So you’ve probably reached that point where you’re ready for your big move to Canggu or still dreaming about it? If you’re still on the fence about it, read this post on why you should take the leap!
Before I made my move to Bali, I obsessed over every blog post and Youtube video to get me pumped! I was so desperate to go back I was literally living the experience via Youtube videos. Haha!
The move has actually been pretty swift for me, although I did live in India for 5 years. A lot of people experience culture shock, that’s totally normal, island life is 100% different to anything you’ve ever experienced. You better be pumped, this is going to be the most exciting time in your life! I’ve been entirely out of my element, and it’s been the best decision of my life! In the past 5 months, I’ve learnt a lot and have completely changed as as person - here’s a quick list of things I’ve discovered about Canggu during my time here:
1. So much to do, so little time
Have you ever been that kid wanting to rush outside to play with your friends but you couldn’t since you had to finish your homework? I feel like that every day! People may think the move to Bali is impossible, I’ve found it to be way harder to create a routine while being here! This paradise/content creator/nomad lifestyle has taught me a lot about discipline and time management. It’s going to take you a few months for you to fully settle in and have a routine!
2. Finding your “dream villa” is competitive!
People are moving to Bali in boatloads! Even if you’re a fab house hunter, you’re going to struggle with finding the “perfect villa”. Bloggers talk about living in Bali mansions all the time, but they aren’t as easy to come across as you think. The ones that are available are increasing in price big time! But no fret, this doesn’t take away that you are living in actual paradise and will absolutely love your home once you find it. It’s just going to take a hot second!
When you first arrive in Bali, book yourself into a guesthouse for a few days. Don’t rush the process, always visit a villa before you book it - villas look super different in person as the pictures posted are usually taken years ago. Maintenance and cleaning are key!
Be careful, if you rent a villa instead of a guesthouse, you probably will be responsible to pay for your own electricity which can add up. Have you ever gone to buy electricity from the store? Bali things.
The best way to find a villa is networking or Facebook groups such as Canggu Community Housing. Make sure to tell everyone you are looking for a place – word of mouth is your best bet! People usually keep the best villas super low key!
3. Gym/yoga studio memberships is $$$:
We all know how amazing the fitness scene in Canggu is, but nobody tells you that the cost of memberships are more expensive than in the US! Aside from rent, my gym membership is the most expensive cost I have!
Knowing I’m paying about $100-130 a month on an unlimited membership card has kept me countable to going at least once or twice a day! Plus, unlike in the States, you immediately see the high quality service you receive as soon as you enter the door. I’m the biggest fan of Canggu Nest (literally always talking about them) as their instructors are extremely attentive, mega positive with all-around high energy, and are extremely knowledgeable on the effective workouts that they demonstrate! Bonus - classes usually have average of only 5-6 people!
4. You DEFINITELY need a scooter
I was able to go 3 weeks before I learnt to ride a scooter out of desperation. There’s a point, and you’ll think of this article when this happens, when you are so frustrated with Gojek drivers (Rideshare app) that you’ll just take a lesson and jump on your scooter!
“I’m not strong enough to ride a scooter” - I’ve heard a lot of girls say the same thing. Once I saw a group of 7 year old girls beep past me, that was the day I ran out of excuses - you honestly just have to do it. Bali is the perfect place to learn since road rage barely exists here compared to other SEA countries! Take your time, use your indicators (seriously, use them) and drive at your own pace on the side of the road. People know when you’re a new driver, they definitely could tell I was one lol. Once you get the hang of it, it’s so so liberating!
A lot of people think a helmet is optional – I was one of those dummies. Until I got into a horrible accident where I almost lost my entire left leg. Riding a scooter is mega different from driving a car - your entire body is exposed and vulnerable. The majority of scooter deaths happen from choosing not to wear a helmet. Articles like this one are constantly in the news. Make sure to purchase a certified helmet before arriving to Bali. Also feel free to reach out to me if you want a good contact for a scooter rental - I hate dealing with scams, you probably do to.
5. Don’t expect to find things in Canggu!
Most shops look the same and you probably won’t find what you’re looking for! On my first week in Bali, I realized I brought too much of some stuff and too little of others. All sorts of things went wrong, like breaking my glasses and my AC not working. I STRUGGLED! Getting a fan was easy to figure out but higher quality things such as glasses and tech stuff can be difficult. Expect to take a drive to Kuta or Denpasar to go shopping!
Although Canggu is known for both designer and market shopping! You’ll actually find the cutest boutiques and boho street markets all over town, especially on Pantai Batu Bolong - so for that, you’re sorted!
6. Friendships in Canggu are different
My favorite thing about Bali is exactly this, and I don’t want to talk about it much– it’s something you experience on your own and create your own definition for. Babes, join Canggu Nomad Girls if you are looking for someone to get a coffee or glass of wine with if you are new to the island!
7. I struggled with Indonesian local food!
I love street food in India and Thailand, but I genuinely struggle with Indonesian local food! A meal at a Warung (Indonesian make-shift restaurant with buffet-style food) costs you about $2 and is a great way to save money! I really wanted to embrace Balinese culture and eat at Warungs daily, but it just doesn’t suit my diet as almost all their dishes are so heavily fried!
But regardless, there are delicious Warungs all over the island - even catering to vegetarian and vegan diets! You have to give it a shot and see for yourself! Most people in Canggu love Warung food!
8. You’ll probably eat all your meals at cafes, and it adds up!
A high quality life in Bali has a very low cost. Although, it’s taken time to get used to eating all your meals at restaurants or cafes. An average meal in Canggu costs about 80,000 Rupiah, but you’ll notice it begins to add up when you’re always out! It also sucks when you just feel like having a “leftover day” or something simple. Along with your gym membership, this is your other only major monthly cost. I’m working on compiling a list of cheap healthy restaurants + meal options!
9. Gojek will be a lifesaver
Download the Gojek app before you jump on your flight! It has all sorts of awesome features like food delivery for only a $1 and super cheap prices for rideshare! It really makes life convenient when you’re in sticky situations!
10. Don’t forget THE IMPORTANT STUFF!
Bali is a different type of hot! I have 4 showers a day, I know i’m nuts. Out of everything you pack, make sure you bring enough crop tops, shorts, and swimwear! You can never have enough bikinis! Don’t leave home without a high quality rain jacket, rough-use backpack, foldable dufflebag, sunscreen, your favorite sanitary pads/tampons, and that helmet! Purchase bug spray from Bali supermarkets! American bug spray is no where near effective! You can thank me later.
Bali will teach you so much about life and more importantly, your self. You’ll be taken by surprise and put in different situations every day. It’s an island that gives back in abundance. It’s an incredible experience and I hope this list helps you as you prep for your big adventure - please feel free to reach out if you have any questions!