Not that many years ago, before the dawn of “Hipsters” and vegan burgers there were “Scarfies.” Scarfies liked to wear long, flowing, multi-coloured scarves as they floated in and out of Bohemian bliss in a land of never-ending sunshine and smiles, hence the name ‘Scarfie’ and Scarfies used to be drawn to places like Seminyak.
It was a place you could escape from the growing, narcissistic crowds of Kuta and Legian with a bong on a pushbike. A serene oasis of calm where like-minded souls could experience utopia without having to worry about making ends meet. It was what it was man.
Times have certainly changed, there’s no denying that and sadly, Scarfies are no more. It’s also much harder to define the borders where Kuta starts, Legian finishes and Seminyak begins.
What’s clear though is that Seminyak is the most popular area for holiday makers in Southwest Bali after Kuta and definitely the place to be if you like easy access to the chicest of restaurants, the edgiest of designer shops, the kitschiest of boutique hotels and the most happening of hopping clubs.
But Seminyak is not Kuta. There are significant differences.
For one, you won’t find the Australian “schoolie” crowd underage drinking and disregarding local laws and customs in Seminyak. No sir. That scene is frowned upon. The vibe and feeling here is like nowhere else, especially not Kuta! It’s much more geared to the upper-end of the market, to those who like to flaunt their success and live large while looking hip in thongs and strategically-ripped designer T’s. Shoestring is not a popular budget category here.
Its attractiveness, however, is a double-edged sword as Seminyak is now both expensive and busy compared to days gone by. This has made some segments of the expat community interested in escaping madding crowds and living a Bohemian Bali lifestyle set their sights further afield to places like Berawa, Batu Bolong, Babakan and Pererenan and as they do so they’re selling assets in Seminyak, which in turn, is bringing prices into a more realistic realm.
This is of significance for those of you interested in leasehold investments, especially in the short-term holiday rental space because there are now more opportunities to engage. Let’s not forget that Seminyak is a veritable tourist magnet and it’s the tourists who create a significant revenue stream through the villa rental business.
Those privately run villa operations seem to fill rooms with few marketing efforts and they still manage to average 75-80% growth per year.
Prime areas of freehold land on main roads have been transacting at around IDR 3 billion per are (that’s steep in anyone’s book) while ‘normal’ plots are ranging between IDR 1.2 – 2.5 billion per are.
Leasehold land is fetching around IDR 12 – 25 million per are per year, but be warned ‘prime’ leasehold locations can come in at twice that price!
As expensive as this sounds (because it is in a lot of cases) it is worth noting that prices are correcting and they have adjusted to growth making this a very good time to buy and rest assured there are some good deals to be had out there.
They say location is king and in this regard Seminyak rules the roost. Everything is close by: beaches to relax and surf (Seminyak and Double 6); clinics and hospitals (BIMC and Siloam); International schools (the Australian International School, Sunrise School and Blue Dolphin Play School); proximity to major transport hubs, easy access to ferry terminals and the island’s main International Airport and of course, a plethora of places to wine and dine including KuDeTa, Potato Head, W Hotel, Mrs. Sippy, Peppers, Ultimo, Char-Char and Chandi and the list, it seems, grows by the day.
Seminyak is one of those places that tick the ROI and Lifestyle boxes at the same time (if that’s even possible.)
If you’re looking for ROI, Seminyak is perfect. Hotels, Villas and Airbnb’s can average 80% occupancy without much effort. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s difficult not to find a rave review on TripAdvisor that doesn’t include the name ‘Seminyak’ somewhere. It gets great publicity and that draws even more people.
If you’re not here to do business, if you’re rich and not really famous but you like the lifestyle of being both, Seminyak is a place you’ll just fit right in. You can rub shoulders with movers and shakers over amazing cocktails and stunning sunsets and gourmet food.
Maybe the Scarfies belong to a bygone time, but that sense of being able to feel good about yourself and be as mysterious or enigmatic as you choose is still alive and kicking in Seminyak.