The Long Way Home: Seminyak, Bali

Following on from last week’s post, we have moved on from Ubud to Seminyak. As I said, Seminyak is described as an upmarket resort town. In my head, I pictured something similar to a European resort with nice promenades. Wishful thinking.

The Hotel

We stayed at the Jambuluwuk Oceano Resort, a four star hotel close to the beach and the famous Potato Head beach club. The pictures looked really good. The main pool looked inviting but not as great as the infinity pool and jacuzzi on the rooftop. Did I mention it had not one, but two, swim-up pool bars?

Jambuluwuk Oceano Resort

When we arrived after a manic hour drive on the streets of Bali, the hotel was like a peaceful haven. Unfortunately though, the check-in time wasn’t 1pm as it said on the booking but an hour later. There would be no rooms until dot on 2pm. We took advantage of this by setting off on foot and getting our bearings in Seminyak.

Well, what I pictured Seminyak to be quickly went out of my head. Maybe I had set myself up for disappointment but it was far from my idea of a upmarket resort town. There was construction everywhere. The cry of TAXI in Ubud had been replaced by bluebird taxis constantly beeping for your attention. Godforbid you slow down to try and cross the road as an infinite amount of taxis will crawl and stop right next to you praying you’ll get in. If i’m honest it was also a lot dirtier than Ubud.

I feel like I always come across as negative in many of my blog posts but I really just want to show you that travel is not always glamorous. The places that we armchair-travel to on Instagram are not always picture-perfect as people would have you believe. I want to get across that it’s okay to not like places that the whole world seems to be going mad for.

Anyway, the weather was good so we planned to chill on the rooftop pool once we’d checked in back at the hotel! Eventually we got a room although, on opening the curtains, it turned out we had no balcony and looked directly into a nightclub. A quick Google search told us the nightclub opened at 11pm until 5am; but not on our first night.

The room itself was a bit shabby; nothing like the official pictures showed but I think everyone is used to that now unless you’re up for spending hundreds of pounds per night. Oh, I’ve just remembered, the connecting door into someone else’s bedroom was open. That would have given our neighbours a fright.  SURPRISE!

Time to Relax

The plan for the week was mostly just to relax as though you would on a ‘normal’ holiday. We didn’t really want to tire ourselves out going on more tours and get ferries across to other islands. Just a simple week of sunbathing, swimming, food and a few beers.

We spent our first night at the beautiful but badly named Woobar at the W Hotel. Directly on the beach, we watched the sunset from sofas underneath lanterns. The best part of this was the 2 for 1 cocktails in happy hour including free snacks and a free pizza! This is at a five star hotel and works out cheaper than a lot of the other places. We’re still talking AUD$16 for a cocktail but you just have to make it in time for happy hour.

Sunset Cocktails
Woobar
Sunset Drinks
A rare photo of me!

I won’t go into too much detail of the rest of our time in Seminyak as you’d probably get bored quickly. I’ll skim through so you can just look at the pretty pictures.

On day two, we sunbathed but we’d only brought factor 15 suncream with us. No idea why as we were using factor 50 in Australia and still got a healthy tan. I burnt in no time obviously. I have never been as sunburnt in my life! My face, neck, chest, arms, stomach, legs and ankle were redder than a beetroot. This caused a hell of a lot of pain and I’m actually still peeling as I write this about two weeks later.

Once the nightclub opened, we didn’t get much sleep at all. Is there any need for so much bass? The housekeeping didn’t turn out to be too good at cleaning the room either. Well I’m not so bothered about the clean room but just some fresh bottled water that’s promised. It was normally around 5pm that the room was cleaned and even that took repeated phone calls to reception.  The hotel were willing to move us but only after we’d spent four nights in that room!

We ate some really good food too thanks to some blog posts but mainly Tripadvisor. I love Tripadvisor! Nothing too weird either; banana flour waffles, honey butter fried chicken, Roti with Malaysian curry, pizza at a rock bar and baos. For those that don’t know, baos are like Chinese burgers but the bun is steamed.

Honey Butter Fried Chicken
Bintang Beer
Pancakes at the Fat Turtle
Banana Flour Waffles

We also took a taxi further north to Canggu which had a much more laid-back vibe. It was full of surfers and some cool little bars. Old Man’s is like an institution and The Lawn is the perfect place to watch the sunset. We bagged the prime seats on the rooftop, ate four meals all whilst I felt like my legs were on fire. Thanks sunburn.

If you do ever go to Seminyak, just try and avoid Saturday and Sunday nights. If you like the idea of an Australia Malia or Maguluf, then you’ll love it. It isn’t even meant to be that bad here. Kuta, further south although in the same built up area, is where it’s at! It’s so busy on these two nights that it took us an hour to drive from Canngu to the hotel which, I think, was a journey of about 6km.

Before I finish up, I also need to just say that I saw a scene that wouldn’t have been amiss in the Hangover films. Just casually walking down the street, minding our the way of the traffic, dodging scooters on the paths, when I see a monkey on a leash outside a tattoo shop. The owner was just chilling with his monkey. Not great for animal rights but it gets weirder. On the table was another, one I thought wasn’t real until he picked it up. An actual crocodile. Just sat there with his mouth open. No bigger than say your wrist to your elbow but what’s he going to do when it grows to ten feet long and wants to eat him for breakfast? Crazy country.

Moving On…Again

Overall, my impressions of Bali haven’t changed. The bars in the posh hotels and beach clubs are very nice but, honestly, you can’t polish a turd. This might be a bit brutal as the Balinese people are some of the loveliest I’ve ever met. They never stop smiling and seem so happy. But why would I want to come to an evidently third-world country to pay Australian prices (practically) for drinks and pretend it’s paradise. Did I forget to mention that the sea in Seminyak is classed as untreated sewage? I will be writing a post later on the side of Bali that’s not shared just to be honest with you guys.

Make This Land Clean Again

Anyway, that’s all for this post, we’re heading to our third country which is one of only three city states in the world; Singapore. I’ve always wanted to visit here and I’m looking forward to something a bit more built up and advanced. We’ve also treated ourselves to a night in, quite possibly, the best hotel in the world!

Thanks for reading as always and I’ll be back soon.

ps. Here’s some more photos…

14 Replies to “The Long Way Home: Seminyak, Bali”

  1. Thanks Jamie, good story. Yeah the Island Parafise of our dreams is getting hard to find. They are out there but you have to stay a few steps ahead of the developers. We enjoyed Koh Rong in Cambodia where we were a few weeks ago, it’s just, in my opinion, in the Goldilocks state, cafes, bars, mini marts, pharmacies but not too much. Evidently Koh Rong Samloen is less developed. Singapore is besutiful,hope you enjoy it but it is Very expensive.

    1. Thank you for your comment! I guess that’s the downside of tourism but it can’t really be helped – beautiful places attract more and more people which in turn makes it far less beautiful! Those places sound amazing!

  2. These photos are absolutely stunning – looks like such an incredible experience. I adore getting to see new parts of the world through travel blogs like yours, and when the photography is this exceptional it makes all the difference!

    Sending you good vibes!

    Nati | http://www.curatedbynati.com | @curatedbynati

    1. Ah wow thank you so much! It makes me happy when I wake up to comments like this! I always wanted somewhere to showcase my photography but also write a few words too!

      Glad you like it!

  3. Nice photos. However, I don’t think it is fair to say that Seminyak is as expensive as Australia, and that one have to “pretend to be in paradise”. I’m visiting Bali again, and this will be my 3rd visit. I won’t deny that over tourism has taken over the touristy towns like Kuta and Seminyak. And yes, the beaches are incomparable to those of Borneo or Thailand. But still I always look forward to Bali for the people and the food. And I know I can get fine dining (not those from W Hotel or any of the big chain hotels along Seminyak beach) for a fraction of what I pay for in Kuala Lumpur! Anyway, just my two cents worth. And of course, I do enjoy reading your blog as well as admiring your beautiful photos! =)

    1. Thank you for your comment and thoughts! I do agree though the people and food are brilliant! Its just my opinion on the touristy areas – once we got away from there it was beautiful! With regards to Australia prices I do think that some of the food prices and drinks are comparable especially when you’re out of the big cities! We did have amazing local food out of the way of the main streets for a bargain – I was referring to alcoholic drinks really!

  4. As always, love all the photos! Just wondering what camera are you using for these shots? I’m planning to get a new one.

    1. Thank you!! Glad you like them! I use a Fujifilm X-T2 with, mostly, a 23mm f/2 lens. It’s such an incredible camera that’s made me fall in love with photography again! Fujifilm have a wide range of cameras too suitable for all budgets!

  5. Very creative shots! I’ll check out this Fujifilm camera. Thanks a lot!

    1. I’ve moved away from RAW shots too as I find the JPEGS are just incredible! Makes it so much easier when it comes to editing etc!

  6. Living in Perth its just a short hop for us to Bali. Having been to Bali a few times now we now only ever go to Nusa Dua, which I love. You can swim in the beach, there is a nice promenade for walking and plenty of restaurants outside of the hotels. So maybe give that a go if you ever go back to Bali!

    1. I haven’t been there so that may be a good tip! I’d probably like that a lot more 🙂 Thank you

  7. Heading to Bali in a few weeks, and it’s my first time there. We’re also staying in both Ubud and Seminyak, but I’m hoping that our experience would be better? So excited to eat Balinese food, though!

    1. I’m sure you will! I think it was just my expectations but some people absolutely love it! The food is incredible 😀 let me know how you get on!

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