Chasing the Sun, Fashion, Food and Fun: Canggu, Bali
- BY: TEREZA BERKEMEIER
- Jul. 16, 2017
It has come to that time of the year where most of us will think of chasing the sun and taking overseas trips with family and friends. Bali has been a favourite for Australians to visit for some time, historically the favourite desinations have been Kuta, Seminyak and Ubud. However there is a new kid on the block escaping the tourist hustle...only just though. Canggu is where our curiosity lies and we are killing the cat discovering the eateries and boutique stores within this gem of Bali.
All image sources: Tereza Berkemeier
Canggu consists of three main villages with their own beach areas: Berawa Beach, Batu Bolong and Echo Beach bordered by a bigger road called Jalan Raya Canggu to the north about 5km inland. From here there are three streets running parallel: Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong, Jalan Pantai Berawa and Jalan Padang Linjong. The longest street with restaurants, boutique accommodation and shops is Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong which ends at Old Man’s bar a popular sunset drinking venue.
Energetic and pulsating with an ever-present buzz, a dawn rising in Canggu starts with rooster crows, giggling geckos, the hums of motorcycles, coffee machines brewing and digital tools firing up with all the free Wi-Fi access at the many organic, vegetarian, wholefood cafes and local Warungs.
Our group happily hustle along the pathless roads past the towering waterslides of Finns Recreation Club to Jalan Pantai Berawa. We are surrounded by rice fields and it feels like there is no choice but to lose our sense of urgency as no one else seems to know what that is despite the constant transport activity that would shame Sydney's peak hour. Indonesians make this traffic system work well. Motorcycles and vans politely beep their way around our group.
Milk & Madu
Under a traditional Indonesian roof there is a wide open space with gorgeous communal wooden tables. Slow welcoming sounds from the DJ playlist greet you, a valet is diligently checking on parked motorbikes and children are running around barefoot. With the smell of beans from Australian coffee purveyors Revolver and big bright beautiful Nalu bowls containing all sorts of goodness, all this combined is helping the daily grind lose its grip on me.
Gazing around I see there are many expats they all warmly greet each other, tight community... I think to myself. Clothing racks are being constructed as the small markets held within Milk and Madu are slowly being set up in the garden courtyard. I have spotted a Bluebell Florence Mr Zimi Jumpsuit being hung as I leave the table to go over to speak to the stall owner. I learn these markets happen 9am to 3pm every 1st Saturday of every month. There are pre loved and new clothes, accessories and homeware décor items for sale. There is also a stall with swimwear in baskets where a contribution of every sale is given to a local orphanage. Milk and Madu is a restaurant owned and run by the Good Food Brotherhood group who are originally from Byron Bay and are also the curators of spectacular food experiences which includes their restaurants Watercress Café and Ulekan. The only disappointment is The Mr Zimi jumpsuit is too big for me. I sit down to my skillet eggs, piccolo and contemplate a Nalu bowl. It’s a good start to exploring for the rest of the day.
I’ve taken a ride up through the bumpy ‘short cut’ to get to the other side of Canggu. Pleasantly surprised when I came upon this boutique store. I adore Erika Pena after purchasing one of her necklaces three years ago. Erika Pena is renowned for her stone necklaces, chandelier earrings, rhinestone rings and long flowing resort dresses. Daughter of Dominican parents she grew up in Miami and relocated to New York City to study at Parsons Design School. After graduating she worked on collaborations with Donna Karan and Josie Natori. I have been watching and hunting for her cabrete wrap sandals and she has a new resort collection which launches this July.
Limited Edition Store
My husband and I entered this dark, edgy store when we were planning to visit the small leather store next door following local recommendations, unfortunately it was closed for the week. This store holds a collection of local designers which included brands including Skingraft, Eleven 44, Black Dove Dyg and Parts of Four. There is a monochromatic feel to the store but it’s the shoes that caught my attention with caramel and nude heels crafted designs. There are also leather jackets, accessories, scarfs and silver jewellery from Johnny Ramil.
It was all a Dream
Launched in October, 2016 and run by French American designers this store has a clean minimalist feel and holds a great sunglass range, fantastic leather bags, vintage jeans, jersey basics, and embroidered kaftans all at reasonable prices.
Edith’s Closet is a treasure chest of vintage finds. There is furniture, tea cups, Indian headpieces, blankets and unique gifts. Inspiration seems to be drawn from Indian, Indonesian and Western influences. It’s a beautiful store and a gem here on the busy street of Jalan Panta Berawa.
It’s time for a coffee and juice break at Peloton Superstore. Peloton is a vegan Café and bicycle store combined and is very popular with locals and visitors alike. Their coffees are made with so much care each cup is presented with the delicate flowers you often see used in the daily Indonesians praise offerings.
It’s nearly sunset there is enough time to hydrate with a few coconuts and cocktails before dinner. The Lawn is a casual but classy local establishment with a pool that looks out to the beach where you can watch all the surfers slide along on waves or you can choose to lounge around on bean bags under fringe umbrellas. And when that sunset happens it is everything one can imagine and more.
Dandelion is the choice for tonight’s dinner it is formerly called the Warung called Dandelion owned by a very popular gentleman and local, Gani. With antique wooden furniture and pet rabbits scampering around the venue it’s my kind of curious. There is even an old typewriter in a corner which Gani uses from time to time to type up life quotes that are delivered to guests along with their food. The staff are as gentle and attentive as their Manager and our chicken soup, spring rolls and our wine are all delicious. All the food is Indonesian with a twist. This is a very special place,made even more special by Gani driving us home in his retro combi van playing retro tunes. Uber is not really welcome in this part of Canggu as there are signs everywhere stating this however it’s also busy on this night for taxi's so getting a Bluebird taxi would be difficult. Many thanks to Gani for making our day so special. @dandelioncanggu
With the day and our time in Canggu coming to an end we know there is so much more to discover: Canggu is not just a location, it’s a state of mind.
Huge thanks and credit to my lifestyle hosts and residents of Canggu: @donnaodwyer73 and @swadeboot