Bali, Indonesia – Seminyak

[ 0 ] May 19, 2012 |

With plans to stay five weeks in Bali, the majority inland, we decided to spend our first week near the beach in Seminyak, Bali.

Arriving at the Denpasar airport, we purchased our 30-day tourist visa and headed out with instructions to apply for the extension we needed at a different non-airport office.

It was only a 20-minute taxi ride to our hotel, The Haven, located on the main drag in Seminyak. The hotel wasn’t right on the beach, but had a golf cart shuttle that ran to the nearby Seminyak beach set up with Haven beach chairs and umbrellas.

The Haven Hotel, Seminyak, Bali

The Haven restaurant

When we booked the hotel online, in the special requests and comments we put something like “It’s our honeymoon- can we have a room with a good view?” When we think about it- we often put something cheesy like this to see what we get… you’d be surprised and it’s true- life’s a honeymoon with the one you love!

hotel room (honeymoon special)

The Haven - flowers everywhere

This was a great hotel and we spent most of our time between the restaurant, the gym, and the pool. We did take a day to go to the beach, but it wasn’t as relaxing as the pool with hawkers constantly nagging you to buy a necklace or offering to give you a massage.  I was also somewhat disappointed with the sand and water cleanliness.  I’m not complaining about Bali beaches- just saying there must be nicer ones nearby.

Pat strategically dedicated these five weeks to an online course, so he was fully wrapped up in studying and my job was to not be a distraction. So, I explored alone.

studying Pat

First things first, we bought two Indonesian SIM cards so we could easily be in touch while we were apart. It’s always exciting to go out on my own in a new city. There’s a certain freedom and accomplishment to it and then a calming comfort when we’re back together in one room. Without my camera or a driver who knew my final destination, I took random taxis all over town to check out different things. I went on a hunt for new tennis shoes and a cheap DVD drive. I ended up in 5 different electronics stores in one day and was the only person who spoke English. When I say stores, these aren’t retail shops with parking lots and sales people; these are random tiny shops in back alleys and up crazy staircases behind buildings. I negotiated prices and found exactly what I needed.  Three shoe stores all referring me to the next I found a place selling brand name Merrells. With so many fakes it’s tricky to find real shoes.  My trick was to have the local write down in Indonesian the next place I should go where he thinks they will have it. I even had some call ahead to check for me. With patience, it worked!

temples around Seminyak

Seminyak is known for being the upscale shopping area of Bali. In nearby Kuta, there is a high-end indoor shopping mall and lining every Seminyak street are thousands of street stalls and local boutiques selling any and everything. There are plenty of repeat stores- you walk 30 feet and find the exact same stuff- sunglasses, scarfs, I love Bali t-shirts. But there are also, many really nice unique clothing stores. I wish I needed something or had a reason to buy a beautiful beaded silk dress- but it just doesn’t fit in the backpack.  There were a few brand name stores, but most were local designers. Several of the larger stores were selling items that are exported with brands but without the labels here. Indonesia is home to so many sewing factories.

Seminyak Streets, temples

Intermixed with the shopping are tons of spas, massage and nail shops. Literally on every corner there’s a tiny girl offering you a “maasssage.” Only willing to let semi-official massage techs rub on my body, I preferred to try out the places that at least had a sign.  In Seminyak I went to two spas. At the first place I had a pedicure. It was the first time since we left home I’ve had nail polish on my toes! Considering the previous 15 years of my life I always had nail polish on… it was a nice reunion.

The second place Pat and I went together one night. It was a $5/ hr. full body massage just across from the hotel.  Only slightly sketchy, we were taken up rickety stairs to a room with air-conditioning and two massage tables. Balinese massage uses the full body strength of the masseuse.  I glanced over at one point and the tiny lady was walking all over Pat’s back, holding on to beams in the ceiling. Then reeeek- my back just cracked in 50 places at once. I was thinking two things 1. This is nice and 2. Please don’t break me.

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Category: Alison's Blog, Blog, Indonesia

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