So after my brief time in Kuta, I headed to Seminyak. Seminyak was the first place where I knew I was going to be 100% solo. I had no old school friends waiting for me this time. Now I really was a solo backpacker, and I was terrified.
It didn’t help that I knew nothing about Seminyak. It hadn’t been on my itinerary until 24 hours ago, when I read that all of the hostels on the island of Gili Trawangan had closed, and so I needed to quickly find someplace else to stay while the Gili hostels sorted out whatever trouble they had run into with the locals.
Anyway, I headed to my accommodation, M Hostel, after it was recommended by a friend. At first, I was confused as hell when the taxi driver dropped me off outside a pharmacy and just pointed mutely at it while holding his hand out for the money. However, I decided to place my trust in him, and so I paid and headed into the pharmacy.
Once inside, the first thing that I noticed was that this pharmacy was nothing like a pharmacy back home. They sold Red Bull, cigarettes and alcohol. The second thing I noticed was that the taxi driver hadn’t been lying to me. At the back of the pharmacy was a set of glass doors with a sign that read ‘M Hostel this way.’
I followed the sign and found myself going down a corridor, followed by 2 sets of stairs, and then I arrived. I emerged outside into a beautiful garden complete with flowers, beanbags and a swimming pool. Young travellers just like me sat around a long table drinking beers and playing cards. A kitten ran around manically.
After the friendly staff checked me into my room, I sat on my bed, suitably impressed by how safe everything seemed. My experience with hostels was limited, but I knew that to have a keycard for each room, plus individual lockers big enough to fit backpacks in, was unusual.
I was also to find out that the staff cleaned the rooms every day (as well as changed the sheets, woo!), that the hostel’s kitchen cooked tasty and dirt cheap food, and that the free breakfast was to die for. After 4 months of travel in South East Asia, this hostel remains one of my favourites, and I cannot recommend it enough. Dorm prices start at around £7 per night.
After I’d settled into my new room and chatted to the two English girls that I was sharing with, I decided to grab some lunch from Cafe Seminyak, located conveniently next door. I settled with my first helping of traditional Indonesian food, a plate of fried noodles, or ‘mie goreng.’
After I was full to burst, I headed back to the hostel. On walking through the common area, I was still absolutely terrified of talking to anyone new, but I bit the bullet and walked over to the benches. However, at the last minute, I backed out and decided it was far too nerve wracking to sit with the group of people talking in German so opted to sit alone and fiddle with my hair instead.
It only took about a minute for someone, a German guy called Will, to come over and introduce himself. We made small talk, and were soon joined by one of his friends. Before long, I’d met everyone at the table and was feeling a lot more relaxed, helped along by huge bottles of Bintang of course!
Will told me that everybody was planning on going to see some famous German DJ perform at a venue called Hotel W, and because I had no idea what was what in Seminyak, I agreed to tag along.
Hotel W is FANCY. From the magnificent entrance, shrouded by trees, to the overpriced drinks, high ceilings and marble floors, everything about this place screams ‘money.’
After some time spent inside trying to look as cool as the beautiful deep house people, our group retreated to the plush leather sofas outside, where we sipped our expensive beers and got to know each other a bit better. W Hotel is not really my cup of tea but I had a great night nonetheless.
The next day I went to the beach with a group of boys that had been at W Hotel. They all wanted to surf, as Seminyak beach is famous for its huge waves, but I opted to read my book instead. When they emerged, sweaty and tired, we all grabbed some fried rice and chatted away happily. I also opted for a very strange ice lolly, but that’s another story.
That afternoon, two of the boys, Ross and Dan, were heading to Tanah Lot, the most visited and photographed temple in Bali, along with a Mexican girl and Coco the crazy Canadian. Of course I jumped at the chance to tag along!
Tanah Lot is a 30-45 minute taxi drive from Seminyak, and well worth a visit. When you get past the entrance, the walk to the temple itself is (of course) through a market full of souvenirs and holiday clothes. One highlight was a luwak coffee shop, complete with sleeping luwaks and hanging bats! After a good 20 minutes petting the luwaks, we made our way to the temple.
Tanah Lot itself is beautiful, and we were lucky enough to see it at sunset. Not only that, but we were also lucky enough to run into a Balinese man with a giant anaconda, who, for a small price, allowed tourists to hold it. Obviously this was one of the highlights of my entire trip.
After all that excitement, it was time for a night out, and so my new friends and I hit La Favela, a gorgeous (and pricey, as are most places in Seminyak) bar that combines exquisite interior design with contemporary r&b music, retro art and a perfect mix of locals and tourists.
The next day I left Seminyak for the beautiful shores of Uluwatu. However, I later returned to this cutesy beach town for a further three days of massages, sunbathing (sun loungers can be rented for £2 a day and come with a free drink of your choice!) and partying in La Favela. Seminyak may not have a great deal to offer in terms of sightseeing and backpacker friendly budget bars, but its friendly feel and vibrant atmosphere make it definitely worth a visit.