Black sands, sunsets, surf and wooden hut homestays.
After a tremendously long flight with a layover in China, leaving London on a Sunday and arriving on Tuesday into Denpasar, we headed straight to the West coast of Bali; Canggu. A place that is renowned for its beautiful black sand beaches, an abundance of greenery down every turning path, blooming rice fields, an extremely laid back way of living and of course a massive surfing culture.
The humble nature of the locals is what struck me at first, it really overwhelmed me in a beautiful way. Each individual you pass by seems to have a genuine interest in taking time to say hello and ask about your day, their humble nature and way of life is reflected through speech and gestures, even with the language barrier at times taking center stage the smiles and willingness were ever so present. Easily the one thing I loved about Canggu the most was the compassion and love that was openly expressed by everyone around.
Canggu for me was such a beautiful place to begin our reencounter. We were treated to sunsets which boasted colours throughout the spectrum, an abundance of nature and wildlife. We experienced the beauty of the West without venturing to the bigger and nearby, much more well renowned cities such a Seminyak & Kuta. I was more than ok with this as i flocked through the rice fields of Canggu and walked barefoot to the coffee shops.
Canggu had everything I wanted, it still really has that unbrushed hair and backpack feel to it. (Which quite frankly with the humidity high and 45Litre rucksack on my back I was more than ok with.) Surrounded by rice fields, clean air and plenty of food & coffee spots I felt at ease that the next few days would be exactly what I was looking for.
(Some photos of me totally in my element, dancing at sunset, on my first day in Bali)
Canggu is a surf haven, I got to take some lessons and much to my surprise on day one I was standing up and managed to ride some waves. For me surfing is an absolute must if you are in Bali and of all the beaches we visited I really think the beaches of Canggu are a great place to learn. Offering waves suitable for all levels, from the super beginners (but possible future stars) like myself to the pros (yes we ran into a few on land, and even had an instructor who previously was sponsored by Billabong). From sunrise to sunset the locals and the travellers are down on the black sands and most scooter bikes are equipped with an optional surfboard carrier. (If you would like our instructors contact don't hesitate to ask me below in the comments)
Daily scooter rental can cost you between 50.000 – 70.000 IDR per day, usually the place in which you are staying have great links as to where you can rent from if not from them directly.
Accommodation in Canggu, alike most places in Bali, there are endless options.
Whether an AirBnB, Bali HomeStay or Guest house, like the one below, there are many ways which allow you to have a much more local experience during your time here. By supporting local homestays over big hotels you are injecting back into the local economy which is always a great thing to take into account when using your privilege to travel.
Canggu has three main areas, Batu Bolong which is the main area, here you can find all of the bigger shops, busier bars, and wide array of restaurants. It’s a great spot for walking and stopping in one of the various coffee shops or little markets, if you love to be around the hustle bustle and people this could be your best pick.
Berawa, which was once a quitter area is now coming to life with every so often a new restaurant with both international & Balinese cuisine available, and some cute quaint boutiques opening. We loved cruising round the streets and checking out all of the quaint spots along the way. (Another great reason to get a scooter)
And finally where we decided to set up camp for the days we stayed in Canggu, Pererenan, it offered us some gorgeous sunsets and so close to the beach, you are staying amongst the rice fields and nature which is exceedingly peaceful, which I personally I loved, and to get back to the cool spots to wine and dine you are maximum 10 minutes away from Batu Bolong.
We stayed in Kubudiuma Villas Bali, gorgeous little wooden huts overlooking some rice paddies with a flowing stream, two pools and a great simple breakfast included.
At less than 3 minutes from the beach and a trail that meant passing endless fields full of cows and crops it was an idyllic and scenic place to stay in Canguu, and the area felt so right for us. It was cheap, quiet and beautiful to look at, exactly what we needed.
Overall for really chilling out on black sand beaches, learning to surf, and wandering from coffee shops to cool hipster spots to eat. Canggu is definitely on my list of places to visit in Bali. It offered us kindness, smiles and some true natural beauty, I wouldn’t stay here for more than a few days but I would definitely check it out and get your surf on in these waves made for all.
Photography: Gerardo Arteaga
Homestay: Kubudiuma Villas Bali