After weeks of planning and making reservations for a total of 6 hotels for my visit to Bali totalling 12 days, I finally arrived on my first visit to Bali, Indonesia.
Ngurah Rai International Airport, Denpasar Bali
This article is one in a series for my first trip to Bali, Indonesia. Each article details specific information on particular aspects of my journey. This article covers the following topics.
Kamar Kamar Rumah Tamu Accommodation
Overall Destination Rating
Slightly North of Legian, Seminyak is considered to be a little more upmarket than its neighbour. Located in South Bali, the area has been further developed over the last ten years to accommodate tourism demand.
Seminyak is perfectly placed for visitors to explore some of the main tourist hotspots including Kuta and Legian, however roads are frequently congested making a short trip to these locations, potentially longer than first anticipated. Seminyak is located a comfortable 10 kilometres from Denpasar and the International Airport, although in my experience the drive took approximately 30 minutes from the Ngurah Rai International Airport, Denpasar to my hotel in Seminyak.
The area boasts a number of luxurious resorts and an endless amount of high end fashion outlets, restaurants and bars. The main Petitenget Beach area offers visitors a laid-back atmosphere, until sunset arrives when the beat of the night grows louder as the hours tick by.
Getting To Seminyak
From the international airport in Denpasar there are a number of options for visitors on arrival to Bali including:
Only official airport taxis at the airport use a fixed price system which is prominently displayed at the airport taxi counter. Prices are highly inflated and are best avoided. However, for those who have not made arrangements for a private transfer to their hotel, this may be an option worth considering.
Bali Taxi Tout
By presenting at the taxi counter (located next to the information desk at the arrivals hall and advising the hotel name and destination, a price will be quoted. If agreed, (the price is non-negotiable) a ticket will be issued. Your driver will then escort you to the vehicle and drive to the destination. Payment is made at the conclusion of the journey.
Private Vehicle Transfer
Many visitors to Bali, opt for a private transfer with the hotel. Arrangements can be made with most hotels at the time of booking to arrange for a transfer from the airport to the hotel. Rates can vary, so confirm all costs with the hotel prior to confirming acceptance. Some hotels offer transfers free of charge.
This is a public bus service and an option for those looking for an authentic travel experience, however this option lacks convenience for most, as the bus stop is located at a distance from the airport building approximately 5.3 kilometres or 11 minutes by road.
The main bus bay servicing the airport is located at Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai, Kuta at the T Galleria by DFS Duty Free Shopping Mall. This is the location at which arriving and departing passengers are able to travel or connect to areas including Jimbaran, Legian, Sanur, South Nusa Dua and Ubud.
Tickets to these and other areas are purchased from the dedicated counter located on the Ground Floor of the DFS Galleria complex. For further information visit the Kura-Kura Bus website.
Trans Sarbagita Bus
Sarbagita is another public transport option servicing the island of Bali. They have a bus stop outside the international arrival terminal building on the ground floor. Trans Sarbagita services the following major routes, with a number of small feeder services.
- Kota - Garuda Wisnu Kencana
- Batubulan - Sentral Parkir Kuta - Nusa Dua
- Tabanan - Mengwi - Bandara
- Mahendradata - Sanur - Lebih
A number of options are available for those inclined to rent a car on arrival in Bali. Arrangements can be made online and prices are cheap compared to that of many other countries around the world. An international driver’s license is required when driving on the roads in Bali. Police may request to see a copy of the license.
Additionally, in the event you are involved in an accident your travel insurer may deny any medical or other claims made as a result of not holding a valid international licence.
Under Indonesian law there is no blood alcohol limit imposed in Bali. As a consequence of being in a traffic accident where alcohol is involved, police will treat drivers harshly and any insurance policies will also be invalid as a result of driving with alcohol in your system.
When it comes to getting around the main tourist hubs in Bali, I found the best way is by Blue Bird Taxi. For the duration of my stay in this area which included Canggu, Seminyak and Sanur, this was the only mode of transport I chose for the following reasons.
A note about bluebird taxi for the uninitiated. There are restrictions placed on Blue Bird Taxi and others from operating at Bali Airport. The rule allows for passengers to be dropped off at the terminal building however they are restricted from making pickups from the terminal.
In a number of areas throughout Bali service providers including Grab, Go-Jek, Uber and Blue Bird Taxi are forbidden to operate in these ‘no-go zones.’ The access restrictions are imposed by community managers allowing only ‘private taxis’ to operate within these areas. Ubud is one example, together with particular zones in Seminyak and Canggu.
Consequently taxi services that are able to drop off into these areas are unable to collect passengers for the return journey, making the journey unprofitable for the driver. As a result they may request a higher price or decline the journey altogether.
For more information on how to identify a genuine Blue Bird Taxi check refer to my infographic below on The Best Way To Catch A Taxi In Bali.
Kamar Kamar Rumah Tamu Accommodation
On arriving in Bali from my inbound Jetstar flight from Cairns, Australia, it was early morning Denpasar time. At 12:25am the plan landed, and after clearing Customs and Immigration, I made my way to the arrivals hall to seek out my driver.
Having passed through Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport previously when transiting through the airport to Thailand, I had an awareness of the chaos that was to befall me.
Upon entering the Arrivals Hall, a sea of humanity was huddled displaying signs and yelling 'taxi ma-am', its was total chaos. I walked the line, up and down in search of a sign with my name on it, looking through the throngs of men, ten deep.
After approximately 10 minutes I managed to locate my driver, who was to transfer me to my nearby accommodation at Kamar Kamar Rumah Tamu Hotel in Seminyak. I had arranged the pickup directly through the hotel when making the reservation on booking.com
We walked to the multi-level car park area next to the terminal building, and I waited while he retrieved the vehicle a short time later.
Anticipating only a short drive from the airport to my accommodation - Kamar Kamar Rumah Tamu, the journey took far longer than expected due to the heavy traffic conditions out of the Ngurah Rai International Airport.
However, on arrival at my accommodation, I was met with the Manager who offered to forego the check in procedure until the next morning due to the late hour of my arrival.
Kamar Kamar Rumah Tamu Junior Suite
I was escorted to my room by the Manager who explained the room facilities after which I took a shower and went straight to bed - it was almost 2.00am
Kamar Kamar Rumah Tamu Junior Suite Kitchen Area
The following morning I headed upstairs to the breakfast area at around 8.00am to enjoy a traditional Balinese breakfast, a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and Bali coffee
Kamar Kamar Rumah Tamu Bali Breakfast
The waiters spoke little English making communication limited however - breakfast is breakfast no matter where in the world you happen to be. I was the only guest in the restaurant with a couple arriving a little later.
I had previously reserved a Junior Suite which was spacious and provided a kitchenette, living and dining area. The bedroom was large in size and the bathroom was fitted with a shower and the usual amenities.
Kamar Kamar Rumah Tamu Junior Suite Living Area
Kamar Kamar Rumah Tamu Junior Suite Kitchenette
The Junior Suites feature a small courtyard area, accessible via the double sliding glass doors leading from the bedroom. The area features a day bed suitable for relaxing in privacy.
Kamar Kamar Rumah Tamu Junior Suite View Of Private Courtyard
The hotel comprises two levels with a central courtyard featuring a good-sized swimming pool and sun lounges. The gardens are well maintained with small birds (finches) in wooden cages located throughout the property. At night candles are lit around the poolside area providing a relaxed ambience.
The location was quiet with little traffic noise and the hotel was private and intimate.
The restaurant serves breakfast only each day, so when it comes to dining options there are two: 1. Dine out at one of the many local restaurants or Warungs, or 2. Order in. A directory is supplied to guests which features many of the local restaurants in the area, simply select a meal, advise the front office and pay the required amount. Hotel staff deliver the meal directly to your door.
There are a number of attractions in and around Seminyak which are easily accessed. I took a visit to the Seminyak Square Shopping Mall which provided a range of stores from the budget to the more expensive. A large number of restaurants were also available from which to choose.
A number of other popular landmarks are close by including:
- Petitenget Temple 2.3 km
- Seminyak Square Shopping Mall 1.7 km
- Canggu Club 3.7 km
- Hard Rock Cafe 4.1 km
- Kuta Square 4.3 km
- Bali Mall Galleria 4.3 km
- Kuta Art Market 4.4 km
Feeling a little stiff the following day after my flight arrived, I decided to take a walk around the side streets of Seminyak and came upon a small Massage centre run by a local lady.
The prices were so reasonable I decided on 60-minute relaxation massage, 30-minute foot massage and ear candling treatment.
In all the total coast was around AUD$19.00 which represented great value and provided me with a significant amount of relief.
Over the course of my walk around Seminyak I managed to get a couple of mosquito bites which swelled up overnight, causing me a fair bit of discomfort through the heat and swelling generated from the bites.
I headed over to a nearby pharmacy and purchased some insect repellent together with an antihistamine and a locally made soothing gel.
Thankfully, within the couple of days the heat and swelling had decreased significantly which was a relief as one of the bites was on my foot, which had swollen to the point it was difficult to and uncomfortable to wear shoes.
So a word of advice from someone whose been 'once bitten'- pick up some tropical strength insect spray before leaving home, or be sure to pick some up soon after arriving. From this point forward in my journey I made sure to have a can of fly spray for my room together with insect repellent.
A Word About The Footpaths...
Navigation on foot in many parts of Bali (as I was to find out) can be a dangerous way to get around. Walking is a hazardous pursuit in Bali, pot holes, uneven paving and exposed drains are found at most every turn.
This makes walking risky and potentially highly dangerous particularly for those with poor vision or when walking around at night.
In April of 2016 I travelled to Thailand to undergo Femto-Lasik surgery on my eyes due to my declining vision - particularly at night. So, after almost six months after the surgery, I'm able to see really clearly, particularly at night. However the danger is when walking is that it’s easy to become distracted by any number of new and previously unseen things leaving pedestrians vulnerable when they take their eyes off the pathway.
For those with limited mobility or poor eyesight, I'd recommend staying close to your accommodation at night and leave exploring the streets on foot to be enjoyed during the daylight hours only.
Overall Destination Rating
Seminyak is a great place to explore a range of activities and attractions, most everything is just a short distance away.
For those who enjoy dining out, Seminyak's famous 'Eat Street' is the place to start. The dining standards here are high, so expect to pay the price for a fine dining experience. For those whose budget is more modest, there are a range of 'Warungs' and most everything in between.
If there is one meal I would recommend to any visitor it is to make the effort to seek out a restaurant serving the succulent Babi Guling - spit roast baby pork. One such restaurant, Babi Guling Pak Malen on Jalan Sunset Road, Seminyak is famed for its signature dish.
So much so, its considered a landmark in the area. Locals and expats alike arrive daily attracting curious visitors who also jump in on the action. The lunchtime rush occurs daily at lunchtime - so be patient as the payoff is worth the wait.
A standard serving for example costs around IDR30,000 - AUD$3.00 and includes spit-roasted pork, crunchy, crackling skin, satay and sayur urap vegetable mix with steamed rice. Beer and a range of soft drink is also available. The restaurant is open daily between the hours of 10.00am to 3.00pm.
So if entertainment and dining is your thing - then Seminyak should be on your list of places to stay when visiting Bali.