Bali part 2 (Legian to Canggu)
We ventured further south and arrived at our next destination ‘Kriyamaha villas’. We booked this place in advance, but not long before we came out to Bali, because it was a reasonable price and in a good location for the beach. We were greeted with a coconut to drink which had our names carved onto it (lovely touch) and the staff there were sweet. The villas were lovely, similar in some ways to ‘Ashoka tree hotel’ in Ubud, in that, every room gets its own private mini pool and garden (just slightly more snug with your neighbours) but lovely all the same. They went all out on the welcome decorations which we had a lot of fun with….
We popped down to the beach as soon as we could where we had our first proper glimpse of the area. Immediately it felt very different to Ubud, more people, more pollution and less characterful. We were close to Kuta which some say is “Australia’s Malaga” so we were half expecting for it to feel less authentic and more touristy. When we arrived at the beach we could see this was partly true and we wondered if we’d made a mistake coming to this part of the island as we could ultimately have been on any sunny beach. We soaked up the beach life though – (who doesn’t love a sunny beach), bought a beer and walked as far away from the crowds as we could (basically into the sea!)
THEN the sun started to set and the reason we had landed there all became clear… The most beautiful sunset we’ve ever seen. Breathtaking. Witnessing something that magical with each other and realising that every single person on that beach was watching the sun set together, felt very special indeed…
After the glorious sun had set, we watched the bands on the beach until we were hungry for a bite. We found a place called ‘Zula vegetarian paradise’ which is a restaurant-come-health food shop. Apparently part of the ‘Down to Earth Company’ – not sure what that is – but that is exactly what it felt like, down to earth grub. We enjoyed the food, it had a home-cooking vibe, it was hearty and comforting. I think perhaps its more of a lunch time place as it felt more of a cafe than a restaurant. But I think Danny was pleased to eat something with gravy on it.
The next morning we woke to a ‘Floating Breakfast’ in our pool! What! Very Bali, supposably romantic and very “Instagramable”. We figured this would be fun. How the hell do you eat standing in a pool? The challenge was excepted though and it did provide us some laughs and ultimately a tasty breakfast, not unlike something we’d make at home.
We spent the next day chilling at the beach too, the town didn’t particularly win us over but the beach remained an excellent place to grab a beer and wait for the sun to set again! That evening we went to an excellent curry place called ‘Atithi’. It had great reviews and seemed our best bet in the area and it was indeed a really tasty curry. We had a lovely evening and would definitely recommend coming here if you find yourself in this area.
The next day we left for Canggu.
Then we came back because we’d left our passports at the Hotel.
Then we left again for Canggu.
Phew! I guess it’s not an adventure without a minor hiccup!
We said goodbye to the busy bustling beaches and hello to the countryside again and we were happy. We arrived at our final hotel of the trip ‘Udara Bali Resort’. We’d booked this only two days earlier on booking.com and again found another amazing last minute deal. We hadn’t had much time to wonder what this place was going to be like – the place we would be spending our last leg of the journey, but to say we were pleased would be an understatement. It was actually a yoga resort and daily yoga sessions came as part of the deal! Perfect. This place was all about health and wellness, it radiated a calming energy and it had many gorgeous food options for us.
The entire pool complex was absolutely breathtaking. A lagoon, ‘natural pool’ design, engulfed by these vast, intricate, white animal sculptures, weaving and looming in, over and around the pools. Secret little caves and tunnels were carved in and around it too, leading to Yoga rooms, medication rooms, Jacuzzis (one ice cold, one red hot!) and a sauna and steam room that we always happened to have completely to ourselves. It was far and away the most amazing swimming area I’ve ever seen. We were right on the beachfront of Seseh beach too, which barely had a soul on it. Such tranquility!
We treated ourselves to a vibrant and healthy lunch at the hotel and we were really impressed with the food – so impressed we ate dinner here too! We spent the afternoon exploring the area, walking along the quiet dark-sandy beach and relishing in the paradise of our hotel. It must have been a quiet time of year because there were few people around and it was just so peaceful.
The next morning we decided to give the Ariel Yoga class a go. We were the only two! So it turned into an excellent private lesson on the rooftop, looking out over the sea and listening to waves. Bliss. I couldn’t think of a better location to be hanging in a silk cocoon. Looking back at Danny doing his absolute best to balance upside down on his head, face turning red was a definite highlight. We both got stuck in, having never done this kind of yoga it was sometimes challenging but we laughed and we swung and we felt very much awake at the end of the session!
We wasted no time to get on down to Canggu town, using the Grab App (Like Uber in Bali, but a lot less reliable) we were there in no time. We’d heard great things about Canggu and they weren’t wrong. The town has a lovely vibe and it isn’t over crowded. We absolutely loved exploring here, there were many shops and great places to eat as well as lovely beach. Our favourite find has to be ‘The shady shack’ where we ate a delicious lunch in the garden under the glorious sun. On our first visit I had a ‘cauliflower ‘steak’ with kale, squash and balsamic onions with a chocolate milk shake on the side – dee-lish! The cauliflower was zingy and fresh, with flavours of turmeric and lemon working very well together. The chocolate milkshake was to die for… far too much food for lunch, I was stuffed. Danny had the ‘Jack Burger’ – a jackfruit burger which Danny described as “perfectly formed”! It was crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside, smoky jackfruit complimented perfectly with a thick gherkin. It came with some rather cute, tiny smashed spuds on the side. He happily knocked this back with a Stark IPA and was almost as full as me. It was easy to see why this was a popular place, not only was the food amazing, the atmosphere was very chilled and the staff were friendly. We knew as soon as we left that we’d be going back before our trip ended.
After lunch we rolled back down to the beach and digested our food lounging on the sandy beach. Once we were able to move again we even braved the sea and had our first proper swim. We were quickly relaxing into Canggu and all it had to offer, we loved it and after watching the sunset once again we decided to explore the night life of the town.
Wandering around here felt safe, chilled and offered everything we wanted. We found a place to grab a drink and play a bit of pool (doesn’t really feel like holiday unless you’ve had a game does it?) I’m delighted to announce that in one of our 5 or so games I beat Danny! Holiday highlight. After a few more drinks and a wander in and around the late night shops and markets, we had finally made a little room for a bite to eat and we stumbled upon a place called ‘Thai & Co’. We both opted for a thai green curry, the only difference was Danny’s was extra spicy – but it was nothing he couldn’t handle. We both loved it. Beautiful curry.
We managed to catch our free hotel shuttle home which was handy. We slept well after our day of exploring and awoke the next day in the splendour of our hotel and decided to take part in another yoga session. This was more of a flow yoga this time, one we were more accustomed too but this was definitely at an intermediate level. We got stuck right in though, which was kind of impossible not to do in the surroundings. The soundscape was magical, the waves crashing in and out, the birds talking, wind chimes twinkling around the hotel. For a moment I thought it was a CD playing like it would be in London but no, it was all real and it was perfect. Our teacher was brilliant, one of those teachers with the best calming and encouraging energy that makes you want to succeed. One of the weird and wonderful things I took away from the session was the technique of “nostril breathing” and just how amazing it can be in helping to ground you. It is an excellent tool to have to tackle anxiety and calm the nervous system. If you are interested, here is a video from ‘Yoga With Adrienne’ who I follow and now do regular yoga practice with. I highly recommend YWA – she’s amazing.
Our teacher that morning also taught us about “Nostril dominance”. An interesting fact about your nostrils (if you needed one) – is that most of us only breathe out of one nostril at a time, or particularly one more than the other and this switches from right to left roughly every one and four hours, but this changes from person to person. More interesting than this is there are particular activities that will awaken a certain nostril more than the other and certain tasks are better fulfilled with each nostril. So the right nostril is all about physical activities, times where your strength or mental determination is needed, it is also the one that opens for good digestion. The left nostril is characterised by a more introspective mood and awakens for actions that are restful and things more inwardly orientated – including listening to music.
For brief periods throughout the day there are times in the cycle that both nostrils flow evenly – this energy is associated with psychological balance and is apparently an optimal time to meditate. All of this is so amazing when you think of it, our body does so much we aren’t even aware of to help us out. Incredible. We had a very chilled morning after our yoga session – we swam, we wandered, we ate. Bliss.
Later that afternoon we visited ‘Pura Tanah Lot’ – a beautiful temple built on an impressive rock in the sea. We were excited to get out for an adventure. Being a popular tourist spot, we could see why it was so special when we laid our eyes over the majestic beauty of the temple with the open sea surrounding it. We loved wandering around here, climbing carefully over the rocks (when the tide was out) to get a view from every possible angle. You can’t actually go in the temple, which I can understand and it kind of adds to the mystery of it all. There was a lovely atmosphere around the place, it clearly radiates an energy of peace. We definitely had fun taking photos in ridiculous hero poses! (See below!) There is a big market here too selling all kinds of wooden sculptures, jewellery, accessories, clothes and unique items. There are a few bars up on the hill with a great view looking down over the temple. We grabbed a beer and managed to secure a prime spot to watch the burnt orange sun setting right over Pura Tanah Lot Temple.
Once the sun was down and the beers were drunk we headed straight from the Temple back to Canggu town for the evening, where we chanced upon the Bali Vegan festival! It had followed us down from Ubud. It was a small little pop up with some food, drink, talks and stalls selling vegan products. It wasn’t a mind blowing affair (maybe half of it had packed down in the evening) but it was lovely all the same and great to have found it and supported it with another two beers! We soaked in the harmonious vegan vibes and continued on our nighttime walk through the streets of Canggu. Not long after, we found the place for dinner – ‘Plant Cartel’. Time for something a little bit naughty… (I mean, not really) but we both had their “Pleeseburger” an excellent vegan burger with all the trimmings and loaded loaded fries on the side. Burgers generally go down well don’t they. I love a good burger. It was a great way to end another fantastic day in Bali.
The next day we awoke with a strange feeling of knowing our last day was upon us. Wasting no time, we had a dip in the pool, drank the most ridiculously refreshing coconut of all time and got on down to Canggu town where we found the ‘Samadi sunday market’. This vibrant market is all about community and celebrating local organic farmers and artisans. There was a little kitchen in the middle of the market serving all kinds of delicious seasonal treats. We were enticed in by the aromas and soon found ourselves with a platter of dahl, pancakes, curried wraps and amazing dips and sauces. All washed down with another thirst quenching coconut. We really enjoyed the food here and they had a great looking menu, if we’d have had more time i’m sure we would have come back here to try something else. We bought a few dried items to bring home, including some dried ginger pieces which made for a great tea!
We spent the best part of the afternoon at the beach, swimming, drinking ‘Bali Hai’ beers, watching the many “balinese beach dogs” tottering around and bathing in the sun, as we eventually watched the beautiful sun set one last time, on our absolutely incredible and unforgettable trip to Bali. It was so much more than I could have imagined, it was an adventure that kept me grounded yet had moments of luxuriousness. I feel so lucky to have experienced this with my best friend and to anyone who is wondering whether to add Bali on to your list of places to visit. DO IT.
The last picture I took on our Bali adventure…
- Ubud in general!
- A wander round Ubud market
- Catching one of the many traditional shows in the evening.
- The Sacred Monkey Forest
- The beautiful Tegalalang rice terraces
- Goa Gajah Temple
- Tirta Empul Temple
- Watching the sun set on the beach
- Canguu Town
- Pura Tanah Lot
- Taking part in at least one yoga session
- Popping to Samadi Sunday Market in Canguu
- Swim in the sea and soak up the beach vibes
- Trying as much of the amazing vegan food as possible!
- Drinking many fresh coconuts!
Our top tips:
- Avoid Kuta and spend more time in places like Ubud and Canguu
- Download the app called “Grab” it’s not amazing, but it might help you out with a few taxis
- we also used a few “Bluebird” cabs but it wasn’t easy to see which were legitimate
- Check booking.com and secret escapes for last minute deals and cheap rooms
- Visiting in October, it seemed like the perfect time for us anyway, not so busy and the weather was perfect.
- If you visit the Sacred Monkey Forest, DO NOT go in with food in your bag, even drink to be honest!
- haggling is a must. Nothing has a price tag, so be confident, friendly and do your best but be fair.
- Don’t drink the tap water (kind of goes without saying) bottled beers are a safe option when out.
- Pack light! – the weight restrictions are STRICT so also think about what you are carrying home, you may have to pay for another bag if you buy too many gifts.
- Again, the food is amazing, try a variety of restaurants, you are bound to find loads of delicious food. As a vegan you are literally spoilt for choice so make the most of it!
- Tegalalang rice terraces (I mean, obviously)
- The Shady Shack, Canguu
Thank you so much for reading! Oh! And one more thought…