My Favorite Things: Canggu, Bali
I may be the only person who has ever gone to Bali openly saying that I didn’t want to go to the beach. I know. Everyone reading this post is either shaking their head in disbelief or trying to figure out how I was allowed through customs with such a blasphemous attitude. When most people think of the beach they think of relaxation and a gentle breeze. (Or, at least, I think they do – I’m not a beach person so I don’t actually know what these people think.) All I know is that when I think of the beach, I think of dry hair, a lingering saltwater/sweat dampness, and sand everywhere. None of which sounds pleasant.
Thankfully our friend and American-in-Indonesia Madison, overruled my pre-trip complaints about the beach and said we were going to Canggu, whether I liked it or not. Now, I don’t usually tell Madison she’s right because I don’t want it lorded over me for the rest of eternity, but, just this once, I will say it. Madison was right and I’m so glad we went to Canggu. Here’s a list of some of my favorite things from our day trip down to the water.
*Canggu is about an hour from Ubud (give or take, depending on traffic), so we needed a driver. Thankfully Madison had met one on her last trip to Bali and, after she introduced us to him, we now love him just as much as she does. While he obviously did all the driving, Wayan was much more like a tour guide. He answered all of our questions, told us stories, and completely enriched our trip. If you’re going to Bali, please call him. (Even with all of his extra knowledge and stops, he had the cheapest fare we heard from any driver.)
Finn’s is a fancy beach resort for tourists, it’s clear from the moment it comes into view. (They have a private part of the beach to themselves.) However, if you’re looking for a place to change and use the bathroom, buy yourself a drink and use their facilities. If you like the outdoor club/party vibe, Finn’s is definitely where you should head.
Coconuts on the Beach
This is not so much a place, but more like a mind-blowing experience. Maybe I’ve just lived a sheltered life, but I’ve never drank straight from a coconut before. The beach over to the left of Finn’s is open to the public and you can rent cushy chairs and buy drinks from one of the kiosks. We went on the off season (in November), so this was an extremely affordable way to spend our afternoon. Even me, the perpetual beach cynic, was happy to sit in my chair, drink my coconut water, and marvel at how beautiful the water was.
I don’t eat ice cream, but Alex and Madison both agreed that this ice cream was amazing. Somehow made on the spot with liquid nitrogen, this place feels both local and hip. (Note: If you’re like me and are dairy-free, Bali will be slightly challenging, but not impossible. You do need to go in with the expectation that not all places will have milk substitutes and that sometimes you’ll have to opt out of some food options. It’s not the end of the world. Smile, be polite, and remember that there are plenty of places in the US that also don’t offer milk substitutes.) Just up the street from Finn’s and the beach, this is an easy walk – even if it’s hot outside.
After a long day of sitting on the beach, we needed a pick me up. (Seriously who knew that sitting could be so tiring?) Downtown Canggu is very walkable and you’ll find this hidden gem off one of the side streets. Frozen lemonade and banana bread were just what we needed to cut the high heat of the afternoon and hold us over until dinner. If neither sounds appealing, they have plenty of other options.
Technically not in Canggu, Kembali is worth the drive. Located maybe fifteen minutes outside in Bumbak, this was one of our best meals in Bali. It it’s a little hidden and the streets are narrow, so have patience with your driver. (Although, if you go with Wayan, he already knows where it is!) I’m almost glad this place wasn’t in Ubud, because we probably would have eaten here every night ad never tried any other place.
Are you a non-beach person who has been to Canggu? Or maybe you’ve always loved the beach. Let me know in the comments!