Upon leaving Singapore, I returned to Bali 3 and a half years after my original trip to the island. Stefje and I spent 5 weeks in Canggu, an exploding village on the southwest coast. Life in Canggu is the easiest it has ever been.
We began by checking into a villa on the outskirts of town. It was the perfect location, just easy enough to access all of the amenities and just quiet enough to enjoy long afternoons of taking dips in the pool.
The lifestyle in Canggu is simple and easy enough to meet every single one of man’s hedonistic pleasures.
Hungry? There are dozens of restaurants serving food that is simultaneously categorized as healthy, instagrammable, and craving-filling all at the same time.
I was perpetually ready for some sourdough toast topped with marinated tempeh, sun-dried tomatoes, and steamed spinach alongside a spicy dijon mustard dip.
Or how about a smoothie bowl? Every restaurant in Canggu serves up a plethora of options for this trendy breakfast staple, with bases of dragonfruit, mango, or banana topped with the delicious and nutritious combinations of fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Yet the daily staple was surely the best value. For just $2, I chowed down on meals like this for lunch: a combination of vegan foods and balinese flavors that always had me salivating.
Feeling tired? How about a revitalizing kombucha, juice or freshly brewed local coffee from the endless parade of cafes.
Want to plug in? Head out to Dojo or Outpost, the area’s two prominent coworking spaces.
Need to de-stress? Head down to the beach and hop on a surfboard or spend the whole afternoon drinking coconuts and watching the sun slowly descend across the horizon before spending the night drinking Bintangs and dancing to tropical house beats.
Spent too much time partying? Reset your mind and body at one of the many spas and yoga shalas that pepper the quiet back lanes.
Canggu was also a great opportunity to re-connect with two of our friends from Amsterdam, Diana and Luca. In addition to grabbing meals together, spending time on the beach, and long games of cards, we made time for a weekend expansion deeper into the island, where nature abounded.
Days in Bali seem to pass in a never-ending cycle of bliss and comfort: it doesn’t matter if you want to work for 8 hours or 80 hours in a week: here there are all the amenities to make such a lifestyle possible.
This conflagration of factors is what caused us to dub Canggu “The Bubble”. There are so few local Balinese that truly live here, such a high level of Western amenities, and so many tourists, hipsters, and digital nomads that it can be hard to remember that you’re actually in Indonesia until a trip to the immigration office throws everything in stark relief.
Such popularity brings with it negative side effects. In just the brief period that we were there, we saw plenty of rice terraces replaced with concrete foundations, large hotels rise above the tree line, and traffic congestion begin to threaten the paradise vibe. Undoubtedly if I return to Canggu in the next few years, I will hardly recognize the place. Nevertheless, it fills my heart with warmth to remember the times we spent there.