Friday, January 06, 2006

The Beach House - Canggu

The Canggu Sunset Villa I stayed in while on Bali is about 20 minutes drive from Seminyak, where all the bars, restaurants, and shops are located. Canggu itself is a very quite area mostly covered in rice paddies, numerous temples, and very small pool halls for the local residents. Driving around I also noticed that there were some very exclusive villas scattered around the area. But yet there did not seem to be any entertainment in the area for foreign residents. Or so I thought until I found The Beach House.

It would be impossible for me to explain how to get to The Beach House because most of the roads we took were narrow dirt tracks between rice paddies. They eventually emerge on the coast where you are confronted with the large wooden house. Once you get there you are confronted with an awesome sunset right over the ocean. Your best bet would be to head towards Tugu Bali or Tannah Lot and look out for some signs, or just ask some locals.

The area directly in front of The Beach House is a large concrete barricade, holding back the eroding waves that crash right up against their shoreline. This area is definitely not swimable but surfers do paddle out from here to catch the sizable break about 100 meters out. To the right of the restaurant, just a stroll away, is a swimable beach. It may not be white sand but on a warm day, the water is clean and it hits the spot.

One evening we showed up there, they were having an awesome outdoor BBQ. They had set up a seafood assortment on ice from which we could select whatever we wanted, which was then grilled fresh and served hot with baked potatoes and yellow rice. They also had a decent assortment of grilled vegetables, lamb ribs, and chicken. The spread was awesome and the prices extremely reasonable. For a group of 5 people we only paid about US$60 and the meal included fresh prawns and lobster. Not to mention a couple of JD doubles for me.

The Beach House also has a menu that features great pizzas, some local specialties, and some very tasty sandwiches and burgers. They also deliver to homes in the area and they have special rates for crates of beer or softies. There were a few afternoons at home when I did call in for their totally awesome Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich. Their bar is very well stocked and they mix up some pretty interesting cocktails too.

The crowd you run into at The Beach House is not at all similar to the people you would meet in Kuta or Seminyak. The guests here were foreign and local alike but what seemed to be residents or regular visitors to the island. The vibe was not all obnoxious and the people were friendly and mellow. Some people brought their kids and others their pets. I did not see a single taxi in the area so it would be hard for a common tourist to navigate this area. Later on in the evenings the live band kicks off. The regular visitors at the bar also take turns playing instruments and singing songs. Surprisingly they were all pretty damn good. We heard some tasteful renditions of Tracy Chapman’s Revolution, Bob’s Redemption Song, and the ever present Hotel California.

Bali is not as safe as it once was and it is advisable to stay of the beaten track when you can. The Beach House is a great place to cut an afternoon away. The open fields surrounding the area allow an amazing breeze to flow in from all directions and you have a mind blowing panoramic view. I was fortunate to find this place tucked away on that side of the island and I know the readers of this blog who visit Bali will appreciate its simple beauty.

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