Someone asked me today if our trip to Bali seems like a bit of a dream, which to be honest it now does. Like a bit of heaven. I’ll be baking cupcakes for the school cake sale, or driving in traffic, or running on the treadmill, and suddenly I’ll remember the feel of warm turquoise water around my fingers, or the sight of green rice fields as far as the eye can see, or the interesting conversation I had with a Swiss girl one day in a taxi. Travel makes your memories richer, adds strands of colour, bursts of song, so that the soundtrack to your life becomes more vivid, and your imagination seems to stretch wider than it has ever before.
So in keeping that imagination going, I wanted to tell you all about our second destination on our Bali adventure: Canggu. This was the most surprising part of our trip as I hadn’t done much research on it and wasn’t expecting much. It’s a bit of a surf destination (which is why it was on the list), but I didn’t expect the incredible health cafes, the trendy boutiques and the unbelievable hotel. Plataran Canggu is one of the most low key, luxurious and tranquil places I’ve ever spent time in. The gardens were designed by a very well known landscape designer called Made Wijaya, who also designed gardens for the rich and famous, including David Bowie.
There is a river flowing through it, secluded villas with their own pools, fountains and ancient doors, little private nooks to rest in and a resident rooster who struts around with his harem of guinea fowls. Every detail is beautiful, and it was so wonderful to return from the hubbub of exploring the village to relax in these serene grounds.
And explore we did! On the one full day we had there, we rented a scooter that takes a surfboard on the side, got a local sim card and then attempted to find our way to the beach via GPS, while trying not to collide with anyone.
I felt so much more secure knowing that Gareth has spent a lot of time driving a scooter around Joburg and Cape Town – not sure I’d be able to drive one myself on those roads with confidence (especially when we kept seeing tourists limping around on crutches as they’d been in accidents!).
Gareth went for a long surf at Batu Balang beach, which actually felt quite similar to Muizenberg (we are very spoilt in South Africa with our incredible beaches by the way). After that we set off to explore the village of Canggu and had the most delicious coffee and smoothie at Crate Cafe, followed by some shopping and then an incredible lunch at Shady Shack. I could have eaten a meal there every day of our trip, it was so amazing. Gareth had the crimped noodles and I had this haloumi dish which I am still dreaming about.
After that we went off to Finn’s, which is this really fancy nightclub/bar on the beach. It’s very upmarket and reminded me of Las Vegas – not Bali! It was fun to soak up the vibe and watch the cool kids posing in their bikinis, but at R1000 minimum spend to sit on a lounger by the pool, we said no thanks to that and knew we weren’t going to stay long. We lurked by the bar a bit, swam in the pool, snapped a few pics and then decided to make our way home.
The rest of our time at Canggu was spent having a full body scrub at the hotel spa, going to the gym a few times (it’s amazing how much more you sweat in that climate!), and relaxing by the pool with a few Bintangs in hand (we stopped and bought our own beers at a little shop on the way home, rather than buying them from the mini bar at higher prices!). We also went to see some “traditional” textile making but it was a bit of a tourist trap for my liking.
Next it was time to get on a high speed ferry and head off to Nusa Lembongang island (which Gareth kept pronouncing wrong and making everyone laugh). Thanks for listening – and keep a lookout for two more instalments on our Balinese travels!