I’m desperately clinging onto the side of my foam surf board, with streams of salt water cascading down my face from my eyes and nose. I breathlessly mutter ‘oh fuck not again’ as I see another frothing wave heading my way. As the ringing in my ears subsides, I can faintly hear my instructor yell ‘start paddling!’ Instead of doing as he says, I decide my best course of action is to stay still and pray it slips right past me. Nope. Instead I’m dragged under by the force that is mother nature and get the full washing machine experience again. I never expected surfing to be easy, but I didn’t know it would be this bloody hard!
I get a mix of emotions looking back on my first surf lesson at Batu Balong beach in Canggu. I’m proud I gave it a go and want to try again (in shallower waters), but the cringe-worthy memory of me acting out the Titanic ending amongst dozens of happy surfers will cling to me as tightly as I did my board that day.
From my story you can see Canggu is ‘gnarly dude!’ 😎 This fast-growing resort village in the south of Bali is a hipster’s paradise. Imagine if John Lennon and Bob Marley had a love child and Instagram was the midwife. The area lures in a new wave of young, trendy, digital nomads and surfers every day. Despite its recent surge in popularity and development, Canggu’s shores remain relatively untouched and its landscape is dusted with terraced rice paddies and picturesque farms. For me, it’s the smell that I enjoyed most. Riding through the achingly beautiful landscape with the scent of incense filling my lungs was a true highlight of the trip.
Unsurprisingly my other favourite pastime was food. If you’ve read my past posts, you’ve probably gotten the subtle hint I’m a sucker for a quirky cafe or restaurant, and Canggu is dripping in them. Health and wellbeing are the key inspirations behind most of the menus, but before you pull your best 😝 face, the chefs are green geniuses! Meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans all live happily and harmoniously together. Our top spots to chow down were Crate Cafe, Motion Cafe, Hungry Bird Coffee and Metta Cafe. The last was my personal favourite because it was less crowded and the food was top-notch 👌 (try the brownies smoothie bowl for £3).
Our accommodation was a short moped ride out of the village in a hidden little gem called Kampung Canggu, which overlooked a rice field. For just £14 a night we had a massive double room with an en-suite and our own terrace that backed out onto the pool area. Oh did I mention breakfast is included?! This peaceful paradise might not be in the thick of things, but it was perfect for us. If you want to be closer to the action, try FRii Hotel.
Here’s a selection of photos from our time in Canggu…