I made it to Bali baby! This trip has been a long time coming. Ever since my last trip to South East Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam) I have been dying to come back to this side of the world. Bali has been on the top of my bucket list and as more and more beautiful photos of it filled my Instagram feed I knew I needed to get here ASAP. My family all agreed that this would be the next family holiday destination. My brother, Nic, decided to opt out of this trip and stay home in Cape Town. By a series of interesting events (UCT changing their holiday schedule, and some v expensive plane ticket changes) it worked out that my bestie, Amy could join us on our trip to Bali. (My boyfriend Luke is on a family holiday in Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park, Ponte D’Oura in Mozambique and the Drakensberg. For anyone wondering why he isn’t joining us.). I decided to come over a week early and spend some time doing some solo travel in Canggu and then doing my PADI open water scuba diving course on the island of Gili Trawangan. My mom, dad and Amy are then joining me for two weeks through Ubud, Bingin, Nusa Lembongan and Gili Air.
I had a bit of a hellish journey getting here. I flew Singapore airlines and very tragically a man on my flight suffered from a heart attack while in the air. He received CPR while the plane was redirected to land in Medan, Indonesia for him to receive medical assistance. But then we were suddenly routed back to land in Singapore. We were told he had unfortunately passed away. It was very traumatic and we were all very shaken. During all of this there was quiet a bit of turbulence and I began feeling very sick and ended up vomiting on the plane. When we landed in Singapore a medical investigation took place before we were allowed off the plane. This resulted in me running around the airport in a hot sweaty mess before finding my gate and realising I had missed my connecting flight. I had to be rebooked onto another flight to Bali and proceeded to be sick on that one. All this without a wink of sleep. So safe to say that when I did eventually arrive in Bali I was very very relieved my long haul travel was finally over.
On to a more positive note… my awful journey here has most certainly been made up for by my incredible experience in Canggu. I was collected from the airport by a lovely man named Gede who has since become my personal driver. I just whatsapp him and he charges a cheap fee to take me to where I need to go. The perfect solution for me as someone who is not willing to try driving a scooter by myself again (read my Pai blog for what happened last time). We chatted easily and so began my first introduction to the kind, gentle and friendly nature of the Balinese. I learned how each home in Bali has its own temple for worship of the Hindu gods. I learnt about how each morning they place an offering of rice, flowers, sweets and cigarettes in a bamboo leaf with burning incense on the pavement in front of their house. This is so that the gods may protect their families.
I arrived at my humble abode for the next three days. I am staying at Nudel Room&Cafe in a bamboo hut. Its incredibly rustic and I am so happy for that. A little hut on stilts enclosed by bamboo blinds and curtains. Simple and perfect.
I arrived at about lunch time on my first day. I didn’t think I’d be able to keep myself awake but after a nice cold shower (Bali is hot and humid as, btw) I felt ready to go find some food and have a little walk around. I stumbled upon Oma Jamu’s vegan cafe for a delicious mushroom burger. The restaurant overlooked rice fields and palms which was just so lovely and peaceful. I continued on my little walk and found the Chillhouse yoga and surf retreat where the walk in classes cost R120. It was so beautiful and peaceful so I grabbed a schedule for the next few days.
That was all I could manage for the first day other than to pop down to a local Warung for some Nasi Goreng for dinner (Indonesian fried rice with chicken, veggies and a fried egg).
After a very solid 12 hour sleep I was ready to make the most of my time in Canggu. I started my day with an incredible vinyasa class at The Chillhouse. Things got a bit hot and sweaty because of the humidity but it was the most incredible setting to stretch out my body and focus my mind. The studio is half open to the outside making you feel like you’re right in nature with the birds and the trees.
Feeling so good and refreshed I popped over to the adjoining cafe, Cassava, for breakfast. I munched on my delicious layered smoothie bowl, took in the cute decor, had a swim in the lovely pool and sun tanned on the deck chairs.
I walked down the main street and experienced exactly what everyone has told me about Canggu. Every few metres you come to an incredible beautifully decorated cafe with the most delicious healthy (usually vegan) food. I had a list of places I wanted to visit and have tried my best to just eat my way through Canggu. I first came to Mad Pops ice cream. They make vegan ice cream from the homemade coconut milk. I got the rainbow flavour and it was delicious!!!
I continued on the the Love Anchor market which is filled with jewellery, woven bags, beautiful clothes and sarongs.
By now my tummy was ready for lunch so I made my way to Poke Poke. I enjoyed the Aloha Bali Poke bowl in amongst the palm tree wallpaper and flamingos on the walls.
Then it was beach time. The sand is black from the volcano and the waves are filled with surfers bobbing up and down on their boards. I just enjoyed the sunshine and read my book. Sunset is a major feature at Canggu Beach. I walked along and witnessed the big red ball of fire sink into the ocean while munching on a beach braaied mielie. What an incredible first full day in Canggu!
My second day here began with another yoga class. This one was longer and a bit more strenuous. We played around a bit with inversions towards the end and I did my first proper headstand! It’s been such a treat practicing in this beautiful space and flowing to the sounds of nature.
I walked down to Give Cafe for a belated breakfast. Give is the sister cafe to Kynd Community in Seminyak. Kynd community has become so popular and successful that they were able to open Give cafe where 100% of the profits are donated to Bali based charities. The decor is so fun and quirky with pastel coloured rainbows all over the walls. I ordered the unicorn pancakes and spent the better part of the morning blogging in this beautiful space.
I said I would eat my way through Canggu and I certainly have! Next I strolled on over to the Shady Shack. Set next to the rice fields and in a jungle of indoor plants this cafe is a green haven! I had my best meal here: the Big Boss vegan burrito. A green wrap filled with bbq jackfruit, beans, chickpeas, kale, cabbage, guacamole, quinoa and vegan cheddar. Man oh man it was so good!
For the past year I haven’t eaten any beef or pork, and since the beginning of this year I have cut out red meat all together. This started as a step towards a more sustainable lifestyle and has shifted to just feeling better without so much meat and enjoying eating veggies and plant based goodness more. It’s been really cool eating mostly vegan on this trip so far (accidentally in fact, it’s just that most restaurants here are plant based and vegan anyway).
That’s all for now folks! Canggu has been the best possible introduction to Bali and I can’t wait to explore more of this little slice of paradise. tomorrow I ferry over to Gili Trawangan to begin my scuba diving course the next day. Get ready for some tropical vibes and underwater pics!