Should We Stay in Legian or Seminyak?
Whether you’re a first time visitor to Bali or this beautiful island is your home away from home, the choice of accommodation and location for your holiday can make a huge difference!
We often hear this question of whether to stay in Legian or Seminyak, and regardless of whether this is your first or hundredth Bali adventure it can be handy to consider some key points.
First and foremost; what kind of holiday do you want to have?
Are you looking for a chance to rest and revitalise from your hectic life, spend most of your time lounging by the pool? Or do you want to have adventures, get off the beaten track, and get amongst the hustle and bustle of Bali?
Identifying your essential holiday requirements can be a great first step to help you decide where to stay.
In general, people find Legian more action packed, real and gritty; it’s often referred to as the flashpackers paradise. Narrow, winding paved gangs (lanes) lined with street traders selling a huge variety of colourful merchandise characterise this part of Bali. Food of nearly every ethnicity abounds in the many restaurants that sit cheek by jowl with massage parlours and spas. It’s hard to be bored when hanging out in Legian.
Seminyak on the other hand, is like the more dignified older sister; characterised by gorgeous private villa accommodation, luxe beach bars, world class restaurants featuring international cuisine and breathtaking interior design. A stroll along one of the central thoroughfares will take you past plenty of big name international brands that have found homes here in Bali. It’s a little quieter, a little more upmarket, and a little more expensive than Legian. But you know what they say; you get what you pay for!
The second thing you might want to consider is; how many people are you travelling with and what size accommodation will you need?
For larger groups, such as multi-generational family parties or big groups of friends travelling together, you’ll probably want private space for each individual as well as some nice big areas in which the whole group can comfortably eat, relax, socialise and enjoy each other’s company. If this is the case, the large 4, 5 and 6 bedroom villas in Seminyak may be perfect for your needs.
For special occasion holidays such as a honeymoon, wedding, or family anniversary, the luxury private pool villa accommodation on offer in Seminyak will be perfect, particularly if you pick somewhere with a full range of facilities, 24 hour in-villa service, concierge and private chef.
Accommodation has a reputation for being a little cheaper in Legian, and certainly if you’re after a fun hostel or backpacking environment, you’ll find what you’re after here, although you can also find some slightly ritzier versions in the Seminyak area, like the funky pod accommodation. The Legian area offers some decent, cheap accommodation for couples or small family groups.
Another important aspect to ruminate on is the logistics of your group?
Are you a group of people who are up for self service? Do you want to eat out for every meal? Or do you want the fully serviced option and the capacity for being able to relax while being served meals and brought massages and pampering in the privacy of your villa?
Many of the better Seminyak private villas offer special services like traditional BBQs served poolside, or sunrise family yoga classes, children’s cooking classes and more; meaning that you don’t actually have to leave your villa, you can have the best of Bali brought to you – poolside, if you wish! These luxury villas generally have either an in-house spa or associated spa with fully trained expert therapists who can bring massage or other pampering to you in the privacy of your villa.
While in Legian you will be never be more than a short walk from interesting places to eat, your hotel or hostel can help you organise day trips to explore Bali and there’s a plethora of Beauty parlours offering therapeutic treatments, right on your doorstep.
What kind of nightlife are you after while on holiday in Bali?
Legian’s branching alleys are home to a variety of notable and unique bars, nightclubs and dining spots that stay open late and will always provide an evening to remember…
Try Bounty Discotheque; famous for its rave foam parties, tried and tested dance anthems and carefree vibe – the club is a Legian legend.Or Vi Ai Pi which features fashion shows and exotic dancers in an eclectic weekend agenda. One of the few venues in the area that offers free entry to all, come and sing along to a dazzling drag show or dance your heart out to the DJs mix of everything from electronic to trance.
For something a bit more laid back visit La Plancha Beach Bar and Restaurant. With large, colourful parasols on its beachfront, sunset on a beanbag here is a great way to start the night. When you feel a bit peckish, try some of the Spanish and barbequed grilled delights. La Plancha is home to regular live music events throughout the year.
Seminyak is home to some iconic, world famous scenesters; gorgeous places to see and be seen, with a great mix of excellent quality cuisine, stunning beachfront cocktail spots and high class bar and nightclub venues.
Top places to tick off your ‘must do when in Bali’ list are Ku De Ta and Potato Head; both beach clubs with all the requisite Balinese charm, stunning views over the Indian Ocean, fabulous cocktails, delicious food, soulful soundtrack and glam crowd.
When we fancy something a bit different, we get a kick out of the 1920’s flapper style atmosphere at the Plantation Grill. Featuring comfortable leather banquettes, marble tile finishes and incredible sea views, the vibe here is indulgent and quite luxurious. The house speciality is excellent quality dry aged meat and line caught seafood. Bring the whole family and indulge in the Feasting Menu. Or head up to the sling bar for some grown up fun with French inspired Supper Bites and cocktails.
Just a short walk from Seminyak beach is the colourful and vibrant Motel Mexicola, known fondly just as Mexicola by the locals. Renowned for its funky décor and fun vibes Mexicola is a great place to get your party started. With an impressive cocktail list, including an excellent selection of Mexican Tequilas and Cigars, a night at Mexicola will definitely be one you remember. Try the Tequila Express with El Jimador Reposado tequila, coffee liqueur, revolver espresso & gingerbread for an adrenalin pumping mix.
When we fancy a little European infusion in the tropics we head the Red Carpet for its impressive array of French Champagnes. The atmosphere is a little up market but always fun and a little bit sexy; think Paris and the Moulin Rouge. Located on the bustling Jalan Oberoi, you can’t miss this bar’s…well, Red Carpet entrance! Theatrical, vivacious and decadent, the Red Carpet Champagne Bar guarantees fun times.
Whatever your dream Bali holiday consists of, you will find it in either Seminyak or Legian. And truth be told, the two areas are but a short ride or drive away so it’s entirely possible to pick the option of quiet villa accommodation in glamorous Seminyak and pop out for a night or two on the town in Legian.
To recap, here are the top characteristics of the areas:
Flashpackers paradise, bustling, street traders hawking traditional Balinese wares, funky nightclubs, eclectic restaurants, laidback beachfront, good on a budget.
Glamorous, world class shopping and dining, luxury bars and beach clubs, gourmet dining, colourful beachfront, sophisticated atmosphere.