Even though it was less than half a year ago that I got back from an incredible trip to Hawaii, I was already suffering wanderlust and felt a strong need to be surfing again, without a wetsuit, somewhere hot and on a relatively small budget. I was toying between Central America and Bali, but when I found out Emirates had just added a direct flight from Holland to Denpasar, the decision was made. Flying Emirates means the holiday begins as soon as you're in the plane. Great service, meals, drinks, tonnes of entertainment and spacious seats starts things off real nice.
Miraculously, I was able to negotiate two weeks off work on short notice and with that I was on my way back to Bali for the third time.
I wanted to avoid the Kuta trap I got stuck in before, so I booked a surf and yoga camp in Canggu, outside of the main touristic area. The Solid Surf House offers a competitively priced 'one size fits all package' which covered everything on my wishlist. Even the airport pickup is included and it was my first experience ever to arrive at an airport where a driver was waiting for me, holding up a sign with my name on it. Feeling special!
The Solid Surf House is a spacious villa with a large breakfast table, a yoga rooftop terrace, a community chill-out area downstairs with a plunge pool, a big screen for movie nights, card games, a fridge with refreshments and the camp is perfectly located in the center of the Canggu area. The package includes airport transfer, a comfortable bed, towels, breakfast, daily yoga (morning and afternoon), a daily surf lesson, surf guiding, surfboards, a rashguard, scooter and access to the Canggu Club (fitness club and waterslide park). If that’s not enough to make a holiday epic, I don’t know what is!
Mornings start with yoga at 7:00 am followed by breakfast. My favourite was the fruit salad with yoghurt and granola. Mmmmm. Totally Instagram worthy and even more tummy worth. But the same goes for the pancakes, eggs and the breakfast nasi. After breakfast, there’s still enough time to get ready to get to the surf spots, leaving the camp around 10 o'clock in the air conditioned vans. Surf spots include Batu Bolong/Oldman's, Seminyak, Kuta, Berawa and surroundings. With 3 instructors and a group of 12 students on average, the surf lessons are of good quality. After a couple of days I was surfing green waves at Batu Balong, I was stoked! Check out this vid. Yep, I knew I made the right decision to have come to Bali and to Solid Surf House.
Bali is such a great island to discover, there are so many places to get out there and explore. Beaches, waterfalls, Ubud, temples, lakes, the volcano, options are endless. And of course, the world famous surf breaks. Keramas, which used to be one of the stops of the ASP (WSL) surf competition is pretty easy to reach. Getting from Canggu to the Bukit (Uluwatu bay, Padang Padang, Bingin, Dreamland and Balangan) is doable on a scooter in about 50 minutes if traffic isn't at its worst.
The Canggu area itself is getting more and more trendy, and it's got kind of a “Hipsters go surfing” vibe. Lots of great lunch rooms, restaurants, boutiques and surf shops. Also plenty of lodging options. From budget home stays, hotels and surf camps to five star resorts. Luckily the local warungs are still there remain with the authentic Nasi Goreng for less than a dollar. Plus there are many great Balinese restaurants, including my absolute favorite; Dandelion https://www.facebook.com/Dandelion at Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong No.8.
Aside from these developments that are starting to move in, the area lives and breathes surfing, in complete contrast to Kuta and Seminyak. It's not all about partying and getting drunk. Of course, there're options for an occasional drink and a dance, but not every night. Old Man's throws a bigger party on Wednesday's and Friday's, and Deus does it on Sundays. If you want to party on, there's an after party at the beach at The Sand Bar.
I had ten awesome days staying at the Solid Surf House in Canggu, met some fun people, watched a lot of movies, widened my general knowledge playing Weekend Millionaires, laughed out loud watching New Girl season 4 and got silly enjoying some guilty pleasure music. I left Canggu with a certain feeling that I will return to the villa again someday.
But for now, it was time to have the strongest drink of my entire trip on the flight back home: a double baileys with a dash of brandy. Probably to drink away the pain of knowing I had to be back in the office two days later!
But hopefully I'll be back on board in another Emirates airplane again soon and on my way to Canggu and its awesomeness once more.
Mum, stop reading here...
Did I mention I got a cheeky new tattoo? Oops! :-)