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So, while I’m still catching up on my ridiculously delayed 2016 travel recaps, I just can’t wait to start sharing my big trip (thus far) of 2017. So I’ll be jumping back and forth a bit again. Apologies for any confusion, my friends!
I’m not saying I did Bali wrong in the past. But I definitely didn’t do it this right.
In March, I spent nearly three weeks in Bali, a trip that left me walking around like a heart-eyed emoji and dreaming about dropping everything and moving my life to another little island in Southeast Asia. While it was technically my third trip to Bali, I absolutely felt like I was truly seeing and experiencing this magical island for the first time.
It all started at The Chillhouse. I had five days between flying out of Penang and the start of my ten day coding bootcamp with Institute of Code, and I knew I wanted to find somewhere where I could chill out, recharge, focus on my pre-course work, and get into the Bali groove. I literally could not have picked a more perfect place.
Do you ever stay at a hotel that is so perfect for you it almost creeps you out? Like somehow someone tapped into your brain, figured out everything you’re obsessed with, and made it into the world’s most Instagram-able accommodation? Because that is how I felt at Chillhouse.
Chillhouse is kind of a one stop shop for everything that makes Canggu the magnetic town that it is — great surfing, fabulous healthy food, lush yoga, and above all, incredibly design.
Every room at The Chillhouse is different, and I was thrilled to be bunking down in one of the beautiful double bungalows.
My room featured an outdoor bathroom where I showered under the stars, a spacious porch and garden where I watched Institute of Code prep videos on HTML and CSS, and a chic bedroom where I caught up on sleep after running around Malaysia for a few days. It was just what I needed, and it really felt like home even after a few very short days.
I was pretty obsessed with the food at Chillhouse. Dinner is served communally, which I love. Some of my favorite places to stay around the world — including La Iguana Perdida in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala do this, and it’s such a lovely way to get to know the other travelers you’re sharing your space with.
I learned from these dinners that Chillhouse is an addiction. One expat couple living in Singapore told me this was their sixth trip! Several others I spoke to were return visitors as well — like I too hope to be someday.
During the day, there’s an a la carte fully organic menu that includes salads, wraps, and of course, Bali’s famous smoothie bowls. My only criticism of the meals at Chillhouse was that the breakfast specials weren’t available until 9am — since a lot of the yoga and surfing activities kick off earlier, it would nice to have those as an option as soon as the restaurant opens at 6:15am.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Bali retreat without yoga. Chillhouse’s onsite open yoga shala is one of my favorites anywhere — and not just because of the bold “kiss my asana” yoga pun on the wall. (I bought two totes from the onsite boutique with the same phrase.) They offer one or two classes per day in vinyasa, hatha, yin, guided meditation, and kundalini. Classes are IDR 120,000 per class or ten classes for IDR 1,000,000.
I made it to one vinyasa class and one yin class and really adored them both. Other health and wellness options include an hour of personal training at IDR 700,000 per person, a mind and body coach for IDR 1,400,000 per session, and The Dose, a popular health and electrolyte IV drip for dengue, hangovers, food poisoning, and beyond. (I didn’t actually use The Dose while I was in Bali but I was beyond obsessed with the idea and actually couldn’t stop talking about it anyone and everyone in my path, ha ha.)
Chillhouse also turns its attention to surfing and biking. There are daily downhill tours to Bali Bike Park, which is like a ski resort for biking with various downhill rides and uphill shuttles, and multiple daily surf sessions for various skill levels. I made the mistake of signing up for an afternoon class that was a little above my skill level — and lacking in waves — but still had fun, as always, being out on the ocean.
Some guests told me that they preferred taking cheaper surf lessons from the beach, but one benefit of booking right through Chillhouse was that transportation is included and there’s always a ratio of one surf coach for two guests. Prices are IDR 750,000 for one lesson, three lessons for IDR 2,240,000 or five for 3400,000.
After all that surfing, biking and yoga-ing, you’re probably going to start aching for a massage. Lucky you — you can have one steps away from your room! I had a truly unbelievable treatment at Chillhouse, and the best part is the rates are incredibly competitive with local spas. Body massages are IDR 1700,000 per hour, while foot massages are a mere 150,000 per hour. Four hand massages are also available, though I learned from my last trip to Bali that it’s just not my thing. Those are almost too much of a good thing… I don’t know where to focus! (And I do wonder how all three people would fit in the tiny treatment rooms!)
If you’re feeling even further pampering is necessary, a manicure pedicure can be had for IDR 450,000.
And for all my fellow digital nomads, or anyone wanting to take an online course, or travelers who just need to catch up on some computer time, (personally, I was all three!) Chillhouse has a beautiful coworking space.
My previous two trips to Bali were quick breeze-throughs for a few days before flying out of the Denpasar Airport when I was doing my diving courses on neighboring island Gili Trawangan. I basically just stayed in Ubud, Kuta and Legian and soaked up all the fresh water showers and air-con I could get (I was living in a basic room with a fan and brackish water on Gili T, so those felt like unbelievable luxuries!)
This time, I really found “my” Bali in Canggu — I’ll have a post coming up soon of my favorite spots, which were easy to explore with Chillhouse’s free bikes.
Checking out of Chillhouse, I was sad to go! But like the many repeat visitors I met over communal dinners, I hope that I too will be back soon. And I didn’t have much time to be wistful, since I was quickly off to my next adventure…
Stay tuned for stories from my time at Institute of Code!