Balinese Wanderings, Waves & Wanderlust
There seems to be little that gives me more joy these days then trussing up my backpack and hitting the road, surfboard bag under arm and a dog-eared map of the world stuffed down a pouch. Setting off for another Indonesian oddessy this December, I was hungry to find somewhere that felt like a home-away-from-home, where I could mix my love of the yin of high-energy, outdoor pursuits in Bali like surfing, with the yang of needing (and wanting) r N r, chill time, and a place to maintain my healthy eating, love of yoga, and a place where you can make friends .
Enter The Chillhouse in Canngu. Owned by the brilliant Alexander, a German surfer and stoker of life of the highest order, and armed with my best friend, radio presenter Georgie Rogers in tow, we set off for the secluded mecca that is The Chillhouse. Nestled off of the hipster high-road Pantai Batu Balong leading to the seminal surf spot of Berawa, Batu Balong, The Chillhouse has a near Alice-In-Wonderland-esque feel as soon as you arrive, tumbling down the rabbit-hole through the lush and verdant pond-spotted paths to your room. Exploring through our stay, we happily stumbled across the yoga studio, two swimming pools, massage spots and numerous chill-inducing dotted long beds.
Armed with the keys to our Treehouse canopy, the Gerry Lopez (an ICON of surfing, who near single-handedly put Bali on the map as a staple surfing destination) Treetop Canopy is a room that has both relaxation and fun written across it. The turquoise painted (as is all the branding and decor of The Chillhouse, apparently it helps to open the lines of communication between the heart and the spoken word, and also reflects the colour of Bali's stunning Indian Ocean) retreat was so exciting to take our first steps into, climbing the stairs (heck, I always wanted my own tree house) to a beautifully nestled haven.
I loved the outdoor bathroom with double shower and double sink - perfect for couples, a laugh for two best friends, and balcony with long couch to toast a surf with a local Bintang beer looking across the pink and peach dappled sunset sky.
Handily, The Chillhouse easily provides a full-run down of all the different activities they they organise daily, including surfing lessons, trips to dive with Manta rays, mountain biking, excursions to the centre of the Island (including the infamous Ubud), even PT sessions and grooming (manis and pedis) and of course, massages to sooth surf-weary bodies. We had one thing on our minds, and surfed until our sun-scorched bodies couldn't take anymore. Once at that point of exhaustion we both had incredibley soothing massages to sort our happily knackered bodies.
Even though I was travelling with a friend, I always love to meet people during my travels, and in my eyes, this is one of the highlights of travelling. Communal-style long dining tables, epic barbecue evenings with freshly grilled fish. prawns and more, and coffees at breakfast made for a perfect setting to toast a cup of coffee to the surf ahead or bintang at the end of the day with newly made friends. And with a menu selection bursting with healthy, nutritious meals, it is easy to keep up healthy habits, and try local specialities like dragon fruit smoothie bowls (drool).
Check out my health-hot tips for visiting Canggu!
MAD TO LIVE TIPS: CANGGU
-Surfing is obviously activity number one once you hit the shred-heavy Indonesian island. There are a multitude of incredible breaks to choose from, and Batu Balong, just a scoot down the road from The Chillhouse, is a notorious beginner friendly spot (once you've had a lesson on dealing with currents, etiquette and where the reef is!). Can get PACKED but consistent, warm waves and a number of surf schools by the beach + rental make this a great choice. I won't mention my other favourite breaks to let any secrets out!
-Working out whilst away on your holiday and maintaining your training routine is totally feasible thanks to numerous gyms dotted in and around Canggu. Bali Fit boasts a number of awesome conditioning classes and surf-specific training. Ask for trainer Claire, she is the BOMB
-Volcano hikes leaving in the dead of the night so you arrive as the sun is rising are sure to blow your mind and are a must-do
-Yoga is a huge draw for visitors to Bali. If you aren't heading to Ubud, fear not, for there is a proliferation of brilliant yoga spots around the island. Resort Desa Seni in Canngu right by the ocean front has some of the best classes in town
-Bike life: You will notice an abundance of motorbikes and scooters zipping round: It is the best way to get around and avoid the traffic congestion, but be careful: accidents can be rife. Go drool over the sexiest wheels in town at The Deus Temple Of Enthusiasm.
HEALTHY HOT SPOTS
-The Shady Shack is one to check out if you're feeling parched after a long morning surf: icy coolers, shakes (duh) and iced coffees in a cool and verging on too-trendy spot make for a chilled out stop-off
-Poke Poke is as the name states, a damn delicious poke-bowl (fresh raw fish layered over rice/veg + toppings) spot where you can stuff your shmoosh on these insanely good bowls of radness
-Having conducted extensive research on local massage spots (without complaining ;) ) I found my favourite spot for soothing out surfed-out muscles: Therapy by Echo Beach. Seriously, their masseuses have magic hands. Check. It. Out.
Check out the full adventure of my Balinese trip below!
With thanks to The Chillhouse, www.TheChillHouse.com