Seminyak, Bali's fascinating resort
The southern part of Bali is the tourism end of the island. Most of the
package-tour hotels are found in this area, offering enjoyable places to
reside, eat, drink and relax. Undoubtedly, Seminyak with its natural and
cultural appeal as well as excellent facilities is one of Bali's top tourist
Seminyak is a village situated in the south coast of Bali. Today, a great
number of foreigners seen residing in the area that has become the center of
Indonesian handicraft business. Also situated in the northern of Legian,
Seminyak retains a small town atmosphere, with good traffic condition and no
hawkers around. The beach is scruffy in parts and it is isolated from the
action in Kuta. Besides, Seminyak is a Balinese village, which is still
deeply rooted in its old traditions while probably having the highest per
capita population of personal computers on Bali and in all indonesia.
Seminyak offers hundreds of places to stay and too many to list down. For
archaeological remains enthusiasts, there is a general temple named Pura
Peti Tenget. The temple is located on the beach facing the ocean. This
temple was built around 16th century ago by the holy priest named Dang Hyang
Nirartha from Java when he came to Bali for his holy journey along the west
coast of Bali.
Both foreign and domestic tourists are seen visiting the temple everyday.
The temple will look much livelier, especially when Hindu followers in Bali
celebrate the temple anniversary, locally known as Odalan. Several members
of the meditation associations are sometimes seen coming for meditation
purposes, whether around the temple area or on the beach nearby.
A Bali Beach Worth a Stay
By WAYNE ARNOLD
Everyone who is anyone in Bali's expatriate community shows up for sunset
and cocktails at Ku De Ta.
As the shadows lengthen, the island's cognoscenti drift onto the bar's
breezy beachfront deck, their linen shirts billowing open to expose native
jewelry, their Thai fisherman's pants revealing calves tanned and toned by
long walks on Kuta beach. A D.J. spins his latest chill mix, the
international assemblage settles into chaise longues and the sun plunges
into the Bali Strait.
It's the typical end to a typical day in Seminyak, Kuta's trendy northern
neighbor. About two miles from the center of Kuta, away from the packs of
Australian and Japanese surfers that rule the tourist strip, Europe's well
heeled revel in their own barefoot Balinese playground.
Once a quiet village, Seminyak is now one of a handful of settlements that
have been engulfed by Kuta's holiday megalopolis, with its T-shirt shops,
tawdry bars and touts. But Seminyak has remained distinct in style and
clientele, playing shiraz to Kuta's ice beer.
''It's chalk and cheese,'' said Arthur Chondros, an Australian who helped
start Ku De Ta three years ago and now manages the restaurant and bar.
''Seminyak is a bit more outgoing and a bit more risky. It's got an
People who stay in Seminyak are for the most part long-term visitors,
guidebook emigres whose weeklong visits turned into monthlong sabbaticals.
Some have taken up residence, setting up businesses.
They are backpackers all grown up and wielding credit cards. They don't
write postcards; they send text messages on their mobile phones.
I discovered Seminyak only recently, in October, despite at least a dozen
visits to Bali over the last decade. Allergic to Kuta's carnival atmosphere,
I typically leave Ngurah Rai International Airport south of Kuta and head
literally for the hills -- to Ubud and the highland rice paddies beyond it.
But if Kuta is boisterous in the extreme, Ubud and its environs offer what
verges on an excess of serenity. A few days of quiet contemplation amid its
dragonflies and amphibian nocturnes is enough to make anyone pine for a
beery Australian singalong. So when some friends decided to rent one of
Seminyak's many luxury villas, I eagerly signed on.
Seminyak provided the perfect balance of seclusion and exhibition, a
polished port of call for those staying in the villas moored in the nearby
rice paddies. And unlike Ubud, Seminyak has a beach, the quiet end of the
beach that makes Kuta one of the world's famous surfing spots.
Kuta was also the target of terrorists in October 2002, when more than 200
people were killed by a bomb at a nightclub; the area now has an ephemeral
air. Fewer people have visited Bali since then: tourism dropped by about
half, chilled by the Kuta bomb, SARS and a bomb in Jakarta. The Balinese
economy was hard hit, and local people suffered.
Lately, though, visitors are returning in bigger numbers, as monthly
arrivals of foreigners to Bali's international airport have recovered to
roughly two-thirds their level before the bombing.
For the traditional visitor, Seminyak has a selection of fine hotels,
including the beachfront Oberoi, which resembles a traditional Balinese
village. One of Bali's first luxury hotels, it was designed in the early
1970's by the Australian architect Peter Muller, who also designed the
Amandari resort near Ubud. The Oberoi is such a landmark that the entire
area around it at the northern end of Seminyak is often referred to simply
Most of the people who stay in that area, however, wouldn't be caught dead
in a hotel, no matter how luxurious. Renting villas is the thing there,
which affords distance from crowds but proximity to the scene. Many villas
are a short drive away.
''People want to go to restaurants and bars and be where the action is,''
said Dan Brooks, a documentary photographer from London who came to
Indonesia to film Komodo dragons and ended up staying in Bali to manage and
rent villas for a company called Elite Havens.