After having spent yet another week living out of my backpack in a hostel (the very lovely, but very cosey single room I rented in Serenity Eco Guesthouse, Canggu) I suddenly had the realisation that I should be thinking of getting settled.
In my mind, I was waiting for my boyfriend to fly out and join me until I rented somewhere more stable. Perhaps because I wanted to make sure we found somewhere we liked together, but in actual fact it was more likely that I was hoping then he could do the searching so I wouldn’t have to.
However, with his arrival impending, and a gental nudge and suggestion from him to find somewhere, I agreed. Having trapsed through the Internet half heartedly, looking for somewhere to stay on all the usual site (AirBnB, Booking.com), over the last couple of months, I was so sure that nothing was within our budget. Our budget being as cheap as possible, without living in a total dive; a dive so dismal that would inevitably make us want to kill one other. Not asking for much then.
So having exhausted the Internet, I was slowly giving up hope. It was only when I took a trip to the beach in Nusa Dua with another girl I’ve met here, I was advised to just keep my eyes peeled, and that I could find really good deals just by walking down the street.
The boyfriend and I had already agreed upon the village of Canggu, on the west coast of Bali. Here, he can surf daily, and for me, there’s loads of places to keep practicing my yoga. Its somewhere that has enough social life to be fun, but not too busy like Seminyak or indeed the living hell that is Kuta. It has a good mix of all the positive aspects of Bali, my only worry being the amount of showy “hipster” types, but again, maybe the more yoga I practice, the more zen I’ll get about this kind of thing (!)
So I took to the Internet once more, sitting in a bakery in Seminyak last week, ferociously Googling every phrase I could think of for finding property to rent in Canggu. There are many real estate sites out there, however, unfortunately most are tailored towards those with a grander disposable income, and my searches kept coming up with entire villas to rent, with three bathrooms, a swimming pool, and a dreamy view of the rice fields. That would be lovely, however, not realistic. How could this be so hard? All we wanted was a decent sized room with an ensuite; no kitchen or living room necessary.
I did find a couple of basic properties through random searches, however all were a good distance from the beach, and were nothing spectacular. I arranged viewings of several properties for the next day, feeling a little disheartened, as I don’t ride a moped, and was hoping I could live somewhere I can access all necessities by foot.
That evening, I made my way back to Canggu, and asked the moped I had caught a lift with, to drop me off in the center of the village. The main part of Canggu is pretty much three parallel roads running to the beach, which meet at the top near a few bars, restaurants and a smattering of shops. I walked the length of one of these roads, right from the shops, all the way to the beach. It’s funny how I hadn’t noticed before just how many signs there were saying “Rent a Room”. I’d been in Canggu for almost a week, and hadn’t noticed a single one. However, now that I was looking, the signs were everywhere. I must have poked my head in ten different properties, all basic rooms with an ensuite.
These properties varied significantly. I saw ones that had no windows, moth eaten beds; ones with puppies running around, (however, this unfortunately isn’t worth living somewhere with no access to clean water) ones where there was mould growing in the walls and ones where building and construction work were still ongoing, and would be for the next year, at least.
However all of these were relatively within budget, and it was looking like the best option would be sharing a twin room with fan, and using an outdoor cold shower. Not awful, however, far from the image I’d dreamed up before, of living in papardise.
I was just about to call it a day on househunting, when I passed one last guesthouse. It had big gates, an outdoor pool, and was walking distance to the beach and to the bars. As I enquired further, I learned that it had hot and cold water, and air con. All this for the same price as the other dingy rooms I’d been shown.
I asked to be shown around, and it kept getting better. The rooms were bright and airy, no small, cramped and depressing rooms. There was furniture, a beautiful big white bed, the pool was small and clean, and it had 24 hour security. The cleaning gets done and the bedding changed twice a week. And there are no bills – everything is included.
Across the street we have our local, Monggos, but I prefer to call it Bintang Toed Joes. Down the street a little there is a gym called Bali Fit, which offers training programs which are pretty much Cross Fit – exercise so difficult it makes you weep, but is incredibly good for you.
The room is being let for £268 per month, a price I couldn’t afford on my own, but thankfully with Sam coming, it is possible. For the solo traveler with a tighter budget, I saw plenty of rooms that were half this price and a little less luxurious, however still perfect for one person.
I’m glad I shopped around and compared properties, as I almost went for a room at half the cost that wasn’t even in Canggu; instead it was in some sort on no mans land between here and the next village on.
From walking around all day I managed to find something that is perfect for us. Sam can wake up with the sunrise and walk with his board to the beach for his mornin surf. I can attend Bali Fit for their 7.30am class of the, beating my ass into shape.
We can later grab breakfast together in the cafe at the gym, where they offer gorgeously healthy food, smash avacado and eggs on toast, or natural protein smoothies served in coconuts filled with goodies such as acai berries and flax seeds.
After letting it digest he can go off for another surf and I can join the yin yoga class then maybe do some writing in the sun.
In the evenings,there are the most beautiful sunsets to be seen, a few hundreds metres from the front door. The surfers can be watched, catching the last waves of the day, as the sun sets behind them. Looking to the left, you can see the planes coming in to land in the distance at Denpasar airport, the lights on their wings cutting through the clouds seemlessly, before touching down.
There are an array of restaurants, otherwise know as warungs, that can be eaten at, all servings a mix of Western and Indonesian food. Many of these warungs are health orientated, as Canggu is just one of those kinds of places, and you can eat beautifully fresh fish for great prices.
Another option is the beach at a bar called Old Mans, where street vendors gather to sell food for next to nothing; grabbing one of these whilst watching the sunset over the sea is another great way to finish the day, on the cheap.
It just goes to show, the Internet isn’t always the answer, and sometimes all it takes to find your own personal paradise, is a bit of legwork and a lack of laziness.