Moving swiftly along from my stay in Ubud, Canguu was about an hour and a half’s drive. Weaving through the streets of Bali, and passing different landscapes, I can only truly describe Canguu has a place that I feel is a personification of who I am – a perfect mix of a coastal town with food that fits every palette, and streets that are alive with the whizz of cars and motorbikes.
While I’ve covered my Ubud trip in my vlog, Canguu really does have a place in my heart because of how ‘at home’ I felt here. From walking the streets in exploration to the food I found myself experiencing, here’s what my time in Canguu looked like.
While this was meant to be a trip with my sister, she sadly never came along with me. At the time, I was in charge of sorting out accommodation for us in Ubud and she was in charge of doing the same in Canguu.
I had booked us a Suite at Adil Villa and Resort through Booking.com. My sister had chosen a room in what is described on AirBnB as a Boutique Hotel but called Villa Soul.
If you aren’t on AirBnB yet, and want to get R875 ZAR off on your first trip, click here and save.
Thank goodness I decided to keep this booking because, as hard as it was to find (because it’s located on side road that you can easily miss on Google Maps), it was also located within walking distance from little supermarkets, and variety of restaurants and clothing stores.
One can’t help but fall in love with the Balinese style that this AirBnB exudes – bamboo furniture pieces with a minimalist style and neutral colour palette. I loved the openness of this place, with a pool that’s perfect for night time dips and and casual reads on the outdoor gazebo-style sofa. Much like Adil Villa and Resort, the kitchen and eating area is also outside so you’ll definitely enjoy breakfast here before starting your day.
The total amount for this AirBnB for my 3 nights was R2400 (it was just under R800 per night to stay at this AirBnB) and some of the key features I enjoyed about this place included:
- Affordability: again, this was within my budget, even thought breakfast was excluded in the price
- Location: as someone who wasn’t about to use motorbikes to get around, the places I did visit in Canguu were all walking distance from this house
- Free and reliable WiFi
- Large room with a king size bed, aircon and the loveliest linen I’ve slept on
- Minimalist, eco-friendly style
- That stunning, large painting in the kitchen area!
Much like Ubud, and I guess all of Bali, motorbikes are the primary mode of transport in Canguu. The AirBnB I stayed at even had motorbikes that you could rent on request.
I will say that I found that there were more cars here than in Ubud. The streets of Canguu was a lot more filled with cars and bikes everywhere, so I needed to be extra vigilant when walking on the road (because side walks don’t really exist here).
The only time I really needed to be driven around was actually when I left Ubud to come to Canguu, and when I left Canguu to go to the airport 3 days later. From Ubud to Canguu, I paid IDR 250 000 while from Canguu to the airport, I paid IDR 200 00 – all through the same driver that I used in Ubud.
Again, things are pretty central and within walking distance here. I did make an attempt to go to the beach from where I was staying, but walking in the Bali heat was not something I was up to on that particular day – you may want to get a driver, or stay somewhere closer. Either way, bikes or your feet will transport you around here mainly.
So, unlike Ubud where I was doing something different almost everyday, Canguu was where I took a bit of a backseat and felt the need to rest more.
Wednesday 19 February was Galungan Day – a Balinese holiday that celebrates the victory of dharma over adharma (the triumph of good over evil). The entire island is busy with festivities and celebrations on the day, which meant that a number of stores were closed and I couldn’t do certain activities because families are often spending time together with the festivities.
So while I never really did much in terms of getting busy, I made sure not to leave Bali without getting a traditional Balinese massage. I got this done on Thursday morning, the morning that I was leaving. I booked this 1 hour experience on AirBnB. I paid R182 for a full body Balinese massage that included a combination of reflexology and aromatherapy. The great thing about this experience was that it was done in the comfort of the AirBnB that I was staying at; so they can come to you, whether you’re staying at a hotel, villa or AirBnB.
To compensate for the lack of activities, I went a little more all out on the food than in Ubud. Without question, every day I found myself eating out and visiting local markets to buy snacks and fresh fruit for breakfast meals.
The first place I encountered was a Nordic-inspired restaurant called Copenhagen. It’s located right in the heart of Canguu and has a Scandinavian vibe in terms of its decor and menu (even though it still serves up Balinese food). If you’re someone who enjoys simple food, then this place is for you – from tapas and salads to open sandwiches and desserts, the menu is customisable to suit your taste buds. I settled on Honsesalat (Chicken & Asparagus on Danish Rye) and a Kale Salad with Beetroot, Hummus and Tempeh.
Lucid Dreams is more of an open view bar than a restaurant, with an artistic and retro style to it and a large mural on the wall that acts like an infamous art piece. I didn’t any of the alcoholic drinks while I was here, but did have a crispy chicken meal for dinner. One thing I can say about Balinese cooking is that any kind of meat that’s “crispy” is honestly delicious!
I was looking for a smoothie place to have breakfast, but when I saw Funky Pancakes, I was intrigued by the name and vibe that it seemed to be giving off. This also happened to be the only place that was open for business on Galungan Day, so pancakes for breakfast was really one of the few options I had.
The menu is designed in a way where you pick and choose what you want with your pancakes. I wish I could remember what I specifically decided on that day, but mine came out as doughnut-looking pancakes with melted butter and icing sugar on top. This was deliciously accompanied with a cappuccino. I will say that what I had wasn’t as filling as I wish it was; I think you probably need to add extra bits and bobs to really make this a filling meal. But if you’re a fan of funk and soul music, this is a prime spot for both solo breakfast dates or brunch with your fellow travel friends.
Equal part cafe and organic store, Bali Buda was probably the healthiest place I ate at in Canguu. They provide wellness and health products – from nuts, seeds and pastas, to skincare and household products – and also have a cafe (which is upstairs in the Canguu branch). As a health store, everything that they offer is 100% natural and homemade, and there really is something for everyone to enjoy here.
For my dinner, I opted for the Purple Sweet Potato Soup, which was IDR 39 000. Oh my goodness, this was one of the best soups I have ever had! Yes, it seemed odd to have purple soup but it was so wholesome and perfectly seasoned (the accompanying side of herbed smashed peas was right for this) and such a pleasurable meal to have despite the humid evening weather. I was really satisfied with this soup and would recommend you try it as well.
Known as the sister store to the more famous Kynd Community , coming to Give Cafe on my final day in Bali was the perfect ending to my trip. I had been following this cafe on Instagram and knew that I had to come here not only for that Instagram-worthy image, but to also show support for what this store stands for.
While being a vegan cafe (which is in walking distance to the AirBnB I was staying at), 100% of their profits go towards the people and places that need it the most. While I was there in February, they were donating their proceeds to the Jakarta Floods and Australian Fires – something that I genuinely admire about this cafe, and was happy to put my money towards a good cause.
But aside from that, Give Cafe also serves a great range of food that’s similar to Kynd Community. There are some differences (like you won’t get to spell words on your smoothie bowls here), but the quality was still high for the berry smoothie bowl that I had ordered.
Staying Safe as a Solo Traveler
As a woman walking the streets of Canguu, I still felt as safe as I did when I was in Ubud. My AirBnB had a quiet time between 10pm and 7am that we needed to adhere to, and the only danger I really felt had more to do with getting knocked over by a motorbike on the road.
As always, I think that you do need to practice being safe for your own piece of mind. While there may be a quiet time from 10pm, you probably shouldn’t do something out of the ordinary that could put you in a position of harm. Like I mentioned in my previous post, no place in the world is 100% safe, so do exercise caution.
My time in Bali may have been a short one, but it was enough for me to finally explore life outside of South African borders, and to immerse myself in someplace new. Whether you are a solo traveler, or planning on going with someone, I certainly would recommend adding Bali onto your bucket list.
As I finally get to tick it off, I hope you find this post helpful in some shape or form. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any other questions about my trip that I didn’t answer in my current posts.
Until the next adventure!
NOTE: My vacation to Indonesia occurred between 14 February and 20 February 2020 – prior to travel bans and restrictions being implemented in both Indonesia and South Africa. With the current COVID-19 global pandemic, I urge you to listen to instructions from both WHO and your local government regarding international travel. As we continue to work towards preventing the spread of COVID-19, please continue to self-quarantine and practice social distancing.
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