South Bali

Tanah Lot temple, Bali


One of the most popular areas of Bali is Seminyak. Here, you’ll find countless luxury resorts and high-end restaurants, bars and beach clubs. This is the place where people come to enjoy all of the above while avoiding the busyness of Kuta and other areas popular with backpackers.

Masceti Temple in Seminyak, Bali.
Masceti Temple in Seminyak.

Having said that, Seminyak is still very busy and noisy. One of the main streets, Jl. Petitenguet can be intimidating at first: hundreds of scooters riding even on the sidewalks, car or motorbike taxis stopping in the middle of the street and offering a ride, or people just trying to sell you something. And if you are not used to Bali, the smells, the smoke of incense and the heat can be overwhelming for the first couple of days. But once you get used to this, you start to see the beauty in Bali’s chaotic everyday life.

Seminyak is a good location to explore the south of Bali. From here, within 1 – 1.5hs you can drive to Tanah Lot, Nusa Dua, Jimbaran or Sanur where you would take a ferry to the nearby islands like Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Penida.

Seminyak Beach

A fairly open beach with a strong surf. It is very touristy but an easily accessible beach if you are staying in Seminyak. There are a few beach clubs like Ku De Ta and Potato Head that offer amazing services and are great places to spend the afternoon having drinks, awesome food and listening to great tunes.

Seminyak beach, Bali.

Tanah Lot

View of Tanah Lot temple, Bali.

This is a temple located on a small island but it is connected to the mainland when the tide is low. Located on the western shore it is a 1-hour-drive from Seminyak. The temple and the village around it is quite popular and busy, with lots of souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes. It is, however, a very beautiful location and the number of tourists shouldn’t discourage you from visiting it.

Street of Tanah Lot, Bali.

The alleys of the temple village offer a variety of opportunities to sight local culture through stalls of arts and crafts and even see Asian palm civets and try the famous luwak coffee.

Asian palm Civet in Bali

Tanah Lot is very popular at sunset and it’s probably much less crowded at sunrise.

The well-known scenic arch is located on the northern side and it’s a quick walk from the main complex. This seems like an even more beautiful view than the main temple.

Nusa Dua

A very exclusive resort area where you won’t see any of the Balinese culture but will definitely get a 5 star spa treatment. There are several beaches that are easy to walk to if you stay in one of the hotels here. Also it appears that exercising around Nusa Dua Beach and the Peninsula Island is a common occurrence amongst locals and tourists.

We visited Nusa Dua for some sunrise photography at this rocky lava coast:

The Waterblow at Nusa Dua.
The Waterblow offers stunning views to the east and the southern coast of Bali with views to Mt Agung. 

Getting to Nusa Dua from Seminyak is very easy and quick if it’s early in the morning. Before sunrise you can get here in about 40 minutes. Going back is a different story. It could take you over an hour and cost a bit more as it is not allowed to use ‘Grab’ or ‘GoJek’ services in this area. Either organise a return trip with these services beforehand, or ask for a taxi in one of the hotels nearby.

Nusa Dua

Pantai Tegal Wangi

Pantai Tegal Wangi

Located on the western clifftops of the Bukit Peninsula, next to Pura Tegal Wangi temple, there is a beautiful sunset spot overlooking the ocean and Pantai Tegal Wangi beach. If you happen to come here at sunrise, you will likely see only a couple of fishermen and have the whole place to yourself.

Where to Eat in Seminyak

  • Potato Head Beach Club
    • A very successful Aussie Beach Club, you will see why.
  • Cafe Organic
    • One of the first plant-based Aussie cafes in Bali, offering fresh, healthy vegan dishes with stunning presentations all sustainably.
  • Revolver Espresso
    • Yet another (awesome) Aussie cafe tucked away in a laneway. The Reuben sandwich is pretty spectacular.
  • Coffee Cartel
    • A cute boutique cafe (again, Aussie-owned).
  • Gardin Bistro
    • This European-style building encompasses a bistro and patisserie with a lovely tropical garden setting in the back.
  • Warung Eny
    • Perfect place to experience authentic food.