This is quite a meaty post but I hope to offer you all an insight into the Bali that I saw over my three weeks AND the one that skirts the sparkly resorts and packed shopping streets! While I was SO lucky to find myself absorbed in the daily life of those clever NZ/AUS creative brands that I was visiting, I found that I was having a totally different experience to friends that had been before.
I was asked if I had been to “this” beach club or “that” bar…and for a second had a panic! Was I missing out???
Instead I relished the peek I had into everyday life and with the help of the group of Bali based brands below I have pulled together some places and experiences that you might want to plug into your trip!
Most are predominately around the Canggu area or easily accessed from there!
ROSIE SHELTON – LA LUNA ROSE
WHO: Rosie Shelton – originally from Christchurch and now flitting between Bali, Australia and New Zealand
BRAND: La Luna Rose – Bright, beautiful and precious jewellery! (interview to come)
WHERE: Canggu Beach, Bali. One base for the roving La Luna Rose headquarters!
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL: There is nothing more calming to put the worries of the day at bay than a walk along my local beach to watch the beautiful Bali sunsets. Often accompanied by various friends popping into the island to say hello – each and every walk brings a different mood and delightful experience!
From watching the local fishermen haul in their boats for the night, to the local guys playing soccer like they are in the world cup to the little ones chasing their kites to rescuing puppies from the relentless waves…consistent in its beauty but ever changing with its adventures, this is by far my most favourite part of my day!
JILLIAN BEED – RUE STIIC
WHO: Jillian Beed – originally from San Diego, California, but my Australian roots took me back to Australia where I have since lived in Perth and based my label.
BRAND: Rue Stiic
WHERE: This photo was taken on a fabric sourcing day in one of the many fabric stores in Denpasar. The fabrics in Bali are all so beautiful and it’s so amazing to walk into shops of endless swatches and push my creativity to see what I can create!
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL: Bali is a magical place with endless opportunities. I come here almost every month to work on Rue Stiic, source new fabrics, and practice a healthy lifestyle. My favorite is waking up, having a fresh cup of Bali Kopi, hopping on my scooter and driving off through the rice paddies to see where the day may take me – whether it will be a day of production and fabric sourcing or a beautiful beach day swimming in the Bhukit with a coconut in hand.
DANI CLAYTON – SALT GYPSY
WHO: Danielle Clayton, hailing from Auckland’s North Shore in New Zealand.
BRAND: Salt Gypsy – a women’s alternative/indie surf lifestyle brand (interview to come)
WHERE: Warung Bumi in Canggu, Bali.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL: It’s cheap, delicious and crowded with locals and expats alike. The best campur in town!
My favourites? Corn fritters and the crispy tempe.
FAVE LOCAL CANGGU BREAK: The river mouth at Echo Beach in Canggu – a few less people in the water than further down the beach and some pumping long waves to pick off. And afterwards, crisp cold beers at one of the warungs on the beach. Perfect!
CHRISTINA LAFIAN – SUKU
WHO: Christine Lafian – splits time between Indonesia and Melbourne.
BRAND: SUKU Home (interview to come)
WHERE: GAYA Ceramic– Ubud, Bali Indonesia
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL: Italian sophistication meets Balinese craftsmanship!
We were lucky enough to be given private tour into the workshop and gallery. They’ve worked with clients such as Armani Home, Ritz Carlton, Aman Group resort, Bulgari etc. It’s really is a ceramic HEAVEN! Don’t forget to try their gelato at their other business a little further down the road!
STU MUSGRAVE – BNVVT
WHO: Stuart Musgrave, orginally from Brisbane
BRAND: BNVVT – Bon Vivant (interview to come)
WHERE: Canteen Cafe, Batu Bolong, Canggu, Bali
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL: Located near the beach and not far from my house makes this a perfect breakfast spot. The fact that they do Aussie breakfast faves with a twist is a bonus! Filled to the brim with surfing history and nostalgia it is a great place to start your day and also get some work done.
LUCY BAKER – BY ASL
WHO: Lucy Baker, St-Kilda, Melbourne, Australia
BRAND: BY ASL – for girls with crooked smiles & full hearts
WHERE: At the end of Double 66 Road on the border of Seminyak & Legian, where the rusty umbrellas and salty sun lounges reside, where beach boys sell water & Bintang, where expat locals and tourists mix; chasing that Bali sun, I sit every Sunday!
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL: Sometimes alone, sometimes with friends – but it is my escape place! I sit back and relax, dream about my latest collections, my hopes and aspirations, people watch some of the most interesting characters, I read a book and angle my chair to maximise sun exposure (with a hat & sunscreen – of course).
The fruit lady comes along with her store on her head, splits open a coconut and machetes a pineapple or mango or 2 – and I have one of those ‘I’m so lucky to be here’ moments!
And before I go home, I will dive in to the sea for a swim or 10 and I am ready for Monday!
AND NOW TWO SPECIAL MENTIONS!
I have broken my staunch “NZ/AUS content only” rules for these two as both designers/business owners not only have exceptional brands they were also super memorable and inspiring people!
SUKI – SUKI WOODEN SUNGLASSES
WHO: Sukma Suki – originally from Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia.
BRAND: Suki Wooden Sunglasses
WHERE: Think Pink Nails at on Batu Belig.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL: The best nails polish collections ever, amazing service and full of smiles!!!
KAI PAUL – INDOSOLE
WHO: Kai Paul – grew up in Jakarta Indonesia
WHERE: Echo Beach, Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL: It is a 500 metre walk from my house to Echo Beach where there are good waves and great sunsets! Its very chilled out and I love taking my dog, Shayde, down to the beach to play.
There is also a temple at the edge of the beach looking over us and when I look at it from the water it gives me good vibes!
NOW MY TURN!
Some sights, places and experiences which stick in my mind as highlights of my debut trip to the tropics!
A “gang” is an alley or little skinny street. I would love trying to catch a snap of life when shooting past them on my scooter. Think roosters, dogs (so many dogs) cats, children playing, children learning to drive scooters, burning, washing and a great deal of just hanging out. They acted like extended living areas and I loved feeling a little more connected to the local way of life then most visitors in the resorts would feel!
This is a snap of the gang I stayed down for much of my visit and our neighbour Made with his youngest little girl. Every day I wound my way up or down there (on the scooter I had hired from him!) I would be acknowledged with the most brilliant smile! Sometimes there were even little “offerings” left tucked into my number plate…guess they thought I might have needed some spiritual protection!
SUNSET DRINKS AT BATU BELIG BEACH BAR
It’s a humble little tin bar parked right on the beach and it was one of my favourite spots. No ritz and glitz of the Seminyak sparkly resorts – just a crew of smiling local’s behind the bar, a DJ grinning through his sets, bean bags on a bamboo deck and without fail a crowd of visitors and those that call Canggu home lapping up their environment.
The hours around sunrise and sunset offered up a light that to me was noticeably different from at home in New Zealand. More gold, more pink and more ritual around both those times for locals and visitors alike.
SCOOTER LIFEStu of Bon Vivant – living the good life!
Dani of Salt Gypsy parking up by her house (!!)
…… Rosie of La Luna Rose with her particularly beautiful machine!
The freedom of scootering – wow!
When I first arrived, straight off the plane and travelled in the back of a taxi to where I was staying I was utterly GOBSMACKED at what I was seeing on the roads. There were double lanes but no one took any notice of the lines, helmetless children, a sea of scooters darting around cars and a crazy amount of tooting on horns!
BUT – then I got my own scooter life going and it was a fascinating discovery to find the order within the chaos. There is a kind of “flow” that occurs, cars give way to scooters, the honks are a polite way to say “hey! I’m just popping past you or I’m approaching an intersection everyone!”
It kind of reminded me of the mountain rule of “give way to the downhill skier” – if I concentrated on the chaos in front of me hopefully those behind me would be doing the same !
The helmetless children thing…well yeah, not ideal at all but overall the scooter is the workhorse and wheels that this entire country operates on.
As a visitor the humble scoot gave me the ability to not only explore with freedom but to reallllllly see face to face the country and communities in them.
Just amazing, eye opening stuff!
BENING DAY SPA
Best massages of my life and verrrry cheap at Bening Spa on Batu Belig. Don’t worry about going anywhere else! This was IT for me!
PS – Watch out of the full body massage ladies…it includes the entire top half unless stated! haha
MT BATUR SUNRISE MISSION
Climbing the “softly steaming” volcano Mt Batur in the pitch black at 4am to witness sunrise from its chilly top ridge was a massive highlight!!
PADDY FIELDS + FARMING
I found it so interesting stopping to watch the farmers tend their paddy fields and plots. The terracing is immaculate and did you know that every single plant in those rows are carefully placed by hand… take the time to watch and learn.
WEEKEND TRIP TO BINGIN BEACH
I found Bingin Beach fascinating and almost like an amazing movie set!
A ramshackle collection of guest houses cling to a step cliff, wedged tightly against a white sandy beach and aqua ocean sporting some amazing surf breaks!
We stayed in very simple and cheap ($10 NZ ) accommodation with incredible views!
Couldn’t recommend this place more to explore but be warned….it seems to be FULL of outrageously good looking travellors!
A LAST FEW MENTIONS
– There are kites and streamers hovering over rice paddies everywhere to keep the birds away. I found that almost magical!
– Mahi Mahi burrito’s (or simply ANYTHING else!) at Betelnut Cafe in Canggu
– Western food in general was WAY better then anything I could get on Ponsonby Rd in Auckland….and less than quarter of the price. Actually 90% of my eating experience was exceptional…of all cuisines…did fit in a few extra meals!!
– Frogs enmasse in paddy fields at night sound like a flock of sheep. True story.
– The hour between sunset and full darkness requires closed mouth when on scooter! Bugs galore!
All photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home