August when the weather remains pleasant and cool, just perfect for exploring tourist attraction or enjoying adventurous activities.
Nusa Dua is often referred to as Bali’s ‘gated community’, as it is full of pricey and luxurious hotels. This can feel pretty exclusive, and there are some incredible options if you’re happy to splash out.
If you’re on a bit more of a budget, don’t panic! You can find some lovely, cheaper places to stay in this region. For even more budHouse of D16 * is a lovely little hostel in Nusa Dua, and Clamonic House * is perfect for travelers on a budget.
Alternatively, stay in nearby Tanjung Benoa and take a day trip to Nusa Dua. There are much cheaper options for accommodation here, such as Sari B&B.
Geger Beach – locally known as Pantai Geger. This beach lies in Sawangan area, about 3 km from Nusa Dua. It is a public beach, considered safe for swimming. You can also enjoy some delicious snacks at the beach side warungs at this beach. his white sand beach is fringed with palm trees and offers lots of comfy deckchairs to relax on. There are several small cafes here, so you can eat while keeping your toes in the sand. You have to pay a small entry fee (around 3,000 – 5, 000 IDR), but this feels totally acceptable once you see how clean and well-kept the beach is.
Mengiat Beach is one of the quieter beaches, so you can expect to have some space to yourself. Unlike some of the other beaches in Bali, you’ll pretty much be left to it by locals selling their wares. While it can sometimes be nice to have people randomly pop up and offer you a foot massage, it’s also quite nice to drift off in your own little bubble of relaxation.
Water Blow Rock Formation – located north of Grand Hyatt Hotel. This site is worth watching for the rock formation and the giant splash formed due to the collision of water waves with rock walls. From a distance, splashing water appears like milky white foam sliding down from the top of the rock.
If you’re after an afternoon of culture, Museum Pasifika is a great place to visit. This museum is pretty spread out and has over 600 pieces to enjoy. It documents various pieces of history, art and culture from all over the world. There is a beautiful mixture of sculptures, paintings and artefacts on display, and entry costs 100, 00 IDR.
Water-Sports – while many of the beaches here are pretty much designed for lazy days, there are also opportunities for the thrill-seekers among you. If you’ve ever wanted to try out kite-surfing, or fancy yourself whizzing around on a jet ski, now is your chance! Head to the nearest beach and see what’s on offer, or book through your accommodation for great rates. There are many companies in Nusa Dua that offer equipment on rent for water activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, etc. There are some excellent surfing sites here that remain crowded during ideal weather conditions. Tourists can enjoy sports like tennis, gym and squash in some of the five-star hotels and resorts.
Bali Jetpacks is a fantastic company, offering a range of fun water activities, ranging from donut-rides (perfect for families with young kids) and water jet-packs for those after something a real adrenaline rush! This company take safety very seriously, and will make sure you have an amazing time, whatever you get up to…
Snorkelling is the perfect mid-point for anyone who wants to do something more exciting than sunbathing, without going too wild. The reef around Nusa Dua is studded with turtles, brightly-colored schools of fish and striking coral.
Get Your Golf On – as you’d expect from a 5-star region, Nusa Dua is home to some incredible golf courses. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, head here for an afternoon of high-quality fun. Bali National Golf Course is any golfers dream – stunning greens, a challenging course and wonderful customer service. Make a day of it and enjoy the on-site café.
Private Beach at Nusa Dua, Bali. Photo by sektordua
Rainy day activities
Bali is the land of sunshine, but, just in case it rains (or you fancy a break from the beach!), there’s still plenty to do.
Hit Bali Collection for some retail therapy and enjoy the mix of chain stores and restaurants. This isn’t a local mall or market, so expect to pay similar prices to back home. Nike, Billabong and Quiksilver have outlet stores here, and there are also some lovely places to pick up souvenirs or local crafts.
Spa – Enjoy some pampering with selection of choices for spa, one of the latest in Nusa Dua, SPA Healthland, incorporates “medical-spa” concept which involves preventing illness and improve well-being. There is also the popular Zahra Spa. Try out a traditional Balinese massage, pamper yourself with a mani/ pedi or indulge in a full package, complete with delicious food and a range of calming treatments to soothe your soul. The Laguna also offers wonderful spa treatments.
While this region is seen as Bali’s crème de la crème, there are also dining options for those on more of a budget. For anyone after something a bit cheaper and cheerful, make a stop at Secret Café and sample some delicious Indonesia food. Those craving the comforts of home should take the time to visit Nusa Dua Pizza – it does what it says on the tin, and very well! Warungs along the Jalan Srikandi in Bualu village offer authentic Balinese food at much cheaper prices. Benoa Cafe, Bumbu Bali, Café Bagus, and Kacak Bali are some of the reasonably priced restaurants in Tanjung Benoa area.
If you do fancy going all-out, head to Kayuputi at The St. Regis – this place knows how to do fine-dining, so go with an empty stomach and dress up. Table8 has to get a mention, partially for their stunning interior, but mainly for their incredible menu. Banyubiru at The Laguna Resort is the perfect place for a romantic meal out. For some fresh seafood and wine, go to Kendi Kuning Restaurant which is located in between Tanjong Benoa and Nusa Dua.
Nusa Dua is down in the south-west of Bali and is easily-reachable from Denpasar Airport. It’s a very well-known region, so you shouldn’t have any problems getting there. It takes about half an hour from the airport and will cost around 150, 000 IDR. From the airport, you have options of either hiring a prepaid taxi or a metred taxi. A pre-paid taxi fare costs between Rp 90,000 and 115,000. Metred taxis are cheaper than a prepaid taxi but they don’t enter the main airport area and you’ll have to walk a few hundred metre distance to avail this option. If you are coming from Denpasar, you can use the public transport dark-blue bemos that depart from Tegal bemo station at Denpasar or a taxi. Bemos are not allowed to enter the Nusa Dua area, and you’ll have to either walk the distance (about 2 km) or hire a taxi from the entry gate.
Many people head to Nusa Dua for the day from nearby Tanjung Benoa. Benoa is lovely and has a certain charm to it, but the beaches here sadly aren’t very nice for swimming or sunbathing on. A quick twenty-minute drive to Nusa Dua will soon have you dipping in and out of turquoise waters and enjoying the quiet, resort-front beaches.
White sand beach at Nusa Dua, Bali. Photo by skyseeker
Metered taxis are freely available to get around in Nusa Dua and Tenjung Benoa areas. Another option is the public bemos that regularly ply around two resort areas. Rented bicycles and cars, available at many hotels, can also be used to explore the area.
Denpasar – the administrative capital of Bali. Puputan Square, Bali Museum, Taman Budaya Cultural Center, Pasar Badung and Pasar Kumbasari are some of the best sites to explore in Denpasar.
Kuta– located about 11 km from Nusa Dua and famous for its magnificent sandy beaches and dynamic nightlife. Surfing, shopping, eating, and partying are some of the favourite activities to enjoy while in Kuta.
Serangan or Turtle Island – a turtle conservation island where you can see hatching of turtle eggs in traditional houses.
You can easily rent a moped and zip around the island. I’d definitely suggest doing this for a day if you can, as there is so much to see and explore. Half of the island’s charm, for me, at least, were the hidden spots; the places with no names. One of the joys of traveling is finding your own way, so hop on a bike and ride until you want to stop. There are some modern roads here that are great for beginners. Build up your confidence and head up the hills, along dirt paths and between towering trees to find the best views over the island. Make sure you have plenty of petrol before you head off on an adventure. There are plenty of roadside spots to fill up at – keep an eye out for old alcohol bottles full of yellow liquid! It is also polite to return your bike with at least half a tank left, so bear that in mind when you’re riding home.
Drive on to Nusa Ceningan
This nearby island is pretty tiny, and very beautiful. It is home to great diving, yoga studios and plenty of nature to immerse yourself in. Take the bridge across from Lembongan and explore by moped. Not all of the roads here are perfect, but that just adds to the fun. Friendly locals will point you in the right direction of the main viewpoint here, so make sure your camera is fully-charged and heap on up and up.Blue Lagoon is one of the most stunning little bays you will ever see, with bright aqua water. Make time to visit this spot and bask in the glory of nature here. Secret Beach in Nusa Ceningan is likely to be empty, unsurprisingly, and offers great snorkelling and swimming water.
Amazing view and sunset at Devil’s Tear, Dream Beach
This is a stunning area of natural beauty right near Dream Beach. Expect lots of tourists but don’t let that put you off. This can be a dangerous area, so pay attention to the warning signs and be sensible. The Devil’s Tear itself is a little inlet into the land where waves get sucked into holes in the cliff face. They are then jetted out and shoot up into the air and across the cliff. Don’t get too close, but make an effort to visit this spot. The power of the waves here is stunning. Just a few minute’s walk from here is the best sunset spot on the island. Rocky cliff juts out into the ocean and gives you a stunning view of the island, as well as all the colours in the sky.
Outdoor activities at Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan
Surfing at Nusa Lembongan
Lembongan is famed for its surfing, and the beaches here are truly designed for it. The waves around the island are generally for the more experienced surfer, but there are some good beginner beaches, too. Playgrounds is the ideal beach for surfers and gets busy without being crammed. Head to Coconut Bay and paddle out from here to the waves. You can rent boards and have surf lessons here, too. Dream Beach isn’t for swimming but is a lovely beach to hang out at. The surf can get pretty good here as well, and is better suited to experienced surfers. Head over to Ceningan for great breaks, too! Wherever there are good waves, there’ll be a shack on the beach with boards to hire out.
Stand-up Paddle Boarding at Mushroom Bay
Stand-Up Paddle Boarding is such a fun activity, and this island has some amazing beaches to try it out at. Some waves tend to be too strong or high, and these beaches tend to be reserved for surfers. If you fancy a swim, snorkel or SUP session, head to the calmer beaches. Mushroom Beach is the place to head for a relaxing afternoon of lazing on the beach and trying out water-sports. This is a really easy beach to get to and is surrounded by cute restaurants and road-side warungs (local eateries). Expect some tourists here, but don’t worry about it being crowded. Hire out a paddle board from one of the stalls on the beach, just don’t forget your sunblock!
Diving at Nusa Lembongan
Indonesia’s underwater world is beyond beautiful and is peppered with stunning marine life, including majestic turtles and colourful coral. Diving is one of the best things to do here, and the island’s schools cater to all levels of experience. Get up early or spend an afternoon diving amongst the island’s oceans. The dive sites around Lembongan are full of amazing underwater marine life, such as manta rays, which people travel here just to see. Diving is taken seriously, and there is a duty to the dive centres to be professional and respectful of the waters. Nusa Ceningan also offers beautiful underwater views and great diving opportunities.
Don’t attempt this on your own! Make sure you go with a company who know when and where it is safe to go out, and who will look after you. Cliff jumping is one of the most exhilarating things you can do in Nusa Lembongan, and is the ideal way to spend an afternoon if you’re an adrenaline junkie. You’ll basically jump off a cliff into the ocean and can snorkel and swim to your heart’s content in lovely, clear waters. You can find companies that offer this in Lembongan, and some that will take you to Ceningan. Lembongan Cliff Jumping comes very highly recommended, and offer a number of packages for those seeking adventure.
Abyss Zipline company over in nearby Ceningan offer one of the most fun activities around! If you fancy zipping through nature and taking in stunning views of the island, add this to your to-do list. The staff here take safety very seriously, which is good considering you’ll be swinging across the ocean! Make time to head here and reward yourself with a dip in their infinity pool afterwards.
Relax and unwind at the Nusa Islands
Take some time to really relax and make the most of the local spas. They may not be big or fancy, but they’ll be full of local ladies who’ll pummel the knots out of your back. Traditional Balinese massages can get pretty heavy but will do wonders for a well-travelled body.The prices of massages here tend to be very low. Despite being on a small island, prices haven’t been driven up by tourism too much. Grab yourself a bargain and get some me-time in.
If you fancy taking some time out from all the water-sports and hiking, head to a yoga studio and chill out. The studios here tend to be pretty affordable, and there’s a really lovely, relaxed vibe to the island, in general, that’s reflected in the studios. Many of the studios here offer amazing views over the ocean, or are set up in the forest. Either way, you’re guaranteed a beautiful experience!
What to Eat at Nusa Lembongan
The food here tends to be pretty local, although there are some lovely Western joints. Head to the beach for fresh seafood, or wander down side alleys to get an authentic experience. Indonesian food focuses on fried rice (nasi greng), fried noodles (mie goreng) and tasty curries. Desserts aren’t huge here, but make sure you try banana pancakes at least once while you’re on the island. They’re pretty popular across Indonesia and are delicious!
For those who are looking for villas with a good environment for family, Jingga Villas * is the place, with its own pool and just a minute walk to the beach. Its services are also well rated by guests.
A good mid range choice here is Sunset Garden Nusa Lembongan * at Mushroom Bay with beautiful garden and sunset view. Just 9 minutes walk from the beach, the price from just 89 USD is well worth it!
If you are looking for a more cozy environment, The Akah Cottage, only 3 minutes walk from the beach, is the place for you. It comes with bike rental facilities and an outdoor pool. It is also good for value with prices starting only at 35 USD. Water Blow Huts * is another well-loved choice in this range to stay near Dream Beach in Lembongan.