Saturday, April 15, 2017

SEA Backpacking Series: Bali Part 1 - Beach Bum in Seminyak and Kuta

We went to Indonesia for the last leg of our South East Asia Backpacking Trip. When we were putting together our itinerary, we've decided to spend the most time in Bali because of all the recommended "things to do" we were able to research prior to the trip. We did not regret our decision as Bali was indeed the highlight of our trip!

Bali is a very big city and what's surprising is that each area within Bali has different things to offer. We've decided to get immersed in each experience that Bali offers which is why we've spent the first two days in Kuta and Seminyak while the last two days were spent in Ubud.

If you're still deciding whether to spend more time on Kuta and Seminyak or in Ubud, spend more time in Kuta and Seminyak if you want to be near the beach but if you want more relaxation (nature, yoga, mountains) then spend more time in Ubud!

Taxi is the main mode of transportation in Bali and you can see it everywhere! We've researched that there is a lot of scams or instances where tourists get ripped off in their taxi rides within the city. Once arriving in airport, there will be a lot of taxi drivers who will approach you and we actually had to talk to around 10 drivers to get the cheapest rate since they were offering fixed rates of around 200-250,000 Rupiah to our Kuta hotel but we settled later on for 100,000 or around PHP 350 which we later realized was a 10 minute ride from airport to the hotel. Several tourists recommend blue bird tax because of its safety but we had a lot of instance where they want fixed payment (without using meter) or they did not issue any change if you give a bigger bill. A better alternative is to take uber or grab but it's highly discouraged within the city by the taxi drivers. We used Grab from Seminyak to Ubud and Ubud going to airport which came out to be around 100-150,000 Rupiah for 1 to 1.5 hour drive (around same price for a 10 minute taxi ride from airport to Kuta). 

Things to do in Kuta & Seminyak, Bali:
1. Visit the beautiful resorts
Bali is a vacation paradise where you see so many beaches and resorts (similar to Boracay in Philippines). The beaches though are not as good compared to the beaches found in the Philippines but resorts are definitely worth a visit! We went to Seminyak to visit the famous W Retreat and Spa and Potato Head bar which are next to each other. The place is beautiful and if you're willing to splurge on a vacation, then you can definitely check-in the hotel. We decided to just go for walk-in and stay in the bar which they allow but we were not able to access their pool. Another alternative resort is to go to Ku De Ta which is a beach front fine dining restaurant. We did not want to splurge and reviews of food were just okay so we did not go anymore.

How to get there: take a taxi within Seminyak to W Retreat and Spa. It will take around 10-15 minutes from Seminyak Square. The place is well known and drivers all know where it is. Going to Potato Head, you can walk past Seminyak beach which is connected within the two resorts.
Potato Head in Seminyak which turns into a club at night
W Retreat and Spa in Seminyak
Our two drinks cost us 265,000 Rupiah or around 1,000 pesos! But it comes with free pizza!

Our hotel swimming pool! Not bad for 900 Pesos a night hotel!
2. Go Shopping! 
There are two main shopping areas found in Kuta and Seminyak which are called Kuta Square and Seminyak Square respectively. What you can find there are mostly beach apparels so all the well known and local beach or surf brands can be found there. The prices are similar to those in Philippines (e.g. Billabong or Roxy store), but there are much more variety there as literally every part of the city sells these beach apparels. 

How to get there: Take the taxi from your hotel going to Seminyak square. Seminyak is a small place so all main landmarks around around 10-15 minutes within reach. We paid 30,000 Rupiah or PHP 100 for our short trip from the hotel.
3. Go Surfing! 
We didn't go surfing but the waves found in Kuta beach looks amazing but extremely intimidating. A lot of surfers are found in the area and if you're avid surfer or wants to pick-up the sport, then you can definitely spend time in Kuta beach.

As you can see from our post, we're not a big fan of beaches or resorts which is why we only spent 1-2 hours in Kuta and went to Seminyak (which is about 10 minutes away) to visit the resorts. We spent half a day going to Seminyak Square and go to W Retreat Spa then went back to the hotel to relax. After a well rested day, we went straight to Ubud for part two of our Bali trip!


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