ADVANCE WARNING…….. THERE WILL BE LOTS OF PHOTOS OF GORGEOUSNESS INCLUDED IN THE FOLLOWING POST!
Hey guys! Sorry for the delay in posting! October has completely flown by and I can’t believe November is here already!
Some of you will have seen from my Insta account that I jetted off last month for just over a week of bliss in Bali, Indonesia! It was one of the most relaxing, inspiring trips I’ve ever taken and just completely and utterly different to anywhere I’ve ever been before.
I was invited to join my close friends, A and M (thanks guys!), who went to Bali for the first time last year and LOVED it so much they decided to go back again this year. Despite it being a killer 25 hours away from NYC and not having all that much vacation time left, I decided I had to take them up on their awesome offer!
And I’m so glad that I did. Bali is such a beautiful (that word doesn’t even do it justice), diverse country and the people are warm and seemingly happy all the time! There’s something for everyone in Bali – temples, beaches, jungle, delicious food, spirituality, yoga, bars, cocktails and monkeys, lots of monkeys! But more on that later!
A did an amazing job of finding us two awesome Air BnB villas to stay in during our time in Bali. The first one in Canggu, on the southern coast, was heavenly…..
It was a huge, light and airy two storey, three bedroom home. Most homes in Bali have open style living quarters like this that open right onto the garden and pool….
I was lucky enough to have the entire first floor to myself! I absolutely loved waking up to the wonderful views of rice paddies and lush vegetation every morning, as well as the dawn chorus from all the wildlife – it was so tranquil and soothing, and felt as it we were in the middle of nowhere! Which was just what I needed!
I felt like Bali was a welcome assault on the senses. Everything around us seemed as though it was suddenly in high definition – the colours were so much more vivid, the noises were loud and surreal, the nature and wildlife completely unbelievable. If I’m honest it really helped me re-balance after a crazy year of work, a new job, moving to NYC and socialising way too much!
Canggu (pronounced Chen-gu) is in the south of Bali, a bit further on from the lively, more busy resorts like Kuta and Seminyak but still under an hour’s drive from Denpasar airport. Canggu is a quieter, smaller village with stunning beaches and amazing surf, making it a bit of a hippie, bohemian paradise! As well the beaches, there are sprawling rice fields and tropical plantlife as well as beautifully built houses and temples everywhere you look.
And statues like this one on every corner….! The local women would leave offerings on these statues and on the sides of the road every day, sometimes multiple times a day. We even had a lovely lady who let herself into our villa and would leave one by the pool every morning! You know when one has just been placed there, as they leave a little incense burning in it – so lovely!
I’m so glad A and M decided to find a place in Canggu this year after being based in Seminyak last time they visited. We headed into Seminyak a couple of times and whilst its great for a night out, Canggu felt more authentic – there weren’t as many late night bars – or bars in general. Everything is geared towards early mornings, surfing and a healthy lifestyle. But don’t worry – you can still easily find a drink if you want one!
A picked a fabulous spot for my first dinner in Canggu, JI Terrace – the sushi was to die for (I am so sad I didn’t get a photo but we were ravenous and devoured it before I could even think to!) and the white wine sangria went down far too easily!
Either come early on and bag a seat outside to watch the sunset or soak up the atmosphere inside at this table I spotted, how cute is it?!
One of our favourite healthy finds in Canggu was Rise and Shine Cafe. Such a cool, cute little spot a ten minute stroll from our villa with some fabulous breakfast options and, no joke, THE BEST coffee we had whilst in Bali! Makes me want one right now, just thinking about it…..
We loved the food and coffee so much, we visited a couple of times whilst we were in Canggu. And the staff were so lovely as well!
Fresh, tasty and filling breakfast burritos, smoothie and acai bowls all washed down with heaps of delicious iced coffee.
This was my favourite out of the bunch – gooey cinnamon banana french toast…..dreamy! Even A, who’s not all that keen on bananas loved it!
Two of the best days of my entire life so far were spent at Karma Beach Club in Ungasan near Uluwatu. This place is honestly my idea of heaven on earth!!! Just look at it! You have to take a cable car from the top of the resort down to the beach, through vibrant green cliffs. And you get to watch this vista slowly come into sharper focus as you descend…..!
I love a luxurious, lazy day on a beach and this one is pretty much perfect. It’s a small, fairly exclusive beach – attached to a resort but you can pay for daily access – with the clearest blue green ocean and powdery white sand. There are awesome rocks to climb on and loads of coral from the reef that washes up to find as you stroll along the sand!
Whilst it does feel exclusive, that’s more down to the fact that there aren’t many people around rather than it feeling pretentious. The music is chilled out and not too loud that it interferes with the sound of the ocean and the staff are perennially happy (I guess I would be too if this was my office) so nothing is too much trouble. Food during the day was top notch, we had the most beautiful lunch on our first day there but weren’t as thrilled with the dinner, so would suggest you find somewhere else for the evening. Cocktails were good and between the three of us we managed to work our way through most of the menu!
If you get there early you get to savour the view and the vibe all by yourself – honestly amazing!
Saying goodbye and taking the cable car up and away was hard….. very hard! Although it’s a bit of a splurge – especially in comparison to everything else in Bali which is so cheap – I’d totally recommend a day or two at Karma Beach as a treat. It ‘s so good for the soul!
After our second day at the beach and some great research on A’s part, we headed to Single Fin’s – a really cool surf cafe/ bar/ roof terrace in Uluwato and about a 15 minute drive from Karma Beach. A had read it was THE place to go to watch the sun go down. I really loved this place from the moment we arrived. It was busy but despite not having a reservation, we managed to get an awesome little table on one of the roof terraces looking out onto this view…..
After a day in the sun and in paradise at Karam Beach, we didn’t think it could get much better but clearly, when in Bali – it can! I’ve been lucky enough to see some totally breathtaking sunsets in some picture perfect places, but this one honestly tops it for me. Watching the sun cast its last rays onto the huge expanse of ocean in front of us, with loads of tiny surfers floating around watching too, was pretty unforgettable.
As all sunsets do, it happened far too quickly and unfortunately my photos don’t do it justice at all but I hope you a get a sense for what we were so lucky to experience.
The whole day was magical. I feel most at peace when I’m by the sea (like mother, like daughter!) so it was peaceful, relaxing yet at the same time so re-energising. And I was lucky enough to enjoy it with such special friends.
We also visited a holy temple, as you must do when you visit Bali! This one was close to Karma Beach so we decided to stop by on our way. We were given purple robes to tie round our waists before we entered and were warned to be careful of the mischieveous monkeys who roam the grounds!
I was expecting one large temple-looking building but in fact it was a huge, sprawling complex – again with magnificent views – with many smaller structures and statues dotted around the grounds.
This was just one of many incredible monuments we passed by and one I particularly loved.
I totally fell in love with Canggu during my time there. It has such a relaxed vibe you can’t help but to slow down, de-stress and even re-evaluate your life priorities a little. After a few days there, I was feeling happy in myself and in my soul, grateful for wonderful friends and excited to travel inland to the jungle!
Stay tuned for part two of my Bali adventures in Ubud!
Where else we went in Canggu worth knowing about:
Finns Beach Club – liked it here, not as beautiful as Karma Beach but more of a fun party vibe beach club
The Lawn – we went for drinks in the evening which was lovely but you really need to go during the day to soak up the beach vibes – definitely on my list to re-visit next time!
Dandelion – one of my favourite restaurants, traditional Indonesian food in a beautiful setting with bunnies, yes bunnies!!! running around the place!
Motion Cafe – really good healthy, vegan friendly cafe attached to a fitness studio
Little Flinders Cafe – surprisingly great spot for a casual dinner, the Tom Yum soup was delicious!
A – am I missing any others?!