Canggu

We spent around a week in the south of Bali, in the chilled-out, surfer town of Canggu whilst we were extending our visas in Denpasar. Canggu is north of Kuta and Denpasar was only a 40 minute drive from the visa office, but it’s far enough away to escape the hoards of tourists.

We stayed at an amazing hostel called Canggu Surfing House which was only a 5 minute walk from Echo Beach. The hostel had free drinking water, a well-equipped kitchen and we had a 4 bed en-suite dorm to ourselves with ridiculously comfy beds for about £7 a night.

Canggu is a clearly touristy, but in a nice, laid back, almost undiscovered way. There are loads of amazing restaurants, cafes, health food shops, yoga studios and beaches which surprisingly weren’t crowded – it seemed to have more of an expat/local vibe. The town is spread out over several long roads, surrounded by rice paddies, greenery and beautiful street art.

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Finding veggie food was a doddle – everywhere had veggie and vegan options, smoothie bowls and salads galore. Most of the cafes and shops I saw advertised themselves as being healthy and sustainable e.g. not using MSG, plastic straws and palm oil. A few amazing places we ate were:

  • Shady Shack – a veggie restaurant with delicious breakfasts, smoothies and burgers.
  • Baracca – an authentic Italian, run by an Italian, with delicious pizzas and lots of vegan options.
  • The Living Kitchen – a clean eating restaurant with an extensive vegan menu.
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Bliss berry smoothie from Shady Shack. I loved how they didn’t use plastic straws.

The town of Canggu was pretty quiet and the roads weren’t that busy so we decided to hire mopeds from our hostel for a couple of days to explore. Hiring the peds only cost us £2.50 per ped per day and a tank of petrol costing just over £1 lasted us for a day!

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We headed north on the peds along the coast and on both days we managed to randomly find beautiful beaches with only a couple of people around, small villages and winding roads through rice paddies and over rivers.

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A very secluded black sand beach.

 

 

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One of the narrow tracks heading to the beach.

Ste and I did have a rather hair-raising experience on ‘the shortcut’ – a narrow paved path that cuts through several rice fields in Canggu, which is a shortcut between Berawa and Batu Bolong. The path is fine for peds, but as soon as a car gets involved, or worse 2 cars it becomes a nightmare. When we went on the shortcut, we managed to time it perfectly for rush-hour, amongst a lot of cars and mopeds. Half an hour and a few near misses later we made it across unscathed!

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‘The shortcut’ off-peak.

Apart from amazing scenery, beaches and food, Canggu also gave us our first night out in a month (we’ve changed)!! We accidentally stumbled upon an opening for a Rip Curl shop with a live band, photo booth and very cheap beer. When that started to die down, we made out way down to Old Man’s Bar – a renowned place in Canggu on the beach. A brilliant live Indonesian reggae band was playing which was followed by a DJ. The place was packed with tourists/expats and a lot of locals. I can safely say that we tore up the dance floor in a big way! After too many beers, we stumbled back along the moonlit beach to our hostel.

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Old Man’s in daylight.

 

 

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Old Man’s beach.

Another great place we found was Pretty Poison – a skate park/cinema/bar. It’s set in an old looking house, surrounded by rice paddies with a large skate bowl in the back. On the night we went down, they were showing ‘The Punk Singer’ – a film about Kathleen Hanna, a feminist musician and pioneer of the riot grrl movement. Every Monday they show a different film for free so it’s worth checking out.

For the last couple of days in Canggu, we decided to treat ourselves to a luxurious Airbnb villa (en-suites and king sized beds for all of us!), complete with a private pool, fruit trees and an amazing kitchen. Travelling in a group of four means that it’s affordable to stay in such places, which we wouldn’t have done otherwise.

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Canggu is somewhere where I could certainly see myself living for a few months and I’m sure I’ll be back in the not too distant future.

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