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A Month In Bali (5) – Canggu, Seminyak and Amed

After a couple of restful days I took a taxi to Canggu, the spiritual home of the digital nomad and the online coach, plus some surfers. From what I’d read about Canggu I was a bit apprehensive about going there. Locals and tourists told me to avoid it, that it’s fake and I should give it a wide berth. That may be so, but I knew that I was going to go over there anyway towards the end of the trip and finish close to the airport. There were also some temples that I wanted to visit in the area and it was a good place to stay for them. 

Luckily I didn’t find it too awful, and I actually made some friends there! This always seems to happen at the end of a trip! I booked to stay just off the main drag at Santi Homestay (around £20 per night), again another lovely homestay with a pool and a cafe, with free breakfast (more banana pancakes please). Room? However I was yet again met with the strays on the street. There was a white dog which looked like it lived with the family down the street, but it’s leg was clearly injured and he was limping. He was also extremely matted and it was amazing that he was still wagging his tail. I snapped and got a taxi to the vet who told me to take a cage, get the dog into it and bring him to the surgery. So I went back with the cage, and unsurprisingly I couldn’t find the dog. There was another one over the road that I fed at night, he was so sweet but in a bad condition and would come and sit outside of the cafe on a night. I didn’t know where he went during the day, and he wouldn’t get in the cage. It’s infuriating that people don’t take dogs to the animal sanctuaries to get fixed up. I get that they might not be able to afford a vet, but it results in the animal suffering when it could be getting helped elsewhere. (When I came back I did a crowdfunded and raised $100 and sent it to Barc 4 Bali, a dog sanctuary on the island. Please consider donating, they do great work)!

Santi Homestay, Ganesh, the Fat Mermaid (comedy night) and brunch at Machinery Cafe 

On the first day I walked down to the end of the main drag as someone suggested to me to go and watch the surfers. I couldn’t believe the sheer amount of scooters in Canggu and the fact that everyone looks European. There’s a cafe near the beach where you can get a coconut and watch the surfers; I don’t live anywhere close to a beach with decent waves so it was quite mesmerising, some young guys out there were unbelievable. I hit the ice cream shop to cool down, as it was super hot there. I met up with a Korean lady I met on a snorkelling trip and we arranged to meet up again in Kuta to hit the cinema there. 

Here are some restaurants/cafes I recommend in Canggu:

Machinery Cafe – great breakfasts and brunch at affordable prices (around 40,000 IDR per meal) and most importantly good coffee! 

Sand Bar – just facing the beach, a great place to watch the surfers and kill some time sipping a coconut

Crate Cafe – if you’re looking for Instagrammable food this is the place! 

Mad Pops – ice cream to rival Milan with very cool branding! 

I’d read about BWork which is a very cool coworking space right in the centre. With a cafe, library, pool area, yoga studio and a variety of workspaces, digital nomads are definitely well catered for. At just £56 for 30 hours coworking access over the course of two weeks, it’s pretty good value and a great way to meet other remote workers. 

I joined a whats app group for female solo travellers in Bali which shares a variety of events and decided to go along to a comedy club to meet new people. The Bali Comedy Club hold nights around the area and it was really interesting to see comedy in Bali. Lots of the comedians were from different countries, but weirdly the all seemed to want to tell sex jokes. The venue was the Fat Mermaid which has great cocktails and smoothies bowls, and an extensive menu of western food. I met some women there who were staying in Seminyak, so decided to go there next so I had some people to hang out with! 

Tanah Lot Temple

Before I left Canggu I organised a trip to Tanah Lot temple (entry fee 60,000 IDR) through Get Your Guide. Tanah Lot is an unusual sea temple, a temple on a rock formation in the Tabanan area twenty miles north of Denpasar. Built in the 16th century, it was recently restored with part of a $130 million loan from the Japanese government. It’s different to a lot of temples that you have probably seen up to this point if you do a similar trip to me, so it’s definitely worth a visit, especially to witness the sunset from this point which is one of the best I’ve seen. 

The day after I left for Seminyak, a twenty minute taxi ride away. This was due to be my last stop before heading to the airport three days later. Earlier on in the trip I’d been advised to avoid Canggu and Seminyak as they are pretty touristy and but I think it’s a good place to finish if you’ve been on the go for nearly a month and feel a bit exhausted. I booked to stay in Amadea, a hotel in the centre of Seminyak which was the biggest hotel I’d stayed in during the whole trip.  It was a bit of a step up with the room having a flat screen TV, a restaurant called Asparagus with a daily buffet breakfast and a large pool with a poolside bar. The ladies that I met were staying at Signature Hotel which was just a short bike taxi ride away, so I also hung out there a bit and they came over to enjoy the pool. You can stay at Signature for £200 a month if you’re looking for somewhere to run away to! 

There’s a big shopping centre and cinema complex, Beachwalk, in Kuta which is about thirty minutes away by car/bike. I went there twice, once to meet my friend that I met in Gili T and the other time with the Seminyak girls. Going to the cinema in Bali is quite unique experience, the food available is interesting and they do at seat service. I saw Jurassic World Dominion and Top Gun: Maverick there, for some reason I love going to the cinema abroad! There’s also a pretty good range of international shops and a food hall. It’s just across the road from the beach but it was way too crowded for my liking. There was a stall selling corn with condensed milk which was weirdly delicious. You can also get ice-creams shaped like sweetcorn which are just downright weird. My favourite corn was on Gili T, you can get a hot sweetcorn from a stand coated in a chilli butter – lovely. Sorry, I went off on a corn tangent. Just down the road from my hotel there was a cool spiritual shop with lots of crystals, oracle cards and other spiritual products. I bought an oracle deck specific to Bali as a souvenir. I also recommend Lune bakery for it’s incredible cakes which was on the level of a French patisserie.

TT Beach Club, at the Amadea Hotel, on a Gojek bike, cake at Lune Croissant

Some restaurants I recommend in Seminyak:

Ultimo – impressive Italian restaurant with an open air section and cool decor. I recommend the gnocchi.

Chandi – pan asian restaurant with amazing tuna tartare, huge portion! 

A highlight of this part of the trip was going to a foam party at the TT Beach Club on the beach in Uluwatu, about an hour from Seminyak. It cost around £90 to hire a daybed, but between four of us it was pretty reasonable. I hadn’t been to a foam party for about twenty years so I was a bit apprehensive, but it was so much fun! I was jumping around in it, throwing it and unfortunately swallowing a bit of it. The beach club is add you would expect right on Melasti Beach, a great place to go for a dip and watch the sunset. The food was a bit pricey and we were charged for some things we didn’t order, but everyone was happy with the food. 

The day before I was supposed to leave I thought I’d double check the itinerary from Scoot, and to my horror my return flight was three days after the date I thought I was supposed to be leaving. They had sent me two itinerarys which looked identical and I only printed out the first one, and they’d changed the return flight date in the second one. This took me one day over my thirty day Visa, and it was too much off a faff to extend it. I knew that I would probably get fined £50 (and low and behold I was) but it probably would have cost the same to extend it. If you fly with an airline like Scoot double and triple check everything! It wasn’t all bad though as I had extra time in Bali. My new friends and I decided to go to Amed for one night for the snorkelling, so I was pretty happy that I got to experience that before I left. 

Ocean Resort Amed, Life in Amed, blue starfish and veggie Mie Goreng

The only issue was that it’s a bloody long was from Seminyak to Amed (a two and a half hour drive) but luckily we found a cheap taxi (if you do an overnight stay the taxi driver will often stay in the same area to drive you back, and sleep in the car. We bought him a room as we felt bad about it). We stayed at Ocean Resort, which has massive rooms and a great sea view, with a substantial pool all for just £14 per night. The manager booked our snorkelling trip for us which was the same bargain price as everywhere on the island (100,000 IDR). We were pretty amused when a fisherman showed up with a juking boat (local outrigger boat)with barely any space, but at least he picked us up right from the beach. I was definitely not disappointed  by the snorkelling – our first spot was the Japanese shipwreck which is luckily shallow enough for snorkelers. It’s covered in soft coral and the fish are typically great. We also went to Jemulak Beach where there are incredible large blue starfish and the bigger fish such as the triggerfish and parrot fish. There are some great places to eat in Amed, we went to Life in Amed which also has some gorgeous cottages and villas. There aren’t many places where your menu comes with a cat draped across it! I was sad to leave, knowing that I would be in Singapore the next day. 

I said my goodbyes to my new friends and the lovely staff in the Amadea hotel, and booked a taxi to the airport which is only twenty minutes from Seminyak. I hoped I would get away with the fine for overstaying my Visa but unfortunately not. Luckily the flight to Singapore wasn’t as bumpy as the way there, and I had the afternoon and evening to have a look around. I booked a pod hotel (MET A Space Pod on Arab Street) just for the experience as I’d never stayed in one before and it was surprisingly roomy! I went to check out the Marina Bay hotel and the crazy shopping centre next to it and tried to get an early flight as my flight back to London was really early. I stupidly thought that I could easily flag down a taxi off the street at 6am but learnt the hard way that that isn’t a good idea. Every single taxi had a red light and no one would stop. I started to panic and ended up crying and hyperventilating in the street, worried I would miss my flight. Luckily just as I was about to resign myself to missing it, someone stopped. So my trip ended up with me stressed to hell, with a twelve hour flight ahead. Luckily I was sitting next to some cool women and we all ended up doing sheet masks and chatting away, which helped to pass the time and calm my nerves. I came back exhausted but with so many great memories of this magical place. Bali seems to be in the in place to go right now, with lots of Instagrammers everywhere but it is still possible to have an authentic experience.

Please click on the accommodation and restaurants etc to go to their websites. 

I really hope that this Bali series makes it easier for you to plan your trip and get maximum enjoyment out of Bali!

Debbie x 

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