***Disclaimer: I was a guest of Urban Adventures on their VW Kombi Spa Safari tour to Seminyak spas. All opinions are my own.***
When it comes to Seminyak, Bali, I think of one thing: spas.
Yes, the whole island is known for its spas, but there’s something about the upscale-yet-affordable aspect of Seminyak spas that makes them so (deservedly) popular.
Of course, just setting out for a simple spa day in Seminyak isn’t exactly my style. If I’m going to experience the best spas in Seminyak, I’m going to go all in.
But how the heck are you even supposed to go “all in” when it comes to spas?
Turns out, Urban Adventures has you covered.
When I first read the description for the VW Kombi Spa Safari, I knew it was the perfect tour for me. An entire day getting chauffeured around in a sick, custom VW Kombi to some of the best spas in Seminyak, complete with lunch and a unique healing ceremony performed by a female priest?
Sign me up.
So I did. And let me tell you: it was everything it promised to be.
EXPERIENCING THE BEST SEMINYAK SPAS: GETTING STARTED
The excitement was palpable as I pulled up to Ku De Ta, one of the swankiest beach clubs in Seminyak and the meeting spot for the tour that morning.
Unlike most tours in Bali, you do have to make your own way to the meeting point of the tour, rather than getting picked up at your hotel or villa.
I had a scooter, so the short half-hour ride from my home base in Canggu was no problem. But if you do need transportation, Urban Adventures recommends using Blue Bird Taxis. Alternatively, you can use Grab or Gojek for a cheap ride on the back of someone’s scooter, if that’s more your style.
On the other hand, like most things in Bali, the organization wasn’t exactly the most on point of all time. Actually finding the tour was a bit of a trial (just go up to the hostess of Ku De Ta and ask for Urban Adventures), and the guide was a bit late. But after a bit of a rocky start, the rest of the tour went off without a hitch.
Once we were all assembled (the guide Julie, the one other tour participant Kenneth, and I), we made our way outside to jump in our ride for the day: our sick, suped-up, custom VM Kombi, complete with a mini-fridge, wifi, and AUX cords for the 10-speaker sound system. Talk about pimp my ride!
Then, it was off to our first stop of the day…
MASSAGE AT SPA VENUS
It’s not a spa day in Bali without indulging in a heavenly massage, so that was how we started our day on the spa safari.
As we stepped out of the Kombi upon arrive at Spa Venus at Kubu Villas, we were both struck by just how quiet it was. We hadn’t gone far, so we were definitely still in the middle of Seminyak-a city which, like every other city in Bali, is plagued by sounds of roosters crowing and 10,000 motorbikes in traffic-and yet it was like we had stepped into a completely different world. It was so perfectly serene, and definitely put us in the right mindset for relaxation.
Stepping into the spa, we were greeted with glasses of water (necessary in the Bali heat) and spa menus. Since the actual spa treatments aren’t included in the tour price, we were able to choose from whatever treatment we wanted, which I really liked.
Kenneth and I were both pretty immediately drawn to the 90-minute deep tissue massage (thanks, back problems that started at like age 16), and let me tell you… we both made a great choice.
Treatment chosen, I was led into my luxe private treatment room for a short foot ritual before being left to disrobe and get comfortable on the massage table.
Then, it was 90 minutes of pure bliss.
Let me tell you. I indulged in a LOT of massages in Bali (because heck, why not get a massage a week when they start at $10/hour?), and this one wasn’t just the best massage I had in Bali, it was the best massage I’ve had in my entire life. I almost fell asleep. My back felt like it was 6 months old again. I was transported to heaven.
If you get one massage in Bali, make it at Spa Venus. Seriously.
After the massage, I was led back out to the lobby (this time floating on air) for a refreshing cup of ginger tea-the perfect cap of a perfect treatment.
And we were only just getting started!
LUNCH AT THE OASIS RESTAURANT AND SPA
Next up: lunch. Because you can’t be pampered on an empty stomach, right?
We didn’t have to walk far to get to lunch, either-it was right on site at the hotel restaurant.
What I loved best about lunch (included in the tour price) was that it was both healthy and filling, a balance which is usually the bane of my existence.
Kenneth and I both went for the fish, and both opted for fruit plates for dessert, as the only dessert options had dairy in them and we both had to avoid it for various different reasons. All of the food was delicious, and the perfectly serene setting made it all the more enjoyable.
After lunch, it was time for the part of the tour I was most excited for (and the reason I think that you should take this tour over trying to DIY your own spa safari): a traditional healing ceremony with a female Hindu priest.
Not only was this an incredibly intimate, spiritual experience that, honestly, money can’t pay for, the fact that it was led by a female priest, of whom there are few in Bali, made it all the more special.
We donned sarongs and sashes before heading into her home’s temple, where we sat cross-legged on the floor to meditate.
I’m not really a mediation person, so this part was definitely hard for me, but doing my best to clear my mind definitely helped me embrace the entire experience. We were poked, prodded, and pulled at, had water dripped on our heads, rice placed on our foreheads, and string bracelets tied to our wrists. We also made wishes, closed our eyes, and drank an entire coconut to seal the deal. Throughout the whole process, I didn’t really know what was happening, but, strangely enough, it felt like it was working.
At the end of it all, she asked me (through our guide Julie), whether my stomach wasn’t feeling good. My mouth dropped open just a tad. I had accidentally eaten dairy the previous day, and my guts were definitely unhappy. How she knew that is a mystery to me.
Whether you’re religious or not, it was an absolutely invaluable cultural experience that really opened my eyes to the way religion works in Bali. And I also left feeling better than I came in, so healing definitely happened.
THE SHAMPOO LOUNGE
Our last stop on our spa safari was at The Shampoo Lounge: an upscale wash & blow-dry lounge in Seminyak. While not the kind of frivolity that I would normally indulge in, after a day of massage oils and holy water getting in my easily-dirtied hair, it was just the pick-me-up I needed. Plus, who doesn’t love having their hair washed by someone else? It’s the best part of getting your hair cut.
I went for the basic wash & blow-dry, but they have several more involved packaged as well as keratin treatments, mani-pedis, and more. For the guys, there’s also barber services. Again, your treatment isn’t included in the tour price, so you can pick whatever you want!
With my hair bouncy and perfect, it was sadly time for our tour to come to an end. We were brought back to Ku De Ta in our sick Kombi and then said goodbye. Though if I hadn’t had a barbecue to make it to, I definitely would have stayed for sunset drinks!
WHY GO ON A SAFARI OF SEMINYAK SPAS?
I absolutely loved going on this Spa Safari with Urban Adventures. Not just because of the pampering (although that part was definitely nice), but because of the cultural experience I was able to have thanks to our local guides.
You can go to spas in Seminyak on your own without a problem. You can visit Spa Venus and the Shampoo Lounge and get those same treatments. But without the awesome local guides & local knowledge that Urban Adventures is all about, you can’t experience a healing ceremony performed by one of Bali’s only female priests. And that is an experience that you will never forget.
So go on the spa safari for the spas, yes. But really, go on it for the cultural experience and knowledge that you’ll leave with. You can’t find that anywhere else.
How much does the VW Kombi Spa Safari cost?
The VW Kombi Spa Safari costs $99/person. You can book your tickets through Urban Adventures’ website. Use code ADDIE for 10% off!
What does the tour include?
The tour includes a local English-speaking guide, transport to each of the locations on the spa safari in a super rad, custom VW Kombi, mineral water, lunch with juice or a soft drink, and a spiritual healing session with one of Bali’s only female Hindu priests.
What does the tour NOT include?
The tour does NOT include the spa services or treatments that you choose at Spa Venus and The Shampoo Lounge. While I would like to see this included in the future for convenience sake, I did like that this allowed you to choose whichever treatment you wanted at each spot, rather than being stuck with just 1 or 2 options like you would be if it was included in the price.
The cost also does not include additional food and drink or tips for the guide.
Where does the tour meet?
The VW Kombi Spa Safari meets at the front desk of Ku De Ta in Seminyak, Bali.
How do I get to the meeting point?
If you have a scooter, there is scooter parking on the premises.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE VW KOMBI SPA SAFARI
Although there were a few things I might change, I really, truly enjoyed my time on the Spa Safari with Urban Adventures, and highly recommend it if you ever find yourself in Bali! It’s the perfect way to experience the famous Seminyak spas while also getting a culture experience and the opportunity to chat with your local guide and learn even more about the culture of Bali.
Don’t forget to use code ADDIE for 10% off when you book through the Urban Adventures website!