Canggu (pronounced Changou) was my first stop in Bali. I chose this particular location, because I had heard that one wanted to avoid Kuta. It seems Kuta is to the Australian, what Varadero is to Canadians. Supposedly, they go there to drink and party. Not exactly what I wanted from my visit to Bali.
Canggu seemed like a nice alternative and it was. I stayed at Serenity Eco Guesthouse and it was very quiet. From there you could get surfing lessons, massages and yoga lessons. While the installations were not luxurious, their simplicity made the charm of the place. There was a pool on site where I spent a bit of time everyday. The decor relied a lot on bamboo and plants. There were also many lounging areas with cushions on tatamis and comfortable chairs. As a guest you had access to books and movies – sitting on cushions in the common lounge area with a good book was a perfect way to end the night. Rooms were equipped with a fan and a mosquito net, which is surprisingly not something to take for granted as not all accommodations come equipped with this.
Finally, considering the breakfast was provided (and you actually had a choice of breakfast, such as delicious pancakes or fried rice, plus coffee/tea), the prices of the rooms came to being quite low. I was supposed to stay for 4 days and I ended up extending my stay just because I liked the place so much! Oh and the food in their warung… Really good, healthy food for very cheap as well!
As I walked around Canggu, I realized the people were not only friendly, but genuinely interested in you as a person, not as a customer. That’s not to say that they don’t recognize you are a tourist…. As I walked along Eco Beach, I did have a few “Massage” and “Taxi” called to me, but nowhere near the constant background calling I would witness in Ubud. Here, it was almost a shy call, no pressure intended. Just hopeful. Let’s just say that my experience of being a tourist in Canggu was not the same as being a tourist on the main road of Ubud, the locals here were curious and more than willing to strike a friendly conversation.
A good example of their kindness is when I was walking to the post office to have a little something sent back home to my brother. I hadn’t realized just how far the post office was and on the way back I was really in distress. Not due to the walking itself, mind you. But, I had no more water, the sun was beating down on me and I hadn’t brought my sunscreen because I thought it would be a quick walk. Needless to say, I wasn’t faring too well.
A girl got me to climb on her scooter and got out of her way to bring me back to my guesthouse. And when I wanted to help her pay for gas, she would have none of it. This happened another time, when I got lost during a walk and ended up on a road seemingly leading nowhere in the middle of rice fields. The girl stopped, asked me where I was going and brought me back to my guesthouse. Again, refusing compensation.
Also regular Balinese on the beach would strike up conversations, just because they really wanted to talk with you.
Canggu was a very relaxing and resourcing place. Among other things, I had a chance to try the fish spa. It was hard not to giggle as the little fishes did their thing. It’s a bit disturbing to think they are feeding off your dead skin, but it works surprisingly well. The skin of my feet and legs was so soft once they were done! All the better since all the traveling had really taken its toll on my poor feet, which were in rather poor condition.
I am however wondering if Canggu will be the same the next time I come. It seems there is so much development happening, that I can’t help but be afraid this will be the next Kuta. Tourism can be a blessing for a region, but mass tourism could really transform this beautiful place and not necessarily for the best.