Travel To | Canggu, Bali

Canggu (the ‘Gu) is often referred to in sentences featuring the following words ‘surfers, alternative, edgy vibe, cool’ – serious questions were arising as to whether I was ‘cool’ enough to fit in. However, upon arriving at Lila Boutik all fears of being out of place were left behind – this place oozed serenity (albeit a tad ‘bouji’ & an Instagram haven).

If you’re looking to get away from the chaotic streets of Seminyak, but don’t want to leave the beach club vibe behind, this is the place for you. From cute cafes, to poolside bars like no other – the ‘Gu has got you sorted.

COFFEE


1. Crate Cafe
2. Monsieur Spoon
3. Milk & Madu

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BRUNCH


1. Nude
2. Cafe Vida
3. The Slow
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DINNER


1. Peekaboo
2. Gypsy
3. Watercress

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STAY


1. Lila Boutik – for instagram spots galore
2. The Slow – for a slice of Melbourne lux in Canggu
3. Frii Hotel – for affordable beachside location

Airbnb is a great place to look in Canggu, if you’re looking to get away from the hotel vibe and want more luxury, there’s tonnes of beautiful places with ‘super host’ status.

Looking for somewhere more reasonable in Bali?  (without sacrificing style)

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DO


1. Step into beach club heaven at La Brisa 
2. Watch the sunset at The Lawn, Canggu
3. Spend a day at Finns Beach Club
4. Get pampered at Therapy Canggu 
5. Spend a Wednesday eve at Old Mans 
6. Ride some waves with In Da Surf

The Habit Hunter x

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Insight Into | Travelling Solo

It was only 5 weeks into my trip, when I was sat on my flight from Sri Lanka that it really struck me that I had fallen into this ‘Solo Traveller’ bracket. There I was flicking through the ever-engaging Singapore Airlines in-flight magazine, when I came across an article called ‘Going Solo’, and I couldn’t believe how much it rang true. So I thought I’d give an insight into my experiences, alongside a few of my top tips to allow yourself to embrace the art of travelling solo.

According to Google trends, the term ‘solo-travel’ rose 50% between January 2015 – December 2017, but more interestingly (to me anyway) is that in the past year over 75% of these ‘solo travellers’ have been female.

Why? I mean, it’s not totally clear cut, but I have a few suspicions:

– Women are becoming more financially independent & consequently more apt to travel.

– A wide social shift in independence & personal freedom.

– The Instagram Movement – I really do believe this plays a huge part, so many females are seeing photos of beautiful destinations, and just wanting to book a flight and leave ASAP.

– Finally, something I really believe is the key defining factor in all of this – ‘Technology’ – smartphones allow people to feel comfortable, safe and connected anywhere on the planet; something that just didn’t exist 10 years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, travelling with my nearest and dearest have been some of the greatest times of my life, but there is nothing like the freedom of having your own schedule and the satisfaction gained from adventuring alone.

My First Hand Experience


– I found that I am more present and have paid better attention to details than when I’d travelled with friends.

– I have definitely been more open-minded to new activities, partially because I have had no excuses to say no, but also because it’s been a great way to meet new people.

– Don’t fear eating alone. Whilst I haven’t found myself sat in any white-table cloth restaurants alone, I have sourced out places that have bar seating. You’ll be surprised how many people are in the same situation, and by the end of the meal you’re unlikely to have sat like a lonely lemon for the whole thing (even if it is just the bar man that’s engaged with you for the past hour).

– Whilst I don’t know that I can claim I’ve mastered the art of solo-travel just yet, I can claim to have become acquainted to the various shades of solitude: from the occasional bouts of loneliness to the unencumbered joy of absolute freedom.

My Top Tips For Travelling Alone


– DO YOUR RESEARCH Whilst we all love to think ‘wouldn’t it be great to just book flights, accommodation etc as we go along on the trip’, this just isn’t something I’d recommend do when travelling solo. Whilst I’m a stickler for a good spreadsheet, I didn’t want to ‘over-plan’ my trip. However, I had booked all my flights, and most of my accommodation prior to leaving. This didn’t leave me feeling restricted at any point in my trip thanks to the research I had done to ensure I spent enough time in each place. However, this did hugely reassure me (& my family) that when I was arriving to a new destination I at least knew where I was resting my head that night. The last thing you want to be doing is arriving in Sri Lanka at midnight and trying to find somewhere to stay.

– STAY CONNECTED Don’t forget there are people at home that are still living their everyday lives, and worrying about you. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your travel bubble and forget this. So keep them in the loop, I found that making a group WhatsApp for my nearest and dearest so that I just had to send one message was the easiest way! But also grab an app like Find My Friends, just so they can check in.

– THINK SMART It’s easy to get carried away with taking on a carefree attitude when so far from everyday life, but personal safety must never be forgotten. I found that simple things like only withdrawing cash during the day, not wandering around at night without reason , staying covered up in the evening (I’m not talking full body suit, just be sensible, take a scarf to cover your shoulders, chest etc.). I have met some people that take this pretty seriously –  I’m talking wearing a fake wedding ring to keep unwanted attention at bay, but I can’t say I took to this.

The Habit Hunter x

Travel To | Seminyak, Bali

After a week of island life on Gili T & Gili Air it was time to head back to the mainland (after the most turbulent boat ride of my life.. I didn’t actually realise I suffer from sea sickness, but apparently I do)! Needless to say it was not pretty. However, I made it back in one piece and the next pit stop on my travels was Seminyak.

I’d heard mixed things about Seminyak prior to arriving, so I only booked myself to stay for a couple of days. Quite honestly, this was enough. Not because it wasn’t great, but I felt like I’d conquered the area in 48hrs.

COFFEE


1. Revolver Espresso
2. The Moose
3. Pison Coffee

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BRUNCH


1. Sisterfields Cafe
2. Sacred Ground
3. Grain

HEALTHY SNACKS


1. Cafe Organic
2. Nalu Bowls @ Shelter
3. Watercress

DINNER


1. Motel Mexicola
2. Bikini
3. Bambu

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STAY


1. Dash Hotel – for Millennial madness
2. W Bali – for beachside perfection
3. The Legian – for lux upon the beach

Looking for somewhere more reasonable in Bali?  (without sacrificing style)

DO


1. Head to Potato Head Beach Club
2. Sip sundowners at Ku De Ta
3. Go horse riding on the beach
4. Get a massage at Bodyworks

The Habit Hunter x

Hotel Review | Flowers & Fire Yoga Garden, Gili Air

Overview:


I booked Flowers and Fire Yoga Garden at the last minute as I saw a deal arise, and I couldn’t have been happier. This place is still very new on Gili Air, however, this wasn’t reflected in the service. They seemed to have ironed out any teething problems they may have had before I arrived.

As the name suggests, the premise of this place is a serene yoga setting, offering a treehouse style studio to those wanting to practice whilst on the island. Whilst not an avid yogi myself, this even inspired me to give it a shot. However, don’t get me wrong, this place may have been inspired by the love of yoga, but their accommodation and whole foods offering goes above and beyond a simple yoga setting.

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The Location:


Set just a 5 minute walk up from the main jetty in Gili Air, this place really couldn’t be located much better. It’s set back from the road to allow you a feeling of peace and serenity, yet close enough to walk anywhere on the island with ease.

NB. There is a mosque nearby, and they seem to pray 24/7, I tend to be able to sleep with any distraction so it didn’t cause me too much of an issue. However, I imagine for most this could be a concern. On the other hand – I was offered ear plugs upon arrival – so this could be easily resolved.

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The Rooms:


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There are 4 types of room in the hotel, two that offer just one double bed (Deluxe Room, and Deluxe Garden Bungalow) and two that offer two double beds – perfect for families (Family Bungalow and Deluxe Double Queen).

I opted for the Deluxe Garden Bungalow and was blown away. A large double bed.. with a duvet! (Yes – I do still love a duvet in 30 degree heat, nothing a bit of AC can’t resolve). The outdoor bathroom was an added bonus, and provides another element of the island environment. I truly believe, no matter which room you opt for you won’t be disappointed. The decor is chic, simple and in line with Balinese culture, and quite honestly – cannot be faulted.

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The Food:


The kitchen was in operation all day, with a delicious breakfast served in the morning where you could opt for any type of eggs, fruit, muesli (all 3 if you were feeling it), fresh fruit juice, Lombok coffee. Plenty to go around. There was no strict timing on this, with a rough outline of 7 – 10am.

The food offering continues throughout the day with a range of sweet and savoury options. From nourish bowls (salad base with your choice of toppings), smoothie bowls, ‘healthy vegan’ ice cream. There was certainly enough to keeps any hunger pangs at bay, and I’d have happily enjoyed every meal here during the course of my stay.

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The Facilities:


Clearly the aforementioned Yoga studio is the show stealer here, with multiple classes on throughout the day, however for those not wanting to practice, theres also a great living space where you can simply chill out and read a book (they have a great little library to choose from should you have run out of your own), or sit by the pool (albeit a simple plunge pool).

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Unfortunately I wasn’t there on a Monday, when the offer a curry and movie night, which seems to be incredibly popular. So I’d definitely get down for that if you’re staying on the island at the beginning of the week, I heard nothing but good things about this during my stay.

With the beach on your doorstep, the likelihood is you’re not going to be short of things to do.

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The Service:


From the communication I had with Emily prior to arrival, to the excellent staff working throughout the hotel, the service here cannot be faulted. The staff were more than pleasant willing to leave you alone should you want to chill but happy to engage if you’re looking for some tips, or just a conversation, whilst there. All in all, the staff are a true asset to this complete serenity of a hotel, and I have no doubt that it’ll continue to flourish on the island and will become a top spot of visitors as time goes by.

The Habit Hunter x

Hotel Review | Cocotoa Boutique, Gili Trawangan

Overview:


Arriving on Gili T and I think you could’ve put me in a garden shed and I would’ve been happy. This place blew my mind once I stepped off the boat, and immediately knew island life was totally my scene – no shoes, limited wifi, lots of happy, smiley people… oh and corn on the cob on every corner!

However, far from a garden shed it was. Cocotoa is nestled in the middle of the island, just a few rows back from the main strip. In all its white glory, it welcomed me in with open arms.

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The Location:


Ideal for keeping away from the hustle and bustle of the main strip, but close enough to walk everywhere. It’s more secluded than most hotels in the resort, but remains on the ‘busy’ Eastern side of the island.

Cocotoa provides bikes (IDR 50,000 per day – about £2.50) that will do the job at getting you everywhere with ease, or feel free to use the feet we were blessed with and amble around at your own pace. Just take time to remember you’re on an island, go with the flow, don’t hurry it away.

The Rooms:


Cocotoa offers 5 types of room of varying sizes, from their deluxe room to their king suite. I stayed in their ‘luxury’ room, which was more than enough. Quite honestly, I think opting for the deluxe would be plentiful on this island where you’ll spend most of your time away from the room.

All rooms are large, with bathrooms plenty big enough. They’re decorated with a modern flair (not sure how I felt about the colourful lights under the base of the bed, however, nothing a switch couldn’t resolve.

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The Food:


Honestly, the breakfast isn’t worth sticking around for. There’s fruit on offer with every choice, whether that be eggs, toast, pancakes or noodles. It’s FINE (yes.. I hate that word too). It was enough to keep me fuelled for the one day I tried it before my scuba diving, but I wasn’t keen to rush back. There’s plenty of delicious spots to try on the island, so I’d recommend heading elsewhere if you’re a bit of a breakfast aficionado – I highly recommend The Banyan Tree.

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The Facilities:


In terms of facilities, there’s the onsite restaurant (not somewhere you’d hurry too). The pool is perfect, it’s a great size for Gili T, with enough space around the pool. Of all the snooping into other hotels I did, it’s definitely on the larger side. Other than bikes on offer to rent, as with many other Gili hotels, there’s not a huge amount of facilities.

If you’re interested in keeping fit whilst you’re away, GILIFIT (the only gym on the island) is a short 3min walk from Cocotoa, it’s basic, but will suffice if you’re a stickler for routine.

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The Service:


I didn’t have a huge amount of interaction with the staff, but when I did they were all lovely and very helpful. One thing I did notice is that as I took my key with me every day my room didn’t get cleaned? Not entirely sure why this was, as you’d presume they’d have a spare. I’ve emailed the hotel for clarity on this – so I’ll get back to you!

The Habit Hunter x